by Mike Breen
• Death Grips is a primal force of nature that seems built
to subvert. Entering the world of this Sacramento-based experimental
Hip Hop trio — frontman Stefan “MC Ride” Burnett,
keyboardist/programming guru Andy “Flatlander” Morin and drummer Zach
Hill — is akin to being trapped in a demented, all-immersive video game
designed and conceived by Harmony Korine and Charles Manson. Strap in
for a wild, sensory-altering ride.
Death Grips' full-length debut, The Money Store — somewhat improbably released by the bigwigs at Epic Records in April of last year —
is a dense, claustrophobic head-trip marked by Burnett’s rapid-fire
raps, most of which are hard to discern amid the clanging sonic assault
that surrounds him.
The Bomb Squad’s Public Enemy heyday is an obvious
touchstone, as is any number of far lesser known art-damaged outfits. A
glance at the lyric sheet confirms the workings of a paranoid mind. Try
this from “The Fever (Aye Aye)”: “Blade cut me/Sewer drain
grated/Bubonic plague/Spreaded faceless/Lurking in the deadest spaces.”
The Money Store is challenging, fully-realized stuff, which makes the details of its follow-up, No Love Deep Web,
released six months later, another fascinating wrinkle in the ongoing
Death Grips narrative. The trio dropped the sonically spare (for these
guys) album as a free download after Epic balked at releasing it so soon
after The Money Store. The label supposedly hadn’t even heard
the finished “product.” Then there’s the fact that the cover art
features a photo of Hill’s erect penis with the album’s title written on
it in black magic marker.
And now for the only obvious development in Death Grips’
creative trajectory to date: They have since parted ways with Epic.
(Preview by Jason Gargano)
Death Grips performs tonight downtown at the Ballroom at
the Taft Theatre. Ratking opens at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the
Here's a video clip for Death Grips' "I've Seen Footage," from The Money Store.
• Josh Tillman is a funny, hyper-articulate guy with an
absurdist streak that makes itself readily apparent in interviews and
between-song live-show banter. Yet you wouldn’t know it by listening to
the seven solo albums he put out as J. Tillman from 2004 to 2010, all of
which were pretty serious-minded, sonically straightforward affairs in
the mold of the folkies he once supported as an open act: Damien Jurado
and Richard Buckner.
“When I was 21 I wanted to be (seen as) a 40-year-old
alcoholic trucker,” Tillman said of his early, vanity-driven persona in a
recent interview with KEXP.
Enter Father John Misty, a moniker/conceptual shift that
seems to have unlocked the 32-year-old
singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist’s playful side. FJM performs
tonight at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley. Showtime is 8 p.m. and
tickets are $17 at the door.
The new outfit’s 2012 debut for Sub Pop, Fear Fun,
is a musically diverse gem, moving from the lilting Folk of “Funtimes in
Babylon” to the lush Pop gold of “Nancy From Now On” to the atmospheric
rocker “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” with seamless grace.
The affecting album-closer “Everyman Needs a Companion”
brings to mind a meld of the criminally underappreciated Grant Lee
Buffalo and the kinda over-praised Fleet Foxes (for whom, curiously,
Tillman was the drummer from 2008 to 2011). Best of all is the
rollicking, twang-infested ditty “I’m Writing a Novel,” which features
some of Tillman’s most inspired word play and impassioned singing.
Then there’s Tillman’s “performance” as Misty, which takes
on a whole new dimension in a live setting. With his lanky frame,
handsome, bearded face and slithery-hipped dancing, he conjures Jim
Morrison as lounge singer — which, believe it or not, is a good thing.
(Preview by Jason Gargano)
Here is the video for "Funtimes in Babylon."
Opening the show is Pure Bathing Culture. The upstart two-piece (and, when live, four-piece) —
led by old friends, romantic partners and Vetiver members Sarah
Versprille and Daniel Hindman — filled the genre box on its Facebook
page with “New Age/Slow Dance/Adult Contemporary/Spiritual.” Though it
could be a joke on the band's part, the connection makes sense.
“Pendulum” — a track off PBC's debut full-length Moon Tides — has the pretty reverb and general je ne sais quoi of
an Indie Pop song, but its soothing lyrics about swinging like a
pendulum and downbeat, sunset-on-a-beach vibe also reflect the band
potentially using New Age as a legit influence.
By the time of Moon Tides’ release in late August,
when the band leaders are doing the press rounds, hopefully someone will
think to ask about this link and close the case for good. (Preview by
Here is PBC's video for "Pendulum."
Find even more live music options in Greater Cincinnati today/tonight here.
by Mike Breen
If you're craving some solid live music, it's a surprisingly busy Monday night in the area clubs. Besides the always entertaining Insane Clown Posse's return to Bogart's tonight, here are a few other offerings:• Los Angeles-based The Lonely Wild plays a free show tonight at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. Showtime is 10 p.m. The Indie Folk ensemble formed just three short years ago, quickly becoming a favorite on the L.A. club circuit. The group's momentum has only increased since; the Wild's recently released debut full-length, The Sun As It Comes, has been garnering strong reviews and national radio's embrace of it gets stronger by the day. The band is also known for its entertaining, energized live show, which is helping The Lonely Wild grow its fan base rapidly on its current cross-country headlining tour. Read CityBeat's preview of tonight's show here. Have a listen to The Sun As It Comes in full:And here is The Lonely Wild performing live in L.A. late last year:• It's an "Up-and-coming Indie Folk band" kind of night in Cincy this evening, as The Comet in Northside welcomes Denver crew Paper Bird. Austin, Texas-based Indie folkers Dana Falconberry open at 10 p.m. With an exuberant, modern mesh of Roots and Americana, Paper Bird recently released its fourth LP, Rooms, the follow-up to its 2011 score for a collaboration with the Ballet Nouveau Colorado called Carry On. The seven-piece band's compelling sound has gotten Paper Bird featured on NPR's All Things Considered and in a New York Times piece earlier this year about Denver's blossoming music scene (which includes breakthrough, Grammy-nominated Folk Pop act The Lumineers, a tour mate of Paper Bird's). Here's the music video for "As I Am," the first single off of Paper Bird's Rooms:• Justin Furstenfeld, known for his emotional, honest songwriting in the band Blue October, brings his solo tour — dubbed "Open Book: An Evening with Justin Furstenfeld" — to Oakley's 20th Century Theatre tonight for an 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $25 at the door. Texas Indie Pop singer/songwriter Ashleigh Stone opens.Furstenfeld's bipolar disorder has resulted in some highly open-hearted, sometimes excruciatingly bleak songs, something documented in his book, Crazy Making, detailing the origins of each Blue October song in words and music. The Open Book tour features Furstenfeld performing acoustically and talking about his songs (don't fear a total gloom fest; the singer/songwriter also has a sharp sense of humor). Check out CityBeat's preview of tonight's show here. Here is Furstenfeld performing live at the Open Book tour's stop in Santa Ana, Calif., from early April: Click here for even more live show in Greater Cincinnati tonight.
by Mike Breen
After recently completing 14-year weekly residency at The Mad Frog, Tropicoso goes monthly
Latin/Salsa supergroup Tropicoso ended its 14-year-plus, every-Monday-night residency at Corryville club The Mad Frog back in January. But fear not Latin music and Salsa dancing lovers. Tonight you can catch the band’s first date of a new residency at the club. (Read more about the Monday night finale here.) Starting this evening, Tropicoso will now play The Mad Frog the second Friday of every month (date in flier to the left). The shows are open to fans 18 and up and admission is $7. Doors open at 8 p.m. For more on Tropicoso visit tropicosomusic.com.Check out this interview with Tropicoso from the eve of its 11th anniversary celebration at the Frog.Here a clip of Tropicoso filmed when the group performed at the 2007 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards so you can start getting your groove going a little early before heading out tonight.
by Mike Breen
This week, local music fans can check out four brand-new musical projects live
Last Friday at Bogart's, CityBeat and the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards presented a showcase featuring some of the best new local bands of 2012. (Check out some pics from the event here.) This coming week, four brand-new acts (featuring musicians from other established groups) will be playing their first shows ever. Here's a round-up of the new bands (possible nominees for next year's CEAs?) debuting. • Joey Cook of Indie Pop greats Pomegranates has a new solo project called Danny and His Fantasy. Cook — who also headed up the side project Firs and has done a few solo shows with friends and bandmates — leaked the great track below via YouTube a couple of weeks ago. The piano-laden track "Too Out of Touch" is a great slice of dancey and wonderfully melodic Pop, highlighted by Cook's soulful falsetto, that wouldn't be out of place on an of Montreal record. Danny and His Fantasy's debut show is this Friday at Mayday in Northside. Cook will be joined at the free show by Phil Cogley, the Indie Pop maestro from Columbus who performs under the name The Saturday Giant. Cogley's been making waves from our state's capitol, recently earning a slot on Columbus Alive's annual list of "Bands to Watch" for 2013. Locals Speaking Suns also perform.• Also Friday, Pop Goes the Evil plays its first live show. The new crew debuts at MOTR Pub, playing a free show with Indiana rockers Left Lane Cruiser. Pop Goes the Evil is fronted by singer/guitarist Lucas Frazier, formerly of the popular, kick-ass local Rock outfit The Dukes Are Dead. The new group — rounded out by drummer Jordin Goff (also of The Yugos) and bassist Evan Roberts (organist for heavy local band Grey Host) — has issued a couple of great music videos, showcasing a swaggering, energized Pop/Rock sound that's not chasing any trends, opting instead for a more timeless appeal. Here's the second single from Pop Goes the Evil, "Golden Apple." Pop Goes the Evil "Golden Apple" Official Music Video from POP GOES THE EVIL on Vimeo.• Ian Gullett from the great Electro/Indie act Diet Audio is back with a new Electronic project called Photo Electric. Teaming with talented vocalist Cassie Mullen, the duo issued a three-song teaser EP called Boom on Bandcamp for free download. Mullen's crafty, sweeping melodies and seductive vocals combine with Gullett's backdrop of evocative Electronic soundscapes, with intriguing beats, ethereal-to-noisy guitar and an overall ghostly ambiance. Click here to download the EP and check out the duo's first video, for their tune "Tom," below. Photo Electric's debut live performance is Saturday at Newport's Southgate House Revival. The band performs with local Electronic band Playfully Yours and Lexington act SHOZO. Showtime is 9 p.m. and cover is $5 ($8 for those 18-20). The band is asking fans to shoot video at the debut show and send it their way for a planned music video (click here for details). Photo Electric is currently finishing up their debut album. • Tuesday, Jan. 29, at The Comet in Northside, as part of Electronic duo You, You're Awesome's residency at the club, you can check out one of the first shows by Halvsies. The band spawned from a collaboration between YYA's Yusef Quotah and vocalist (and CityBeat contributor) Maria Seda-Reeder, whose voice floats on the same wavelength as Marianne Faithful, Marcy Mays and Hope Sandoval. Halvsies' first EP, Words + Music, showcases the group's eclectic sound, a somewhat trippy brand of Indie Rock with Garage/Nuggets flourishes. Quotah and Seda-Reeder are joined by Stephen Streit (formerly of The Host) on bass and Ohio Knife's Joe Suer on drums. Here's "Stronger Than Teflon" from the debut EP:<a href="http://halvsies.bandcamp.com/track/stronger-than-teflon">Stronger Than Teflon by Halvsies</a>Halvsies plans to release two more EPs over the next few months.
by Mike Breen
Slanted Indie Pop crew Maps & Atlases formed in 2004 and, in 2010, released its breakthrough LP Perch Patchwork, the Chicago quartet's debut for the esteemed Barsuk label. Since Patchwork, the band has spent tons of time touring, which has included several dates in the Cincinnati area. The band's compelling latest release, Beware and Be Grateful, was issued by Barsuk last spring and is perhaps the finest example of the group's dynamic sound yet. M&A's sound is uniquely layered and structured, full of subtle, unexpected outbursts and song twists, yet still overflowing with magnetic melodies and spine-tingling harmonies. The band performs tonight at Oakley's 20th Century Theatre with like-minded locals Archer's Paradox, who are readying for the release of their debut album a little later this year. Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are $15. Here's the video for "Remote & Dark Years" from the latest M&A album.• The end of The Grateful Dead, with Jerry Garcia’s 1995 death, didn’t do much to squash the band’s incredible popularity. To satiate some of that Dead thirst, various members from throughout Garcia’s and the Dead’s history have brought the legendary band’s spirit to that huge fan base on a fairly regular basis. Two Dead-affiliated artists have been sitting in with Chicago-based jammers Terrapin Flyer for the past few years for shows and tours. The band will be joined by Melvin Seals, who played Hammond B3 organ with the Jerry Garcia Band for 15 years, and Mark Karan, who played guitar with the post-Dead band The Other Ones and Bob Weir’s Ratdog, when they swing through Stanley’s Pub tonight for a 10 p.m. performance. Tickets are $20.Here's some footage of the collaboration from last March, doing a version of Dylan's "Maggie's Farm," a Dead fave.• Over a decade ago, Minnesotans Paul Sprangers and Scott and Evan Wells were integral parts of Hockey Night, a wildly eclectic Indietronic outfit that blended the lo fi Rock and snarky humor of Couch Flambeau with a next generation love of Electronica, Hip Hop and mad crazy sampling (remember "Battlestar Scholastica" from their 2002 debut Rad Zapping and "For Guys Eyes Only" from their 2005 swan song Keep Guessin'?). The band's ugly dissolution would have beaten the musical aspirations from lesser men, but Sprangers and the Wellses were made of sterner stuff and, after a brief hiatus, tapped drummer Nicholas Shuminsky to form Free Energy in 2008.Free Energy, now based in Philadelphia, exploded into the wider consciousness when LCD Soundsystem¹s James Murphy produced the band's debut album Stuck on Nothing in 2010, causing UK music magazine NME to erroneously tout them as Murphy's new band. While patently false, the claim focused an extraordinary amount of attention on Free Energy and Stuck on Nothing; Spin and Rolling Stone cited the album and band among the year's best. With their just-released sophomore album Love Sign, Free Energy (now also featuring guitarist Sheridan Fox) reinforces and expands their new musical direction, a Classic Rock/New Wave Pop hybrid that enthusiastically references everything from The Cars to The Outfield to Cracker with equal amounts of affection and adrenaline. And in familiar ’60s Pop/Motown fashion, "Electric Fever," the album's infectious first single — originally leaked 10 monthsago — is the lead track on Love Sign. Free Energy might not be breaking any new ground but they go over the old territory with an ass-kicking intensity.The band plays at Newport's Southgate House Revival tonight with Sweatheart and Homemade Drugs. Showtime is 9 p.m. and tickets are $8 at the door. (Preview by Brian Baker)Click here for even more live music options tonight in Greater Cincinnati.
After gradual chart success, Ed Sheeran straps in for a potentially epic 2013
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Writing since his teen years, 21-year-old singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran became a star in the U.K. in 2011. His U.S. success picked up in earnest last year and now Sheeran appears to be on the verge of becoming a household name in the States.
by Mike Breen
Two free shows tonight showcase the many ways artists are experimenting with Americana music
• Combining some of the idiosyncrasies of modern Indie Folk with uplifting Pop melodies, Chamber music arrangements and an Americana grab-bag of various other influences, the trio Plume Giant makes a glorious noise that is buoyed by the clever, collaborative songwriting, as well as the trio’s vocal chops, which add a slanted, colorful layer to the group’s sound via frequent and flawless harmonies. The threesome — which formed after meeting each other while attending Yale — makes this glorious noise with fairly spare acoustic instrumentation (Oliver Hill plays guitar guitar and viola, Nolan Green plays guitar and harmonium and Eliza Bagg plays violin, harmonium and various other instruments). But the sound of the group’s recent debut full-length, Callithump, is full-bodied and far from minimalistic. On the dynamic 2012 release, the trio explores traditional Appalachian music, swingin’ Jazz, Tin Pan Alley pomp and breezy Folk Pop, but all of it is filtered through Plume Giant’s distinctive vision, with hints of the avant-garde beneath the inescapable harmonies and lovely aura. The now Brooklyn-based trio performs a free show tonight in Over-the-Rhine at MOTR Pub with like-minded Cincinnati-based Chamber Folk ensemble The Happy Maladies. Showtime is 9 p.m. Here is Plume Giant's smile-inducing "We Got It Made" video from their debut LP, followed by The Happy Maladies' "New Again," taken from The Emery Sessions live music video series. The Maladies' song is the title track off their 2012 release, which was nominated for "Album of the Year" at the upcoming Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. • At the Southgate House Revival in Newport tonight, Indianapolis progressive Bluegrass group Flatland Harmony Experiment performs a free, 10 p.m. show in the venue's "Lounge." Formed just a couple of summers ago, FHE has toured the region regularly, found success on radio outlets and through online Bluegrass/Americana/Folk music channels and are seemingly on their way to becoming an even bigger presence on the national festival circuit (in June, the trio will compete at the 40th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition). The trio (Scott Nelson on upright bass, Kris Potts on Mandolin and Johnny Plott on banjo) uses the tools of traditional Bluegrass and the members clearly have a firm grasp on the music's rich history (not to mention some delicious chops and textured harmonies that'll send a shiver), but they let the songwriting go wherever their contemporary minds might take it. Fans of groups like Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon and The Infamous Stringdusters will love this Experiment. Last year, the string band released its debut full-length, On Our Way. Here's the album's "Secret in the Seams":Learn how to get your music heard at ReverbNation.comClick here for even more live music options in Greater Cincinnati tonight.
by Mike Breen
Indie rockers The Kickback come to MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine tonight for a free show. The band formed just a few years ago in Chicago, where brothers Danny (drums) and Billy (vocals/guitar) had relocated from South Dakota. So far, the band has put out just one release — the Kill Fee EP, a mix of live and studio cuts — but its shimmering, winding brand of Indie Pop is said to really come alive on stage; The Kickback's live show has been lauded by The Chicago Sun-Times and other outlets for its explosiveness, while Rolling Stone, You Ain't No Picasso and other pro listeners have heaped praise on Kill Fee. Fans of The Walkmen, The Strokes, French Kicks and Pomegranates will delight in The Kickback's slanted but rocking style. The Yugos (MOTR's Artist in Residency for October) also perform. Here's Kill Fee's great track, "Sting's Teacher Years."Kill Fee by The Kickback
Newly renovated OTR historical landmarks offer function, charm to MPMF.12
1 Comment · Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Dan McCabe’s been keeping a close eye on the
transformation of Over-the-Rhine’s Washington Park since last October. MidPoint Music Festival’s executive producer talks about the park and the renovated Emery Theatre becoming a part of the increasingly OTR-supportive fest.
by Mike Breen
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.