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by Mike Breen 11.21.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video, New Releases at 01:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Music Tonight: Newbees, Miss May I and Much More

Thanksgiving Eve brings tons of live music to area venues tonight

Tonight's allegedly the "busiest bar night of the year," so if you like to hang out at places that are really packed, this is your jam. If you like to hear live music when you go out, you're also in luck, as a lot of the top acts seek out lucrative Wednesday-before-Turkey-Day gigs because of the aforementioned packed-ness.

If you want that live music to be (primarily) original, here are a few recommendations.

• Troy, Ohio-spawned Miss May I (whose singer, Levi Benton, recently moved to Cincinnati) is headlining the Alternative Press tour, which conveniently brings the increasingly popular "Metalcore" band back to their homeland just in time for Thanksgiving. The band's most recent release, At Heart (on Rise Records), came out this summer and was greeted with the best reviews of MMI's career and a No. 32 debut on the Billboard Top 200 chart.

The thrashy, melodic MMI headlines tonight at Bogart's in Corryville on a bill that also features The Ghost Inside, Like Moths to Flames, The Amity Affliction and Glass Cloud. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets to the all-ages show are $20.

Read CityBeat's interview with Benton here then check out Miss May I's most recent music video, for At Heart track "Day By Day."



• Vintage Rock & Roll stylist Chris Isaak makes his way to downtown Cincinnati tonight for an 8 p.m. show at the Taft Theatre. Tickets range from $29.50-$59.50. Isaak's going to have to play the show then hop on a plane quickly — he's slated to perform in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City. (Click here to read CityBeat's full preview of the show.)

Isaak recently issued a live DVD based on his 2011 double-disc release Beyond the Sun (his first for the Vanguard label). The album was a collection of cover songs originally recorded by artists on Memphis' seminal Sun Records (from Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis to Carl Perkins and, of course, Elvis), a fitting tribute given Isaak's similar approach and sound. The new Chris Isaak Live! Beyond the Sun DVD is a concert flick featuring several songs from the Sun album, as well as some of his big hits. Expect to hear a similar set list tonight. Here's an Isaak original from the DVD, "Live It Up."



• The songcraft experts and flawless musicians of veteran Cincy Pop/Rock band The Newbees host an album release party tonight at Newport's Southgate House Revival. The release show was originally intended to be the second show at the new club (brought to you by the owners/operators of the old, beloved Southgate House across from Newport on the Levee) but a late code inspection held the grand opening up for a week. The Newbs are celebrating their LP Modern Vintage, a patchwork of musical styles and mercilessly catchy songs. Click here for a full review of the album.

The Newbees are joined tonight by The Turkeys, Chaselounge, Honey & Houston, Les Whorenettes, Shiny Old Soul, See You in the Funnies, Sundae Drives and Dave Hawkins. Tickets are $12 at the door (or $14 for those ages 18-20). Showtime is 9 p.m. Here's the Beatles-esque new album track "Up All Night":



• There are also plenty of other local original groups performing tonight. Among the highlights: Reggae/Rock crew The Ohms and soulful, rocking power trio Tattered Roots (which is celebrating its one-year anniversary) join together at Stanley's Pub in Columbia Tusculum. … Rootsy rockers Alone at 3 a.m. are playing a freebie at The Comet in Northside with Jacob Tippey and Matt Wood. … Electronic improvisers Skeetones hold down the party at The Mad Frog in Corryville, joined by guests The B.E.A.T. and Bassface. … Two former members of The Greenhornes — Brian Olive and Eric Stein — perform a free show at Northside Tavern with their current bands, The Brian Olive Band and Stein's
Grotesque Brooms. … Rocket-fueled Indie/Blues/Roots/Rock trio The Sundresses headline tonight's free offering at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine, joined by Detroit foursome Jeecy and the Jungle. … And two of the city's best modern rockers — Ohio Knife and State Song — perform a free show at Mayday in Northside (see poster above). 

Click here for even more live music events in Greater Cincinnati tonight.

 
 
by Mike Breen 11.20.2012
Posted In: Music History, Music News, New Releases at 12:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Shake It Issues Historic Cincy Blues Compilation

Cincinnati label/record shop to issue anthology of Cincinnati Blues for Black Friday

Shake It Records is getting in on Record Store Day's national "Black Friday" promotion, which, like regular ol' Record Store Day in April, means hundreds of brick-and-mortar record shops will be stocking hundreds of unique new releases by artists and labels big and small. As both a shop and a label, Northside's Shake It will be issuing its own release, a special double-album compilation of Blues from the Cincinnati area circa 1927-1936.

Play It Like You Did Back To George Street: An Anthology of Cincinnati Blues 1927-1936 contains 29 tracks of "pre-war" Cincinnati Blues, featuring unearthed gems by the likes of Sam Jones, Cincinnati Jug Band, Kid Cole, Jesse James, Bob Coleman and Sweet Papa Tadpole. The album — a limited-run, double-vinyl release with a card to digitally download the tracks — will be available Friday at Shake It's Northside store. Author Steve Tracy, who now lives in Germany, literally wrote the book on Cincinnati Blues with 1998's
Going to Cincinnati: A History of Blues in the Queen City, so it makes sense that he'd pen the extensive and insightful liner notes for the compilation.

In the liners, Tracy explains the local Blues scene of the era and makes the case that, while Cincinnati might rightfully be ignored by Blues scholars and historians, it was a scene that was "more representative of what a local Blues scene was like in most of America" at the time. In Cincinnati, he writes, "one could especially find a community of musicians whose concerns were the concerns of the anonymous black populace that shred the apartment stoops, bustling streets, fried food cafes and restaurants, earthy brothels, and storefront churches …"


The compilation is branded with a "Music From Ohio" emblem on the cover and a promising "Volume One" tag. Shake It's Darren Blase says that "Music From Ohio" will be an ongoing excavation of Cincinnati's music history.

"(Music From Ohio) will be a reissue series of Ohio Blues, Rockabilly, Garage, R&B and Soul, County Bop, Gospel and more," Blase says via email from Cambridge, Mass. (where he currently lives). "We have quite a few things in the pike. We have more stuff from Cincy, as well as Hamilton, Youngstown, Columbus and more."

Here are a few sample tracks from the compilation.

Cincinnati Jug Band - "George Street Stomp"



Sweet Papa Tadpole - "Keep Your Yes Ma'am Clean"



Walter Coleman- "I'm Going To Cincinnati"



For a look at more Record Store Day "Black Friday" exclusives, click here.
 
 
by Alli Walker 10.05.2012
Posted In: Local Music, New Releases, Music Video at 11:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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REVIEW: Cal Scruby's 'Boy Genius'

Ohio Hip Hop artist releases new, much-anticpated mixtape

Sitting in my high school government class, I didn’t think the guy quoting South Park was someone I’d hear about after graduation, but less than a year after he put his best foot forward, I hear Cal Scruby is now a boy genius.

On Sept. 19, Scruby released Boy Genius, which is his second Hip Hop mixtape in less than a year. In two weeks, Boy Genius is less than a thousand downloads from surpassing Best Foot Forward, which Scruby released last November.  

Over the 10 months since officially entering the music scene, Scruby has taken off. While making Boy Genius, Scruby studied at Ohio State University and played a few shows. His biggest shows included opening for J. Cole at May’s BuckeyeThon Benefit Concert at OSU. Recently, he opened for Machine Gun Kelley and performed at Ohio University’s 10Fest.

Along with live performances, Scruby and his team at LandSea Media produced enough videos to keep fans entertained while they worked on Boy Genius.  

The wait for the new music was worthwhile. I was instantly blown away at the quality of the music. It didn’t sound as if it was produced in a dorm room, but rather a professional studio. The audio was balanced and the vocals weren’t hidden under a blanket of bass.

As for the lyrics, Scruby uses a mix of wordplay and comedy in his songs, and it works. His tracks follow a life of love (or rather, lovemaking), success and partying. Although I find these themes to be a stereotype of rap, Scruby pulls off the stereotypical rap lifestyle with ease. 

Mixtape opener “Double Time” features Cincinnati’s own DJ ETrayn. He welcomes fans to the musical journey before the song begins. The start of this track is reminiscent of Dumbfoundead’s “Green.” This song makes me want to lean my driver’s seat back and drive with one hand on the steering wheel while doing 50 in a 25.

What seems to be a fan favorite is “Fux With Me.” Crowds at 10Fest wore shirts donned with "I Fux With Cal Scruby." The song isn’t my personal favorite, but I enjoy the tour of people who "fux" with Scruby and how he doesn’t let it slow him down.

My personal favorite is the bonus track “Midwest City,” which is a tribute to his hometown, that city where they sin two times. This closes the album and leaves me wanting to hear more from Scruby.

Even though high school is long gone, I can’t go somewhere without hearing about the guy who was super cereal about ManBearPig and now, he’s super cereal about his music.

Check out Scruby on Facebook and go here to download Boy Genius.


 
 
by Alli Walker 09.20.2012
Posted In: Music News, New Releases, Local Music at 11:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Jonathan Zeng Gets Vocal

After facing discrimination, music teacher and performer releases album

Just a few months after Jonathan Zeng was denied a music-teaching job at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy because of his sexual orientation, he is using his experience to help others.

Zeng is an award-winning performer and a music educator but he’s never ventured into song writing, until now. He’s currently working on an upcoming album titled Through These Doors about the discrimination he’s faced and he wants to influence others.

"During difficult times in my life, I have always turned to music. This time, for the first time, I was inspired to write and perform my own music. After personally experiencing discrimination, I hope that my music will help others who face similar situations,” said Zeng in a press release.

Combining his story with his professional knowledge in opera and musical theater to create an album that’s both emotionally driven and musically appealing.

His singles “Through These Doors” and “Now” are currently available on iTunes and other major music distribution sites, but audiences have to wait until October to get the full album.

Zeng is hosting a free launch party on Friday, Oct. 19 from 8-10 p.m. at the Below Zero Lounge in Over-The-Rhine. The party is open to the public and those attending will see Zeng perform his singles as well as unveil other album songs.


 
 
by Mike Breen 08.27.2012
 
 
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CincyMTV: Recent Local Music Videos

New clips from Kentucky Struts, Buggs Tha Rocka, Shiny and the Spoon and Why?

• At this weekend's Whispering Beard Folk Festival in Southeast Indiana, masterful Cold Spring, Ky., Americana group The Kentucky Struts debuted their great new music video for the ominous, creeping and soulful tune, "Country Road," from their The Year of the Horse album. The band made the video with Keith Neltner and Brian Steege, who worked on the documentary Charlie Louvin: Still Rattlin' the Devil's Cage. (Read more about the Struts recent album from CityBeat here.)

The Kentucky Struts "Country Road" from Keith Neltner on Vimeo.

• Gifted local Hip Hop MC Buggs Tha Rocka (who, along with a solo career, also fronts the great live Hip Hop band Gold Shoes; read CityBeat's profile here) recently debuted the video for the third single (the previous two, "Hold Me Back" and "The Warm Up," also got the music vid treatment) off of his Wrath of Zeus album. The album is available for free download here. The latest video (made with Moxy Monster and PRES Productions) is for the track "Chicken Soup for Tha Soul."



• Late last month, local Roots Pop group Shiny and the Spoon released a gorgeous video for their gorgeous cover version of the ’80s hit by Norwegian Pop group a-ha, "Take on Me," taken from the band's LP, Ferris Wheel (download the a-ha cover and a few more songs from the album here for free). It's not the first time the band has made a video for a cover of "Take on Me." A low-budget version featuring only vocals and ukulele was posted in 2009 and became a modest viral sensation (particularly among ukulele fanatics); the video currently has over 300,000 hits on YouTube. (Read more about the group's evolution from CityBeat here.)

Check that version here and the new "Take on Me" (shot on Fountain Square and in Camp Washington this spring and directed by Josh Flowers and e.E. Charlton-Trujillo at Pinata Productions) below.



Pitchfork recently debuted the great video for "Sod in the Seed," the title track off of acclaimed and eclectic Indie/Pop/Hip Hop group Why?'s new EP (a prelude to the full-length, Mumps, etc., which is due in October). Cincy natives, Why? resided for years in the Bay Area and helped found the fantastic underground Hip Hop label Anticon, but returned to the Cincinnati region a couple of years ago. After a European tour, the group comes back to the States for an extensive run of tour dates, including an Oct. 18 show at the Contemporary Arts Center. (Check out our interview with frontman
Yoni Wolf here.)

Here's the fun clip for "Sod in the Seed," made with local video artist and musician (Culture Queer), Scott Fredette.


 
 
by Mike Breen 08.23.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, New Releases at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Free Salsa Galore Tonight on the Square

Latest "Salsa on the Square" compilation CD to be given away free

Fountain Square's popular Thursday evening "Salsa on the Square" concerts/dances — featuring top Salsa/Latin Jazz groups from across the area (and sometimes beyond), numerous dancers and even free Salsa lessons (right at the scheduled 7 p.m. start time) — are coming to an end for the summer, with two more dates left. Like all concerts on the Square, the event is free and tonight and next Thursday you can also score a free Salsa compilation EP.

"Volume 4" of the Salsa on the Square CD compilation series features five tracks by performers from this year's concerts on the Square, including locals Cla've Son, Azucar Tumbao,  Son del Caribe and veteran local favorites Tropicoso, plus a cut from tonight's Salsa on the Square headliners, Bay Area ensemble Brian Andres and the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel.

Only 500 Salsa on the Square comps are available; half will be given out tonight and the rest next Thursday, when Tropicoso closes out the series.

Brian Andres and the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel will be making the most of their Cincinnati visit (though based in San Francisco since 1999, drummer/group leader Andres grew up in Cincinnati, where he first found his drumming groove).  The group also performs downtown at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club, Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10. Read more about Andres and Co. from this preview from when they were in town last year.

Here's a clip of Brian Andres and the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel performing "Estampa Cubana" in 2009.

 
 
by Mike Breen 06.27.2012
Posted In: Local Music, New Releases at 12:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Debut EP From WolfCryer Released Tonight

Former experimental artist Matt Baumann shows Americana prowess on new self-titled release

Former experimental Jazz artist Matt Baumann has totally shifted gears and is now performing as banjo-playing Americana artist WolfCryer. Tonight at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine, Baumann (as WolfCryer) celebrates the release of his debut, self-titled EP by performing the recording live in its entirety starting at 10 p.m. From the sounds of the EP, WolfCryer is going to be a very welcome addition to Greater Cincinnati's eclectic, thriving Roots/Americana scene.

Baumann’s music partner Eric Barnett (a.k.a. whiskeyheart) then takes over the stage after the live EP presentation, followed by popular local Indie Folk group Evans Collective. Wolfcryer comes back to close out the night at around 12:30 a.m. To listen to and then purchase the EP online, visit nobleoakrecords.bandcamp.com. Here's a little sample to whet your appetite.

Click here to read an interview with Baumann from CityBeat's Brian Baker in 2008, when he was crafting adventurous music with a saxophone.

 
 
by Mike Breen 06.21.2012
 
 
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WATCH: Cincy MC Santino Corleon's New "Tats"

Local Hip Hop artist unveils new song, video from forthcoming 'Keep the Change' release

If you happened to have checked out this past Saturday's Beats Summer Concert Series event (the popular Hip Hop/Dance/DJ night presented by Self Diploma every Saturday this summer) on Fountain Square, you probably got a taste of the skills of Cincinnati native Santino Corleon, who performed right before headliner DJ Clockwork.

This week, you have another chance to sample Corleon's goods as the head-turning MC has released his latest track and accompanying music video, "Tats."

Corleon has already become a "name to watch" around the region. Upon returning to Cincinnati after a stint studying (both at college and in the Hip Hop community) in Brooklyn, Corleon stepped up his game and has been invited to perform with artists like Big Sean, Method Man and Redman, J. Cole and Gucci Mane (among other big-timers) and performing at various music festivals around the region. He's also built his buzz up by releasing several widely distributed mixtapes, including his most recent, The Hangover, hosted by DJ E-V (who works with Machine Gun Kelly and Mike Posner) and featured on Hip Hop/mixtape sites like TheOneMic.com, Live Mixtapes and LeakJones.

You can listen and download The Hangover and its predecessor — the more freestyle-oriented Where's the Love?right here for free through Corleon's site.

Corleon is also giving away free downloads of "Tats," which will be a part of his next full release, Keep the Change. Check the video (directed by Dan Gotti) below, then click here if you'd like your very own download. The track has a cool sparse/ambient quality, with some great, tricky beats and a bass-rumble that could wake the dead. (Note: The track is also pretty non-PC and probably NSFW for most of you reading this at your job, due to language. But if your boss is cool with it, so are we.)


 
 
by Brian Baker 05.02.2012
Posted In: Music Video, New Releases, Reviews at 01:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Review: Loudon Wainwright III's 'Older Than My Old Man Now'

Loudon Wainwright III could very easily have slid into the where-are-they-now realm of celebrity obscurity if he had allowed himself to be swallowed up by the one-hit wonderment of “Dead Skunk” in 1972. Although most people at the time only knew him for that ubiquitous single, Wainwright was confident that he had plenty of other weapons in his songwriting arsenal and set about to define the 40-year Folk/Pop career that has brought him certain measures of acclaim, wealth and notoriety as a songwriter, performer, actor and dysfunctional family man, each role woven inextricably into the fabric of the others (remember when he was Captain Spalding, the singing surgeon on M*A*S*H?). Clearly, the two paths that have intersected most often in Wainwright’s life are music and family; his itinerant singer/songwriter’s existence has been both a positive and a negative in his numerous attempts at familial stability and his parents, wives and children have been an endless source of grist for his songwriting mill.

Chief among Wainwright’s influences has been his often larger-than-life father, whose death at 63 left a gaping hole in his 17-year-old son’s life and psyche. A great deal of Wainwright’s unresolved love and anger issues concerning his father have been worked out in his songs over the past few decades, but his latest uniformly excellent album finds him looking back at his long timeline after reaching the milestone birthday of 65, a momentous and bittersweet benchmark that inspired the album’s title; Older Than My Old Man Now.

Like much of his recent work, Wainwright explores the familiar subjects of family, aging, death and lust on Old Man, which he does with typical candor, humor and reflection. Wainwright opens with the jazzy “The Here & the Now,” an annotated but honest account of his 65 years (“I took a wife, we had some kids/I screwed that up and went on the skids”), a history that he continues tracing on the contemplative and mournful “In C.” In the eloquent spoken word intro to the title track, Wainwright calls his father his “principal ghost” and then launches into a Delta-flavored vamp that addresses the psychic conundrum of having more calendars under his belt than his dad (“Sixty four is awful old, you know what can happen next/Hey, I’m older than my old man ever was, and I’m trying to keep it in context”).

Wainwright’s broad range is best typified by the ridiculously funny “I Remember Sex,” a parlor piano duet with Barry Humphries’ female alter ego Dame Edna Everidge, and the sublimely heartbreaking realizations of “The Days That We Die,” where Wainwright expounds, in prose and rhyme, on the reality of getting closer to life’s finish line without having fully reconciled with his children for his real and imagined sins. Listening to Wainwright and son Rufus trade soul-searching verses about life and change and forgiveness will bring a tear to the most cynical eye.

Over the course of the past few albums, Wainwright has honed his songwriting style to a fine point and narrowed his focus to very personal issues which he has translated into impossibly universal songs. Older Than My Old Man Now finds him in peak form in that regard, and reinforces the idea that he’s probably got plenty more to say on every subject as his finite journey heads inexorably toward the infinite horizon.


 
 
by Brian Baker 05.01.2012
Posted In: New Releases, Reviews at 03:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Review: Dar Williams' 'In the Time of Gods'

Since her 1994 indie debut, The Honesty Room, Dar Williams has attracted a diverse and pathologically loyal fan base with her quirkily hybridized Folk/Pop ministrations. Like an elegant gene splice of Shawn Colvin and Loudon Wainwright III, Williams can easily triangulate the emotional distance between breezy humor, somber reflection and crystalline heartbreak, on subjects as intimate as family and love and as broad as culture and politics, by finding the commonalities between them and translating them through her muse. Equally relevant is the fact that Williams hasn’t shied away from experimenting with her base formula over the past two decades; her desire to extend her reach is a testament to her restless creative spirit and her success in doing just that is a testament to her steadfast audience.

In the Time of Gods is Williams’ ninth studio album and, like the majority of her catalog, it is a work that somehow manages to be both spectacular and subtle. In keeping with her need to experiment, Williams conceived In the Time of Gods as a concept album with each song representing a particular Greek mythological archetype, while also weaving contemporary emotional, social and cultural concerns into the narrative. It’s an unlikely formula, and one that requires an almost impossible songwriting balance, but Williams was clearly up to the task, because In the Time of Gods stands with the best of her albums to date.

Part of its brilliance is that Williams uses the Greek pantheon as a launch point to create her own dieties and address her unique issues, proving that mythology must be both consistent to be permanent and malleable to be relevent. The element that drives all of this home is Williams’ impeccable songwriting skill as she finds the connective tissue between gods and goddesses like Hera (“I Am the One Who Will Remember Everything”), Hermes (“You Will Ride with Me Tonight”), Dionysus (“I Will Free Myself”) and Poseidon (“The Light and the Sea”) and places their gifted and flawed archetypes in real life situations with real life outcomes.

As always, Williams’ musical accompaniment in this endeavor is engaging and beautiful and exactly right, providing the consistency that runs through her  estimable canon. With a surgeon’s skill, Dar Williams has grafted the wisdom, wonder and humanity of Greece’s ancient pantheon onto In the Time of Gods’ modern cautionary tales, further evidence of the contention that Williams is among the finest Folk/Pop songwriters of the last half century.


(Dar Williams performs in Cincinnati on June 23 at Mt. Lookout club The Redmoor.)

 
 

 

 

 
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