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by Brian Baker 03.01.2012
Posted In: Reviews, Music Video at 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Review: Chuck Prophet - 'Temple Beautiful'

Chuck Prophet has more Rock cred than any one man should have a right to claim. His eight-year run in Green on Red in the ’80s resulted in some of the most influential sounds to emanate from Southern California’s Paisley Underground scene and his subsequent solo catalog has notched an impressive level of critical acclaim over the past 22 years. In that time, the names he’s worked with — as collaborator, producer, hired gun, pal — reads like a who’s who of contemporary musical accomplishment: Warren Zevon, Aimee Mann, Jim Dickinson, Lucinda Williams, Jonathan Richman, Kelly Willis, Jules Shear, Alejandro Escovedo and a good many more lesser but no less important lights.

Prophet’s recent work has been some of his most viscerally satisfying, beginning with 2007’s wide-ranging Soap and Water, his 2008 collaboration with Escovedo on his Real Animal album, and Prophet’s 2009 political Rock statement, ¡Let Freedom Ring! For his latest solo jaunt, Temple Beautiful, Prophet maintained a healthy power level while injecting a concept into the proceedings, namely making every song on Temple Beautiful about his longtime San Francisco home.

The album springs to life with “Play That Song Again,” a bouncy slice of ’70s Pop/Rock, followed by “Castro Halloween,” an insistent Pop anthem with the ring of the casual greatness of George Harrison’s best solo work and the bluster it would have had if he’d ever installed Tom Petty behind the glass to produce it. The title track, a tribute to the Punk club that occupied the space once held by Jim Jones’ People’s Temple before they decamped to their infamous digs in Guyana, is a blaring blast of Rock and Soul that pounds like The Ramones on a couple of bottles of cough syrup and swings like T. Rex with more garage and less glam, “Willie Mays is Up at Bat” sounds like Warren Zevon channeling Bob Dylan circa “Watching the River Flow,” and “I Felt Like Jesus” swaggers and nods with Surf Rock reverb and Roots Rock twang.

Five years ago, Chuck Prophet was trying to decide if he had anything left to say in a musical context, but Temple Beautiful finds him eleven albums deep in his solo career and sounding as energized and inspired as he was when he dropped his debut back in 1990; long may he do this, or any other damn thing his infinitely talented mind can conceive in a studio.

 
 
by Brian Baker 08.23.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Music Video at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Why Steve Earle & John Hiatt Make Ideal Tourmates

Hiatt and Earle (plus his Dukes) perform together at the Taft Theatre tonight

There isn't a huge stylistic gap between Steve Earle and John Hiatt, so it makes sense that they would make a good tour package (one that hits the Taft Theatre tonight for an 8 p.m. show). They're both moderately successful Americana artists with slavishly loyal fan bases and solid bodies of work over long careers (Hiatt having the earlier ’70s start).

To the curious mind, the billing begs the point: What else do Earle and Hiatt have in common?

• They both began their careers as staff songwriters and launched performing careers after one of their songs became a hit for someone else (Johnny Lee for Earle, Three Dog Night for Hiatt).

• They've both been covered extensively by other artists, Earle by Travis Tritt, Robert Earl Keen and others, and Hiatt by Bonnie Raitt, Rosanne Cash, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and many more.

• They both signed with Epic Records for their first deal; Earle never recorded for them, while Hiatt did two Epic albums which sold poorly and expedited his release.

• Their second contracts were both with MCA; Earle had a pretty decent run with the label, including his 1988 hit Copperhead Road, while Hiatt's was a repeat of his Epic experience.

• They've both been nominated for Grammys, but Earle has a commanding lead with 14 nods and three wins, while Hiatt has been nominated twice with no mantle bling to show for it yet.

• They've both been married multiple times, but again Earle has the lead with seven marriages; Hiatt has only had three.

• Both have successfully dealt with substance issues.

• Both are balding; Hiatt has the lead here with more hair, but Earle compensates with a ZZ Toppish beard.

• Both will kick your ass in the live setting, so bring an extra ass.

Here's a clip for Hiatt's "Damn This Down," off his latest LP, Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns.

And here is part of a documentary filmed during Earle's sessions for I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (also the name of his novel and, yes, both are based on the Hank Williams tune, which he covers on the album as a bonus track. The novel is centered around Williams mysterious "doctor" who traveled with the singer until his death, then disappeared).


 
 
by Mike Breen 05.30.2012
Posted In: Music History, Music Video at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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This Date in Music History: May 30

Ad Rock gets ill (and arrested) and Remy Ma spends 31st birthday in prison

On this date in 1987, a Beastie Boys/Run DMC concert in Liverpool, England, turned into a riot and ended with the arrest of Adam "Ad Rock" Horovitz. The pumped-out crowd reportedly began throwing bottles and cans at the group, which the Boys playfully batted back at them. At first. After just a few minutes, things continued to get out of hand and the concert was cancelled for the safety of all involved. At the hotel later that night, Horovitz was arrested because police believed he was responsible for the beer can that struck and injured a female fan.

Horovitz spent the night in jail and, in November, Ad Rock — 21 at the time — was found not guilty of the charges.

Here's an ancient MTV segment featuring the Boys at Spring Break (to give you a sense of the trio's pre-enlightenment personalities around the time of Horovitz's arrest).



Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a May 30 birthday include legendary Big Band bandleader and clarinetist Benny Goodman (1909); founding bassist for Punk giants Dead Kennedys, Geoffrey Lyall, better known as Klaus Flouride (1949); Jazz Fusion bassist Dann Glenn (1950); on-again/off-again drummer for The Clash, Topper Headon (1955); singer for Swedish Pop duo Roxette ("It Must Have Been Love," "The Look") Marie Fredriksson (1958); drummer and founding member of progressive Canadian Metal greats Voivod, Michel Langevin (1963); Country star Wynonna Judd (1964); Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello (1964); frontman for Indie Rock icons Pavement, Stephen Malkmus (1966); singer for Brit Pop crew The Charlatans, Tim Burgess (1967); Hip Hop-turned-Pop superstar Cee-Lo Green (1974); singer for Metal band Shadows Fall, Brian Fair (1975); "Freak Folk" poster child Devendra Banhart (1981) and Hip Hop MC Remy Ma (1981).

Remy was born Reminisce Smith and grew up in the Castle Hill Projects in the Bronx. Neighborhood MC Big Pun was an early mentor, putting Remy (then "Remi Martin") on a pair of tracks from his Yeeeah Baby album. It was a bittersweet debut, though; Pun died from a heart attack in 2000 and the album came out two months afterwards. (Big Pun was reportedly 698 pounds when he died.) Another big rapper, Fat Joe, took Remy under his wing and made her a member of Terror Squad. She was featured on the Terror Squad's huge 2004 single "Lean Back," which was a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks that summer. It also earned Remy a Grammy nomination.

Remy's debut solo album, ‪There's Something About Remy: Based on a True Story‬, dropped on Feb. 7, 2006, the sixth anniversary of Big Pun's death. The album was critically acclaimed but didn't sell very well (Fat Joe and Remy blamed poor promotion and choice of singles). She left Terror Squad in 2007.

As a free agent, Remy reportedly received numerous label offers and even a reported deal for a reality show. She had her second album in the works, as well as the debut of the super-trio 3Sum, featuring fellow MCs Jacki-O and Shawnna, when things went really bad for Remy. She turned herself into police after a shooting outside of a nightclub that wounded a woman who had allegedly tried to rob the rapper. The woman ID'ed Remy as the shooter. In 2008, Remy was convicted of assault, attempted coercion and weapons possession. She was sentenced to eight years in prison. In 2008, she married her fiancee, Hip Hop artist Papoose.

Remy — who also has a young son — lost her appeal last June. The earliest she can be released is Jan. 31, 2015. If she has to serve her whole sentence, she won't be out until March 23, 2016.

Despite her jail stint and the limited material released, Remy Ma remains a big influence on established and up-and-coming female Rap artists.



Here's part of an interview Remy did with StreetHeat about her life in prison.


 
 
by Mike Breen 06.11.2012
Posted In: Local Music, Music Video, Music History at 11:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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This Date in Music History: June 11

Hank Williams debuts at Grand Ole Opry and Erika Wennerstrom is born

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.



 
 
by Mike Breen 10.05.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News, Music Video at 08:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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WATCH: Walk the Moon's New "Tightrope" Video

Local band debuts new video this morning for new single from major-label debut

Cincinnati homeboys Walk the Moon have been tearing up the road since the release of their self-titled debut for RCA Records earlier this year, not to mention making the promo rounds all over the television dial (from the late-night chat shows to various appearances on VH1 and an MTV Unplugged set). The band is currently touring Europe with the band fun. ("We Are Young") and this morning they debuted the music video for their latest single, "Tightrope."

The video is Walk the Moon's first since the stellar DIY clip for "Anna Sun," which was made even before the RCA deal was in place and continues to draw massive hits online. If you watch even a few minutes of TV a week, chances are you've already heard part of "Tightrope." The track is used in commercials for the HP Envy 4 Ultrabook.

When Walk the Moon wraps up its current European jaunt, they'll perform a homecoming show Nov. 1 at the Madison Theater in Covington. The show is also the second anniversary of The Counter Rhythm Group, the locally-based music promo group that has worked with WTM, as well as local bands like Wussy, R. Ring and Alone at 3AM. Tickets for the Nov. 1 show are $16 and apparently moving very fast (i.e. it will sell out). Fellow local-gone-national Indie act Bad Veins opens the show. WTM hits the road for a North American headlining tour soon after the Madison show.

Here's Walk the Moon's new clip.

And here's the HP commercial featuring a bit of the tune.


 
 
by Mike Breen 05.29.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Music Video at 11:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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CAC to Screen LCD Soundsystem Concert Film

'Shut Up and Play the Hits' to screen nationwide on July 18

After a successful screening of an acclaimed Sigur Ros concert film recently, the Contemporary Arts Center is showing another concert flick soon, this time on the same night as dozens of theaters nationwide. On July 18, the CAC is listed as one of the venues screening Shut Up and Play the Hits, the much anticipated concert film/documentary that follows LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy as he preps for his band's final ever concerts, which took place at Madison Square Garden last spring.

The film will be in theaters (or art museums, in our case) for one night only, then presumably be issued on DVD. (No release date on that yet.)

Tickets for most screenings go on sale June 8. Click here for updates. The film will be shown at the CAC at 9 p.m. and accompanied by a DJ set.

Here's the superb trailer for Shut Up and Play the Hits.


 
 
by Mike Breen 04.18.2012
Posted In: Music History, Music Commentary, Music Video at 10:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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This Date in Music History: April 18

Chic bassist Bernard Edwards dies and the "Dean of American Rock Critics" turns 70

Today in 1996, one of the greatest, most influential bassists ever, Bernard Edwards of Disco/Funk group Chic, passed away after contracting pneumonia while on tour in Japan.

My personal favorite bass line is Sly Stone's lick on "If You Want Me to Stay," but it's hard to deny the power of Chic's "Good Times," a Disco-era hit that helped lay the groundwork for Hip Hop. Edwards' bass line from the song is considered one of the most sampled pieces of music ever and it has been mimicked almost as often. Songs that wouldn't exist with Edwards' riff include Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust," Hip Hop trailblazers Sugarhill Gang's breakthrough "Rapper's Delight," Blondie's "Rapture," Daft Punk's "Around the World" and Wham!'s "Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)" (hey, they can't all be winners).

R.I.P Bernard Edwards. And thanks for the groove.

Click on for Born This Day featuring Bez, Skip Spence, Grandmaster Caz and Robert Christgau.

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by Mike Breen 11.28.2011
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video at 10:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Squeeze the Day for 11/28

Music Tonight: It's a fittingly slow Monday for concerts, as touring bands gradually make their way back to the road after the Thanksgiving weekend. But that doesn't mean there's no live music in the area tonight. You can dance the Mondays away, Salsa-style, at The Mad Frog in Corryville, as Latin ensemble Tropicoso continues its long-running Monday night residency. Or you can enjoy some yummy, spicy grub and check out Gypsy Jazz kings The Faux Frenchmen at Allyn's Cafe in Columbia-Tusculum, one of the quartet's regular gigs. One residency that is coming to an end is Slack Panther's Monday night showcase at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. The new local Indie Rock crew has been the club's November "House Band," so their every-Monday concludes tonight. The foursome — whose Facebook description claims "post-grunge neo wave" as the band's genre — released the eight-song Love Space Desire Forever Love Heartache Longing Cincinnati this year. It's available at the popular rate of "name your price" on the Slack Panther Bandcamp site here.  Below, give a listen to the track "Brightest Star." The band performs two sets at MOTR tonight, starting at 10 p.m. The show is free.

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by mbreen 08.30.2011
Posted In: Live Music, Music Video, Music Commentary at 09:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Squeeze the Day for 8/30

Music Tonight: Cleveland Art Punk band HotChaCha bring its dancey Post Punk rhythms and soulful melodies to Newport’s Southgate House tonight, playing the club’s Parlour room. The show is the fourth date on the Northern Ohio foursome’s extensive nationwide run with eclectic upstate New York Indie septet Summer People (which has been compared to The Cramps and Nick Cave), promoting the two bands’ split 12-inch EP release, Do It. The vinyl release is a limited edition, but in cyberspace, there are no limits, so give the EP a listen here.

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by mbreen 07.28.2011
Posted In: Music Video, Music News, Live Music at 12:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Squeeze the Day for 7/28

Music Tonight: Though they moved their world headquarters to Austin, Tex., a while back, The Heartless Bastards will always be a Cincinnati band in the minds of both their local fans and the band members themselves (band leader Erika Wennerstrom said as much when the group performed on David Letterman’s show a couple years ago). And they always keep Cincinnati in mind when plotting out tour jaunts, including their current all-acoustic jag, which brings them to the Southgate House tonight. R. Ring, the acoustic duo project featuring local musician/engineer Mike Montgomery (Thistle, Ampline) and Dayton’s Kelley Deal (The Breeders), warm things up at 9 p.m.

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