Over the past dozen years, Beth Ditto and Gossip have finetuned their lo-fi Indie Rock presentation into a wild pastiche of fist-pumping Punk, funky Soul/Pop and Indie Dance Rock, with a stage component that blends campy theater of the absurd with thrift store chic. Ditto and guitarist Nathan Howdeshell have never forgotten their Arkansas roots but have masterfully absorbed the musical zeitgeist of their Northwest environment and assimilated it into their broad range of oddly complementary influences, particularly on their 2006 breakthrough Standing in the Way of Control and their 2009 hit Music for Men.
On A Joyful Noise, Gossip’s fifth and finest album, the band and producers Mark Ronson and Brian Higgins have crafted a set that blends a soaring Gospel vibe with a slamming Indie Rock foundation and accessorizes it with bristling Dance Punk and washes of Electronic atmosphere.
The opening salvo of “Melody Emergency” finds Ditto warbling with Kate Bush’s intensity and Lene Lovich’s chirp while Howdeshell cranks out glammy chords worthy of Marc Bolan and drummer Hannah Blilie nails down the perfect groove. The trio immediately veers into should-be-a-mega-club-hit Dance Pop territory with the dramatic and anthemic “Perfect World,” a track that Madonna would embrace but could never pull off, and the funky Electropop novelty of “Get a Job.”
With typical bravado and style and an impressively evolving maturity, Gossip push the aptly titled A Joyful Noise in a dozen different directions while maintaining a firm grip on their own malleable sonic identity.
Our Brian Baker says, "Landreth’s swampy yet razor sharp slide guitar riffs are as singularly identifiable as a fingerprint and as beautifully impressionistic as a Monet watercolor," while none other than Eric Clapton said Landreth is "probably the most underestimated musician on the planet and also is probably one of the most advanced." (Read more from Brian about Sonny here.)
Landreth is touring behind Elemental Journey, the guitarist's first all-instrumental album. Check out his guitar-duet with Joe Satriani, "Gaia Tribe," below.
• Catchy Indie Pop crew Wintersleep plays a free show tonight at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. The Canadian rockers (who, in 2008, won a Juno Award, which I believe is like a Grammy except made of Canadian bacon) just two days ago released their new album, Hello Hum. The show starts around 10 p.m. with local Pop/Rock foursome Damn It To Hell, which recently put out its first release (click here to listen).
Here's Wintersleep playing the new album track "Nothing Is Anything (Without You)."
• On Thursdays, Fountain Square presents two different concert series specials. At noon, it's Acoustic Thursdays for downtown lunchers and anyone else who wants to hear some good music sans electricity (well, they do use SOME electricity; PAs usually require it, unless it's an old fashion wheel-and-crank system). Today join Lauren Houston and Jim Pross on the Square at lunchtime
Then, at 7 p.m., it's time for the popular Salsa on the Square. Dance the night away with Stacie Sandoval's Grupo Tumbao. And don't worry if your moves are a little rusty; dance instructors will be on hand to lend their support to your two left feet.
New local Country band Jeremy Pinnell and The 55s — featuring Pinnell, the former frontman for The Light Wires, The Brothers and The Sisters and other local favorites, back on the mic — has started a new weekly gig at The Avenue in Covington, one of the rising venues on the local scene for area original bands.
The 55s hold down the fort every week for Honky Tonk Thursdays at the bar. The shows are free and kick off at around 9 p.m.
Here's a clip The 55s did for The Emery Sessions, a fantastic live performance video series shot at the historic Emery Theatre in OTR, with visuals handled by renowned local photographer Michael Wilson (he also took the photo above) and audio manned by Pop Empire's Cameron Cochran (who also plays lap steel with the 55s and co-helms the Sessions). Here they are performing the song "Back Home."
A few weeks ago, CityBeat was honored to premiere the music video for Ohio Hip Hop artist (and occasional CityBeat contributor) Ill Poetic's Cincy-focused music video for his new track, "Gone." Today, Ill Poetic is allowing us to show you something very cool first — a behind-the-scenes mini-documentary about the shoot titled "A Piece of Our Soul in the Road." I'll let Ill Po explain:
A couple weeks ago, we premiered the video to my song “Gone” on Citybeat.com. The response we received for the song & video was more than I could’ve hoped for. I got so many phone calls, texts, FB messages, blog & YouTube comments from old friends and family, other artists & musicians, and fans in general. And not just the typical “That shit was tight, son” comment. You guys gave me the real feedback. I feel like we all got to reminisce about the people and places we loved, some of whom didn’t make it this far with us (hence the title “A Piece Of Our Soul In The Road”).
The process of making and debuting this video in Cincinnati was pretty unique and made for a lot of new memorable experiences. So David Damen (co-director of the “Gone” video) and I got together to make a small documentary on the filming & debuting of this video, featuring commentary from Mr. Dibbs, and footage from the actual shoot and debut. And in tradition of the video online debut, we’re premiering this Behind-The-Scenes Look again with Citybeat, entitled “A Piece Of Our Soul In The Road”.
From the shoot at Divebar with Mr. Dibbs, to the debut at “Selectas Choice” Dance Party last month with Rare Groove, Pillo & Apryl Reign, this whole process was just fuckin’ amazing. I hope you enjoy the mini-doc as well as the OG song and video.
Pay close attention to the score behind this documentary to get an advanced listen on some of the upcoming music from the EP. “Synesthesia: The Yellow Movement” EP is dropping this Summer.
Without further ado, we give you A Piece of Our Soul in the Road. (For those with prudish bosses, NSFW — salty language.)
If the early onset of mugginess hasn't already, Riverbend presents a great concert tonight to get you ready for the summer, as The Beach Boys bring their 50th anniversary tour — featuring Brian Wilson on stage with fellow Boys Mike Love and Al Jardine for the first time in decades — to Cincinnati. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $21.50-$91.50.
The band is rounded out by members Bruce Johnston and early guitarist David Marks, as well as several auxiliary players, many from Wilson's flawless solo band. The Boys have been playing shows that have lasted close to three hours (with an intermission), performing songs from throughout their career, including big early hits like "Little Deuce Coupe" and "409," as well as Pet Sounds cuts like "God Only Knows" and "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times," a couple of deeper album cuts (like "California Saga: California," a Jardine song from 1973's Holland album), songs from their new album, That's Why God Made the Radio, and "Kokomo," one of their worst tunes and also one of their biggest.
Here's one of Wilson's mini "teenage symphonies for God," "Heroes and Villains," which has also been performed on the tour. Read our interview with Love and Wilson here.
• If you like your music a little darker, all-female "Garage Goth" troupe The Black Belles are playing a free show at The Comet in Northside. The band's self-titled debut full-length came out last year on Jack White's Third Man Records and the group even collaborated with Stephen Colbert on his 7-inch single for Third Man, "Charlene II (I'm Over You)" (the Belles performed the song with Colbert on his show). Local rockers The Lions Rampant are also on the bill for tonight's free, 10 p.m. show.
Here's the video for the Belles' second single off their eponymous debut, "Wishing Well."
• Also on the "free, high-quality live music" tip — tonight's "American Roots" concert on Fountain Square. The every-Tuesday events spotlight local partakers of the various strains of Americana and Roots music. Tonight, it's a little bit Country, a little bit Rock & Roll, as local Kelly Thomas and the Fabulous Pickups and The Kentucky Struts join forces. They should be comfortable sharing a stage — Thomas and Ky. Struts frontman Todd Lipscomb perform together in the trad Country project, The Tammy WhyNots.
The show runs from 7-10 p.m.
On this date in 1949, American musical icon Hank Williams made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 25. It was the beginning of a very difficult relationship.
Even though things soured, Williams' Opry debut was a career-defining moment. The singer/songwriter wowed the crowd so much, he was called back for six encores (the encores ultimately had to be halted so the rest of the show could go on).
Williams' reputation for heavy drinking put off the Opry initially, but as his star continued to rise — boosted by the success of "Lovesick Blues" (recorded at the Herzog studio here in CIncinnati) — the Country music institution finally relented and invited him to perform.
Williams continued to make Opry appearances over the next three years, but he was banished in 1952 for his alcohol-related issues. Hank died just a few months later, in January of 1953 at the age of 29.
Over the past eight or so years, Hank Williams' grandson, Hank III, and other supporters have participated in a campaign to have Williams posthumously reinstated to the Grand Ole Opry. CityBeat also lent a hand, promoting the "Reinstate Hank" campaign during a tribute presented by the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation in honor of Hank's historic recording sessions in Cincinnati (Herzog studios was located where CityBeat and the CMHF headquarters now reside). Check a clip below.
The reinstatement campaign has yet to work and seems to have lost some steam. But click here to learn more about the attempts to right such a ridiculous wrong.
Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a June 11 birthday include the least hirsute (ironically!) member of ZZ Top, drummer Frank Beard (1949); Soft Rock god with Air Supply, Graham Russell (1950); guitarist/singer of Southern Rock group .38 Special, Donnie Van Zandt (1952); Flaming Lips drummer-turned-guitarist Steven Drozd (1969); and Heartless Bastards singer/guitarist Erika Wennerstrom (1977).
Though she and her band are currently based in Austin, Tex., Wennerstrom grew up in Dayton before relocating to Cincinnati. As Wennerstrom has grown, matured, changed and become more confident, so has her band's music. After releasing her first two albums, Wennerstrom headed to Texas and retooled the band, adding two different musicians also from our area — Jesse Ebaugh and Dave Colvin — who joined Wennerstrom in Austin. Since then, the Bastards' albums The Mountain (a more earthy, less balls-out effort) and this year's Arrow (a great combination of everything the band does well) have continued the trend of each successive HB album drawing the group higher praise and more fans.
A happy 35th b-day to Erika. We miss you here in Cincy. Below, check out an interview and acoustic session recorded for American Songwriter.
This whole week has been overflowing with big-time concerts, from Radiohead to Red Hot Chili Peppers to Drake. If you went to any (and especially if you went to ALL), your pocketbook is probably a little lighter this weekend. So, in honor of all of you heroes who paid $15 just to park or spent $100 on three beers, tonight's live music recommendations are all FREE. And high-quality, to boot.
• Kick off your weekender on Fountain Square tonight for perhaps the most eclectic MidPoint Indie Summer series concerts of the year. Kicking off at 7 p.m., the free show is like a musical world tour that takes you from the early Reggae sounds of Jamaica (with local openers The Pinstripes) to the unique and exotic native-Blues of Timbuktu (Malian music legend Khaira Arby, pictured, and her band) to the grinding, deep Funk of Nashville's vintage Soul revivalists The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker on the mic. Dancing shoes are a must!
Walker and the Dynamites recently teamed with fellow soldier in the retro-funky revolution, Bettye Lavette, for the single "Yours & Mine." Check the phenomenal duet below.
• Local powerhouse power trio The Sundresses perform a freebie tonight at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. The 10 p.m. show also features Lexington rockers Oh My Me, making tonight's show a half-reunion of the "Midwest by Southwest" tour from this past spring (which also featured Wussy — who are currently headed to the west coast for dates — and Whiskey Daredevils from Cleveland).
Oh My Me has an intriguing and often captivating sound, mixing a groovy back-drop of fluid, hypnotic psychedelia with singer Erin Reynolds' stunningly soulful vocals weaving between the grooves — sort of a modern day Big Brother and the Holding Company. Lots of singers get the Janis Joplin comparison; Reynolds' voice and presence are so thoroughly alluring and absolutely natural, she's one of the few who actually deserves it.
Check the clip below for a taste.
More than just the openers, there's another reason to show up early. The first 20 people through the door tonight receive a free copy of the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards' 2008 Album of the Year, Barkinghaus, by headliners The Sundresses.
Click here for the full run down of tonight's live musical entertainment offerings.
On this date in 1984, the comedy motion picture Ghostbusters opened. It would go on to be ranked on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest film comedies ever at No. 28 (though they did rank Tootsie No. 2, so … grain of salt).
Besides doing boffo numbers at the box office ($238.6 million, which is like double that in today's dollars), the movie also gave us that unforgettable (for better or worse) theme song by Ray Parker Jr. (the rest of the soundtrack included such icons as Thompson Twins and Air Supply).
Like the film, the single was a hit upon its release and caught the attention of Huey Lewis — and every other person on the planet who had heard his 1983 hit with The News, "I Want a New Drug." The song features the same rhythm, similar vocal inflections and melody and, most glaringly, a practically identical bass line, so Lewis' answer to Parker Jr.'s "Who you gonna call?" was "My lawyer!"
To make matters worse, Lewis (as well as Lindsey Buckingham) had reportedly been approached to write the theme song to Ghostbusters, but was too busy with Back to the Future soundtracking. It took a while, but in 1995, an "amicable" settlement was reached.
One of the stipulations of the settlement was that neither party could discuss it (or the case) with anyone (especially the public). But in 2001, Lewis talked about the controversy and lawsuit in his Behind the Music special on VH1. Lewis said, "The offensive part was not so much that Ray Parker Jr. had ripped this song off, it was kind of symbolic of an industry that … wanted our wave, and they wanted to buy it. (It's) not for sale. ... In the end, I suppose they were right. I suppose it was for sale, because, basically, they bought it."
So Parker sued Lewis in 2001 for talking about the case. He claimed that the agreement they had reached was "directly related to (Ray's) comfort, happiness and welfare" and that Huey's statement caused him emotional distress. I can't find info on whatever happened in that case, but it seems logical to assume another settlement was reached. And this time, so far, everyone's kept their mouth shut.
What do you think? I think they both could have been sued by British Synth Pop project M, whose biggest hit, "Pop Muzik," also sounds similar … and came out in 1979! Maybe this legal kerfuffle can stretch into a fourth decade. Check all three out below and you be the judge.
Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a June 8 birthday include daughter of Frank and artist in her own right, Nancy Sinatra (1940); one of the founding members of Parliament/Funkadelic, Fuzzy Haskins (1941); one of the vocalists for rockers Three Dog Night, Chuck Negron (1942); Ohio native and ’70s hitmaker Boz Scaggs (1944); the singer who made the blissfully craptastic video for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" possible, Bonnie Tyler (1951); Bluegrass (and beyond) guitar great Tony Rice (1951); influential guitarist (with Black Flag) and label operator (with SST Records) Greg Ginn (1954); Rod Stewart fill-in and Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall (1960); keyboardist for New Romantic superstars Duran Duran, Nick Rhodes (1962); guitarist and founder of The Derek Truck Band (duh), member of The Allman Brothers Band and co-founder of the Tedeschi Trucks Band (with wife Susan Tedeschi), Derek Trucks (1979); fiddler known for her solo work and her time with the group Nickel Creek, Sara Watkins (1981); and Hip Hop musical genius (yes, just because he knows it, too, doesn't mean he isn't one) Kanye West (1977).
As a happy 35th birthday present, we offer something we know West will appreciate — free publicity (and calling him a genius — that counts as part of the gift, too!). In return, I expect a pair of Air Yeezy II sneakers for MY birthday.
Here's "Mercy," West's latest video (another thing he is especially good at making) for his track with 2 Chainz, Big Sean and Pusha-T. (It says "explicit," but just for a couple of salty words here and there; mildly NSFW. I guess. I mean, I don't know where you work.)
Remember a few years ago when you couldn’t walk into a Starbucks without hearing the words, “Three words that became hard to say/I and love and you?” At the time, you probably rolled your eyes at yet another attempt to reel in hipsters from their local coffee shops.
However, the man whimpering those words was Scott Avett and his band, The Avett Brothers, ended up becoming … kind of a big deal. The group performs a show at the mid-size shed in Kettering, Fraze Pavilion, tonight at 8 p.m. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35-$45.
While “I and Love and You,” as a song, was mostly mellow and Folk-ish, it’s far from a decent indicator of the sort of noise the Brothers are capable of creating.
Perhaps best described as “Punk-Grass,” the band’s six albums are littered with songs almost worthy of an Andrew W.K. record. Rowdy numbers like “Slight Figure of Speech” and “Talk of Indolence” often cause quite a ruckus. On stage, their wilder songs work Scott and Seth Avett into contagious fits of bouncing, stomping and slapping excitement.
The plaid shirts, wife-beaters and bandanas may call to mind the likes of Nirvana, but the boys do romance, too. “I and Love and You” isn’t the only love song in their repertoire. Songs like “January Wedding” and “Laundry Room” make their female fans swoon.
The boys are married, so keep your panties in your purse, but enjoy the show.
It’s been 19 years since British Art Rock giants Radiohead did their first tour of the U.S. Tonight, Radiohead finally finds time to perform in Cincinnati, bringing its tour behind last year’s Grammy-nominated album The King of Limbs to Riverbend Music Center. If there’s any band worth waiting that long for, it’s Radiohead. The world’s biggest avant garde group is also one of the best live acts on the planet, playing with a fervent intensity backed by a dazzling light/stage show.
The group’s two-hour-plus sets of late have been heavy on Radiohead’s “post Pop” albums, though they often treat fans to “oldies” like “Karma Police” and “Paranoid Android.” If you are even the remotest fan, you need to see Radiohead once in your lifetime. You don’t want to wait another 19 years, do you?
Only lawn seats remain ($30) at the box office for tonight's show.
Electronic/Indie act Caribou — a MidPoint Music Festival alum — opens up the show at 7:30 p.m. Read more about Caribou here and check out a clip for the tune "Irene" below.
• Rising Hip Hop MC Yelawolf performs tonight at the Madison Theater in Covington. Tickets for the all-ages show are $20. Showtime is 8 p.m. Special guest Rittz opens.
When Michael Wayne Atha was born in 1979 in the
relatively small Alabama town of Gadsden, it’s doubtful that his mother
looked at her new son and said, “Future Rap superstar.” But that’s just
where Atha — now known by his stage name Yelawolf — is heading.
Yela moved between Tennessee and Alabama as a child and later traveled the country in pursuit of skateboarding stardom; he also hit Alaska in pursuit of a fishing-boat job. The MC grew up on Southern Rock before discovering Hip Hop. The geographic wandering and his love of a variety of music likely explain the diversity within his own. On his official 2011 debut album, Radioactive, Yelawolf’s own geographical origins are hard to pinpoint as he filters influence from southern Hip Hop to the Detroit scene and spits it out in his own unique voice. Even the guests on Radioactive were from all over, from Lil Jon and Mystikal to Eminem (whose Shady label released the record) and Kid Rock. During his recent performance at the huge Hangout Music Fest (see an interview from Spin with Yela at the fest below) along the ’Bama coast in mid-May, he showed off the full range of his influences, paying tribute to The Doors, Johnny Cash, Easy-E, Metallica, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Beastie Boys.
Yelawolf is set to begin recording his sophomore record for Shady — tentatively titled Love Story — after his current tour wraps up.