One of the best things about Jimmy Fallon’s late night show is when house band The Roots performs with a special guest sitting in throughout the program, especially when the guest is seemingly from a different musical universe (like Metal guitar god Yngwie Malmsteen). But, given his bottom-end work on classic Funk tracks (and, thanks to sampling, Hip Hop ones, too), locally-bred music legend Bootsy Collins should fit right in when he sits in with The Roots tonight on Late Night (airing at 12:37 a.m. on WLWT Channel 5 locally).
While making my daily Pitchfork pit-stop, I noticed the site was pimping the latest work by Cincinnati native Pete Ohs, a fresh-faced dude who’s directed crafty music videos for such Indie faves as Wavves, Ghosthustler, Fiery Furnaces and The Unicorns.
“When I’m with You,” a ’50s-influenced piece of fuzzy Surf-Pop by LA-based Best Coast, features a Ronald McDonald clone on what looks like a date with the band’s frontwoman Bethany Costentino. Sunglasses, a bedspread with a pot leaf on it, cats, In-N-Out Burger, a sunny beach and a longhaired guitarist guy are also featured in the sweet, lo-fi video.
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.
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).
We've written a bit in the past about the new film-meets-music "One Shot Music Video" series, beautifully shot, black-and-white short films of various local musical acts shot at the historic Emery Theatre (which is back in action as a functional venue this weekend). Shot by world renowned photographer Michael Wilson with audio help from the musical duo Pop Empire, the clips are filmed in one continuous take (thus the name).
The project has started to take shape and is on a roll now. Pop Empire's Cameron Cochran reports that the series is now named for the venue — "The Emery Sessions" — and will be comprised of footage from 10 artists, all shot at the theater. It's a great way to not only spotlight local music, but also show off the theater in a great light.
Wilson and Pop Empire have completed a couple of videos for Daniel Martin Moore for the first of the series. The second in the series is Over the Rhine (longtime compadres of Wilson's, who has shot OTR album covers and promo shots — including the one above — since the band's very beginning). OTR is familiar with the surroundings; the band played the "preview party" hosted by The Requiem Project which re-introduced the 100-year-old theater to locals late last year.
Here's a clip of Over the Rhine's Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist performing "The Laugh of Recognition" from the twosome's latest album, The Long Surrender. (Click over to local blog Each Note Secure to check out another clip from the project.)
Cochran also runs the all-free, all-digital "record label" The Recording Label, which has issued stellar recordings by The Kickaways, Vacation, Sacred Spirits and Pop Empire. He says working on "The Emery Sessions" inspired him to give the label a more local-specific name. The Recording Label is now called Cincinnati Recording Service. Click here for the new site.
And here are a few words from Cochran on the Sessions and the label:
If we are consuming light then sound is accompanied by sight. Many musical performers understand this concept and will incorporate a visual component to their audio performance. The idea behind the "One Shot Music Video" is to approach music from the opposite direction. The audience approaches the music from a visual perspective first because whether they know it or not the first performance they see is the photographer's. It is the photographer's eye that navigates them through the musical performance. The hidden live performance is the one done with the camera.
The Emery Theatre was the perfect place to begin our exploration of this relationship between listening and watching live musical performances. Each musician we have recorded and that we are going to record have a love for this amazing space and understands what the Emery Theatre means to our great city of Cincinnati. It is perhaps our own experiences working in this theatre and the pride that has developed for our hometown of Cincinnati that inspired us to change the name of The Recording Label to Cincinnati Recording Service. This name change is also a tip of the hat to another person who loved his city as well as the power that American music has to bring people together, Memphis' very own Sam Philips.
Friday and Saturday, the bi-annual Clifton Heights Music Festival returns to the clubs, bars and restaurants around the University of Cincinnati. The fourth installment is the biggest CHMF yet, with over 80 acts performing everything from Rock, Pop and Indie to Comedy, Hip Hop, Reggae and much more. The fest has become the best way to sample, in a live setting, what the Cincinnati music scene has to offer (with a few regional acts sprinkled in), so if you're a hardcore local music fan or someone who has wondered what the big deal is, your weekend plans are set. Below is the full lineup with links to check out the venues and artists before you head out.
Despite Frank Ocean's deft leg-syncing and Taylor Swift's torture-porn-disguised-as-wholesome-circus, Akron, Ohio's Dan Auerbach and The Black Keys were The Grammys' big story last night, winning five trophies, the most of any artist.
While the Keys won the Grammys for Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance, Auerbach scored two solo Grammys for his production work, winning the trophy for Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) and also winning one for producing Dr. John's Locked Down, the Blues Album winner.
While Grammys for album winners are usually given to the producers, engineers, mastering engineers and artists, hopefully Cincinnati's Brian Olive will also score one for his work on the LP. Auerbach — who has produced albums by both Olive and Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers — enlisted Olive (an original member of Cincinnati's Greenhornes) to work on the Dr. John album. Olive has songwriting credits on every track on Locked Down, and he's also credited with playing guitar, percussion and woodwinds, as well as providing background vocals. (Check out CityBeat's profile of Olive from 2011, about his Auerbach-produced Two of Everything album, here.)
Kudos to Mr. Olive! That's him — the handsome feller with big side-burns playing sax (and a little guitar) in this video for the album's "Revolution."
Check out all the winners from last night's Grammys here, and click here or here for some extra musings about the show.
When Over the Rhine's new album, The Long Surrender, comes out early next year, it will have been 20 years since the beloved Cincinnati outfit released Till We Have Faces, OTR’s 1991 debut. In that time, OTR’s husband/wife braintrust — multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist — carved out one of the more impressive careers in Cincinnati music history, amassing a dedicated worldwide fanbase of passionate supporters. OTR’s unusually close-knit relationship with those fans has kept their base intact. It’s also how the duo was able to make The Long Surrender.
Entertainment Weekly's website recently debuted a bizarre music video for Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider's cover of "Mack the Knife." The clip features Eric Nally, singer for internationally renowned, Cincy born-and-bred hard rockers Foxy Shazam, as a nerded-up emcee introducing Snider before a less-than-enthused small crowd. The song is from Snider's album of covers, Dee Does Broadway, which includes Broadway cameos from Bebe Neuwirth and Patti LuPone. The video clip also includes a cameo by modern Prog Rock legend Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Translatlantic). "Mack the Knife" is rendered fairly straightforward by Dee … at first. (You just knew he wasn't going to take it anymore.)
Snider is a Foxy fan, apparently. On a morning show in L.A. recently, he shouted-out the band to viewers, calling them "Queen meets The Darkness … so brilliant!
It's not the first Rock veteran to take notice of Foxy's talent. Nally co-wrote songs with Justin Hawkins of The Darkness, Meat Loaf and others for Meat Loaf's 2010 album Hang Cool Teddy Bear. Here's "California Isn't Big Enough (Hey There Girl)," which Nally and Hawkins wrote together. (Foxy and the since-reunited Darkness have been touring together a bunch lately, a match made in flamboyant Rock & Roll heaven.)
Two highly anticipated concerts this week have been canceled. Last night, I received an emailed press release from the promoters of the Stone Temple Pilots concert at Taft Theatre at 7:24 p.m. announcing the show had been called off due to singer Scott Weiland’s inability to perform (not for the reason you’re thinking — Weiland was suffering from “inflamed vocal chords”). The concert was scheduled to start last night at 7:30 p.m., so that was a close call (especially for fans already at the venue). Today, Live Nation announced that the rare performance by Black Star (featuring modern Hip Hop heroes Mos Def and Talib Kweli) at Bogart’s this Saturday had also been canceled.