by Mike Breen
58 days ago
Cincinnati trio offers up a preview of its forthcoming 'The Violent Bear It Away' EP
Pop Empire first came together in 2009 as a duo. The group featured Henry Wilson, an audio engineer who worked on video sessions — like the cool one-shot live music video series, The Emery Sessions — with his father, renowned photographer Michael Wilson, and he has also done production and mastering work with Cincinnati acts like Aaron Collins, ADM and Shadowraptr. With Cameron Cochran (currently with The Midwestern Swing), the twosome released an EP and a full-length, 2011’s The Devil’s Party, before parting ways. But that was far from the end of Pop Empire. Singer/songwriter/bassist Wilson joined forces with guitarist Ryan Back and the pair release the Future Blues LP in 2014, showcasing the strengthening of the Blues-tinged Psych Rock sound for which Pop Empire has become known. The growth and evolution of Pop Empire continues as the band approaches the May release of a new EP, The Violent Bear It Away (the exact date is TBA). Now a trio with the addition of drummer Jake Langknecht, the group is in peak form, and the new tracks reflect the musical chemistry and potent live energy of the current configuration.“These songs were written through a collaborative process since we began playing in our current three-piece Garage Punk setup,” Wilson says about the forthcoming EP, which features four tracks and was recorded by Wilson and the band at their Northside practice space. Here is the premiere of the EP track, “Psyche,” a trippy, glammy strutter that brings to mind a blend of T Rex and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
by Mike Breen
Lunchtime Fountain Square event to feature local musicians playing Hank Williams tunes
Tickets for the forthcoming season at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park were put on sale this morning at 10 a.m. To celebrate, the Playhouse is hosting a lunchtime event on Fountain Square at noon featuring giveaways and other merriment, as well as a performance by a few excellent local musicians. Mark Utley, frontman for diverse Americana group Magnolia Mountain, Chris Cusentino (The Turkeys) and Cameron Cochran (Pop Empire, Jeremy Pinnell & the 55s) are slated to be on hand for the festivities this afternoon, performing a few songs from the remarkable songbook of Hank Williams. The performance is a tie-in to the Playhouse's forthcoming staging of Hank Williams: Lost Highway, a play that follows Williams' early career and starts in "the backwoods of Alabama and winds up at center stage of the Grand Ole Opry." Lost Highway — which features over 20 of Williams greatest tunes (including locally-recorded ones like "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry") — opens Nov. 3 and runs through Dec. 23. Click here for more info on this and all of the upcoming Playhouse performances for this season. (Meanwhile, it appears my karmic adventures with Hank will continue …)Utley's Magnolia Mountain recently debuted a brand new music video for its track "Bad For Me" off of the group's recent Town and Country album. Dig it …
by Mike Breen
Cool 'One Shot Music Video' project continues with Cincy duo Over the Rhine
We've written a bit in the past about the new film-meets-music "One Shot Music Video" series, beautifully shot, black-and-white short films of various local musical acts shot at the historic Emery Theatre (which is back in action as a functional venue this weekend). Shot by world renowned photographer Michael Wilson with audio help from the musical duo Pop Empire, the clips are filmed in one continuous take (thus the name). The project has started to take shape and is on a roll now. Pop Empire's Cameron Cochran reports that the series is now named for the venue — "The Emery Sessions" — and will be comprised of footage from 10 artists, all shot at the theater. It's a great way to not only spotlight local music, but also show off the theater in a great light.Wilson and Pop Empire have completed a couple of videos for Daniel Martin Moore for the first of the series. The second in the series is Over the Rhine (longtime compadres of Wilson's, who has shot OTR album covers and promo shots — including the one above — since the band's very beginning). OTR is familiar with the surroundings; the band played the "preview party" hosted by The Requiem Project which re-introduced the 100-year-old theater to locals late last year.Here's a clip of Over the Rhine's Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist performing "The Laugh of Recognition" from the twosome's latest album, The Long Surrender. (Click over to local blog Each Note Secure to check out another clip from the project.)Cochran also runs the all-free, all-digital "record label" The Recording Label, which has issued stellar recordings by The Kickaways, Vacation, Sacred Spirits and Pop Empire. He says working on "The Emery Sessions" inspired him to give the label a more local-specific name. The Recording Label is now called Cincinnati Recording Service. Click here for the new site.And here are a few words from Cochran on the Sessions and the label:If we are consuming light then sound is accompanied by sight. Many musical performers understand this concept and will incorporate a visual component to their audio performance. The idea behind the "One Shot Music Video" is to approach music from the opposite direction. The audience approaches the music from a visual perspective first because whether they know it or not the first performance they see is the photographer's. It is the photographer's eye that navigates them through the musical performance. The hidden live performance is the one done with the camera.The Emery Theatre was the perfect place to begin our exploration of this relationship between listening and watching live musical performances. Each musician we have recorded and that we are going to record have a love for this amazing space and understands what the Emery Theatre means to our great city of Cincinnati. It is perhaps our own experiences working in this theatre and the pride that has developed for our hometown of Cincinnati that inspired us to change the name of The Recording Label to Cincinnati Recording Service. This name change is also a tip of the hat to another person who loved his city as well as the power that American music has to bring people together, Memphis' very own Sam Philips.
by Jac Kern
Doug Stanhope, Swizzle Soiree and more arts, theater and music suggestions
Comedian Doug Stanhope is performing at Go Bananas in Montgomery nightly through Sunday. Known for his sharp tongue and boozy performances, Stanhope is a comedy giant. He has released a number of comedy CDs and DVDs, toured around the globe and recently played a seriously deep character in an episode of Louie. Expect plenty of foul-mouthed fun. Tonight's show is at 8 p.m. Find details here.Speaking of people who like to drink, tonight is our Swizzle Soiree, an annual celebration of the release of our bar guide. Head on over to PLAY downtown from 5:30-10:30 p.m. There will be free drink tickets and hors d'oeuvres from area restaurants, happy hour specials all night, music from Pop Empire and lots of giveaways — movie passes, shot glasses and two passes to Bonnaroo! Sign up to register and be present at 9 p.m. to win. It's gon' be fun. Check out the event on Facebook for more info.The Cincinnati Opera's Opening Gala takes place April 28, with an after-party at the Duke Energy Center. In preparation for this "Late Night in Charleston," Japp's is hosting a happy hour tonight. Preview the event, and help the Opera decide which signature cocktail (by none other than Molly Wellman) to serve next month. The party runs 6-9 p.m. Go here for details.Catie Curtis performs at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, Yonder Mountain String Band will be at Madison Theater and Ultraviolet Hippopotamus play The Mad Frog tonight. Find live music details here.Tonight in theater: Collapse at Know Theater, West Side Story at the Aronoff and Into the Woods at CCM. Find more recommended picks for tonight here.Before you leave for the night, set up that DVR for Delocated, Awake, 30 Rock and more Thursday television gems. Peep our TV column for details.
by Mike Breen
Local group closes out residency, releases clips from Emery Theatre video project
Local electronics-tinged Rock & Roll duo-turned-trio Pop Empire closes out its every-Tuesday residency at The Comet tonight with another free, 10 p.m. show. The band has been publicly evolving and busy as bees, adding a live drummer (which, as you'll see in the clips below, gives the band's sound a whole new dimension), working on a new album, running the free digital record label called The Recording Label and masterminding a cool new video project with internationally-acclaimed photographer Michael Wilson. The video project is a series of music clips featuring bands performing live, filmed in one continuous shot, without edits. Pop Empire filmed several songs for the project at the historic Emery Theatre (on the border of Over-the-Rhine and Downtown). Check out clips for "True Believer" and "The Chills" below (and click here to check out the rest). Pop Empire's music can also be heard in a new ad for Harley-Davidson. Check out the commercial featuring PE's "Some Fun" below.
Acclaimed singer/songwriter debuts Jeremy Pinnell and the 55's tonight at MOTR
The music he made with groups like The Light Wires, The Great Depression and The Brothers and the Sisters helped make singer/songwriter Jeremy Pinnell one of many local music fans' favorite songwriters. Pinnell's folksy songs were marked by his ability to convey — with an almost uncomfortable accuracy — the kind of dark, ominous emotions most people try to bury. His words, his melodies and especially his muttering yet soulful voice had that rare ability to effortlessly do what most writer's strive for their whole career — to make a deep connection with the listener that goes beyond a hummable hook or slick guitar solo and buries itself deep inside their conscience. Having practically every person who heard his songs immediately captivated wasn't enough to keep those projects together. Pinnell seemed to ride the waves of success each act experienced (on varying levels), then the band would break up before the project's full potential was reached. After another dry spell, Pinnell returns to the local stage tonight at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine for the live debut of his latest project, Jeremy Pinnell and the 55's. Once again, Pinnell has hooked up with some gifted collaborators to create more soul-stirring songs to shatter what's left of your fragile, blackened heart. The 55's reteams Pinnell with one of his earliest musical partners, Cameron Cochran (currently with Pop Empire). When they were 18, Cochran and Pinnell were pals playing Country songs together at their buddies' Punk Rock shows. Cochran says "The Voice" was already in place."He had that voice that would shut up a room," Cochran writes in a press release. "It didn't matter what the show was. He would open his mouth and everyone listened." The two went their separate ways eventually, but recently reconnected. Cochran is vague about the circumstances of their last project ending and this one beginning, saying only that it is a tale of "heartbreak, tragedy, love and redemption" worthy of a Country song. Indeed, the 55's sound is somewhere between AltCountry and Indie Folk, with the timelessness of those genres' precursors driving everything. The band is rounded out by drummer Chris Alley and bassist Ben Franks; Cochran adds spectral atmospherics with his pedal steel guitar work and hovering backing vocals. Some of the 55's material has come out via a handful of wonderful live videos shot by local photography superstar Michael Wilson. Below, check out one of the clips by Wilson, who is also working with Cochran on a series filming at The Emery Theater called "One Shot Music Videos" (referring to how Wilson shoots each in one continuous shot without edits). Tonight's show at MOTR is free and starts around 9:30 p.m. Visit JP & the 55's on Facebook here.
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 21, 2012
This is one of those random weeks where
there are so many notable events involving local bands, we could have
done an all-music double issue of CityBeat and still not have room for it all. Thankfully, we do
have constantly updated Staff Blogs. So here’s what’s
up, lightning-round-style; check the blog throughout the week for more
June 11 • Northside Tavern
0 Comments · Monday, June 6, 2011
At first, the Shivering Timbers existed solely as an outlet for the couple to write songs for their daughter Suzi. Then, as their story of improbably good fortune goes, they ended up playing at the birthday party of The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and the birthday boy dug Timbers so much that he encouraged them to make a record, eventually materializing as last December’s We All Started in the Same Place, which was produced by Auerbach.
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Electronic Rock duo Pop Empire has released its debut full-length album, available now for free download via The Recording Label Web site. The "all free!" label is the brainchild of Cameron Cochran, formerly of The Sheds and one half of Pop Empire (along with Henry Wilson). There's also news about WNKU's expanded signal helping spread the local music gospel.
Sacred Spirits brings Psychedelic context to Post Punk on debut album
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 1, 2011
With their first anniversary still months away, Sacred Spirits’ sonic identity is still evolving, giving the band plenty of latitude to experiment in the studio and on stage. Plans for the coming year include recording their new material, working as many local gigs and as much regional touring as its members' schedules allow and continuing to push the boundaries of their creative expression.