What should I be doing instead of this?
by Mike Breen 10.16.2014
Posted In: Local Music, Live Music at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ten for 10: Phratry Records Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Ten songs from the Phratry catalog in honor of the Cincinnati label’s two-night anniversary celebration this weekend

Though the traditional 10th anniversary gift is tin or aluminum (WTF?), a more fitting present for the Cincinnati label Phratry Records to congratulate it on its 10th year of service is your attendance at this weekend’s two-night Phratry showcase at Newport’s Southgate House Revival.  Local musician Jerry Dirr (Knife the Symphony) launched the label in 2004 with the release of the debut album by Cincinnati’s Caterpillar Tracks. Since then, the label has put out around 50 releases, which are distributed nationally by Stickfigure Distribution & Mailorder.Friday and Saturday’s anniversary showcase will feature a mix of Phratry signees (both local and out-of-towners), reunions and special guests. Here’s the lineup info from my Spill It column in this week’s CityBeat:Friday night, the Phratry showcase will present non-Cincinnati signings Ultrasphinx (Akron, Ohio), Tyranny is Tyranny (Madison, Wisc.) and The Shanks (Toronto), plus currently active local Phratry bands Mad Anthony and Gazer. Friday will also see the return of Covington and thistle, whose own Tiberius Records teamed up with Dirr just as Phratry was getting started to release the compilation album Organelle. It will be thistle’s first show in three years. Friday’s lineup is rounded out by Indie Folk artist A.M. Nice, Reggae/Rock crew New Third Worlds, a reunion of former local Punk favorites Saturday Supercade and Jonathan Lohr & the Angel Shale, an AltCountry project that features former members of Caterpillar Tracks (whose debut album was Phratry’s first release).Dirr’s own band Knife the Symphony plays the Phratry showcase Saturday, joined by one of the label’s most recent local signees Smoke Signals …, the hard-touring Ampline, progressive Post Punk/Metal band Mala in Se, State Song (which released the spectacular full-length Sleepcrawling earlier this year on the label) and blistering Punk group Swear Jar. Also performing Saturday are Pittsburgh-based Ed fROMOHIO, the former singer/guitarist of Mike Watt’s post-Minutemen band fIREHOSE whose more recent band Food records for Phratry, experimental unit Aperiodic and Heevahava, a former Greater Cincinnati band now based in Roanoke, Va. Saturday also features a pair of reunion shows local Punk fans should be pretty psyched about; both East Arcadia (which included/includes members of Phratry band Arms Exploding) and The Scrubs will reactivate their wonder-twin powers for the event. In honor of Phratry’s 10th birthday, I’ve selected 10 of my favorite tracks from the label’s output so far. I hesitate to call these Phratry’s “greatest hits,” because everything the label puts out is excellent, but these tracks should give you a good idea of what the imprint is all about. You can peruse the entire catalog of available Phratry releases here. Caterpillar Tracks - “Slippery Slope” from Scrape the Summer (2007) Scrape The Summer by Caterpillar Tracks thistle - “Ribbons” from The Small Hours (2008) The Small Hours by thistle Humans Bow Down - “The White Sun” from A Mirror (2004) Mad Anthony - “Sank for Days” from Sank for Days (2014) Tyranny is Tyranny - “Manufacturing Truth” from Let It Come From Whom It May (2013) Let It Come From Whom It May by Tyranny Is Tyranny State Song - “Skeleton Key” from Dear Hearts & Gentle People (2010) Dear Hearts & Gentle People by State Song Ampline - “Our Carbon Dreams” from You Will Be Buried Here (2010) You Will Be Buried Here by AMPLINE Knife the Symphony - “Rusted Satellites” from Dead Tongues (2009) Dead Tongues by Knife The Symphony Arms Exploding - “Race Card Driver” from Ruminari (2008) Ruminari by Arms Exploding Gazer - “A Nurse for a Human” from Fake Bulbs (2014) Fake Bulbs by GAZER

Whatever Will Be, Will Be

Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery try not to make too many plans for R. Ring

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 29, 2012
In musical parlance, "organic" describes a process free from self-conscious overthinking and blueprinted deliberation, resulting in a pure, unplanned outcome. That is exactly how Ampline/thistle guitarist Mike Montgomery and Breeders guitarist/vocalist Kelley Deal formed their powerful acoustic-based duo R. Ring.   
by Emily Maxwell 03.16.2012
Posted In: Local Music, SXSW, Live Music at 01:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

SXSW 2012: R. Ring Makes SXSW Debut

Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery of R. Ring rock Austin for the first time

Kelley Deal of The Breeders and Mike Montgomery of Greater Cincy bands like thistle and Ampline debuted their newest project to eager SXSW crowds Thursday and successfully left them craving more.Deal (from Dayton, Ohio) and Montgomery (from Dayton, Ky.) formed R. Ring about a year and a half ago. Even though they have yet to release a record, the group attracted a substantial crowd to Frank's on Colorado Street, despite the fact that hundreds were waiting in line to see Tenacious D next door.Earlier in the day R. Ring played at the DOWN showcase, which was a collaborative effort between Jason Snell, of the Cincinnati bands Chocolate Horse and Ohio Knife, and the local branch of design firm Landor. R. Ring charmed the crowds not only with their performance, but also with their wit and gentle demeanor.Before the show, I managed to snag an interview with the pair inside their van. Below is what Deal, a SXSW veteran, and Montgomery, a first time attendee, had to say about the festival.CityBeat: What do you think of SXSW compared to other music festivals?Kelley Deal: When I think "festival," I think like a main stage and over here's a secondary stage … I 'm used to it being in one kind of area, so It never feels like a festival here. It always just feels like a gig. I hear about all these fabulous things going on and I'm not from here so it seems like, yeah, I need to see this, but where is it? Mike even downloaded a SXSW app today. Mike, how to do you feel about that?Mike Montgomery: I haven't used it yet. I just asked one person a simple question — where's this band playing — and this guy said, "I don't know, fuck off, get the app," so I got the app. Neither one of us have looked at anything to do at SXSW yet. I just wanted to get here and figure it out as we went. I already feel overwhelmed, like there were a million bands and all this stuff happening. It feels like there's too much to think about, so I need to protect my brain as much as possible. CB: What's the best way for bands to approach the festival?KD: I prefer to get here and meander about instead of planning this rigid itinerary that you have to adhere to — that sounds like a job, not fun. The first thing we did was pull in and go to a knitting store, because I love to knit.MM: It's overwhelming, I looked at the app briefly. There were so many words … that I put it back in my pocket. CB: How does the scene in Cincinnati compare to a music town like Austin?KD: It does have this trailer-park feel, but all the good parts, like the camaraderie … it's got this very informal quality/type of living, in a way. I haven't seen big beautiful houses with people just showing wealth for no reason other than they have it. All the places we look at they're very cute houses and it seems like they value art.MM: (Cincinnati) is all I really know. I've been playing and working there for 20 years. You hear people bitch, "Oh, the local scene sucks," but get out there and go to another town, get out and travel. If you're only looking to play at your local club once a month, then it does get boring, it does get old and you play with all the same bands. But go to another city, meet some new bands and bring them home, get it going. I'm always impressed there's always new bands I've never heard of, there's always people doing stuff. It's inspiring that there's a lot of youthful energy and a constant supply of talent in the Cincinnati music scene — but everyone bitches about their hometown.KD: That's what we're saying about Austin, that's what they're good at — supplying that lifestyle for themselves. CB: What expectations do you have for SXSW? What do you hope to accomplish down here?KD: I don't know, what are they offering? Is someone offering some shit? It seems like any band you can ever think of is inside their box (at SXSW).MM: We have no expectations. We're here to have fun and play some shows. When I talk about feeling overwhelmed by the conference and bands, I feel like there's something in the air with people thinking this is going to be an advantageous career move or something like that. So that's what neither of us are excited about — that we're going to get something — but it's nice to see people doing stuff in different cities.  It's cool to see friends from home here, too. I was surprised to see so many guys from Cincinnati. CB: Would you come back to SXSW?MM: I'm not going to make it a life goal, but if someone invited us again, I'd definitely do it.

Rumors, Lies and General Misunderstandings

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Veteran Jazz musician Bruce Menefield formed the Omni Works Music organization to teach about Jazz via after-school programs around the city. He teams up with a local school that does recognize the intellectual importance of music education, Walnut Hills High School, for the first Omni Works Music All Star fundraising event Monday at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club. For the 7:30 p.m. event, Menefield and his Omni Works Music All Stars (which will include Mike Wade, Marc Fields and Billy Larkin) will be joined by the Walnut Hills High School Jazz Band.