by Mike Breen
Music and more from the 10 new artists appearing at Saturday’s local music showcase at Bogart’s
Saturday at Bogart’s you’ll have a chance to see 10 of Greater Cincinnati’s finest up-and-comers as CityBeat presents the first “Best New Bands” showcase. The event coincides with our “Best New Bands” cover story, featuring profiles and info on all of the performers — grab a copy if you haven’t. Below is the lineup, which includes all six of the local acts nominated in the “New Artist of the Year” category and four other favorites, plus some audio/video previews to whet your appetite. Click the artists’ name to read CityBeat’s stories (and some great original photography) about each. The stories include links to the acts’ websites and more music. The doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday at Bogart’s and admission is just $5. Performers will be featured on two stages, so it will be non-stop music all night.7:30 p.m. Pop Goes the Evil 8 p.m. Molly Sullivan 8:30 p.m. Injecting Strangers <a href="http://injectingstrangers.bandcamp.com/album/nightmare-nancy">Nightmare Nancy by Injecting Strangers</a>9 p.m. ADM 9:30 p.m. Mardou 10 p.m. Austin Livingood 10:30 p.m. Archer's Paradox11 p.m. Little Lights 11:30 p.m. Tweens 12:15 a.m. Electric Citizen
ADM, Little Lights, Molly Sullivan and Injecting Strangers join CEA New Artist nominees at Best New Bands showcase
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Check out four more great new artists to watch in 2014 — ADM, Molly Sullivan, Little Lights and Injecting Strangers.
by Zohair Hussain
It was sometime back in September that I
stumbled upon the story of Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry, and her piece in The
Guardian about the unfortunate realities she faced as a female musician. Only days
later, I heard the stories of classical composers wearing their own diadems of
misogyny. All these forces were crumbling away at what I once believed to be
the most progressive industry we had at our hands.
With such revelations came a personal desire
for truth at a closer proximity. I honed in my lens and turned it on the state
of our own music scene, and the circumstances of female musicians in the Queen
I may have stumbled a bit the first time I saw Molly Sullivan perform. It could
have been the champagne. It could have been the wine. It could have been the
sheer, uprooting shock of such a sneakily sultry voice filling all the quiet
corners of a room.
It was 2011 and the setting was a birthday party at the neo-historic Marburg Hotel,
and local heroes Shadowraptr had just finished their set in the basement — a
lush and operatic performance of their usual brand of psychedelic Prog-Rock,
with Jazz sensibility. They didn’t disappoint with an expectedly raucous
presentation, and we didn’t back down as an ever energetic crowd. It was in a quiet
aftermath, among friends and fellows just as imbibed as our beer-soaked shirts,
that I wove my way through a hallway maze and sauntered into a living room with
an organ against its back wall. At its helm sat Molly Sullivan.
As she would come to tell me nearly three years later, “Going back to when I
first started playing out as a singer songwriter, I always felt this extreme
pressure and insecurity of being a female musician…whose music was tending to
be more on the delicate side of things, an emotionally driven side of things.
It required a little stillness from the crowd.”
But back looking back on that night in March 2011, stillness was inevitable.
Warm from wine and an approaching spring, the handful of us that sat in the
living room did so with an active passivity. But even as heads lolled against neighbors’
shoulders or against the walls at our backs, there was an intensity in every
pair of eyes that I glanced into; all were watching, focused, as Molly struck a
chord and then another, taking us through the coziest part of the evening with
two or three ballads of life, lovelorn.
It was an intimacy that couldn’t have escaped those of us even if it had tried,
and only a brief, drunken sampling of where Sullivan had started her story,
rising to the ranks of the recognized, respected and regaled. Before that, she
was front woman for the electronically infused No No Knots and a few months
after that, she would play out as a solo artist with a backing band, making a
stop at The Heights Music Festival and a New Year’s Eve show at the Southgate
House Revival in 2012, before a brief hiatus kept her choruses hushed.
Sullivan admits that a lot of the anxious cogs of her earlier years were
weighed on heavily by being a female musician in a primarily male-dominated
“I feel like it’s a lot
easier for men as artists,” Sullivan Says, “generally, because you have the
potential to be the heartthrob, and also it’s not necessarily a sissying thing
to go to for a guy. So I feel like there’s more of an audience inherently built
In the later months of 2013, however, she re-emerged, armed with a
loop-accentuated sound and a solo confidence that she speaks fondly of. Crafting
songs, sonically clad with vocal layering and solid to the string guitar work,
Sullivan took her one-woman symphony on the Cincinnati circuit, to high acclaim
— winning the solo artist bracket of FB’s local “Last Band Standing 2013”
battle of the bands, and earning herself a spot on one of the participating
MidPoint Music Festival stages.
Sullivan had dedicated time to playing earlier shows in spots she would
normally not perform, in venues and around crowds she would normally not
consider being her primary audience. She says she found new courage in taking
these risks. Though initially unsure about even participating in the event at
FB’s, Sullivan came to find her hesitation was unnecessary.
“I made some assumption about
the clientele there – it’s kind of known to be like a bro bar,” Sullivan
explains. “I was thinking, ‘They’re not gonna get my art.’ That ended up not
When asked about the
progression of her performance presentation, Sullivan says, “I think I’ve
actually come to learn — just by doing it when I’m in a bar and everybody is
silent — just like recognizing that there’s something captivating about the
simplicity and the emotion of being present with your songs. It’s a really
empowering thing when people are dedicated to listening and joining you in that
Sullivan also recognized the power of community, and the part that earnest
encouragement from within the Cincinnati scene played in her career as a
musician. One pillar in her support group is claimed by The Daughters of The
Midwest, an ensemble stage set of premier, female musicians dominating the
“I’ve definitely kind of
geared my energy towards being supportive of other female musicians,” Sullivan
says, “supporting Kelly (Fine), Mia (Carruthers), Maya (Banatwala). And now
that I’m back out there again, because of the support that I’ve been shown.”
“I think it’s a really powerful thing to have a female musician community to
support each other,” she continues. “And as soon as I got back into it, it made
it a lot easier to go with the flow and be excited for people wholeheartedly.”
And looking outside of the just the female musician community, Sullivan
vehemently recognizes the support of Cincinnati as a whole. Sullivan expresses
an appreciation for her time playing with The No No Knots, as well as the
support she received from the members of Cincinnati’s Marburg Collective. As
she explains, "There’s mostly positive reinforcement floating around. There’s
kind of this really solid to the earth community here that exists that wants to
She admits that what hides
outside of Cincinnati is what scares her most. We traded stories and
conversations about recent revelations of ignorance and misogynistic skeletons
in some of contemporary music’s most renowned scenes, tales of classical
composers saying woman have no place in conducting pieces.
Sullivan acknowledges being
weary of “the whole, big wide world,” with such possibilities floating around
in clouds of reality.
“Cincinnati scares me in its
own ways,” she says. “Almost what scares me more is beyond what’s Cincinnati,
just the competitiveness that can be fruitful if you’re successful in the game.
And I think part of me has been afraid of success, because with that success,
you know what’s gonna come: it’s gonna be that banter online, all those
anonymous people hemorrhaging bullshit…Why bother?”
Even with such uncertainty for outside markets, Sullivan exhibits an insight
and strength that propels her forward, even more so because of her
acknowledgements of the bad that can come with the good. She says she’s
learning to navigate her way around “the hemorrhaging bullshit.” Her awareness
of everything that can dampen an otherwise well lit stage is what makes her
voice so definitive on the conversation about the regressive mentality of
misogyny that can still exist in our present day music-scape.
There exists within Molly
Sullivan a partnership between community appreciation and individualistic
impetus. She acknowledges the power of community backing, saying it’s a “powerful
thing to have a female musician community to support each other.” And she recognizes
the groundwork that’s been laid out in years past.
“We’ve seen the rise of a few
female fronted bands come through,” Sullivan says, “and people are more willing
to be excited for that and support it.” (She cites the Seedy Seeds and Wussy as
pioneers for female musicianship.) Sullivan is aware of where we’ve been and
where we are. But what’s more, she’s ready to take us to where we need to be.
And she’s ready to do that with a self-made spirit.
“I’m getting to a point where I don’t give a fuck really,” Sullivan says.
It was with a new impetus
that she’s approached her musicianship. “I’ve grown stronger as a female
musician,” she says. “Now I’m just kind of like, well, if you don’t want to
listen to it then fuck you, you don’t have to be here. It took me a long time
to get to that point, and I still kind of have some insecurity about it. But
most of the time I’m just like, ‘Molly, grow a pair, get over it.’ ”
Sullivan also explains the intentionality behind her current solo-set
performances. Much in the same vein of playing in new venues, under possibly
uncomfortable lights, she exhibits a drive to explore her boundaries, and
expand past her limitations.
“I’ve chosen to do these
things by myself,” she says. “If I’m going to play with a band later, I need to
be OK playing solo first. It’s been really empowering, doing all of that.” She proves herself to be relentless and,
though hurt, unscarred by the outside forces of misinterpretation and
misogynistic pressures. It’s with a knowing, weathered paddle that she navigates these future streams. And
it seems she couldn’t be more pleased with the direction she’s headed.
“So far, it’s been really
lovely being back.” She takes a moment, at the end of our conversation, to
reflect out loud. “Would you look at that? I did that. And I don’t need anybody
else. I’m all about collaboration, but it’s really good to know that I don’t
need anybody. I’m capable.”
by Mike Breen
Cincinnati singer/songwriter stars in fourth video from the Queen City Project’s “MidPoint Sessions” series
So far, the videos released from The Queen City Project’s series of clips from The MidPoint Sessions (a day party that took place at the Art Academy during September’s MidPoint Music Festival) have showcased three great Ohio acts — Athens’ The Ridges (also the curators of the Sessions), Cincinnati’s The Happy Maladies and Columbus’ Indigo Wild. Today you can check out the final clip from the performances, this one featuring another Cincinnati artist — intriguing singer/songwriter Molly Sullivan. While the previous performances were acoustic, Sullivan strums an electric guitar and utilizes loops to create a haunting effect.
Click here for more about Sullivan. And you can see/hear her live this Thursday at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine as she opens for Lexington, Ky.’s Ancient Warfare, which also played this year’s MidPoint Music Festival. Find details on the free show here.
by Mike Breen
Queen City Project release first video from MidPoint Music Festival day party
Besides the official music showcases at September’s MidPoint Music Festival, the 12th annual fest featured the most (and best) “satellite events” in MPMF history. These “unofficial” happenings — ranging from “day parties” to various musical presentations, like the free performances at Findlay Market — greatly added to the electricity MPMF brought to Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. It showed what can happen when creative people get into the MPMF spirit and try to come up with clever ways to add to it.
Some of the best examples of this were found just off the MidPoint Midway area at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where programmers of the school’s gallery (with presenters Fotofocus) decided to run an exhibit of live music photography by area photographers called Reverberation: Capturing the Live Music Experience during the fest, to capitalize on all of the music lovers flooding the streets of OTR. (Click here to read CityBeat's feature about the exhibit.)Adding another layer of collaborative coolness to the proceedings was “The MidPoint Sessions,” intimate performances by four Ohio musical acts held at the photography exhibit on the Saturday afternoon of the festival. The great Athens, Ohio, Indie/Orchestral Folk ensemble The Ridges performed and curated the rest of the Ohio-centric lineup, which also included Cincinnati’s Molly Sullivan and The Happy Maladies, plus Columbus’ Indigo Wild. The MidPoint Sessions were filmed by The Queen City Project, a local organization that has set out to creatively document some of the interesting and unique things going on in contemporary Cincinnati. Here’s an entertaining, quick-cut look at MidPoint through QCP’s lens:
Queen City Project :: Midpoint Music Festival 2013 from the Queen City Project on Vimeo.And we are thrilled to be able to share QCP’s first video from The MidPoint Sessions, featuring The Ridges.
Queen City Project :: Midpoint Music Festival 2013 :: The Art Academy Sessions :: The Ridges from the Queen City Project on Vimeo.
Be sure to check CityBeat’s music blog every Friday over the three weeks as we unveil the rest of the Sessions series videos.
by Leyla Shokoohe
Ahhhh, MidPoint! I look forward to it every year. September, for this lady, holds promise, romance, intrigue and MPMF. I started my MPMF.13 off right: grabbed a baller parking spot right after work in front of Coffee Emporium, grabbed a baller iced Americano and grabbed my (you thought I was going to say baller? How presumptuous) press pass. I think I did say out loud to myself: Let's GOOOO.The first band I wanted to see was my pal Molly Sullivan at 8:15 p.m. at Japp's Annex. I had some time to kill, so I hung out on the Midway. Sidewalk Chalk was still grooving; they've got a rocking brass section, shimmery drums and soulful singers. I previously saw them on Fountain Square last year as part of the Indie Summer Series, and really enjoyed everything they had to offer. Great fun way to kick off MPMF. I wandered around the Midway for a bit, checking out the numerous box trucks that comprise the Box Truck Carnival presented by ArtWorks. The Midway itself is pretty awesome, easily accessible and kind of reminds me of a corral for progressively more intoxicated adults. I don't mean that in a derogatory way; I, too, enjoy consuming beer freely in the open on 12th Street. The Box Trucks this year held a lot of potential — I wrote about the Midway for the MPMF Guide in CityBeat a few weeks back, so I was well-briefed on what to expect. Well, kind of.The first truck I checked out was the Glam Rock Box Truck. Anyone who knows me is aware of the siren call the word "karaoke" holds, so of course I went in.The premise was great (for karaoke nerds like me), but box trucks just don't do karaoke justice, honestly. There are a number of songs to pick from, but not as many karaoke staples as one might expect. And for being called the Glam Rock truck, I didn't really see any Glam Rock hits on the list. The ladies running the truck seemed to be having a good time, though, so I did my best version of "Semi-Charmed Life" and went off to continue leading mine. I wandered around the Midway some more, stopping in the Short Order Poetry Box Truck, which was 19 kinds of adorable. You step inside the truck, get paired with a stranger who asks you random questions (hi Adam!) and then they'll create a poem, on a typewriter no less, just for you, ready in just about 10 minutes. Mine had a lot of death and blood and dream imagery, just how I like 'em. I listened to a few minutes of stand-up in the comedy Box Truck before heading to Lucy Blue's. I notoriously put off eating until I'm ravenous, so I decided to carb-up on pizza in preparation for the long night ahead. I met up with friends at Japp's and we ordered drinks and chatted before wandering to the Annex to hear Molly Sullivan. Every time I see Molly perform, I'm more and more impressed. She's really fleshed her sound out (the addition of friends on the drums and bass is the perfect complement to her singer/guitarist combo), and lots of people are noticing — she recently won the Last Soloist Standing contest at FBs, grand prize being a large cash sum. Molly's a charming vocalist; her voice is flexible and searching, and she's always been good at melancholy intonation. I heard a fresh version of "So It Goes" from the No No Knots days, and some of her newer material had an almost Jewel-when-she-still-had-a-snaggle-tooth quality to it. I really, really dug it. So did a number of other people — quite a dedicated following was there. I'd say Molly Sullivan's first solo show at MPMF was a great success. I had been planning all week to see Kurt Vile at Grammer's, but there was about half an hour before he was supposed to go on and I ran into my pal Caitlin, who told me the mythical history of Shuggie Otis. I was intrigued, so I walked with her to Washington Park. I still don't know how I feel about the fact that they've moved the stage to the permanent pavilion instead of in front of Music Hall; there's such a grandiosity to playing in front of that gorgeous building that just isn't matched by the pavilion — and I know there are lots of sad Instagram accounts crying right now — but I understand the convenience. We'll see how I feel about it tonight. Anyway. Shuggie Otis. Skyrocketed to fame by age 21 and receded into the abyss of obscurity? And then he joins David Byrne's label and comes back? Tell me more. Shuggie had a groovy Soul/Funk sound brought to life by a huge backing band, complete with a stellar saxophonist. Glad I caught a few minutes, but I was on a Kurt Vile MISSION, so I started the trek to Liberty Street and Grammer's.Well, by way of my car. I grabbed a jacket and was headed north, but as I walked by Below Zero Lounge, I heard a voice too great not to stop. If Ryan Adams and Adam Levine and the bearded lead singer from Maps & Atlases had an Asian baby, it would be St. Lenox. He was just plain awesome. I wanted to hang out with him, I wanted him to sing an album of lullabies, I wanted to stay for his whole set, but I'll be damned if I wasn't going to see Kurt Vile.I didn't see Kurt Vile. Whoever guessed that two paragraphs ago knows that my ominous overtone was poorly done. I got stopped again walking by MOTR, this time by Fort Shame from Columbus, Ohio. I feel like so many times when a woman is a lead singer of a rock outfit, the instinct is to compare her to another female vocalist, but it has to be one who's personality is somehow perceived as similar, or stylistically akin (and I do mean clothes, not just shredding), so I'm not going to compare Fort Shame's Sue Harshe to anyone, because I don't think that's fair and, honestly, it's a little reductive. I'm just going to say that she does credit to anyone singing Rock. And the band had a star saxophonist, which was super fun. I did hear via Twitter that Kurt Vile sang the word "yeah" for like fifteen minutes at the beginning of his set, so I said it a bunch to myself as I walked back to the Midway to hear Ha Ha Tonka and didn't feel too bad about it.The first time I saw Ha Ha Tonka was two (or three? who knows) Midpoints ago at The Drinkery. These guys have all gotten hair cuts since then, but they sound even better. They sound like what folky Rock cut with a raucous night of varying emotions that ends with hanging out with friends and beer staring at the river would sound like. You know the kind of night I'm talking about. They're just the tops. Tight and talented musicality and great stage presence is only topped by their impeccable four-part harmony. Just magnetic. Second or third time's the charm, gentlemen. I finished my night seeing Bleached at the Know Theatre, which last year held all the buzz bands I wished I'd been able to get inside and see (something about being "at capacity"), and I wasn't disappointed. Punk Rock girls with a guy drummer. Ramones cover. Misfits cover. I thoroughly enjoyed my attempt at head-banging AND the fact that these girls didn't try too hard. I feel like a lot of Punk-esque bands nowadays are all like "I AM PUNK! LOOK, SEE, I AM!" but Bleached was more like, "Fuck Punk. We're just Bleached." Own it, dudes.And then I walked back to my car and went home and passed right the heck out. I'll see ya at MPMF for round two tonight.
Plus, news on some of the many "unofficial" MPMF activities going down this week
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 25, 2013
It's MidPoint Music Festival week in Cincinnati! News on some of the festival's late-breaking additions, as well as a couple of the many "unofficial" MPMF events.
Members of Peter Adams' band and Happy Maladies tie themselves up
0 Comments · Monday, March 29, 2010
Like a bird, just follow the breadcrumbs. No No Knots' trail leads to four sharp, classically trained, College-Conservatory of Music junkies plus Molly Sullivan, one vivid vocalist. Call it Indie Rock or noisy Post Punk, but from Disco to carnival-style Electronic sounds, these tunes catapult into dirty Rock.