Music Tonight: Call it the New Wisp Jazz Club — iconic local Jazz venue the Blue Wisp reopens today at its new location at the corner of Race and Seventh streets, following its move over the past week from its old digs on Eighth Street. I’m psyched about the new location for selfish reasons — because it’s so close to CityBeat’s world headquarters (if you’re looking for a staffer after 5 p.m., check the new club’s bar area). Looking out the window by my cubicle, I can see that the hideously ugly sign from when the restaurant Bagpipes was in the space is still hanging up (for the record, purple, lime green and orange NEVER go together unless you are making pottery in a Southwestern desert). And The Blob that is Greater Cincinnati construction crews decided it was a good week to swarm Race Street … right in front of the new Wisp (leaving traffic down to just one lane). But the show must go on and the Wisp is on track to re-open today at 4:30 p.m.
One of Cincinnati's all-time great turntablists, Tobotius (aka Tobe Donohue, member of DMC award-winning collective Animal Crackers), is preparing to release a solo album this February titled I, Tobot, but website The Untz posted the first leak from the record yesterday (click here for a free download). The track, "The Blox," is a collaboration with local Funk master, bassist Freekbass (aka Chris Sherman); the two local musicians have been working the national club circuit together as Freekbot. (They also collaborated on a modern "fight song" for Notre Dame's Fighting Irish called "We Are ND"; click here to view.) Check the hyped-up Tobotius/Freekbass track (fueled by a flurry of chaotic samples and scratches) below.
Music Tonight: Smooth, soulful Cincinnati-based vocalist Dion performs at The Greenwich in Walnut Hills. Dion got off to a fast start in his career; after graduating college, he went to a talent showcase hosted by renowned DJ Hi-Tek (another a hometown hero). Dion won the contest/audition and Hi-Tek began to use him on some of the high-profile projects he was working on. He and Tek collaborated on the track "Runnin'," from Game's first album, The Documentary, which brought him to the attention of Game's label, Aftermath, founded by the legendary Dr. Dre (he's also worked with Talib Kweli, Xzibit, 50 Cent and others). But the deal didn't pan out (maybe Dre got distracted by his headphones company). Dion has continued to perform and work on new music; he released a mixtape this year (it came out in Japan on the Japan Entertainment Group label) called The Sample, which you can listen to here and download for free here. The gifted Neo Soul/R&B singer (if you dig D'Angelo and Musiq Soulchild, you'll likely love Dion) performs at 8 p.m. at The Greenwich tonight. Admission is just $3 (free appetizers included!). You can check out a fairly recent interview with Dion from the website boxden.com here. Below, enjoy the track "Let It Go," from Hi-Tek's Hi-Teknology 2 album, featuring Tek, Dion and Talib.
Twenty years ago, one of Cincinnati's most successful bands — Over the Rhine — signed a record deal with I.R.S. Records, the label founded by Miles Copeland (brother of Police drummer Stewart) and home to key "Alternative" music releases by R.E.M., The English Beat, Concrete Blonde, The Go-Go's and many others. Now, I.R.S. is back as a working label and its first signing is, coincidentally, eclectic/eccentric Cincinnati rockers Foxy Shazam. The new I.R.S. Records is being relaunched as a joint venture between Crush Management (whose founders have guided the careers of Train and Gym Class Heroes) and EMI. Foxy Shazam released two albums through Warner Bros./Sire, which — along with extensive touring — helped them amass a big following in the States and overseas.
The first sounds from the band's I.R.S. debut are available now via the band's Facebook. Click here to listen to or download your own MP3 copy of the muscular, powerful track "I Like It."
This year, two big Rock albums that were among the best of their respective decades celebrate milestone anniversaries. On October 9, 2001, New York City band The Strokes helped define Indie Rock in the ’00s with their debut album, Is This It. About 10 years before that, on Sept. 24, 1991, Nirvana released its breakthrough album Nevermind, which reshaped the state of music at the time (and, some say, forever). Two music outlets have curated full-album cover versions of Is This It and Nevermind, featuring individual song contributions from a variety of contemporary artists. Both have also made the compilations available as a free download.
Music Tonight: L.A.-based Electronic trio The Glitch Mob has capitalized on the strength and success of its Hip Hop/Dubstep/Electronica recordings — like last year’s acclaimed breakthrough LP, Drink the Sea — by touring fairly consistently. But, though the three are former DJs, a Glitch Mob show isn’t just a three-headed DJ set. That wouldn’t fly in a venue like Red Rocks in Colorado, but the Glitch Mob worked a packed house into a fervor there recently. The Mob is a live band, playing and controlling their instruments, be they electronic or otherwise.
Next weekend, the Lollapalooza music festival returns to Chicago for its 20th anniversary extravaganza. CityBeat will have some reporters in the field covering the event, but most of us don't have the money for such a costly road trip this year. Thankfully, you can have a sort of "virtual reality" audio experience of Lollapalooza without leaving your bed or sweating more than a boxer in the final round. And you can do it all in under an hour.
Neon Indian is finally getting ready to release the much-anticipated follow-up to its 2009 breakthrough debut album, Psychic Chasms. The Texas Indie/Electronic band — a MidPoint Indie Summer Series "regular," playing packed shows at Fountain Square's free Friday night concerts this and last year — is dropping Era Extraña on Neon Indian mastermind Alan Palomo's (pictured) own Static Tongues imprint on Sept. 13. Want a sneak peak? Head below and click the widget to receive a link for a free download of the new album track, "Fallout."
New Music Releases Available Now: Promising, trippy Hip Hop/Dance newcomer Theophilus London has released his debut long-player, Timez Are Weird These Days. London — a native of Trinidad — isn’t your typical MC, as his music and this feature from The New York Times show. Spinner has a full stream of Timez here and you can get a sample of his unique style for your very own with this free download of the RAC Remix version of the track “Why Even Try,” courtesy of Mashable. Below is a wild clip for the song “Girls Girls $.”