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by mbreen 08.23.2011
 
 
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Squeeze the Day for 8/23

Music Tonight: The Southgate House's Parlour stage will be rockin' tonight with firecracker energy and creative, complex song structuring as Pittsburgh foursome edhochuli (yes, named for the unlikely cult hero/NFL ref) comes to Newport for a 9 p.m. show. The band is joined by excellent local Post Punk/Post Hardcore trio Knife the Symphony and Vacation, a local progressive Punk group that is fresh off of a string of East Coast tour dates with fellow Cincinnatians The Dopamines. Vacation's debut full-length is currently streaming through The Recording Label site (here), the locally-based home to free downloads of albums by Pop Empire, Sacred Spirits and The Kickaways.

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by Mike Breen 03.15.2012
Posted In: Music History, Music Commentary at 09:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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This Date in Music History: March 15

Prince is inducted into the Rock Hall and Lightnin' Hopkins' 100th birthday

On this day in 2004, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted a fairly heady class of artists, welcoming Traffic, ZZ Top, The Dells, Jackson Browne, Bob Seger, George Harrison and Prince. Prince was inducted by Alicia Keys and the notoriously shy singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist gave a slightly humbled (for Prince, at least), short speech of acceptance (he couldn't resist mentioning his efforts to get out of his contract with Warner Bros. — at least he didn't paint "Slave" on his face again). Below is his speech from that night (from rockhall.com):

"Please be seated. Thank you Alicia ... thank you Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it’s definitely an honor. I don’t want to take up too much time, but I would like to say this. When I first started out in the music industry, I was most concerned with freedom. Freedom to produce, freedom to play all the instruments on my records, freedom to say anything I wanted to, and after much negotiation Warner Brothers Records granted me that freedom and I thank them. Without any real spiritual mentors other than artists ... whose records I admired ... Larry Graham being one of them ... I embarked on a journey more fascinating than I could ever have imagined. But a word to the wise. Without real spiritual mentoring, too much freedom can lead to the soul’s decay. And a word to the young artists ... a real friend or mentor is not on your table. A real friend and mentor cares for your soul as much as they do the other one. This world and its wicked systems becomes harder and harder to deal with without a real friend or mentor. And I wish all of you the best."

Prince's performance during the tribute to Harrison (who had died just a few years before his solo induction) was much ballyhooed for his stunning guitar solo, a reminder of just how multifaceted the eccentric performer's talents really were/are. Check the clip below.


Click on for Born This Day featuring would've-been 100-year-old Lightnin' Hopkins.

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by Deirdre Kaye 02.06.2012
Posted In: Music Commentary at 01:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
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I <3 the Banjo

A rant, an exploration and a playlist

I caught a tweet from Noam Pikelny (The Punch Brothers) the other night. It said the new Rascal Flatts song “Banjo” made him want to kill a small pet. While I tend to steer clear of anything involving Gary LeVox and the gang, I will listen to anything involving a banjo. So, I clicked on his link to a YouTube video.

I made it to the end of the chorus before I not only stopped the video, but I shut down my entire web browser. The last two lines of the chorus are, “And you kick it into four-wheel drive when you run out of road and you go, and you go and you go-go-go/’Til you hear a banjo.”  

Of course I understand that “Banjo” is supposed to be a fun, light-hearted song, but I still don’t appreciate the fact that these “country artists” have once again tried to associate the banjo with little more than Deliverance.

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by Deirdre Kaye 12.29.2011
Posted In: Music Commentary, Local Music, Live Music at 01:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)
 
 
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No More Tears: An Alternate Southgate House View

This might seem somewhat blasphemous, but I hold no real alliance with the Southgate House. I moved back here from Florida to go to college. The greatest benefit to moving here was that I was no longer in the South Florida concert rut. Cincinnati is right in the path between a lot of much larger cities. I was excited to be somewhere that would, hopefully, get more concerts than Palm Beach. This proved mostly true. But, more often than not, I still find myself heading to Cleveland, Chicago or Nashville for gigs. Which is why, after living here for six years, I’d only stepped foot in the Southgate House a couple times. But that’s only a minor reason as to why I’m not exactly heartbroken to see the venue close.

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by mbreen 11.03.2008
Posted In: Music Commentary at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
 
 
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Hip Hop the Vote at Xavier

A trio of Hip Hop superstars are in town today to rally voters to get to the polls tomorrow. Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige and P Diddy Puff Daddy Bo Didley Combs (or whatever his name is today) will appear on the Xavier campus today at 3 p.m. (gates open at 2 p.m.). They'll speak on the soccer field next to the O’Connor Sports Center. The threesome are appearing on behalf of the Obama campaign.

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by mbreen 06.26.2009
Posted In: Music Commentary at 01:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

Like Mike?

Michael Jackson's dead — what more can we say? The response to Jackson's death has made me revisit a long-running question that's rolled around my squishy mind for a few years now: Is it possible to separate an artist's personality and deeds from his or her creative work?

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by mbreen 08.30.2011
Posted In: Live Music, Music Video, Music Commentary at 09:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Squeeze the Day for 8/30

Music Tonight: Cleveland Art Punk band HotChaCha bring its dancey Post Punk rhythms and soulful melodies to Newport’s Southgate House tonight, playing the club’s Parlour room. The show is the fourth date on the Northern Ohio foursome’s extensive nationwide run with eclectic upstate New York Indie septet Summer People (which has been compared to The Cramps and Nick Cave), promoting the two bands’ split 12-inch EP release, Do It. The vinyl release is a limited edition, but in cyberspace, there are no limits, so give the EP a listen here.

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by Mike Breen 02.06.2012
Posted In: Music Video, Music Commentary, Music News at 02:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
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Super Bowl Gets Bowled Over By Pop Music

Musical highlights from Super Bowl XLVI

Since our Morning News and Stuff writer hates football and refused to comment on the Super Bowl (not even the Puppy Bowl!), I thought I'd take a minute to discuss yesterday's huge game. Well, the music heard during the TV broadcast, anyway.

While I'm not a huge Madonna fan (I love the idea of her more than her music), I thought her halftime show was excellent. Then I looked on the internets and it told me that I was stupid and it was actually horrible and, even worse, offensive! Things I learned: Madonna is, like, really old; she may have lip-synced during portions of the performance; and MIA said "Fuck you, America" with her middle finger. (Like Janet Jackson's boob, I wouldn't have even noticed had it not been overblown in cyberspace.)

Oh, and MIA, according to the AP report, also "appeared" to say a cuss word. (She didn't, clearly stopping her line, "I don't give a shit," at "Shhhh" — nice reporting AP!)

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by Mike Breen 07.30.2012
Posted In: Music Commentary, Music History at 09:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Ridin' With Hank & Other Summer Vacation Hits

All roadtrips are musical — if you're looking and listening for it

My life usually has a musical component, so it's not shocking that my vacations have many musical memories inexorably tied to the trips. I'm sure most music lovers have had similar experiences.

My family went to Washington, D.C., every 4th of July for many years when I was growing up and The Beach Boys always played a free concert next to the Washington monument. These late ’70s/early ’80s gigs are what I've always considered my first concerts. The memories are vague but deeply entrenched. I'll never forgive my folks for not letting me watch opener Joan Jett (at her "I Love Rock & Roll" peak). I was about 11. And I was pissed!

I have many amazing Lollapalooza road trips memories, from the first-tour Cleveland stop in 1991 when fans charged the gates as Nine Inch Nails played an early set to getting seriously beaten by bouncers (then evicted from the premises) after telling them not to be dicks during my trip to Indy for the Beastie Boys/Smashing Pumpkins headlining year (1994). I also had a personal rebirth on a trip to the standalone Lolla in 2007, feeling inspired by seeing Amy Winehouse, Iggy Pop and the Stooges and Patti Smith under the mammoth Chicago skyline.

But many musical vacations aren't concert related, nor intentionally "musical." I vividly remember "Rhinestone Cowboy" being played on the radio nonstop during a trip to Atlanta as a child. If I hear that song now I can think of nothing but being 6 or 7 years old, flopping around in our un-air-conditioned, early ’70s VW  bug's cubby hole, the small compartment between the backseat and the engine. We not only didn't wear seatbelts or sit in carseats back then — we were allowed to play in literally the most dangerous spot in the tiny death trap.

I remember an L.A. trip the month the Beastie Boys dropped Check You Head. I played it nonstop on a Walkman and arrived in Los Angeles to discover everyone dressed exactly like Adam, Mike and Adam. I found the summertime wearing of winter hats hilarious. It seemed all based on one music video and an album cover.

That same trip I developed a supernatural bond with Jane's Addiction's Nothing's Shocking and Smashing Pumpkins' Gish. I listened to both several times on that trusty Walkman as I sat alone on a Pacific Coast beach, mesmerized by the moon's reflection on the vast, dark ocean mirror, the sound of waves crashing perfectly in time with the music's hypnotic psychedelics, just figuring my life philosophy out, scared but excited for whatever the future held.

I've had some great odd music-related coincidences on summer trips, as well. As I giddily drove over the horizon on my summer journey to New York City to intern for several months with an editor and caught my first glimpse of the always jaw-dropping skyline of Manhattan, the dance remix version of "Miles Iz Dead" by personal hometown heroes of mine, The Afghan Whigs, just happened to come on the terrestrial radio station to which we were listening. It would be the no-brainer soundtrack selection had it been a scene in the movie of my life.

My vacation from which I just returned, a trip to the deepest-south Alabama, was filled with several interesting coincidences, all related to a single, singular musical icon, a fascinating man I learn more about every day.

I only connected the dots when I got home. Had my memorial trail actually been evident to me as I journeyed along, I would have explored more, to connect even more dots.

As it stands, it was a fun if inadvertent adventure, even in hindsight. An accidental pilgrimage of sorts.

Gradually, I pieced together evidence Hank Williams spirit-guided me on my recent trip:

1) Drove through Butler County, Ala., and saw signs for Mount Olive, birthplace of Hiram Hank Williams, as I later discovered.

2) Drove past Montgomery twice, where Hank cut his teeth and launched his career.

3) Drove a stretch of highway officially dubbed the "Hank Williams Memorial Lost Highway."

4) Admired the massive shipyards along the bay in Mobile, where Hank worked during World War II.

5) Held in my hands the heavy vinyl version of the The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams (2011) compilation in the building headquarters of the record company that released it (Third Man Records in Nashville).

6) Nearly bought a weird old Hank Jr./Hank Sr. split LP at another Nashville record shop and walked past Roy Acuff's record store (where the above photo was apparently taken).

7) Touched and was awestruck by the grandeur of God's Own Listening Room, the Ryman Auditorium, home to the Grand Ole Opry when Hank performed there (and was later banned for life).

8) Roamed Broadway and the alley beside the Ryman where I am fairly certain Hank once frolicked pre- and post-gigs.

9) Walked by the current Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Hank was among the first three artists to be inducted in the Hall's first class of inductees in 1961.

10) Returned to work this morning, seated four floors above where Hank Williams recorded "Lovesick Blues," a crossover smash that cemented Hank's status as a superstar, as well as "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and other classics.

There's a piano down there Hank probably played when he was in town. I think I'd like to go down there, tickle those ivories and see if Hank's ghost wants to hang out and chat for a while.

I do believe these are all merely fun coincidences. Maybe it was all subconsciously strung together to help keep my sobriety in check. Hank's a musical hero of mine, but not a role model. He's a cautionary tale; I am an alcoholic who would likely have met a similar tragic fate as Hank's had I not stopped boozing.

Sometimes great vacations can take you down more than just literal new paths.

But if Hank is my life journey's Sherpa, I'm more than ready. I only insist that he doesn't drink while we're driving; that shit's frowned upon nowadays. And it didn't end well last time.

 
 
by mbreen 12.12.2008
Posted In: Music Commentary at 12:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Grammys Better But Still Pretty Sucky

Let me start by saying that I know complaining about the Grammys is about as effective as complaining about Grandma’s driving at night. And I know it’s about as tired as bitching about people driving while talking on their cell phone.

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