Those retro/modern/futuristic urban-gothic sonics are perfectly reflected in the brand new video clip for "Oxygen." The ominous video — written by Thomas Stemrich (Director) and Josh Chiara (Director of Photography) of local band Holy Beast — was shot over three days in Northside and Over-the-Rhine.
The nutshell synopsis of the video:
"In New Berlin, in the basements of post-industrial mansions, lost youths pray to shrines for nothing and participate in rituals that don’t matter. But tonight, one of New Berlin’s daughters is through with the minutia, ready to dive beneath the insincerity of cult posturing, and finally awaken the beacon of change that swells beneath the city streets. Will this be another lost night in Neverland or will she finally meet the beast of her dreams?"
Stemrich and Chiara have made other music videos, including "Night Drive" for the local act Polar Sky (Polar Sky and Skeleton Hands both record for locally based Racecar Productions). Sharfe says "Night Drive," and now "Oxygen," are unofficially akin to part of a "series," with the Polar Sky clip setting the "New Berlin" tone initially, and the Skeleton Hands' video taking it further.
"In the New Berlin videos, we see Cincinnati through a dystopic lens," Sharfe says. "Prostitutes, cults, deities, people with holes in their torsos. Strange stuff."
Skeleton Hands are currently taking pre-orders for copies of Gone on vinyl. Click here to get in on the action. "Oxygen" will be available as a single this fall through Racecar. The single release will feature remixes, including ones by Kontravoid and the aforementioned Polar Sky.
The duo also returns to the MidPoint Music Festival this year, coming up towards the end of September in various venues around Over-the-Rhine and Downtown. Skeleton Hands is slated to perform at 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, at MPMF venue Below Zero Lounge (on Walnut Street, next to Emery Theatre). Click here for MPMF tickets (or visit Fountain Square Friday night between 8-11 p.m., where you can buy tickets in person — one night only — for $10-$20 off).
Southwestern Ohio native Greg Dulli and his band The Twilight Singers can cross "Play Letterman" off of the To Do list of promo duties for the group's new album, Dynamite Steps. Just as they did on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night show in February, the band played the elegant rocker "On the Corner" on The Late Show last night. The single also has a new accompanying music video (watch both below). Letterman — a notoriously big lover of music both new and classic — appears to be a Twilights fan, calling them a "wonderful Rock & Roll band" in his intro and seeming genuinely pumped up when he shook hands with each member after the song (if you've watched Dave long enough, you can tell when he truly loves the musical acts that appear on his show and when he couldn't care less about them).
The superb, now veteran local Indie Pop group The Minor Leagues are gearing up for the release of their new album, North College Hill. The album was recorded last summer with Sean Sullivan at The Butcher Shoppe, the Nashville studio owned by legendary singer/songwriter John Prine and Grammy-winning engineer Dave Ferguson (Johnny Cash, U2, Ryan Bingham), and was recently mastered by Michael Bond from the band's label, Datawaslost. The Minor Leagues recently made the album's first single — "Ghost Maps" b/w "Please Don't Throw My Love Away" — available as a free download from their new website (www.minorleaguesmusic.com).
The New York Times published a story in the paper's arts section today about the history of Cincinnati-based King Records and those around town who have made it their mission to put the once-vital label back in the spotlight. The story mentions everyone from old-school King artists James Brown, Charlie Feathers and Nina Simone to current-day champions John Cranley, Elliott Ruther and Brian Powers.
RJ Smith, the author of the piece entitled "Rocking Cincinnati's R&B Cradle," was on hand for the King Records memorial back in mid-November, as well as the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, presented by the good peeps at CityBeat, later that night.
Tonight at downtown club Main Event, three of Cincinnati’s best DJs will perform at a benefit to assist the musical pioneer who made their DJ careers possible. When news hit late last month that DJ Kool Herc was in the hospital, bleeding internally and enduring massive pain, many Hip Hop lovers with an understanding of the music’s origins and originators began plotting ways to help. Tonight’s event featuring Mista Rare Groove, Apryl Reign and DJ Pillo is one of several efforts across the continent (and probably globe) organized by appreciative fans to lessen the financial burden of Herc's mounting medical bills.
Welsh musician Gruff Rhys is bringing his current unique (and brief) tour to Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center tomorrow (Thursday). The show starts at 8 p.m. Click here to grab your tickets.
attending the tour’s stop at the CAC will also be treated to an extra
rare bonus — Rhys’ Neon Neon project-mate and Cincinnati native Boom Bip (aka Bryan Hollon, who now works from out of the West Coast) will be
joining Gruff onstage after the main performance for a one-of-a-kind DJ
Rhys’ band Super Furry Animals released its major label debut, Rings Around the World,
in 2001 and the group appeared to be a successor to the throne occupied
by fading superstars like Blur and Oasis. The album (following SFA’s
excellent debut, Fuzzy Logic,
and a trio of experimental-oriented albums put out by king-maker Alan
McGee’s Creation Records) put a brilliant, creative spin on “Brit Pop,”
highlighted by fascinating sounds between the grooves, but also an
extraordinary knack for writing incredibly potent melodies. Rings
contained several hit-songs-in-waiting and did well in the U.K., but
never fully grabbed the ears of the U.S. mainstream like a few of the
band’s predecessors did.
While some artists would have simply gone back and cleaned up/out the sound of their potential breakthrough to appeal more to the mainstream, it soon became clear that Rhys and the Furries weren’t interested in pandering. The band had always been underlined by a progressive, adventurous streak (early works embraced Electronic and Ambient music, among other approaches) and it was evident that the opportunity to crossover or become a massive success was less important to Rhys and Co. than following their own creative whims. (By the mid-’00s, SFA had left the Sony family for the artist-friendlier confines of Rough Trade Records).
Rhys’ work outside of the Furries’ domain has been even more exploratory. Rhys’ eclectic solo albums have contained songs sung alternately in Welsh, English and Spanish. And he’s a huge fan of collaboration, working with artists like Mogwai, Sparklehorse, De La Soul, Gorillaz, Simian Mobile Disco and Brazilian artist Tony da Gatorra, to name a few. One of his most celebrated collaborations has been with Boom Bip; the pair’s Neon Neon project has been widely acclaimed, earning a Mercury Prize nomination in 2008 for the album Stainless Style (a loose concept piece about the life of John De Lorean).
Rhys’ current project/tour is a follow-up to Separado!, a feature film/multimedia venture during which film crews followed the musician as his “investigative concert tour” traveled through South America. The film followed Rhys on his journey to learn more about his “long lost, guitar-playing, poncho-wearing uncle, Rene Griffiths.” Given his musical output, it was fitting that Rhys’ intellectual and creative curiosity had led him down such another unique path.
Here's the trailer for Rhys' "psychedelic western musical," Separado!
current “investigative tour” is another adventure in genealogy and
travel, as the artist (again trailed by a film crew for a planned
movie sequel/music/prose/photo project) journeys through North America to find
the burial site of John Evans, another distant relative who allegedly
left Wales in the late 1700s on a quest to verify the legend of a
Welsh-speaking tribe of Native Americans.
Rhys put this call out to anyone with info that could help: “Gruff urges anyone with clues regarding Evans’s unknown burial place; imaginary volcanos; wandering tribes of Welsh Speakers, or lingering river reptiles to come to the shows, where their help with his investigations will be appreciated and featured in the movie.” You might even make the film's final cut just by showing up and checking out the show.
Rhys’ performance will include music, discussion, his cutting humor and more. As the trailer above suggests, and anyone who’s seen SFA live knows (the band's criminally under-attended show at the Southgate House many years ago was one of my all-time favorite concerts), don't go into one of Gruff’s appearances with too many expectations because, most likely, they’ll be blown out of the water.
Rolling Stone has the first preview of Cincinnati-bred Funk superhero Bootsy Collins' anticipated forthcoming album, Tha Funk Capital of the World, which features a fascinating array of special guests and is slated for release April 26. The RS Web site is streaming the album's first single, "Don't Take My Funk," a groovy slice of bubbling Funk (you were expecting opera?) that has legendary Soul singer Bobby Womack on vocals and some guitar work from Bootsy's late brother and lifelong collaborator Catfish Collins.
Indie Pop trio The Seedy Seeds are nearing the end of its first tour leg in support of the new album Verb Noun, which took the band coast-to-coast, wrapping up Friday in Columbus, Ohio. Local fans will have a few chances to see them in April — April 21 they do a free show at the Cincinnati Zoo with The Tillers and they'll join Walk the Moon April 28 at 20th Century Theatre in Oakley — or you can check out the band's new video for the album's lush Indie Pop title track below. The band has also offered up a free stream of their "Friends of The Seedy Seeds" project, featuring several musician pals covering tunes from Verb Noun.
Tomorrow is Record Store Day and local shops Everybody's Records, Mole's Record Exchange, Phil's Music and Memories and Shake It Records are all getting in on the action. If you're unfamiliar with "record stores," here's the Wikipedia page. If you're unfamiliar with Record Store Day, it's essentially an annual "holiday" where tons of artists and labels issue limited released goodies in an effort to get music lovers away from their computers and into independent retailers to buy their tunes. Here are a few of the things going on locally related to RSD.
• Everybody's Records in Pleasant Ridge is having a day's worth of live music going on for Record Store Day, as well as the usual deals and fun. Graham Weber, a former local now living in Austin, Texas, kicks things off at noon (he performs a show later tomorrow night at Neon's in OTR), followed by local acts The Newport Secret Six, Jack Logan and Midnight Riders, Strangetunge, The ClaZels and Playfully Yours. Chicago Soul/Funk band The Right Now (performing Saturday night at MOTR Pub in OTR) closes out Everybody's RSD (the live music part, at least) at 6 p.m.
• Phil's Music and Memories in Cold Spring, Ky., got a jump on the RSD action and has been offering deals since Wednesday (and continuing through Sunday) — 20 percent off used vinyl and 30 percent off used CD's and used DVDs. The store apparently has even better deals lined up for Saturday.
• Athens, Ohio-based Indie Roots band The Ridges are releasing a limited edition release and poster that will be available at most local indie retailers. The release, The Insomniac's Song (Live with The Sleepless Singers), features a special live version of the lead-off track from The Ridges self-titled debut album. The exclusive features a download card (encased in a 12-by-12 poster/packaging) that'll get you the live version of the song (with a choir of 20 singers from area bands like The Happy Maladies and Young Heirlooms, as well as Brian Olive Band vocalist Molly Sullivan), a video of that version and the studio version.
• Northside staple Shake It’s Record Store Day events have a lot of local music ties. The label arm of Shake It is issuing a special vinyl version of the debut album from the imprint’s franchise players, Wussy. The remaining copies of the colored-vinyl version of Funeral Dress (including a download card and special LP insert) go on sale via mail order or www.shakeitrecords.com on April 24. (Shake It is also again offering shoppers 10 percent off their entire purchases if they bring canned goods to donate to Churches Active In Northside’s food pantry.)
• Awesome local Indie duo Bad Veins is making its stunning sophomore album, The Mess We’ve Made, available at Shake It for RSD, ahead of its April 24 national street date. The band will perform a short set at the store at 5 p.m. before heading to Taft Theatre for the official release party Saturday night.
• At 7 p.m., potential “next big things,” Cincinnati’s Alt/Dance/Pop troupe Walk the Moon, will be at Shake It to perform a sort set. The band’s debut album for RCA Records now has an official release date — June 19 — but WtM is offering fans a special Record Store Day exclusive in the form of a 7-inch single (pictured) featuring the songs “Anna Sun” and the previously unreleased “Anyway I Can.”
• If you want a little warm-up to bridge the gap between 4/20 and 4/21 (advice: leave your bong at home), head to Northside Tavern on Friday for a special Record Store Day eve party hosted by Salina Underground, an Indie Rock radio show on WVQC (95.7 FM; www.wvqc.org). The free show is headlined by Brian Olive and his band, which recently announced a national tour kick-off at the Ballroom at the Taft for May 25. (Olive is also coming off some promo dates with the legendary Dr. John, on whose new Dan Auerbach-helmed album the local musician also appears). The 9 p.m. show will also feature Indie Rock group The Sweep and rootsy newcomers The Chance Brothers (releasing their debut album, Growing Concern, that night, as well).
• The downtown main branch of the Public Library is getting in on the Record Store Day action. A turntable will be set up for anyone to drop the needle and sample the library’s music catalog (including lots of locally produced tunes) and there will be free live music all afternoon. Experimental guitarist Pete Fosco performs at noon, Art Gore and the Jazz Knights play at 2 p.m.; and Jarrod Welling-Cann from local band The Sleeping Sea plays at 4 p.m.
• Downtown's Arnold's Bar and Grill is reaching out the Record Store Day revelers and, on Saturday, will be offering 10 percent off your bill if you bring in a receipt proving you bought something from a local, independent record store that day.
Click below for a list of many of the Record Store Day exclusives being made available (or here for your own complete copy).
A new track from The National leaked last week and it serves as a good mini-preview of the Cincinnati-bred group’s headlining appearance at National guitarist Bryce Dessner’s MusicNOW festival on May 15 at Music Hall. The track “Think You Can Wait” comes from the soundtrack to the upcoming film Win Win by director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor). The song features guest vocals from pal/collaborator Sharon Van Etten, who is scheduled to open the band’s MusicNOW show (and, I would guess, perform “Wait” with the group).