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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 Mike Breen 10.19.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News, Music Video at 08:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cincy Psych Fest's First Trip

Inaugural music festival celebrates the resurgence of Psychedelic Rock

Saturday night at Northside's Mayday is the debut of the Cincy Psych Fest, a multi-band event inspired by the popular Austin Psych Fest, a six-year-old event that showcases the current state of Psychedelic/Garage Rock and Pop, led by artists like The Black Angels, The Warlocks and Dead Meadow.  

The Cincy Psych Fest is the brain child of Laura Dolan, Laura Skaggs and creative local commercial arts enterprise We Have Become Vikings. The team has assembled a great first-year lineup of national, regional and local acts inspired by the sounds of ’60s Psychedelia and Garage. The fest will present bands on Mayday’s indoor stage as well as on an outdoor, second-floor stage. Tickets are $10 (advanced ones are available through ticketfly.com here) and the fest begins at 6 p.m.

Here are some samples from the various artists. Click the band name for more info on each.

The People’s Temple (Lansing, Mich.)


Mondo Drag (Davenport, Iowa)


Outer Minds (Chicago)


Heaven’s Gateway Drugs (Ft. Wayne, Ind.)


Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor
(Detroit)


Here are the Cincinnati bands on the bill:
The Harlequins


Ohio Knife


Cincy newcomers Children of The Emerald Fire (featuring fest organizer Laura Dolan and an all-star local music crew featuring former members of Pernicious Knifs, The High & Low and many other local groups) are also performing, as is The Tongue & Lips:


Adding to the trip will be DJ Blythe Shadburn and Doctor Robert’s Ocular Odyssey‘s Psychedelic Light Show.

Find info on all of the performers and more at cincypsychfest.com.

 
 
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 02.02.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video at 10:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
andy grammer

Squeeze the Day for 2/2

Andy Grammer, Paper Thick Wallls and The Ridges, plus Today In Music featuring Eva Cassidy and 'The Midnight Special'

Music Tonight: Increasingly popular Pop singer/songwriter Andy Grammer plays Oakley's 20th Century Theatre with guests Rachel Platten and Ryan Star (don't get your TV music contests mixed up — it's Ryan Star from Rock Star: Supernova, not Ryan Starr from American Idol). Last year was a breakthrough one for Grammer, whose single "Keep Your Head Up" from his self-titled album notched Gold sales numbers (and is likely to be certified Platinum). One of the crop of easy-breezy-groovin' Pop/Rock/Soul acts (think: Jason Mraz or Maroon 5), Grammer's current tour is his first headlining venture, after tours with Taylor Swift, Colbie Caillat and Plain White T's. So far, so good — most of the shows have been sell-outs, including tonight's show at the 20th Century. Radio has taken kindly to the singer's recent single, "Fine By Me." Grammer's debut LP got a big push early on thanks to the entertaining music video for "Keep Your Head Up," featuring Rainn Wilson from The Office (see below), which won an MTV O Award. If you have tickets (or plan on finding ones from scalpers), showtime is 7:30 p.m. for tonight's all-ages show.

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by Mike Breen 07.31.2012
Posted In: Festivals, Live Music, Local Music, Music Video at 08:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
letithappen

Warped Tour Hits Riverbend Today

The 18th annual Punk/Metal/Hip Hop/etc. traveling fest winds down after today's Cincy stop

The Van's Warped Tour might not be the most financially successful summer package tour of all time (the promoter and performers work together to keep an ego-free environment and low ticket prices), but it's hard to argue that it is not the most successful overall, especially in terms of longevity. Now in its 18th year, Kevin Lyman's eclectic traveling festival has outlived all of the roving music events that sprouted up around the same time (from Lollapalooza to Lilith Fair) by creating a "customer friendly" experience that's also very "artist friendly."

The tour's 2012 finale is this weekend in Portland, but before shutting things down for the summer, the fest makes its annual stop at Cincinnati's Riverbend today. Doors open at 11 a.m. and music kicks off shortly after. The show ends around 9 p.m. Tickets at the box office will cost ya $42 (about a dime a band, by my estimation).

Click here for more local show details, including info on how you can "Skip the Line" and walk right into the venue.

The set-times for each act are decided just prior to the gates opening; if you're going, look for the giant inflatable Warped logoed amp to see when your favorites are playing. I also highly recommend grabbing the official
Warped Tour app.

Be sure to support our local music scene reps — The Few The Fallen, Heres To The Heroes and Let It Happen will play the Ernie Ball Stage. Check out Let It Happen's recent video for "Bridges" from the great release, It Hurts, But It's Worth It.



Here is who's playing where (via Riverbend's site). (Welsh rockers Lostprophets are also on the bill, though not listed on Riverbend's site; all info is subject to change.)

MAIN STAGE: Taking Back Sunday, All Time Low, New Found Glory, Streetlight Manifesto, Yellowcard, Piece The Veil, Four Year Strong, Of Mice and Men, We The Kings, Breathe Carolina, Miss May I, Falling In Reverse, Blood On The Dance

TBD STAGE:  Every Time I Die, Mayday Parade, blessthefall, Chelsea Grin, For Today, Memphis May Fire, Motionless In White, Rise To Remain, Sleeping With Sirens, The Ghost Inside, Vampires Everywhere!, Title Fight

TILLY’S STAGE: Senses Fail, Vanna, Polar Bear Club, We Are The Crowd, Man Overboard, A Loss For Words, Funeral Party, I Fight Dragons, Machine Gun Kelly, Oh No Fiasco

TBD STAGE: Echo Movement, G-Eazy, Stepdad, The Constellations, Ballyhoo!, Champagne, T. Mills, Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Mod Sun, The Green, Amyst

ERNIE BALL STAGE:  iwrestledabearonce, Born Of Osiris, Chunk! No Captain, Fireworks, Transit, Cold Forty Three, The Scissors, The Few The Fallen, Here's To The Heroes and Let It Happen.

KEVIN SAYS STAGE:  Make Do And Mend, Matt Toka, Tonight Alive, Skip The Foreplay, Sick of Sarah, Mighty Mongo, Captain Capa, I Call Fives, Hostage Calm, The Silver Comet, Twin Atlantic, The Darlings, Dead Sara

ACOUSTIC BASEMENT:   A Loss For Words, Koji, Brian Marquis, Rocky Votolato, Transit Owen Plant, Anthony Raneri

 
 
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 Brian Baker 04.30.2012
Posted In: Reviews, Music Video, Music Commentary at 12:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
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Review: Jack White's 'Blunderbuss'

After the tumultuous revolution of The White Stripes, the twisted Pop/Rock convention of The Raconteurs and the Blues/Indie Rock gene splice of Dead Weather, there was nothing left for Jack White to do but to hang his own name on the marquee and go the solo route. There is an argument to be made that every White project is an extension of his musical persona regardless of the personnel he surrounds himself with or what he calls it; even the album's he produces bear his distinctive mark. At the same time, it’s also true White uses his shifting musical guises to offer a prismatic glimpse into the unique facets of his creative psyche, each one cut from the same bolt of cloth but patterned into something subtly but noticeably different.

White’s debut solo album, Blunderbuss, follows that logic line in much the same way. He explores and expands upon many of the genre variations that have defined his catalog to date in the service of imploding love songs that, at least on the surface, would seem to point toward his recent divorce as inspiration. In fact, the lack of actual drama surrounding that event indicates that White has written a song cycle about theoretical bad love rather than using pages out of his tear-stained journal for his muse.

Musically, Blunderbuss is a mixed bag of White’s best tricks; the Who-like guitar blast of “Sixteen Saltines,” the Prince-channels-the-Stooges Soul squall of “Freedom at 21” and the bluesy sugar swing of “I’m Shakin’.” But White also pushes his work down some interesting new paths as well, from the Americanapolitan Soul of “Love Interruption" (where White and singer Ruby Amanfu duet in a manner befitting Robert Plant and Alison Krauss) and the purer Country sway of the effecting title track to the Ray Davies-tinged dancehall Pop of “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” and the loungey piano Pop of “Hypocritical Kiss.”

Blunderbuss is another prime example of Jack White’s impeccable track record as one of Indie Rock’s most reliable chameleons.

(Edited to correct White's duet partner on "Love Interruption")

 
 
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 03.01.2013
Posted In: Local Music, Music Video, Music News at 01:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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SXSW Aid: Cincy Bands Headin' South

The Harlequins and The Seedy Seeds prep for send-off events prior to South By Southwest

Hard to believe, but the annual South By Southwest music showcase/festival/conference in Austin, Tex., kicks off in only 11 days. As always, the huge event is featuring some artists from the Greater Cincinnati area. Two SXSW-bound local acts are playing kick-off shows soon to help raise some funds for the trip (the price of gas today makes traveling all the more difficult for independent acts).

• Great Cincy rockers The Harlequins are heading to Austin for SXSW for the first time. The band is slated to perform at the festival on March 16 with the esteemed Gringo Star. Frontman Michael Oliva says the group will be playing shows on the way to and from the festival in Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky.

The Garage/Psych Rock trio — which is planning a new EP release in April — is performing its "bon voyage" show on March 7 at Over-the-Rhine's MOTR Pub with guests Stephen Paul Smoker. The show is free, but the band will be offering a limited edition screen print of the night's show poster (right over there, to the left) for $5. The band is also sweetening the pot by releasing a new single for free at the MOTR gig.

You can also help The Harlequins out by donating to their gas/van rental fund online. In keeping with their DIY ethic (the group got into the festival without any label or other backing, a rarity these days), the band is eschewing Kickstarter in favor of direct donations through their secure Paypal account, accessible on the trio's official site. Here's the link to donate. Below is a little video spiel if you need further convincing.



Always dazzling Indie Pop locals The Seedy Seeds are returning to SXSW this year, journeying to Austin with pals The Ridges, a fantastic Athens, Ohio-based orchestral Indie Folk squad that has become a favorite in Greater Cincinnati thanks to regular show dates locally. The two bands will be performing shows together around the South and Midwest on their way to Austin.

The groups team up for a show at the Southgate House Revival on March 6. The Seedy Seeds are encouraging fans to purchase advanced tickets to the "Supercolossal Little Giant Ye Olde South by Southwest Sendoff Show"; for just $6, if you buy your tickets before "day of show," you will receive a hand-draw postcard from the Seedys while they are on the road. Click here to get your tickets now.

Here's a piece of groovy promo featuring both bands and the tour dates.

 
 
by mbreen 07.13.2011
Posted In: Music News, Music Video at 12:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Atmosphere Raps Domestic Violence (VIDEO)

The government may be shut down in Minnesota, but Minneapolis Hip Hop crew Atmosphere is still workin'. Today, MTV debuted Atmosphere's new music video for the song "The Last to Say." The track and video are sober looks at domestic violence in today's society — something fairly timely considering the conversation sparked by the alleged violence between superstars Rihanna and Chris Brown, as well as other celebrities — and urges those involved in an abusive relationship to leave and get help. Check the clip below and click here for more on the video, as well as a few links to organizations that can offer help to victims of domestic violence.

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