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by Mike Breen 04.12.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Festivals, Music News at 10:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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MusicNOW 2013: A Primer

An overview and sampling of the adventurous sounds you'll hear at this weekend's MusicNOW festival

Tonight marks the kick-off of MusicNOW, an adventurous weekend of music that was started in 2006 by Cincinnati native and guitarist for successful Indie Rock band The National, Bryce Dessner. The festival's mission is "to present the best in contemporary music; to offer artists' an opportunity to take risks; to commission new work."

That's a fair but lacking description of the festival, but only because the programming isn't bounded by much other than the desire to explore. MusicNOW has showcased numerous flavors of World music, often new avant Chamber/Classical works, a "who's who" of the top names in "Indie" music (Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, The National, Bon Iver, Andrew Bird, Grizzly Bear), a few legends (Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet) and newer and/or more obscure artists, meshing together to offer Cincinnati music fans (and the many who come in from out of town) a truly unique musical experience. Sold out audiences have seen one-off performances and collaborations, including commissioned works and world premieres.

Below is a sampling of some of the artists featured this weekend — though with MusicNOW's encouragement of experimentalism, take it as merely a surface introduction. The artists will more likely go beyond any pigeonhole you can come up with, which is the best thing about MusicNOW.

• Tonight's kick-off is headlined by Anti- recording artists Tinariwen, a Malian ensemble whose creative North African sounds resulted in a Grammy in 2012 for its fifth album, Tassili. Read CityBeat's interview with Tinariwen founder Ibrahim Ag Alhabib (via translated email exchange) here.

Here's the official video for Tassili track "Iswegh Attay" (with translation!):

• Arcade Fire member Richard Reed Parry has been a part of several MusicNOW festivals, composing commissioned works and playing with bands like Little Scream and Bell Orchestre. This year, Reed Parry will perform the songs of his Indie Folk project, Quiet River of Dust. The project made it's live debut at the National-curated All Tomorrow's Parties fest in the U.K. late last year (where Reed Parry performed three very different sets) and a recording is presently in the works. A review from the music blog Let's Get Cynical described it as "a quirky and engaging performance – the first song I hear is about a boy who gets lost at sea and turns into a fish, if you want some sort of indication of what we’re working with. The fact that this is the trio’s first ever show also highlights ATP as the kind of festival where you get to see things you don’t get anywhere else." Kinda like MusicNOW.

• Rounding out tonight's opener is Buse and Gase, the Brooklyn duo of Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez, who make trippy avant grade music on various handmade instruments. The group name actually comes from two of those instruments — the "buke" is described as a "six-string baritone ukulele" and the "gase" is a guitar/bass guitar combo. 

Here's Buse and Gase's official clip for the tune "General Dome."

• Saturday's headliner is MusicNOW 2013's most known performer, Glen Hansard. The Irish singer/songwriter began catching attention as a member of the group The Frames, then broke out on his own and won an Academy Award for "Best Original Song" in 2008 for "Falling Slowly" from the film Once, in which he also starred. Hansard's first solo album, Rhythm and Repose, was released last summer on the Anti- label (album bonus track "Come Away to the Water" was, oddly enough, covered by Maroon 5 and Rozzi Crane on the soundtrack to the blockbuster film The Hunger Games).

Here's the video for "High Hope" off of Hansard's solo debut. 

• Saturday will also feature the performance of new works composed by Dessner, Reed Parry and Serbian composer Aleksanda Vreblov. The new pieces will be performed by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, which has collaborated with everyone from the New York Philharmonic and Cincinnati native (and Jazz piano master) Fred Hersch to Lou Reed, Barbara Streisand and Talib Kweli. The organization works often with composers on new pieces. 

Here's a clip of Dessner working with the Chorus on the piece "Tell the Way" in 2011. 

The Chorus will be joined by young string ensemble The Ariel Quartet, which formed in Israel and moved to the States in 2004. Last year, the group was named "quartet-in-residence" at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. The quartet has won numerous international awards for its work and has performed all over the world. Also lending a hand with the new works is Shara Worden of MusicNOW vets My Brightest Diamond. 

Below is a clip of the Ariel Quartet performing Mozart.

• Last year, music now featured pioneering composer Philip Glass. This year, Steve Reich plays the role of "legend" on the bill. The Guardian's Andrew Clements once wrote that "There's just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history. Steve Reich is one of them," while many others consider Reich one of the world's greatest living composers. Reich's experiments have been fearless and creatively fruitful and influential, be it his early work with tape loops or his interactive "Clapping Music," a 1972 piece performed entirely with handclaps.

Reich will join Sō Percussion for a performance of that piece and more, including a new commission from Daníel Bjarnason (the annual Esme Kenney Commission, named for a young student from School for Creative and Performing Arts student who was murdered in 2009). The Brooklyn-based modern percussion group (featuring Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski and Jason Treuting) formed about a decade ago around the collective influence of pioneering NeoClassical experimentalists like Reich, John Cage, Kronos Quartet and others. Sō has commissioned works from numerous composers and has also been acclaimed for its own compositions. Outside of the modern Classical world, the ensemble has collaborated with artists like Medeski, Martin and Wood, Matmos and Dan Deacon. 

Here's a cool mini-documentary from PitchforkTV about Reich and featuring Sō Percussion.

 

The three days of music are held at Memorial Hall, next to Music Hall, but this year there will also be an art exhibition at another great, vintage Over-the-Rhine venue, The Emery Theatre. An exhibit of works by Nathlie Provosty and Jessie Henson will be up at the Theatre Friday, 4-7 p.m., Saturday, 12-4 p.m. and Sunday, 1-7 p.m. Bryce Dessner will perform at a "gallery party" on Sunday 4-6 p.m. The Emery happenings are free and open to the public. 

Click here for ticketing and further info.

 

 
 
by Mike Breen 04.11.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video, Music News at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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LISTEN: The National's First Two New Album Tracks (UPDATED)

Band releases "Demons," "Don't Swallow the Cap" from forthcoming 'Trouble Will Find Me'

The Cincinnati-born, Brooklyn-based members of Indie Rock sensations The National recently announced details about their first new album since 2010's High Violet, Trouble WIll Find Me. The album is due in the U.S. on May 21 on the 4AD label. (Click here for the album cover, track listing and more National news.)

Today, The National unleashed the first song from Trouble, the warm, crawling "Demons." Check the tune and a video for it below.


UPDATE: Today (April 11), The National released audio of the first single from Trouble Will Find Me, "Don't Swallow the Cap." Check it out:


The National perform a homecoming show on July 14, headlining the final night of the three-day Bunbury Music Festival at Sawyer Point Park. For tickets and more info, click here.

The National has been previewing the new album on its current global tour. Here are a handful of new songs from the LP performed live in Berlin last week.

 
 
by Mike Breen 04.10.2013
Posted In: Local Music, Live Stream, New Releases, Music News at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cincy's Mixtapes Debut New Song on The A.V. Club

Rock crew slates new LP, Ordinary Silence, for June 25 release

Local Pop Rock crew Mixtapes' first track from their forthcoming full-length Ordinary Silence premiered today on The A.V. Club, The Onion's non-parody (yet still often funny) arts and entertainment website.

The little hyper-catchy slice of melodic heaven "Elevator Days" will be featured on Mixtapes new album, Ordinary Silence, which is scheduled for release on June 25 through California-based independent label, No Sleep Records. If radio had a brain, this tune would be a radio smash. But, well, you know …

Singer/guitarist/songwriter Ryan Rockwell says "Elevator Days" is "a song about being so stuck that short of running away or crying you feel hopeless,” says Rockwell.  “It's a song about realizing that every day I judge everyone around me and never realizing I'm the one that needs to change. 90 percent of our problems with other people i think are actually ourselves, it can be an awful realization, and also a necessary one.”

Click here to listen to the track or check out the YouTube version below.
If you pre-order the new album, you'll receive an automatic download of "Elevator Days."


The 14-track album was recorded with Eric Tuffendsam at Moonlight Studios in Fairfield, just like Mixtapes' debut release, Even on the Worst Nights, which came out just last year. The band is gearing up for a massive cross-country tour starting in May, which will culminate with a couple of weeks on the Vans Warped Tour. Mixtapes is slated to appear at the Warped Tour stop at Riverbend in Cincinnati on July 30.

Click here to read our interview with Rockwell from last summer.

 
 
by Mike Breen 04.09.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
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Musicians Unite for Pete's Sake

Area Folk/Roots musicians team up to try and save Covington club/hangout Geez'l Pete's

Musician Matt Baumann, who performs as the Folk act WolfCryer, and several area Folk/Americana musicians are teaming up this Wednesday to help a local music venue that has given them a home over the years.

The club Geez’l Pete’s (508 Madison Ave., Covington) is having financial difficulties to the point where the electricity has been shut off. This Wednesday, a “Save the Pete!” benefit will be held at the club, with music starting at 6 p.m. and running on three performance spots — busking on the street outside, “backporch” jamming and acoustic performances inside the club by candlelight.

“Geez'l Pete's is a hub for many local musicians,” Baumann says, “and the only one that I know of that keeps a library and store on site for the albums from most of the local musicians.”

There is a suggested donation of $5 and beer and booze will be available to purchase. Artists scheduled to appear include WolfCryer, Daniel Van Vechten, Dave Rohs, Tim Caudill and Tony Hall.
Mark Utley of Magnolia Mountain headlines the night at 10 p.m. Click here for more info.

Next Wednesday, April 17, Baumann and Co. will present another similar benefit at Geez’l Pete’s for the same cause. Kelly Thomas is the scheduled headliner, performing at 9:30 p.m.

 
 
by Mike Breen 04.09.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News at 07:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Belle Histoire Singer Featured on 'The Voice'

Vocalist kills it on NBC show but fails to advance to a 'team'

Last night, Jane Smith, singer for the Cincinnati area band Belle Histoire, appeared as a contestant on the NBC singing competition, The Voice. None of the judges "turned around" (the show's sign of approval, but, really, isn't it rude not to look at someone singing for you?), but Smith earned some fans with the appearance.

Lyndsey Parker, who covers the show for Yahoo's music blog, was one such fan, writing, "Whyyyyyyy didn't any of the judges spin for this awesome girl? Biggest Voice fail of this season so far, for real. Obviously the judges could not see how adorable Jane was, with her perfect Marlo Thomas hair-flip, sweet Keane-painting eyes, and Zooey 101 style…but surely they must have heard the potential in this Belle Histoire frontwoman's throaty performance of Florence + The Machine's 'You Got The Love.' I don't understand why no one turned, since they'd turned for less impressive singers this season. Of course, the four coaches who rejected Jane then spent 10 minutes annoyingly gushing about how great she was, which only made me wish there was such a thing as a Do-Over Round on The Voice. Le sigh. If only Cee Lo Green hadn't sat out Season 4. I have a feeling Cee Lo would have totally hit his button for Jane."



Click here to read more about Smith and her on-the-rise Indie Pop Rock band Belle Histoire, then check out the band's music video for "My Dear," from the group's debut album Dreamers, below. And click here to listen to the first single from Jane's solo project Decker, "Swing," which was released to iTunes today.



 
 
by Mike Breen 04.05.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video at 08:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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BoyMeetsWorld Meets Radio Rescue for Dual Release Party

Local Pop/Rock bands team up to celebrate new EP releases in Covington

Cincinnati Pop/Rock band BoyMeetsWorld returns to the Madison Theater in Covington Friday to celebrate its debut EP, Do What’s Best For You. The band is co-headlining the show with fellow Cincy Pop Rock/Punk crew Radio Rescue, which is releasing its newest effort, the band’s sophomore EP, The Soundtrack to Second Place

Radio Rescue’s Pop Rock has some of the power of Hardcore and Metal (particularly in the blazing drum work and some of the chunky guitar riffing) and occasional gang and/or screamed vocals. Adding another unique element is the prominent use of synthesizer, which gives the band’s sound a bonus texture. While that description might make Radio Rescue’s sound come off like a mismatched mess, it’s impressive how cohesive and focused the band’s upbeat and endearing sound is, with its just-right mix of power crunch, synth squiggles and sweet hooks.

Here is Radio Rescue's video for new EP track "If Loose Lips Sink Ships, Then You're The Titanic."


BoyMeetsWorld was formed just last summer by three brothers: Craig (singer) and Ryan (drummer) Sulken, who are twins, plus older brother Brad Sulken (bass). Guitarists Pat Bryant and Drew Richter round out the band. In its first year as a group, BoyMeetsWorld took home the first-place prize at the Battle of the Bands hosted by Forest Park teen club, The Underground.

The band has a knack for strong Pop hooks and an overall uplifting vibe. Songs like “Head Up High” and “Girl In Front” are best described as Power Pop, written with a maturity and craftiness of a band on their third or fourth album, not first EP. Bryant and Richter offer up some compelling guitar interplay, while the Sulken rhythm section is reminiscent of the high-flying telepathy of Fall Out Boy’s. Meanwhile, singer Craig’s high, earnest vocal approach works especially well in the context of the band’s youthful anthems.

Here is a lyric video for BMW's new EP track, "Girl in Front."


Friday’s co-release show at the Madison Theater also includes opening acts Aristo, Canoes, Ready to Live and The Sweet Addiction. The event is open to all ages and doors open at 6 p.m. Showtime is 7 p.m. Cover is $10 at the door.

 
 
by Brian Penick 04.05.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music at 07:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
counter rhythm

Guest Blog: Musicians’ Desk Reference Goes to SXSW

I feel like an entire calendar year has passed since my last blog entry. The thought of "how much time has passed this year" is instantly canceled out by the perplexing conclusion of that it's really only April. This year has been one long workweek for me and I honestly would not have it any other way.

The main focus of these past few weeks has been the preparation and actual duration of South by Southwest (SXSW), the largest music festival/conference in the USA. This event is best described as organized chaos, with almost 2,000 bands performing showcases on 80 or so stages with about 500,000 running around a small downtown setting in the evening. This does not include the 2,000 or so “unofficial” artists that come to play free events during the day, basically creating a microcosm for a week that involves live music, networking, workshops, cheap beer and even cheaper tacos. Most people have a love hate relationship with it, yet still return each year for the spectacle.

This year was very unique experience for myself, not only because I was not preforming (I did for 3-years in a row and last year came down just with The Counter Rhythm Group), but for the fact that my main focus was not necessarily on music/artists (crazy, right?). This year, rather, I was down to unveil Musicians’ Desk Reference to a select few individuals that are considered important in the music industry (and rightfully so, I might add). These meetings were strategically in place for equal parts discussion, pre-endorsement and even some initial shock value.

I cannot describe to you the feeling of anxiety and pride you have when presenting something to the world that almost no one has seen. A blogger that is way more full of themselves may describe it as close to bringing a new life into the world, but I'm definitely not that guy. Still, it is pretty amazing indeed. For any music fans out there, Haim and Alpine were definitely my highlights this year.

While I cannot technically say whom/what companies I met with down at the festival (legal blah blah blah), I can say that they are significant entities designed to help musicians in this ever-changing industry and all of the meetings went extremely well, even vastly exceeding my expectations at times.

The overall week went better than I had hoped and there are definitely some tricks up my sleeve for the release of Musicians’ Desk Reference this fall.

The actual informal networking at SXSW is what absolutely amazes me. My job (in addition to Izzi Krombholz’s, employee extraordinaire) was to literally go hang out with other people in the music business, dip in and see a few songs of a set and then find a quiet corner to have a drink and talk shop about what both parties do and how they could potentially help each other in the industry.

Maybe my next written venture should be titled, “How to Network at SXSW: Drink, Talk, Drink, Talk, Drink, Drink, 15-minute Nap, Tacos, Talk and Drink.” I see a fruitful career move here.

By now you’re asking, “Why has he spent the entire duration of this blog yapping about SXSW?” Because this single week has such a large impact on the music industry, if you are a fan that has the slightest interest in music culture you should be paying attention. This organized chaos dictates what you are going to read about in music magazines and blogs for months to come, what videos you’ll see go viral, the secondary headliners that you’ll pay hundreds to see at music festivals, the fashion trends for the summer and fall, the soundtracks to the latest electronic commercials featuring artists that win all of the awards and your annoying “mainstream/generic” friends are going to be bugging you about next year.

My favorite part of SXSW is not the festival itself, but its sound waves that echo year-round in music venues like The Comet and Mayday and mid-sized festivals such as Midpoint and Bunbury. If you are not one of the individuals willing to pay hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to make the musical exodus, I strongly encourage you to exhaust the minimal amount of research required to see if the bands playing in venues around town have made the trek to perform at such an elite event. If so, consider it a stamp of approval by the music industry and, most importantly, give these bands a chance when they come to you. I often hear chatter from people wishing that they could go be a part of the festivities and see these “unforgettable performances” from “groundbreaking artists” in “intimate venues,” yet they have no clue that their chances of seeing that same scenario in a city like ours (often times for FREE) is extremely high and is tirelessly being written about week after week by poor Mr. Breen and Mr. Baker. Open your eyes and ears people; you’ll probably be glad you did.

Sorry for the rant, but I do feel it was necessary. Next month I promise to write more about the book, as we have some major updates taking place, in addition to having what we hope to be 99% completed prototype in our hands. Exciting times for sure! But for now, go appreciate some awesome live music (April is the busiest touring month of the year due to post-SXSW tours) and have some fun for me … I will not see the light day for several weeks to come. Send help and some Thai Express if I don’t turn in my next blog on time next month.

Brian Penick of local music promotions company The Counter Rhythm Group is guest blogging for CityBeat monthly to provide a behind-the-scenes look at his journey to release his interactive industry guidebook, Musicians' Desk Reference

 
 
by Mike Breen 04.04.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music at 08:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Zoo's Tunes & Blooms Concert Series Begins Today

Annual celebration of spring (and local music) runs every Thursday in April

The annual Tunes & Blooms concert series at the Cincinnati Zoo kicks off today. Despite the late-coming spring, the weekly series — which showcases two local musical acts at each event — is in honor of the blooming flowers of the Zoo's Botanical Gardens. At least the snow is gone … (If you're going purely for the flowers, the Zoo's website says, "Due to unusually cool temperatures, our horticulture experts don't expect our tulips to be in bloom until mid April.")

The free concerts go down every Thursday in April and run 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Admission to the Zoo is free after 5 p.m. If you park in the Zoo lot, it'll cost you $8.

Today sees the return of Bluegrass supergroup the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars and Americana supergroup Magnolia Mountain.

Here is the rest of the month's lineup:
April 11: Jake Speed and the Freddies/The Turkeys
April 18: Shiny & the Spoon/Shiny Old Soul
April 25: The Ark Band/The Cliftones

 
 
by Mike Breen 04.03.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Mainstay Living Up to Its Name

Downtown live, original music-friendly club celebrates fourth anniversary with week of free shows

Mainstay Rock Bar has indeed become a mainstay in the blossoming downtown entertainment district. It’s officially been four years since the venue (at 301 Fifth St.) opened, hosting regular shows by local acts, primarily of the “original artists” variety. This week, the club is celebrating its four-year anniversary with a string of free events, including several quality local Rock shows. 

Tonight, the excellent Reggae group The Cliftones (check out their latest single here) perform a free show, while Black Signal takes over the stage Thursday night. On Friday, catch thrilling newcomers Lemon Sky and Founding Fathers, then go back Saturday for the triple bill of The Guild of Calamitous Intent, Halvsies and Cincinnati Entertainment Award winners for "Best New Artist" of 2013, DAAP GIrls.

All shows this week are free and start at 10 p.m. For more info on the club and upcoming events, click here or here.

 
 
by Mike Breen 03.29.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music at 09:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Sample New Metal Releases from Grey Host, Gabriel's Hounds

Dynamic local Metal crews set to celebrate new releases Saturday

Saturday at Downtown club Mainstay, progressive Doom/Drone Metal act Grey Host will celebrate the release of its latest, Dawn for Vultures. You can pre-order the six-track release (as a CD, download or with a T-shirt) at greyhost.bandcamp.com and get an automatic download of lead-off track, “Noble Beast.” The band will also have copies of the release available at Mainstay. Grey Host is joined Saturday by Ohio Knife and Valley of the Sun, which is also working towards a new release. The 9 p.m. show is free. (facebook.com/greyhost)

Here's "Noble Beast":


Saturday at Covington’s Madison Theater, local Death/Hardcore/Thrash Metal crew Gabriel’s Hounds host a release party for their latest effort, The Struggle Between … EP. Joining the group for the 8 p.m., all-ages show: Dark Region, Holesinger, Serpentarius, Souls for the Taking, It’s Either Me or the Mailman and In Ashes. Admission is $8. You can sample the new album’s title track right now at reverbnation.com/gabrielshoundsofficial or here:


 
 

 

 

 
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