Southwestern Ohio native Greg Dulli and his band The Twilight Singers can cross "Play Letterman" off of the To Do list of promo duties for the group's new album, Dynamite Steps. Just as they did on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night show in February, the band played the elegant rocker "On the Corner" on The Late Show last night. The single also has a new accompanying music video (watch both below). Letterman — a notoriously big lover of music both new and classic — appears to be a Twilights fan, calling them a "wonderful Rock & Roll band" in his intro and seeming genuinely pumped up when he shook hands with each member after the song (if you've watched Dave long enough, you can tell when he truly loves the musical acts that appear on his show and when he couldn't care less about them).
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)
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)
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.
LOCAL LOCK PICK
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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).
The ongoing saga of locally-spawned music and broadcasting legacy WOXY continues and, once again, the station has been forced off the "air" (or Internet, as the case is) due to financial problems.
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.
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.
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).