This Saturday is Record Store Day, which began in 2007 as a way to celebrate (and draw business to) independent, brick-and-mortar record shops all over the globe.
In the Cincinnati area, four longtime record shops with loyal fanbases will officially participate — Everybody’s Records in Pleasant Ridge, Shake It Records in Northside, Mole’s Record Exchange in Clifton Heights and Phil’s Music & Memories in Latonia, Ky. That means you’ll be able to get your hands on some of the thousands of exclusive, RSD-only releases coming out this year from a wide range of acclaimed artists, new and old. (See the huge "The List" of exclusives below.) Other stores may also be doing fun, interesting stuff for the "holiday"; be sure to visit all of your favorites. That's what the day is all about.
• The local shops usually do it up big for RSD. At Everybody’s Records, you can listen to live music (including a 2 p.m. acoustic set from Jody Stapleton and Brandon Losacker of Jody Stapleton and the Generals) and DJing (from local Reggae DJ squad Queen City Imperial Soundsystem at 5 p.m.) throughout your RSD adventuring at the store.
• At Shake It, Grammy-winning (for his work on Dr. John’s last album) rocker Brian Olive performs at 6 p.m. (he and his band play MOTR Pub later on Saturday for free), while Chuck Cleaver and Lisa Walker of Wussy play at 8 p.m. Shake It is offering a 10% discount on purchases for anyone bringing non-perishable food items for Churches Active in Northside’s Choice Food Pantry.
• Shake It’s “record label” branch is also getting in on the RSD fun, putting out a pair of new, limited, exclusive releases by a couple of local music giants. Saturday at the shop, you’ll be able to pick up a live vinyl album featuring a performance at Shake It by The Greenhornes over a decade ago. The Live at Shake It Records 2001 LP featuring 14 tracks representing the band’s first three albums (one song was previously released by the label on a 7-inch in 2002, but it went out of print instantly).
Shake It will also release an EP of songs by Walker and Cleaver — a.k.a. Wussy Duo, which plays when the full band is not available. The CD features seven tracks from the slimmed-down lineup.
• With Record Store Day falling on 4/20, it should be no surprise that critically-acclaimed Cincy-area rockers Buffalo Killers would get in on the action; pot references are sprinkled throughout the band’s discography and their deft blend of vintage Psych Pop and swampy Blues Rock is certainly THC-friendly. The trio — which tours frequently and has made fans out of The Black Keys, The Black Crowes and many others across the U.S. — is coming through big with a new six-track, 12-vinyl EP titled Ohio Grass. The follow-up to the band’s fourth and finest full-length, 2012’s Dig. Sow. Love. Grow., has more than just a title reference to the smoky stuff — the EP’s cover (see above) features a giant, burning joint and the vinyl itself is colored “Herb Green” (as noted on the pot-leaf sticker also gracing the cover). The EP is a Record Store Day exclusive through the band’s label, Alive Naturalsounds Records.
The Buffs will be spending 4/20 in Dayton, performing an in-store at Omega Records to celebrate the release and RSD, but on Friday, Buffalo Killers perform a free show for Cincinnati fans at MOTR Pub with special guests, The Cincinnati Suds. Showtime is 10 p.m.
Click below for a huge list of Record Store Day exclusives from the RSD official site. (Click here for more, including the special RSD releases that will still be available post-Record Store Day.)
• Gifted young violinist/vocalist Rosie Carson and her father, former Customs bassist and longtime show promoter Steve Carson, are presenting a benefit concert tonight at the Molly Malone's in Covington for Cancer Family Care of Cincinnati (cancerfamilycare.org), which assists family members dealing with the cancer diagnoses of loved ones.
The event is being held in “loving memory” of Sue Carson, Rosie’s mother and Steve’s wife, who passed away from the disease. Tonight's benefit show starts at 7 p.m. and features The Graveblankets (with whom Rosie performs), Tickled Pink and The Rosie Carson Band, Rosie’s Bluegrass/Celtic hybrid that opened the sold-out Richard Thompson concert on April 11 at the 20th Century Theater. Admission is free but donations are encouraged.
Here's a fan-shot live clip of the Rosie Carson Band in action, performing the Flying Burrito Brothers' version of the Southern Gospel tune, "Farther Along."
• If you were to put together an all-star Funk supergroup culled from the history of the genre (dead or alive), there are a few “no-brainer” choices. Bootsy Collins would, of course, hold down the bass, George Clinton would be the bandleader, James Brown would sing and Bernie Worrell would command the keyboards. Worrell, a crucial member of the original Parliament-Funkadelic, may be less of a household name than those other artists, but he is also the one who has continued to make consistently challenging and enthralling new music.
The classically trained pianist continues to be an in-demand sideman (he’s played and/or recorded with everyone from the Talking Heads to Cincinnati’s own Blues guitarist Kelly Richey over the past 30 years) and he’s currently heading up The Bernie Worrell Orchestra, which plays, for lack of a better word, “Big Band Funk,” groovin’, progressive, jazzy and with a tinge of the Psych Funk he helped invent. (Local DJ/Electronic artist Tobotius of Animal Crackers and Freekbot fame mentioned yesterday on his Facebook page that he will be sitting in with the ensemble on turntables.)
Worrell’s nine-piece ensemble plays at The Blue Wisp Jazz Club tonight. Showtime is 8 p.m. and admission is $20.
Here's a newer Bernie Worrell Orchestra song, "So Uptight (Move On)."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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