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by Mike Breen 09.19.2012

Daily MPMFer: The Dukes Are Dead, Tennis and More

The MidPoint Music Festival countdown is down to one week and one day

MPMF news and musings: The official MPMF.12 "Kick Off Celebration" is set for Wednesday, Sept. 26, in the Hanke Building just off Main St. (215 Michael Bany Way, between 12th and Reading). The free, open-to-all (21-and-up) party starts at 6 p.m. and will feature music from DJ Ice Cold Tony (who will be laying down some mash-ups featuring MPMF artists) and great Cincy rockers 500 Miles to Memphis will blow the rest of the roof off with a set starting at 9 p.m. There will be giveaways, free Vitaminwater, free Eli's BBQ (while it lasts) and a chance to win a pair of VIP tickets to the CityBeat-sponsored New Year's Eve blow-out at Bogart's featuring music by The Afghan Whigs.

And now, with the countdown down to just 8 days, here are our daily MidPoint Music Festival 2012 picks …

Tennis (Denver, CO)
Indie Pop

It’s been a breakthrough year for Colorado Indie trio Tennis, starting with the winter release of its stellar (and highly anticipated) sophomore full-length, Young and Old, on Fat Possum Records. After touring its comparatively lo-fi, critically-lauded debut Cape Dory (crafted by core duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley), the duo took its vintage Pop songs into the studio with The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney, who helped give the songs a more direct punch (resulting in the addition of a drummer to the fold). Where acts like Best Coast and Jesus and Mary Chain rewire the classic Pop of the ’60s, Tennis write songs that often recall the ballads of ’50s Pop, something more evident and effective on Young and Old, which charted well and performed exceptionally at college radio. The band’s songs have been used on TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and are becoming favorites in the fashion world, and they’ve also made a fan out of the Republican (one of "the good ones") daughter of an almost-President, Meghan McCain, who tweeted her joy that Tennis had become the soundtrack to her summer this earlier this year.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Lesley Gore, Dusty Springfield, the house band for Mad Men (if they had one). (Mike Breen)

Tennis performs at the Know Theatre on the Bioré Strip's Main Stage Saturday, Sept. 29, at 11:45 p.m. Here's Tennis' clip for their swoony tune "Pigeon."

The Bonesetters (Muncie, IN)
Indie Rock

Bonesetters don’t necessarily sound like a lot of bands but they fit well in the Midwestern construct of talented groups crafting a complex sound out of relatively simple ingredients. Sparse guitar melodies, both plugged and unplugged, are appointed with spartan rhythmatism, unexpected instrumental counterpoints (mariachi trumpet, keening violin, gentle vibes, wheezing harmonium) and a quiet sense of Indie Rock urgency on Savages, Bonesetters’ full-length debut from late last year. It’s easy to understand why Muncie loves Bonesetters, it’s harder to understand why they don’t play here all the bloody time.
Dig: Clem Snide, My Morning Jacket and Gomez making high lonesome carnival Surf Rock for emo hodads. (Brian Baker)

The Bonesetters perform Thursday in Washington Park at 5 p.m. Here's the band's debut album, which you can sample below, then download the whole shebang for free.

The Dukes Are Dead (Cincinnati, OH)
Rock & Roll

If you’re a local Rock fan who has yet to catch a live show from exciting Cincinnati foursome The Dukes Are Dead, you’ve missed out on some great shows … and you only have this one more before The Dukes Are Dead are dead. In just a couple of years — first as “The Dukes,” before adding “Are Dead” to avoid confusion with the 17,000 other bands with the same name — the foursome amassed a loyal following and even got into theater, becoming the house band for the local staging of “Rock musical” Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Though the band’s last show (sure to be a debauched blow-out) is this one at MPMF, there is hope for fans — in their farewell note on Facebook, it was announced that the members will each continue to pursue making music in the future.
Dig: No-nonsense Rock & Roll, bands with names that turn out to be prophetic. (MB)

The Dukes Are Dead's final show is Saturday, Sept. 28, at 8:30 p.m. at The Drinkery. The kind gentlemen of The Dukes are also giving fans some final recorded music as a parting gift — sample below then click on the player to download your free copy of the five-track EP, Before We Died.

Click here for full MPMF details via the official MidPoint site.

by mbreen 09.21.2009
Posted In: Local Music, Music News at 01:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Visual Evidence: Lions Rampant & Sundresses

As we prepare for the musical tsunami that is the MidPoint Music Festival, we thought we'd take a breather and let you watch some video (kind of like that teacher you had who would show "topic-appropriate" movies to the class when he was suffering from a hangover/mental breakdown). Two MidPoint bands have brand-spankin' new music videos out: The Lions Rampant and The Sundresses.

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by Mike Breen 02.28.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Music News at 03:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Just Announced: Cincinnati Concert Update

Bunbury adds three huge bands and The Black Keys is sold out

Two items of importance came down the wire recently relating to upcoming concerts in Cincinnati.

• This summer's three-day Bunbury Music Festival along the riverfront previously announced headliners for each day (Jane's Addiction, Death Cab for Cutie and Weezer) and today organizers gave us three more names. The Airborne Toxic Event is now set to play July 13 before Jane's, Manchester Orchestra will play July 14 and Gym Class Heroes (pictured) is set for the closing day of the fest, July 15. From a purely commercial standpoint, this thing is going to be huge. Each act announced so far is top-tier enough to headline its own large show and all receive regular airplay on "Modern Rock" radio (if not Top 40). I'd get your tickets early if you are hoping to attend. Passes for the inaugural Bunbury fest are $46 for one day or $93 for all three days. Click here to purchase.

• If you don't have tickets for The Black Keys show at U.S. Bank Arena this Friday, start thinking about cyber scalpers (sorry, "online ticket brokers") because the show has officially sold out. Friday's concert is the first date on the Keys' first ever headlining arena tour, which includes a few other sold-out shows along the route, including a Madison Square Garden one that sold every ticket in 15 minutes. I think that
officially makes them "Arena Rock" stars. And damn popular ones at that. Not bad for a little Blues/Rock duo from Akron, Ohio.  

by mbreen 07.18.2011
Posted In: Local Music, Music News at 04:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Local Musician Cast in Indie Flick

Singer/songwriter Kim Taylor is probably getting used to hearing her songs in films and TV shows. Perhaps the most licensed contemporary songwriter in Greater Cincinnati, Taylor’s songs have been used in numerous network television programs and several made-for-TV movies; most recently, Taylor’s “Build You Up” was used in the season premiere of CBS’s Flashpoint (which has used her music several times in the past), while the ABC Family original movie Cyberbully (which premiered July 17) included the same track.

But soon, Taylor (pictured, second from right, with her castmates) will find herself on the other side of the camera, signing on as one of the stars of director Matt Porterfield’s forthcoming indie film, I Used to Be Darker.

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by Mike Breen 04.20.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News at 01:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Local Record Store Day Happenings

Shake It, Everybody's, Mole's, Phil's and others celebrate buying music in stores

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).

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by Mike Breen 08.24.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News at 10:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wussy to Join Heartless Bastards on Tour

Current local greats join former local (now Austin) greats for dates this fall

Cincy rockers Wussy have stepped up their game in terms of touring and promotions big time. It was previously announced that the group would join Cincy legends The Afghan Whigs on their upcoming U.S. tour run. Now, immediately following those (mostly sold out) dates, Wussy is set to join another local favorite, Heartless Bastards (now based in Austin, Tex.), for several shows on that band's fall tour.

Wussy is the confirmed support act on Bastards dates in Houston, New Orleans, Nashville, Athens, Ga., Saxapahaw, NC, and Washington D.C. 

Wussy and Heartless Bastards are also hooking up on vinyl, participating in the series of singles tributing the songs of Soul/R&B songwriter Eddie Hinton. The Afghan Whigs' Greg Dulli recorded the first single in The Dangerous Highway Series of 7-inch singles (taking on "Hard Luck Guy” and “Cover Me"), while Drive-By Truckers did Vol. 2. Due next month, Vol. 3 features Wussy doing "Breakfast in Bed" on one side and the Bastards doing "Got Down Last Saturday Night" on the flip. At the same time as the split single, Shake It is also releasing Vol. 4 featuring Cincy's Buffalo Killers, with two tracks produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. (Besides buying them in Shake It's Northside shoppe, the releases will also be available through Shake It via mail order; click here to browse the catalog.)

Before the Whigs and Bastards dates, Wussy headlines next Friday's free MidPoint Indie Summer Series on Fountain Square (the last of the season), then the band's Chuck Cleaver and Lisa Walker will be doing several dates as a duo in the U.K. (from Sept. 17-Oct. 1). The band's first album to be released overseas, Buckeye (on the Damnably Records imprint), came out in July in the U.K. and features a compilation of Wussy songs from the group's five albums (including the acoustic rendition of Funeral Dress). Buckeye has been scoring Wussy some remarkable press; the BBC reviewed the record and said, "Wussy are certainly a band with an incredibly rich past and, undoubtedly, an equally rich future."

by mbreen 02.18.2011
Posted In: Local Music, Music Commentary, Music News at 11:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Local Benefit for Hip Hop Pioneer Tonight

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.

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by Mike Breen 04.17.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video, Music News at 12:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Emery Theatre Back in Business

Historic theater hosts 'Rock This Town' benefit and album release parties next weekend

It's looking like the historic Emery Theatre on the border of Over-the-Rhine and Downtown is back in business as a full-time functioning venue. Bands like Magnolia Mountain and Pop Empire have been using the Theatre to film music video projects and, next Saturday (April 28), the Emery hosts the "Rock This Town" benefit concert for CityLink, which helps resident "break the cycle of poverty" by providing employment training and other assistance. The event's music will be provided several groups of business people who can play instruments or sing (modeled on the "Suits That Rock" concerts that benefit the Carnegie Arts Center in Covington).

On April 27, the Emery will host a dual album release party/concert in honor of two new releases from the label Ol Kentuck, run by SubPop recording artist and Northern Kentucky native Daniel Martin Moore. One of the albums is a vinyl release of producer/guitarist/composer Ric Hordinski's Arthur's Garden (read more about the album here).

The other is the first release from a duo project consisting of Moore and singer Joan Shelley (pictured) titled Farthest Field. The event will also feature readings from authors Silas House and Marianne Worthington (who wrote one of the most engaging press releases for the album I think I've ever laid eyes on for the duo's debut; click the "Bio" pdf link on this page to read it).

It's a great time to check out the Emery circa 2012 because the concert is also free and open to the public. (Rock this Town's tickets range from $35-$100 — for a great cause, of course.)

Here are two video clips (shot by photographer Michael Wilson with help on the audio side from Pop Empire) promoting the concert, with music from Moore and Shelley's Farthest Field (officially available May 8).

by mbreen 02.11.2011
Posted In: Local Music, Music News at 12:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Listening Party for New Seedy Seeds LP Tonight

Want to be one of the first people on the planet to hear Verb Noun, the forthcoming album from local Indie/Electro/Folk/Pop buzz band The Seedy Seeds? You're in luck. Tonight at 7 p.m., the band is hosting a listening party at Shake It Records in Northside. It's free and open to all ages, and there are promises of "refreshments" on the band's Facebook page (as well as a chance to pre-order the album and win some schwag).

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by Mike Breen 08.02.2013

PREVIEW: Cincy Blues Fest 2013

The Cincy Blues Fest returns for its 21st annual event this weekend

This weekend, the Cincy Blues Fest — presented annually by the Cincy Blues Society — returns for its 21st year, a remarkable accomplishment for a music festival of any sort. The festival kicks off tonight and continues tomorrow at Sawyer Point along the riverfront.

The weekend features two main stage acts with serious ties to Cincinnati’s Blues past. Educator, author, DJ, singer and harmonica player Steven Tracy returns to Cincy to play the main stage on tonight at 7 p.m. with his band the Crawling Kingsnakes. A Walnut Hills High School graduate, Tracy worked with local Blues icons like Pigmeat Jarrett and Big Joe Duskin, becoming a part of the scene he’d later dig deeper into in the 1993 book, Going to Cincinnati: A History of the Blues in the Queen City. His writing career is extensive — Tracy has written dozens of album liner notes and edited/wrote/intro-ed several other books on a variety of subjects. Today, Tracy is a professor of Afro-American Studies at University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Saturday at 6 p.m. on the fest’s main stage, Stacy Mitchhart and his band are slated to perform. Mitchhart grew up in Cincinnati and spent time playing music on the East and West Coasts before returning to his hometown in the early 1990s and forming Stacy Mitchhart and Blues-U-Can-Use, a staple on the local Blues scene for a few years. After a move to Nashville, Tenn., in the mid-’90s, Mitchhart’s musical career really took off. His albums have been widely acclaimed and done well commercially — his 2011 release, Live from B.B. King’s, debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard Blues charts — and he’s received high-praise for his showmanship and remarkable Blues voice. In 2008, Mitchhart was the subject of the well-received documentary NashVegas Blues. 

Here is tonight's main stage schedule:

5:45-6:45 p.m. Dave Muskett

7:00-8:15 p.m. Steve Tracy & the Crawling Kingsnakes

8:30-10 p.m. Reba Russell Band

10:15-11:45 p.m. Watermelon Slim & the Workers

And here's the lineup for the Main Stage tomorrow:

4:15-4:45 p.m. Blues in the Schools (BITS) Band

5-5:45 p.m. The Juice

6-7 p.m. Stacy Mitchhart Band

7:15-8:30 p.m.  Nikki Hill

8:45-10:00 p.m. Honey Island Swamp Band

10:15-11:45 p.m. Ana Popovic (all the way from Serbia!)

Some of the coolest things at the Cincy Blues Fest can be found on the “specialty” stages — a “specialty” of the fest — which this year includes a “Women of the Blues” stage on Friday, headlined by national act EG Knight and also featuring locals Rio & The Ramblers, The Juice and Tempted Souls Band. 

Here is the "Women of the Blues" stage ((aka the Arches stage) schedule for tonight :

5:45-7 p.m. Rio & the Ramblers

7:15-8:30 p.m. The Juice

8:45-10:00 p.m. Tempted Souls Band

10:15-11:45 p.m. EG Kight

Saturday sees the return of the “Boogie Woogie Hall of Fame Piano Stage,” featuring an international cast of top-shelf Boogie Woogie pianists, including local favorite Ricky Nye and former locals (now Florida-based) Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues. The house band for the Boogie Woogie stage is Johnny Vidacovich (drums), George Bedard (guitar) and Chris Douglas (bass).

Saturday's Boogie Woogie Piano Hall of Fame stage (aka Arches stage) lineup:

4:30 p.m. Ben Levin

5 p.m. Ari Borger

5:40 p.m. Ricky Nye

6:20 p.m. Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues

7:10 p.m. Bruce Katz

7:50 p.m. Al Hill

8:30 p.m. Axel Zwingenberger & Lila Ammons

9:10 p.m. Joshua Paxton

10 p.m. David Vest

10:40 p.m. Bob Seeley

11:20 p.m. Chris Conz

The Blues Fest again presents the St. Vincent De Paul Local Stage on both days of the event, always an excellent snapshot of the current local Blues scene. 

Friday's St. Vincent De Paul Local Stage schedule: 

5:45-6:45 p.m. Thomas Long & Blue Sacrifice

7-8 p.m. Noah Wotherspoon Band

8:15-9:15 p.m. Ralph & the Rhythm Hounds

9:30-10:30 p.m. Brad Hatfield Band

10:45 p.m.-12 a.m. G Miles & the Hitmen

Saturday's St. Vincent De Paul Local Stage lineup:

4:30-5:30 p.m. The Blue Birds Big Band

5:45-6:45 p.m. Jay Jesse Johnson Band

7-8 p.m. The SoulFixers

8:15-9:15 p.m. Doug Hart Band

9:30-10:30 p.m. Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project

10:45 p.m.-12 a.m. Leroy Ellington Blues Band

Here is a map of the Blues Fest grounds:

Tickets are $15 for Friday, $20 for Saturday or $25 for a two-day pass (tickets can be purchased at the gates or here). Visit cincybluesfest.org for everything else you need to know about the festival.