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.
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.
Eclectic Cincinnati Reggae crew The Cliftones — one of the best Reggae outfits in the region — will be celebrating the release of their latest single, "Hold Steady," this Saturday with a show at Northside club Mayday. DJ Mowgli will also perform. Advanced tickets are available now for $7 here. The first 100 people through the door will receive a free download card giving access to the single.
Like the band's previously released single — "Hard Ground," released in January — The Cliftones once again have some legendary ears/mixing fingers involved with "Hold Steady." "Hard Ground" was mixed in D.C. by Jim Fox, who has worked with icons like Black Uhuru, Gregory Isaacs, Barrington Levy and Culture. For "Hold Steady," DJ Prophecy (known for work with Bassnectar and Glitch Mob) handled the mixing, while Dub legend Scientist handled mastering duties.
Here's the exclusive stream of "Hold Steady":
Cincinnati-bred, Brooklyn-based Indie Rock group The National has revealed the tracklisting and album cover for its forthcoming Trouble Will Find Me, due out on the 4AD label May 21. The album — The National's sixth — is just a part of a slew of activity on the horizon for the band.
A few weeks ago it was announced that The National would perform at the Tribeca Film Festival, where the road documentary Mistaken For Strangers will also premiere (on April 17). The flick was made by Tom Berninger, a Cincinnatian and lead singer Matt Berninger’s younger brother. Tom — who's called a "Heavy Metal and horror movie enthusiast" in the press materials — toured with The National as a first-time roadie and brought a camera along. The film will also screen at the NXNE fest in Toronto in late April/early May.
After the album release, of course, The National begin globe-trotting, touring the planet — including a sold-out headlining show at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and a slot at the Bonnaroo fest in Tennessee.
Here are details from the press release:
Trouble Will Find Me, The National’s new album will be released on 4AD on May 20th & 21st. This is the sixth studio album for the Brooklyn band, and follows 2010’s critical and commercial success High Violet. The album is the most self-assured collection of songs produced by The National in its 14-year career. In an interview with UK’s UNCUT Magazine, front man Matt Berninger described the songs as more “immediate and visceral” than their previous work. Trouble Will Find Me possesses a directness, a coherency and an approachability that suggests The National are at their most confident. The album will be available digitally, on disc, on 180gram vinyl and in a limited edition deluxe boxed vinyl version.
After a 22-month tour following the release of High Violet the band returned home. Regardless of plans to wait to record new music for another year or two, guitarist Aaron Dessner began working on sketches of new songs that the other members were too inspired by to not fully realize. Matt confesses, “For the past ten years we’d been chasing something, wanting to prove something. And this chase was about trying to disprove our own insecurities. After touring High Violet, I think we felt like we’d finally gotten there. Now we could relax—not in terms of our own expectations but we didn’t have to prove our identity any longer.” The results are simultaneously breakthrough and oddly familiar, the culmination of an artistic journey that has led The National both to a new crest and, somehow, back to their beginnings—when, says Aaron, “our ideas would immediately click with each other. It’s free-wheeling again. The songs on one level are our most complex, and on another they’re our most simple and human. It just feels like we’ve embraced the chemistry we have.” The album was recorded at Clubhouse in Rhinebeck, NY. Trouble Will Find Me was self-produced and mixed by Craig Silvey with additional mixing from Peter Katis and Marcus Paquin.
In advance of the release, the documentary Mistaken For Strangers will premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival as the festival opener on April 17th. The film, directed by Tom Berninger, follows The National on its biggest tour to date. Newbie roadie Tom (lead singer Matt Berninger’s younger brother) is a heavy metal and horror movie enthusiast, and can’t help but put his own spin on the experience. Inevitably, Tom’s moonlighting as an irreverent documentarian creates drama on the road. The film is a touching look at two very different brothers and an entertaining story of artistic aspiration.
Following the May 21st release of Trouble Will Find Me, The National will embark on a world tour. Highlights include Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Bonnaroo Arts & Music Festival, the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and Red Rocks Amphitheater. Tickets are on sale for most shows announced to date and more shows will be announced soon.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL
Formed in 1999, The National consists of vocalist Matt Berninger fronting two pairs of brothers: Aaron (guitar, bass, piano) and Bryce Dessner (guitar), and Scott (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums). Their first full-lengths, The National and Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers, and a crucial mini-album, Cherry Tree, preceded their signing to Beggars Banquet in 2004. Alligator (2005), included underground anthem “Mr. November,” and raised their profile as the National grew into an incendiary live band. Boxer (2007), featuring songs like “Fake Empire”, “Mistaken For Strangers” and “Start A War,” sold over three times as many copies as its predecessor. The National's 2010 release, High Violet sold over 600,000 copies and was widely recognized for its critical and commercial success around the world. Both individually and collectively The National’s members have been involved in countless artistic, charitable and socio-political pursuits.
TRACK LISTING- Trouble Will Find Me
1). I SHOULD LIVE IN SALT
3). DON’T SWALLOW THE CAP
5). SEA OF LOVE
7). THIS IS THE LAST TIME
10). I NEED MY GIRL
12). PINK RABBITS
13). HARD TO FIND
5/16: State Theater Ithaca, NY
5/26: Boston Calling/ City Hall Plaza Boston, MA
6/05: Barclay's Center Brooklyn, NY
6/06: Merriweather Post Pavilion Columbia, MD
6/07: Mann Center for Performing Arts Philadelphia, PA
6/08: The National Richmond, VA
6/10: Red Hat Amphitheatre Raleigh, NC
6/11: Stage AE Pittsburgh, PA
6/13: Lachine Canal Montreal, Canada
6/14: Yonge Dundas Square Toronto, Canada
6/15: The LC Pavilion Columbus, OH
6/13-16: Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival Manchester, TN
6/21: Hurricane Festival Scheessel, Germany
6/22: Southside Festival Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany
6/25: Cirque Royal Brussels, Belgium
6/28: Live At The Marquee Cork, Ireland
6/30: Parco Della Musica Rome, Italy
7/01: City Sound Festival Milan, Italy
7/02: Salata Zagreb, Croatia
7/14: Bunbury Music Festival Cincinnati, OH
8/06: Roy Wilkins Auditorium St. Paul, MN
8/10: Greek Theatre Los Angeles, CA
9/17: Red Rocks Amphitheater Morrison, CO
For more information visit: http://www.americanmary.com/
Elementz, which uses the Hip Hop arts to engage local inner-city youth, is celebrating its eighth anniversary this Thursday with a special “open house” reception at the organization’s headquarters (1100 Race St., Over-the-Rhine) beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The event will feature numerous performances by artists who have been involved with and benefited from the Elementz program, from Hip Hop and R&B musicians to poets, street artists and dancers.
Advanced tickets are $10 (it's $12 at the door), which will go to help fund the center’s programming. Last year’s anniversary celebration drew around 300 people, according to elementz.org, where you can also find more info on the center and purchase advanced tickets. Elementz will be selling youth memberships for half off Thursday — for teens (13-18), a one-year membership can be obtained for $10; those 19-24 can join for just $20 a year.
Here's a quick video press release for the open house/party: