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by Mike Breen 05.09.2012
Posted In: Music News, Music Commentary at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Music Stars and Gender Identity

Before Against Me!'s Tom Gabel there was Wendy Carlos and Genesis P-Orridge

The Internet is abuzz today with Rolling Stone's teaser about an article in the mag's issue out this Friday. The magazine spoke with Tom Gabel, lead singer for successful Punk band Against Me!, about his plans to begin "gender transition" to become a woman (taking the name Laura Jane Grace). The article will include conversation with the singer about her years of struggling with gender dysphoria (gender identity disorder) and her plans to transition by undergoing hormone treatments and electrolysis.

It's a huge story because a Rock star with such relative mainstream popularity has never come out as transgender. But she's not the first notable music star to pursue gender reassignment. The Rolling Stone article says she's the first "major Rock star" to come out, but two other notable (and way more influential) musicians have gone from man to woman (or almost woman).

Walter Carlos was a musical prodigy who would grow up to be an Electronic music pioneer … as a woman. In 1967, he began hormone treatments and began living as a female. In 1968, Wendy Carlos released Switched-On Bach, an album featuring the music of J.S. Bach rendered on a Moog synthesizer (then a new instrument). The success of the album allowed Wendy to undergo gender reassignment surgery in 1972 (40 years ago this month). Carlos — who also composed and recorded the soundtrack to the legendary film A Clockwork Orange — didn't speak about it until a 1979 interview with Playboy magazine. After feeling exploited, she rarely spoke in public about it again. Carlos took her identity very seriously; in 1998, she sued a songwriter called Momus for $22 million after he wrote a satirical song called "Walter Carlos," about Wendy going back in time and marrying Carlos. The case was settled; Momus took it off his CD and paid $30,000 in legal fees.

Genesis P-Orridge was also a pioneer of Electronic music, as well as Industrial and dance music, with the groups Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV. In the ’90s, P-Orridge and his collaborator/wife, Lady Jaye (Jacqueline Breyer) embarked on an interesting "Pandrogyne" project that found the two artists working to become one individual androgynous person, Breyer P-Orridge. Though it was more of a living performance art project — and quite a romantic notion, if you think about it — about gender identity and less about gender identity disorder, Genesis didn't have a complete sex change, but the couple each had various surgeries to look more like each other. Among other surgeries, they both got identical breast implants; Genesis had lip surgery, cheek implants and hormone therapy; Lady Jaye had her eyes done. They also wore identical clothes and makeup.

Sadly, Lady Jaye passed away in 2007, but P-Orridge has continued the project with more surgery.

An acclaimed documentary about the couple, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, came out last year. Check the trailer out below.



Famous transgendered people are nothing new. Click here for a fairly extensive list.
 
 
by Mike Breen 05.09.2012
Posted In: Music History, Music News, Music Video at 10:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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This Date in Music History: May 9

Boomtown Rats honored for tragic song and Ghostface Killah readies new solo album

On this date in 1980, the British awards program honoring songwriters, The Ivor Novello Awards, bestowed the awards for best Pop song and best lyrics to The Boomtown Rats, the Irish Punk band featuring Live Aid founder Bob Geldof. The song that won the honors was the band's biggest, "I Don't Like Mondays," a tune written by Geldof after reading about the news of a 16-year-old high school student who started a shooting spree on a playground in San Diego in early 1979.

The young girl killed two adults and injured eight kids and one cop. With a rifle given to her by her father as a gift, she began shooting from her house across the street from the elementary school playground. When she was asked by a reporter why she did it, she said, "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day." She also told police during a six-hour standoff that "there was no reason for it, and it was a lot of fun." She was sentenced to 25 years to life and has been denied parole multiple times. During parole hearings, the woman has made various excuses, from claiming that it was the cops who fired the shots that killed and hurt people to insisting she was sexually abused by her father to proclaiming she was on alcohol and hallucinogenic drugs at the time.

She is not eligible for parole again until 2019.

The Boomtown Rats released "I Don't Like Mondays" that summer. The song gave the Rats their second No. 1 in the U.K. (it only made it to No. 79 in the States) and became the tune for which they're best known. The tune wasn't a celebration of the girl, nor was it a tribute to the victims. Rather, it was a clever, emotional look at mental illness and how it can effect anyone, even those you'd least suspect.

Russell Brand referred to the song when he hosted the NME Awards in 2006. When the often curmudgeonly Geldof won the "Best DVD" award for the Live 8 disc (ooh, what an honor!), he began his speech by saying, "Russell Brand … what a cunt." Brand shot back and won the diss battle instantly, saying "It's no wonder Bob Geldof knows so much about famine — he's been dining out on 'I Don't Like Mondays' for 30 years."

Here's a clip of Geldof and Rats pianist Johnny Fingers performing my favorite version of the song, at the 1982 Secret Policeman's Ball benefit concerts for Amnesty International.

Click below for Born This Day featuring Andrew W.K., Billy Joel, Richie Furay and Ghostface Killah.

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by Mike Breen 05.04.2012
Posted In: Local Music, Live Music, Music News, Music History at 01:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Celebrate Adam "MCA" Yauch's Life at Mayday Tonight

Northside club hosting DJ Mowgli's scheduled "Run DMC vs. Beastie Boys" dance party

By now, thanks to Facebook mostly, most of you have heard that one third of the legendary Hip Hop trio Beastie Boys — Adam "MCA" Yauch — died this morning in New York City after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old and leaves behind a legacy to be proud of, with his crucial contributions to music, video and activism.

In an eerie coincidence, Northside club Mayday tonight has a scheduled dance party hosted by DJ Mowgli called "Run DMC vs. Beastie Boys," featuring music by both historic crews. The music starts at 10 p.m. and there's no cover. Something tells me there will be a little extra Beasties love from the DJ in light of today's events. 

Below is the press release about Yauch's death from the Beastie Boys' longtime publicists at Nasty Little Man.

R.I.P. MCA.

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by Mike Breen 05.03.2012
Posted In: Local Music, Music News at 01:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Foxy Shazam Singer Co-Stars in New Dee Snider Vid

Eric Nally featured in Twisted Sister vocalist's video for "Mack the Knife"

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.)

Click here to watch the clip.

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.)


 
 
by Mike Breen 05.03.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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"Cincinnati Songwriter Round" Starts Tonight

New music shop in Northside launches local songwriter showcase

Tone House Music, the much-needed new music store in Northside, hosts the first of what is scheduled to be a really cool weekly happening at the shop. The "Cincinnati Songwriter Round" will be an every-Thursday event featuring some of the top singer/songwriters in the area performing intimate "in-the-round" shows together, trading off songs and stories. The music begins at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Tone House is "B.Y.O.B.," so if you wanna drink, swing by the pony keg beforehand.

The showcase is hosted this month by singer/songwriter/guitarist/engineer Andyman Hopkins. Tonight's inaugural "round" features writers "Easy" Tom Eby (of The EZ Tom Eby Experience) , Kristen Kreft (formerly of J. Dorsey Blues Band and currently fronting the group The Perfect Children) and Mark Utley, mainman in the colossally talented Americana group Magnolia Mountain.  

Tone House Music was recently opened for business by local musician Tim Seiwert (drummer with for algernon and The Newbees). The store sells instruments and accessories (including picks, sticks and strings), something the hip, artsy neighborhood has been strangely lacking. Tone House also provides repairs, consignment sales, PA rental and lessons. And they even have an art gallery!

Seiwert began hosting live music in the store last month. Upcoming performances include experimental music act The Letdown (May 18) and an evening of acoustic Folk with Caleb Hawkins (May 19). Click here for the store's Facebook page and more details. The venue is located at 4040 Hamilton Ave.

 
 
by Mike Breen 05.03.2012
Posted In: Music History, Music News at 10:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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This Date in Music History: May 3

Tragic Rock star electrocution deaths and the endurance of Pete Seeger's music

On this date in 1972, Les Harvey — guitarist for the Scottish band (which many believed would become huge) Stone the Crows — died on stage when he was electrocuted by a microphone. He reportedly died when he touched the (probably) ungrounded mic and his guitar at the same time during soundcheck (with what many believe were wet hands).

Harvey is a member of the sad club of rockers who died at the age of 27. He's also a member of a smaller club of known musicians who died from electrocution.



Keith Relf, singer for The Yardbirds, died in 1976 at the age of 33 after being electrocuted by an (again) ungrounded electric guitar.



John Rostill was the bassist for the British Pop group that gave Cliff Richard to the world, The Shadows (he was also a member of Zoot Money Quartet alongside future Police guitarist Andy Summers). Rostill was found dead in 1973, electrocuted by a guitar that was (again!) believed to be improperly grounded.



French Pop singer/songwriter Claude Francois — who cowrote the classic Sinatra tune "My Way" and sold over 70 million records in his career — died in 1978 at the age of 39. Francois returned to his Paris abode after recording a BBC special and was standing in a full bathtub when he tried to adjust a light on the wall above the tub. He was electrocuted and died. As far as I know, everything was properly grounded in the bathroom.



Lessons: Bathtubs and electronics don't mix. And always make sure your equipment is grounded before touching anything.

Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a May 3 birthday include singer/actor Bing Crosby (1903); early Blues musician and slide guitarist Homesick James (1914); late Funk superhero James Brown (1933); Pop star with the Four Seasons, Frankie Valii (1934); bassist for proto-Garage band The Troggs ("Wild Thing"), Pete Staples (1944); Soft Rock superstar Christopher Cross (1951); singer for Nu Metal band Saliva, Josey Scott (1971); singer/guitarist for Indie Rock favorites Interpol, Paul Banks (1978); and Folk legend Pete Seeger (1919).

Seeger — who will be awarded a "Distinguished Service" honor from the American Academy of Arts and Letters on May 16 — popped up in the news recently in a manner befitting the revolutionary singer/songwriter who penned (or co-penned) standards like "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?," "If I Had Hammer" and "Turn, Turn, Turn!" He also popularized the spiritual "We Shall Overcome," which became the Civil Rights Movement's theme song.

Seeger's social consciousness in song was used once again in a powerful way last week when tens of thousands of Norwegians joined together for a marathon singalong of his song, "My Rainbow Race" (the Norwegian version is called "Children of the Rainbow") as a way to protest/heckle admitted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik during his trial for murdering 77 people last summer. Breivek had previously dissed the song because it "brainwashed" children into believing that things like cultural diversity and racial harmony are good. He said, in court, that the song was brought to schools by "cultural Marxists."

"The curriculum is stripped of knowledge relating to the codes of honor that have been so important for Europe for thousands of years,” Breivik said. “They put up these songs and propaganda films to get students to despise their forefathers.”

Here's Lillebjørn Nilsen leading the singalong (he popularized the original Norwegian version).



 
 
by mbreen 05.02.2012
Posted In: Music News at 02:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Feist Talks About CAC's 'Spectacle'

Canadian singer/songwriter calls music video exhibit "incredible"

Singer/songwriter Leslie Feist (best known for her hit "1, 2, 3") was in town April 9 to discuss her work in the music video world at the Contemporary Arts Center downtown. Her appearance with director Martin de Thurah (who directed her clip for "The Bad in Each Other") was a part of the programming related to the current exhibit, Spectacle: The Music Video, which, according to the clip below, Feist quite enjoyed (and enjoyed being a part of).

Feist on 'Spectacle: The Music Video' from CincyCAC on Vimeo.

If you haven't seen Spectacle yet, you still have plenty of time. The exhibit is up through Sept. 3. Click below for a couple more clips about the show.

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by Mike Breen 04.27.2012
 
 
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Gold Shoes LP Drops Tonight

Cincinnati Hip Hop/Pop/Rock group celebrates debut full-length

Tonight at The Drinkery on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine, excellent local Pop/Hip Hop/Rock crew Gold Shoes release its first long-player in conjunction with a free performance (the album is conveniently titled The Gold Shoes LP). The band was formed in 2009 and features MC vocals from rapper Buggs Tha Rocka (a great solo artist as well), Steven Shaefer on guitar/sax, Mike Weigand (keys), Kevin Johnson (bass), Tony Kuchma (drums/percussion) and singer/guitarist Archie Niebuhr. Gold Shoes has a magnetic, endearing sound that mixes Hip Hop and Rock with great hooks and touches of Jazz and Blues. Fun, cool stuff. You can purchase or give the album a preview spin online here.

Tonight's show starts at 9 p.m. and also features Vito Emmanuel, The Zoo Crew and DJ Sinceer.

Late last year, the band released the album's first single and video, "Trade Your Wings." More recently, they unveiled another great music video for the track "Barely Alive." Check 'em both out below.



 
 
by Mike Breen 04.25.2012
Posted In: Local Music, Music News at 01:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Paste Magazine Gives Ohio Love

Bad Veins, Pomegranates, Walk the Moon among "10 Ohio Bands You Should Listen to Now"

Paste magazine's "50 States Project" series singling out some of the best music in all of the states in America today posted its list of Ohio bands. Three Cincinnati acts — Bad Veins (in at No. 1!), Walk the Moon and Pomegranates — made the cut.

Here's the rundown of all the bands chosen in Paste's "10 Ohio Bands You Should Listen to Now." 

1. Bad Veins (Cincinnati)

2. The Black Swans (Columbus)

3. Cloud Nothings (Cleveland)

4. The Lighthouse and the Whaler (Cleveland)

5. Nick Tolford and Company (Columbus)

6. Old Hundred (Columbus)

7. Phantods (Columbus)

8. Pomegranates (Cincinnati)

9. Southeast Engine (Athens)

10. Walk the Moon (Cincinnati)

Listen to a track from each band and read what Paste has to say about Ohio here.

 
 
by Mike Breen 04.25.2012
Posted In: Music Video, Local Music, Live Music, Music News at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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'The Emery Sessions' Underway

Cool 'One Shot Music Video' project continues with Cincy duo Over the Rhine

We've written a bit in the past about the new film-meets-music "One Shot Music Video" series, beautifully shot, black-and-white short films of various local musical acts shot at the historic Emery Theatre (which is back in action as a functional venue this weekend). Shot by world renowned photographer Michael Wilson with audio help from the musical duo Pop Empire, the clips are filmed in one continuous take (thus the name).

The project has started to take shape and is on a roll now. Pop Empire's Cameron Cochran reports that the series is now named for the venue — "The Emery Sessions" — and will be comprised of footage from 10 artists, all shot at the theater. It's a great way to not only spotlight local music, but also show off the theater in a great light.

Wilson and Pop Empire have completed a couple of videos for Daniel Martin Moore for the first of the series. The second in the series is Over the Rhine (longtime compadres of Wilson's, who has shot OTR album covers and promo shots — including the one above — since the band's very beginning). OTR is familiar with the surroundings; the band played the "preview party" hosted by The Requiem Project which re-introduced the 100-year-old theater to locals late last year.

Here's a clip of Over the Rhine's Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist performing "The Laugh of Recognition" from the twosome's latest album, The Long Surrender. (Click over to local blog Each Note Secure to check out another clip from the project.)



Cochran also runs the all-free, all-digital "record label" The Recording Label, which has issued stellar recordings by The Kickaways, Vacation, Sacred Spirits and Pop Empire. He says working on "The Emery Sessions" inspired him to give the label a more local-specific name. The Recording Label is now called Cincinnati Recording Service. Click here for the new site.

And here are a few words from Cochran on the Sessions and the label:

If we are consuming light then sound is accompanied by sight. Many musical performers understand this concept and will incorporate a visual component to their audio performance. The idea behind the "One Shot Music Video" is to approach music from the opposite direction. The audience approaches the music from a visual perspective first because whether they know it or not the first performance they see is the photographer's.  It is the photographer's eye that navigates them through the musical performance. The hidden live performance is the one done with the camera.

The Emery Theatre was the perfect place to begin our exploration of this relationship between listening and watching live musical performances. Each musician we have recorded and that we are going to record have a love for this amazing space and understands what the Emery Theatre means to our great city of Cincinnati. It is perhaps our own experiences working in this theatre and the pride that has developed for our hometown of Cincinnati that inspired us to change the name of The Recording Label to Cincinnati Recording Service. This name change is also a tip of the hat to another person who loved his city as well as the power that American music has to bring people together, Memphis' very own Sam Philips.
 
 

 

 

 
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