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).
On this date in 1972, Les Harvey — guitarist for the Scottish band (which many believed would become huge) Stone the Crows — died on stage when he was electrocuted by a microphone. He reportedly died when he touched the (probably) ungrounded mic and his guitar at the same time during soundcheck (with what many believe were wet hands).
Harvey is a member of the sad club of rockers who died at the age of 27. He's also a member of a smaller club of known musicians who died from electrocution.
Keith Relf, singer for The Yardbirds, died in 1976 at the age of 33 after being electrocuted by an (again) ungrounded electric guitar.
John Rostill was the bassist for the British Pop group that gave Cliff Richard to the world, The Shadows (he was also a member of Zoot Money Quartet alongside future Police guitarist Andy Summers). Rostill was found dead in 1973, electrocuted by a guitar that was (again!) believed to be improperly grounded.
French Pop singer/songwriter Claude Francois — who cowrote the classic Sinatra tune "My Way" and sold over 70 million records in his career — died in 1978 at the age of 39. Francois returned to his Paris abode after recording a BBC special and was standing in a full bathtub when he tried to adjust a light on the wall above the tub. He was electrocuted and died. As far as I know, everything was properly grounded in the bathroom.
Lessons: Bathtubs and electronics don't mix. And always make sure your equipment is grounded before touching anything.
Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a May 3 birthday include singer/actor Bing Crosby (1903); early Blues musician and slide guitarist Homesick James (1914); late Funk superhero James Brown (1933); Pop star with the Four Seasons, Frankie Valii (1934); bassist for proto-Garage band The Troggs ("Wild Thing"), Pete Staples (1944); Soft Rock superstar Christopher Cross (1951); singer for Nu Metal band Saliva, Josey Scott (1971); singer/guitarist for Indie Rock favorites Interpol, Paul Banks (1978); and Folk legend Pete Seeger (1919).
Seeger — who will be awarded a "Distinguished Service" honor from the American Academy of Arts and Letters on May 16 — popped up in the news recently in a manner befitting the revolutionary singer/songwriter who penned (or co-penned) standards like "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?," "If I Had Hammer" and "Turn, Turn, Turn!" He also popularized the spiritual "We Shall Overcome," which became the Civil Rights Movement's theme song.
Seeger's social consciousness in song was used once again in a powerful way last week when tens of thousands of Norwegians joined together for a marathon singalong of his song, "My Rainbow Race" (the Norwegian version is called "Children of the Rainbow") as a way to protest/heckle admitted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik during his trial for murdering 77 people last summer. Breivek had previously dissed the song because it "brainwashed" children into believing that things like cultural diversity and racial harmony are good. He said, in court, that the song was brought to schools by "cultural Marxists."
"The curriculum is stripped of knowledge relating to the codes of honor that have been so important for Europe for thousands of years,” Breivik said. “They put up these songs and propaganda films to get students to despise their forefathers.”
Here's Lillebjørn Nilsen leading the singalong (he popularized the original Norwegian version).
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.
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).
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.
Two big-time concert announcements came down the chute today, representing the broadest of broad spectrums of musical stylings. The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival returns to Riverbend for the fifth straight year on July 24. Metal fans will find this year's Mayhem lineup to be the best yet, with headliners Slipknot and Slayer alone making it one of the bigger concert events of the summer. Others appearing on the tour include As I Lay Dying, Anthrax and High on Fire (the lineup changes along the tour route, so all of those bands might not be on the Cincy show). Official "Get Off Your Ass" pre-sale tickets (Mayhem's name, not mine) go on sale April 6 (click here for details). A "very special guest" addition to the main stage won't be announced until March 5.
My guess is that it isn't Soft Rock superstar Barry Manilow (Kenny G would be a better fit), but Manilowmaniacs will be able to catch Barry at his own concert. On April 20, Manilow performs at Northern Kentucky University's Bank of Kentucky Center.
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.
If you happened to have checked out this past Saturday's Beats Summer Concert Series event (the popular Hip Hop/Dance/DJ night presented by Self Diploma every Saturday this summer) on Fountain Square, you probably got a taste of the skills of Cincinnati native Santino Corleon, who performed right before headliner DJ Clockwork.
This week, you have another chance to sample Corleon's goods as the head-turning MC has released his latest track and accompanying music video, "Tats."
Corleon has already become a "name to watch" around the region. Upon returning to Cincinnati after a stint studying (both at college and in the Hip Hop community) in Brooklyn, Corleon stepped up his game and has been invited to perform with artists like Big Sean, Method Man and Redman, J. Cole and Gucci Mane (among other big-timers) and performing at various music festivals around the region. He's also built his buzz up by releasing several widely distributed mixtapes, including his most recent, The Hangover, hosted by DJ E-V (who works with Machine Gun Kelly and Mike Posner) and featured on Hip Hop/mixtape sites like TheOneMic.com, Live Mixtapes and LeakJones.
You can listen and download The Hangover and its predecessor — the more freestyle-oriented Where's the Love? — right here for free through Corleon's site.
Corleon is also giving away free downloads of "Tats," which will be a part of his next full release, Keep the Change. Check the video (directed by Dan Gotti) below, then click here if you'd like your very own download. The track has a cool sparse/ambient quality, with some great, tricky beats and a bass-rumble that could wake the dead. (Note: The track is also pretty non-PC and probably NSFW for most of you reading this at your job, due to language. But if your boss is cool with it, so are we.)
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).
Matt “Sledge” Waller, a former DJ for the late Indie/Alternative music powerhouse WOXY (dating back to its terrestrial days in Oxford, Ohio), has gotten back to playing music. Waller hosts a weekly two-hour radio show on the Internet channel party934.com, which also airs in its hometown of Hudson Valley, NY, on the 94.9 frequency.