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by mbreen 01.22.2010
Posted In: Local Music, Music News at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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R.I.P. Phil Blank 1952-2010

Local Blues musician Phil Blank lost his battle with cancer and passed away on Jan. 15. He was 57. A memorial service for the veteran singer/harmonica player/guitarist is scheduled for Jan. 30 at the Staley-Crowe Funeral Home in Deer Park starting at noon.

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by mbreen 08.06.2010
Posted In: Local Music at 01:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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State Song Releases Stunning New Album

I keep waiting to receive a new release from the locally-based label Phratry Records that is subpar. The label — specializing in Indie/Post Punk/Punk-flavored sounds — is celebrating its sixth anniversary this month and its next release is its 22nd so far. The law of averages would suggest that, especially given the imprint’s increased output in the past year, at least one stinker would sneak by. But every time I click on a new MP3, slip in a new CD or drop the needle on the latest release’s vinyl version (Phratry’s offerings usually come in all three formats), I never fail to be impressed. And that 22nd release — the full-length debut from Cincinnati’s State Song, Dear Hearts & Gentle People — is definitely not the stink-bomb I’ve been half-expecting from Phratry. In fact, it may just be the label’s finest offering yet.

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by mbreen 03.08.2011
Posted In: Local Music at 06:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Free Pomegranates Download

If you haven't heard One of Us, the latest album from Cincinnati Indie quartet Pomegranates, then you missed one of the best albums to come out all of last year. If you'd like to remedy the situation, you can get a small sample now from Afternoon Records, which just announced it is offering a free download of the One of Us track, "Prouncer."

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by Mike Breen 08.02.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Rewind: Why Parrotheads Hate Me

Celebrating the 12th anniversary of the CityBeat/Jimmy Buffett shitstorm

A dozen years ago, I was asked to come up with something for CityBeat's annual summer preview "Hot Issue." At the time, easy-groovin' singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett was the king of Cincinnati's summer concert scene, selling out his shows in minutes and routinely winning the "Best Concert" award in CityBeat's "Best of Cincinnati" readers' poll. So I figured that, five years into CityBeat's existence, it was time to weigh in on the Parrothead phenomenon.

I've told the story of the backlash a few times in the past (apologies if you've heard it before). After the article was published, I received the most hate mail I've ever seen for a story appearing in the paper. My colleagues printed out the emails and wallpapered the area around my desk; it covered a good quarter of that room in the old CityBeat building on Seventh Street.

I expected some of it (and probably deserved some of it, too; as a young punk-ass writer, I was an even bigger dick then). But the sheer amount of correspondence was kind of a shock. I soon discovered it was the result of a cheap Buffett fan website that literally told its members to attack.

In the vein of anti-abortion activists publishing the names and home addresses of doctors who dare provide abortion services, the site ran Mike Breen's home address.

I probably would have filed a police report were it not for the fact that the site ran the wrong Mike Breen's home address. Some other poor Mike Breen in Cincinnati probably received a few house-eggings and tree-TPings (hopefully nothing worse).

I sent the site owner a polite note advising them that they had the wrong Mike Breen's address and invited them to publish CityBeat's business address for anyone who'd like to chime in with a letter. (They already had our email up there.) Eventually, they removed the innocent man's address.

Out of the 300 or so emails of protest sent, about 10% simply suggested that Buffett concerts are just good fun and I shouldn't criticize how people get their ya-yas out (fair enough). About 5% were supportive of my comments. Around 2% said they were indeed Parrotheads, but found my article amusing and felt the pilers-on were being stupid and taking it all too seriously (my favorites).

The rest of the emails were the opposite of Jimmy's good-time, laid-back vibe. Most just called me rude names (totally fine).
Some wished death on me (not cool!). The only one I remember with any kind of clarity was the note that said, "I hope your children are raped by drug dealers in Over-the-Rhine and get AIDS and die" (come near my family and I WILL cut your balls off).

Included in many of the death-wishes and "Fuck you, asshole!" comments were a few people who trumpeted Jimmy's great contributions to charity. I applaud that, as well as the efforts of the
Cincinnati Parrot Head Club, who also work good deeds into their good times. Buffett and I also share a lot of the same political/cultural/social views (I can find no evidence, but I'd be willing to wager that Jimmy's NOT anti-gay marriage and he is definitely a Democrat). I also thought it was kind of funny/cool that Jimmy got booted from an NBA game for passionately (and good-naturedly) sticking up to the refs that were giving his team (the pre-LeBron Miami Heat) the shaft.

I also thought it was really cool that Jimmy found Bill Paxton's fairly scathing parody of him (as "Coconut Pete") in the Broken Lizard film Club Dread to be hysterical. (On the DVD commentary track, the filmmakers say Buffett asked for permission to perform some of the parody songs on tour.)

Here's Paxton doing Coconut Pete's hit "Pina Coladaburg":


I'm unsure how Jimmy feels about South Park's much rougher treatment in the show's own parody (pictured above). (For the record, I think the spreading of quotes from and footage of Buffett fans being bigoted is really unfair, in a Breitbart kind of way.)

So, as I've matured, I've found at least five things I like about Buffett. If I drank, I bet he'd be fun to have a beer with and talk politics and sports. (Drop me a line, Mr. Buffett; I'll be designated driver!)

There are still tickets available for tonight's Buffett concert at Riverbend, which would have been impossible to imagine 12 years ago. When the Radiohead concert earlier this summer was announced, I had a chat with our publisher about how fast it would sell out. When it didn't, we bemoaned the fact that Buffett's show would still sell out in minutes. It didn't.

Is the Parrothead era over in Cincinnati?

Here, from the May 25, 2000 edition of CityBeat, are the "Ten Things I Hate About Buffett." Feel free to chime in with your Buffett support and call me a few names if you'd like. (But threats will be taken seriously this time around and if you come near my family … well, see above.)

I sincerely hope that, if you're going, you have a great time. Just be safe! I have to imagine that cops see Buffett visits as a good chance to make a few extra DUI arrests.
Like death, taxes, Who reunion tours and Wolfen sequels, one certainty every year in Cincinnati is a local summer appearance by the master of mediocrity, Jimmy Buffett. If you live here, it's as inevitable as the changing of the season: Buffett brings his plastic palm tree and awful music to Riverbend, and thousands of morons flock to see him.

We've resisted writing about this "phenomenon" in the past. It's kind of like making fun of Kathie Lee Gifford or Kenny G -- it's just too cheap and easy. Of course, CityBeat is nothing if not cheap and easy.

So, here, we bring you the only press you will ever read about Jimmy Buffett in this publication. Unless, of course, there's a shooting spree in the middle of the concert or Riverbend sinks into the river.

10) His music It's sorta tropical, sometimes Country-ish, sometimes "silly," and always boring. It's music for people who don't like music: background, laid-back fluff. It's easy listening for Boomers.

9) His lyrics

"Blew out my flip flop/Stepped on a pop top/Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home."

"So he took her to this movie called Body Heat/She said, 'The Junior Mints were mushy and the sex was neat.' "

"Fruitcakes in the kitchen/Fruitcakes on the street/Struttin' naked through the cross walk/In the middle of the week."

"Evolution can be mean/There's no 'dumb-ass vaccine.' "

Apparently not.

8) His album titles A White Sport Coat & A Pink Crustacean. Last Mango in Paris. Off to See the Lizard. This guy makes "Weird Al" look like Oscar Wilde.

7) He recorded a cover of "Purple People Eater" "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" is bound to be next.

6) He likes to sue aspiring restaurateurs Buffett's lawyers have gone after entrepreneurs for calling their new bistros things like "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise." Hey, if they're that stupid ...

5) He was a fratboy No doubt. At the University of Southern Mississippi. Shocker!

4) He wrote and staged a musical (Don't Stop the Carnival) Rock stars shouldn't do that.

3) He tricked Brian Wilson into recording one of his songs "South American" on Wilson's Imagination record. Hasn't this man been taken advantage of enough?

2) His CDs don't even make good coasters I proudly own one Jimmy Buffett CD -- 1999's Beach House on the Moon, which I use on my desk to set my drink on. Damn things keep slippin' off.

1) Parrotheads Fans of Buffett use his summer concerts for an excuse to get completely obliterated and "partay." It's like Mardi Gras with tasteless people in stupid hats and Hawaiian shirts. Not so amazingly, his strongest cult is here in Cincinnati. Like we need some other cultural crisis to be embarrassed about.
 
 
by mbreen 01.14.2011
Posted In: Local Music, Live Music at 03:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Loft Society Celebrates MLK, Jazz-Style

One of the coolest, more unique musical experiences to be had in Cincinnati is at the concerts presented by The Loft Society, an on-the-down-low, speakeasy-like venue housed in the top-floor loft of an apartment building on Calhoun Street in University Heights (next to Mayra’s restaurant). Programmed and hosted by Al Williams, the Loft has been featuring artists on the more exploratory side of Jazz (with occasional guests from other genres) for the past two decades. The atmosphere is relaxed and communal and set up as a great listening experience first and foremost (obnoxious chatter during performances is strongly frowned upon). If you’ve yet to visit, Saturday’s “A Tribute to MLK” concert is a great place to start.

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by mbreen 03.30.2011
Posted In: Local Music, Music News at 01:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Shake It Offers New Wussy, Talib for RSD

Nationally recognized as one of the best record stores in the Midwest, it makes sense that Northside’s Shake It Records would go all out on the forthcoming global Record Store Day (April 16). Besides offering many of the limited-edition RSD exclusives being released by everyone from Blitzen Trapper, Yeasayer and Built to Spill to Television and The Velvet Underground (for the full list of exclusives, click here), the store/label is also issuing its own exclusive release from Shake It recording artists Wussy. And they’ll be hosting an in-store appearance by modern Hip Hop hero Talib Kweli.

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by mbreen 01.12.2011
Posted In: Music News, Local Music at 09:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Big New Album From Bootsy Due Soon

Cincinnati music’s most iconic figure, Bootsy Collins, is gearing up to release a new album this spring, the funkmaster’s first new material in five years. The guest list on Tha Funk Capital of the World is stacked with superstars from various fields, not just music. Along with Hip Hop legends Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Chuck D (who all perform with Bootsy on one track, “Hip Hop @ Funk U”), eclectic banjo master Bela Fleck and fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bobby Womack, the 16-track collection also features such non-musical figures as Al Sharpton, Tom Joyner, Dr. Cornel West and actor Samuel Jackson. Funk Capital has an April 26 release date.

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by Mike Breen 03.06.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music at 03:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
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Cincinnati Music's Unprecedented SXSW Invasion

Oodles of Greater Cincinnati musicians and businesses prepare to mess with Texas

I attended my first South By Southwest festival in Austin, Tex., over 15 years ago to cover local Funk group SHAG's appearance at the festival for a much younger CityBeat. It seemed exciting back then that one of Cincinnati's biggest bands was invited to showcase at SXSW. This year, the amount of acts from the area performing is unprecedented — never has Cincinnati had such a presence at America’s premier music fan/industry showcase and conference (which starts a week from today).

And it’s not just performers. Representatives from local promo company The Counter Rhythm Group will be on hand in force, venture development group CincyTech is hosting regular chats as well as a Cincinnati hospitality headquarters and party in Austin and the progressive promotional/licensing machine The All Night Party is sponsoring both a tour centered around the Texas festival and its own showcase night at the event, a first for a local organization.

And, as we have most SXSWs over the past 17 years, CityBeat will have a reporter on the scene providing regular updates for this here blog. Be sure to check back often starting next week and see how are hometown heroes are doing.

Here’s an overview of just some of the Cincy-centric happenings related to SXSW 2012:

• The All Night Party presents the Midwest by Southwest tour (also sponsored by this summer’s Bunbury Music Festival and assisted by Counter Rhythm and Reveal Concepts) featuring, as the tagline reads, “Four Midwestern Bands — On A Mission to Rock.” The tour has Cincinnati bands The Sundresses (repeat visitors to SXSW) and Wussy, as well as Cleveland rockers The Whiskey Daredevils and Lexington’s Oh My Me. The jaunt begins Thursday at Mount Lookout’s The Redmoor. (Doors open at 6 p.m., showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are $10.) MWXSW will hit several other cities before and after the ANP SXSW showcase Tuesday at the Soho Lounge. The Lions Rampant will appear on the bill in Austin, as well.

If you'd like to help the caravan out, there is a Kickstarter campaign with some cool perks you can check out here. (Quick, only three days left!) Here's the promo vid:

R. Ring, the acoustic duo featuring local musician/engineer Mike Montgomery (thistle, Ampline) and Dayton, Ohio’s Kelley Deal (Breeders), will perform at a showcase hosted by the Misra label on March 15. Misra is releasing the twosome’s first single in a few months, with a full-length to follow.

Ohio Knife, a new duo project from The Chocolate Horse’s Jason Snell, Andrew Higley and Joe Suer, is also headed to Austin and the local branch of branding agency Landor is tagging along. The company is hosting a travelogue website here so you can follow along at home. Ohio Knife plays a tour kickoff show Friday at The Comet in Northside. The band will hit other clubs in Tennessee and Texas along its way to SXSW.

• Local Indie Pop faves Pomegranates are now labelmates (on the Modern Outsider imprint) with fellow Cincy band Bad Veins. While the Veins won’t be performing in Texas (they’re preparing their own tour launch March 19 in Colorado), the Poms will play the official Modern Outsider SXSW showcase on March 14 at Trinity Hall.

• Indie/Folk/Electro/Pop powerhouse The Seedy Seeds took part in a SXSW launch party a couple of weeks ago. The band performs at the All Night Party showcase Tuesday.

• Eccentric breakout rockers Foxy Shazam are one of the headliners of a showcase presented by the huge booking company The Agency Group on March 15 at Latitude 30; the day before they’ll play an afternoon party.

• Cincy RCA Records recording artists Walk the Moon aren’t technically “showcasing” for SXSW, but they will be in Austin for the MTVu Woodie Awards ceremony and festival held in during SXSW, where they’ll be performing and hoping to score the Breaking Woodie award they’re competing for against acts like tUnE-YarDs and Lana Del Rey. Vote for the hometown boys here, where you can also watch a live stream from the March 15 festival.

 
 
by Alex L. Weber 06.03.2009
Posted In: Local Music at 04:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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C&D Record Bar Is Newport Vinyl Heaven

When you say the letters “C&D” to any member of Cincinnati’s hip, bar-going, Shake-It-haunting scene, most people will nod their heads in recognition, knowingly acknowledging the “Complete Dive” on the corner of Hanfield and Witler, a block down from Chase. Now append the words “Record Bar” at the end of “C&D” and quite a few of those nods of familiarity will turn to blank stares.

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by mbreen 05.19.2009
Posted In: Local Music, Reviews at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Local CD Review: The Tempers' 'Mauled'

Veteran singer/songwriter Maurice Mattei and his band The Tempers celebrate the release of their new CD, Mauled, this Saturday at The Redmoor in Mount Lookout. The show will feature an opening set by local Surf Rock band, Don’t Fear the Reverb, plus appearances by David Wolfenberger, Mike Helm, Brandon Dawson, Sharon Udoh and more.

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