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by Mike Breen 02.06.2012
Posted In: Music Video, Music Commentary, Music News at 02:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
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Super Bowl Gets Bowled Over By Pop Music

Musical highlights from Super Bowl XLVI

Since our Morning News and Stuff writer hates football and refused to comment on the Super Bowl (not even the Puppy Bowl!), I thought I'd take a minute to discuss yesterday's huge game. Well, the music heard during the TV broadcast, anyway.

While I'm not a huge Madonna fan (I love the idea of her more than her music), I thought her halftime show was excellent. Then I looked on the internets and it told me that I was stupid and it was actually horrible and, even worse, offensive! Things I learned: Madonna is, like, really old; she may have lip-synced during portions of the performance; and MIA said "Fuck you, America" with her middle finger. (Like Janet Jackson's boob, I wouldn't have even noticed had it not been overblown in cyberspace.)

Oh, and MIA, according to the AP report, also "appeared" to say a cuss word. (She didn't, clearly stopping her line, "I don't give a shit," at "Shhhh" — nice reporting AP!)

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by Mike Breen 11.07.2011
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video at 12:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
 
 
Gavin DeGraw

Squeeze the Day for 11/7

Music Tonight: New York-based Pop singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw is joined by American Idol winner David Cook at the Taft Theatre for a 7:30 p.m. concert. Swedish Pop/Rock band Carolina Liar opens. DeGraw's love songs have found big success on the charts (his latest album, Sweeter, debuted at No. 8 when it came out in December; he also has four singles that have been certified Gold), radio and TV licensing; his introduction to most of the world came via his theme song for One Tree Hill, "I Don't Wanna Be," which has been "covered" on American Idol and Idols in other countries. Speaking of Idol, Cook won the grand prize on that show's seventh season. The Missouri native released his second major-label effort, This Loud Morning, this summer and it reached No. 7 on the U.S. charts. The jury is still out on whether Cook becomes the next Kelly Clarkson or the next Taylor Hicks, but the longevity rate of AI winners seems to be decreasing with every season. If it doesn't work out, maybe Cook can get an audition for X Factor. Tickets run $39.70-$53.06. Check out DeGraw and Cook's latest singles below.

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by Brian Baker 04.23.2012
Posted In: Local Music, Live Music, Music Video at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Review: Natalie Wells Band's 'Live From Earth'

When the phrase “guitar hero” gets tossed around, it’s naturally in reference to some of the greatest six string figures in Rock history. But if there is a subset of that hallowed group — guitar heroes in waiting, as it were — then Natalie Wells surely deserves to be included on that hopefully short waitlist.

The Independence, Ky., native is quickly becoming one of the Greater Cincinnati area’s most powerful live forces with a guitar presence that stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the giants of Rock. A teenage student of the Blues, Wells felt an affinity for first generation masters like Skip James and Mississippi John Hurt and next gen ’60s acolytes like Johnny Winter, Big Brother’s Sam Andrews and James Gurley, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher and a host of others. Wells’ brilliance in her own guitar pursuits has been in her supernatural ability to absorb a rainbow of Blues and Rock influences and translate them through her own unique interpretive gifts. As she showed on her largely original debut, Mind the Gap, she may have learned from the greats but she’s much more interested in running the guitar flag a little farther up Rock & Roll Hill.

On her new mini-album, Live from Earth, Wells and her chugging rhythm section (bassist Curt Hall and drummer/vocalist Michael Hodges) offer up an all-cover set that simultaneously proves how much she loves her influences and demonstrates her translational power.

Live From Earth’s seven tracks represent just four factions of Wells’ estimable influences and they’re more than tangentially connected; Buddy Guy is one of the primary links between the old acoustic and new electric school of Blues, while Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Robin Trower represent those who most effectively reimagined the Blues in a Rock context. Wells injects swinging new life into Led Zep chestnuts “Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid” and “What Is and What Should Never Be” while distilling Hendrix’s complex chemistry to a simpler but still impressive formula with her takes on “Stone Free/Third Stone From the Sun” and his avowed classic “Voodoo Chile.”

Wells finds the heart of Guy’s gentle “My Love is Real” and the soul of Trower’s blistering “Day of the Eagle,” all delivered with her fluidly original guitar stylings and a voice that is part husky Blues shouter, part Cher Pop powerhouse. Wells may still has a few minor vocal timing issues to fine tune, but Live on Earth is solid evidence that her guitar chops are cooked to perfection and ready to serve to a wider audience.

At this point, Natalie Wells’ guitar does not gently weep; it cries a bucket of tears, screams with passionate abandon, howls like a steroid-amped wolf and demands to be heard.


 
 
by Mike Breen 02.22.2012
Posted In: Music Video, Music History, Music Commentary at 11:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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This Date in Music History: Feb. 22

The Beatles' most famous chords and Sublime's sudden end

On this day in 1967, The Beatles continued work on arguably their best song, "A Day in the Life." After a debate over how to end the track following the huge orchestral build-up (sustained choral vocals were considered, but scrapped), the group decided to simultaneously strike a massive E chord on three pianos and sustain the notes for as long as possible. Adding overdubs (and a contribution from producer George Martin on harmonium), the final resonating notes hang in the air for over 40 seconds on the recording. As the held chords faded on the pianos in the studio, the engineer had to crank the recording level, which picked up some incidental sounds (like a creaking chair and, certainly, something about Paul being dead) from the studio.

That E-major chord that closes the song — and the whole Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, considered one of the best ever — is widely considered one of the most famous chords in Rock/Pop history. Which means that The Beatles are responsible for the most popular opening chord in modern music — the mysterious G7sus4-ish that kicks off "A Hard Day's Night" — and the most notable final chord with the "A Day in the Life" finale.

Below is audio of BTO guitarist Randy Bachman explaining the "Hard Day's" chord mystery (frustrated guitarists should feel better about their inability to figure it out), followed by today's biggest Pop superstar performing that famed final note from Sgt. Peppers.


Click the jump for "Born This Day" featuring live footage from one of the final Sublime concerts with Bradley Nowell.

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by Leyla Shokoohe 08.10.2011
Posted In: Festivals, Live Music, Music Video at 03:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Leyla at Lolla: Lollapalooza 2011 Day 2

Lollapalooza Day 2 dawned bright and early — I woke up a tad late, having burned the midnight oil too long the night before.

Rule No. 2 of Lollapalooza: Get enough sleep. Always. Especially if you’ll be walking every-the-heck-where.

I had been invited to an after-party Friday night, sponsored by Belvedere Vodka, at the W Chicago City Center downtown. I went in my sweaty Lolla regalia, and was rewarded with performances by Two Door Cinema Club and Fitz and the Tantrums.

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by Mike Breen 01.09.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Music News, Music Video, New Releases at 02:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Music Tonight: Jamaican Queens, Elia Goat and More

Detroit producers/Electro musicians Ryan Spencer and Adam Pressley formed its new project Jamaican Queens last year, following the demise of their previous band, Prussia. The pair bonded over a mutual love for Hip Hop production, something that would find itself central to Jamaican Queens winding sound. Together less than a year, the twosome's single "Kids Get Away" introduced the newcomers with a sound that blends EDM, Hip Hop sounds and rhythms and a somewhat psychedelic brand of Indie Pop.

The band calls its music "Trap Pop," a reference to the Trap style of Hip Hop that is something of a successor to the old Southern Crunk style. Still, you won't mistake Jamaican Queens' music for T.I.'s — JQ's unpredictable, fluttering style recalls MGMT's last two albums had the Electronic aspects of their music been more prominent.

Jamaican Queens' first full-length, Wormfood, is due in February and was mixed by Christopher Lazlo Koltay, a former Cincinnati musician who has been enjoying a successful engineering/production career in Detroit the past several years, working with artists like The Dirtbombs and Akron/Family. Here's the song that has garnered the band the most attention so far, "Kids Get Away."


Jamaican Queens is joined by thrillingly creative and dynamic rockers Automagik out of Covington for tonight's free, 10 p.m. show at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. The band's elastic, left-field Rock, which at times sounds like a crazier, New Wavy Foxy Shazam (pals of the Automagik dudes), is on glorious display on the trio's just released new album, Black Sundae. Give the album a sample listen below.


• Indie Folk Pop Rock troupe Swear and Shake are starting out their 2013 with a bang, hitting the road for the band's first North American tour. It helps when the headliner is the perpetually young, still quite popular G. Love and Special Sauce. The tour kicks off tonight here in Cincinnati at Oakley's 20th Century Theatre. Tickets for the 8:30 p.m. concert are $25 at the door.

Formed in 2010, the group spread its first release, the EP Extended Play, around widely for free online, notching nearly a quarter million downloads for the release. The band asked for a return favor when it went into make its first full-length; the Maple Ridge LP was funded entirely through fans via Kickstarter and released to wide acclaim last spring.

Here's the official video for the latest album's track "These White Walls."



• The January edition of Mayday's "Unsung" showcase, which features a new local band each month, takes place tonight at the Northside club at 9 p.m. This week's Unsung artist is Elia Goat.

Goat was born in Moscow but moved to Cincinnati with his family when he was a baby. He studied music a bit in high school and started to study Jazz in college when he decided he'd be better served hitchhiking around North America. That period in his life was inspirational, converting Goat from aspiring bass player to eager singer/songwriter and he honed his craft during his travels. In 2011, Goat moved back to Cincinnati with a batch of songs ready to be recorded and performed live with some pals — including a euphonium player and tenor saxophonist (Goat's band, featuring drums, bass guitar, carnet and harmony vocalists, would go on to be dubbed the Natural Horns). With an Americana/Folk sound dusted with traces of Jazz, Pop, Soul, Blues and Rock, Elia Goat fits right in with Cincinnati's varied yet often traditionally rooted music scene.

Check out Elia Goat and the Natural Horns' 2012 release, the half-live/half-studio effort Acorns, below.


 
 
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 09.16.2011
Posted In: Live Music, Music Video at 09:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Squeeze the Day for 9/16

Music Tonight: Eilen Jewell does her part in putting the "Alt" back in "AltCountry" when she and her band hit the Southgate House ballroom stage tonight at 8 p.m., supporting her fantastic latest album, Queen of the Minor Key. Superb area singer/songwriter Lauren Houston opens up the show. Check out CityBeat's recent interview with Jewell here. Tickets are $15 at the door and the show is open to those 18 and up. Enjoy the clip below of Jewell performing for NoKy radio station WNKU while out supporting her 2009 Sea of Tears album.

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by Blake Hammond 11.15.2012
Posted In: Reviews, Live Music, Music Video at 10:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Review: Ill Poetic's Synesthesia: The Yellow Movement

Columbus-via-Cincy Hip Hop artist Ill Poetic shows true colors on new EP

I’m not going to pretend I knew what synesthesia meant before listening to former Cincinnati/current Columbus-based Hip Hop artist Ill Poetic’s latest release, Synesthesia: The Yellow Movement. But after diving into the seven-song EP (and looking up the title on dictionary.com), I discovered that synesthesia is something like a music-induced hallucination where the afflicted see music as colors, which is the perfect description the album has on its listeners.

In the short amount of time it takes to get through this EP (just under 24 minutes), Ill Po takes the listener on a funky, soulful trip through his creative process. On the  first track, “Be Cool,” Po is kind of like Samuel L. Jackson in the diner scene of Pulp Fiction (without the Jheri curl), urging everyone from politicians to status rappers to just chill the fuck out and re-birth the cool like Miles Davis.

“Be Cool” then melts into a laid-back Soul cut, the highlight track “On My Way,” which features crooner CJ the Cynic. It’s probably just the producer in him, but Ill Poetic lets CJ take the reins of “On My Way” for almost the first two minutes before he brings his spoken-word lyrical styling to the production, which is reminiscent of early Kanye or Eryka Badu with, dare I say, an added dose of creativity.

The wait for Po's words is well worth it, however, when he spits that “Ghostface is my real estate agent." Again, I really don’t know what this means, but the sheer image of calling Sibcy Cline or Century 21 and getting Ghostface Killah on the other end of the receiver is pure imagery gold.

On the sixth track and first single off the EP, “Gone,” the song cleverly describes Po’s struggle to leave Cincinnati and pursue his dreams (his every body part attempting to convince his brain to dip-out), while the Jazz-style production makes the listener want to roll-up and take a road trip with this song on repeat.


The best part about this album, though, is when Ill says “You don’t have to be cool to listen to this; you don’t have to listen to this to be cool.” So for all the nerds, dorks, dweebs and losers out there looking for new music, have no fear. You don’t have to be cool to listen to this and listening to Ill Poetic won’t make you cool. But it surely couldn’t hurt.

Click below to preview and purchase
Synesthesia: The Yellow Movement. For more on Ill Poetic, visit his official site here.


 
 
by mbreen 08.08.2011
Posted In: Music Video, Local Music, Music News at 04:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Walk The Moon Slays at Lollapalooza (VIDEO)

Joining Eminem, Coldplay and Foo Fighters at this past weekend’s huge Lollapalooza concert in Chicago was Cincinnati Indie Dance/Pop band Walk the Moon, whose early afternoon set on Saturday was enthusiastically received by the mass of people who showed up to hear them. It’s the latest triumph for Walk the Moon, whose whirlwind ride over the past year or so as one of the country’s best unsigned “buzz bands” (making stops at Bonnaroo and on network TV along the way) ended with a record contract with RCA Records. Check back for more from Lollapalooza (including a chat with the band), but below enjoy video of Walk the Moon closing out their Lollapalooza set (which included a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”) with their remarkably catchy “Anna Sun.”

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