by Mike Breen
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
State Song locks in on a solid lineup for its sophomore album, the powerful and evocative Sleepcrawling
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 23, 2014
After recording its debut just after forming, Cincinnati’s State Song returns with a more developed vision on sophomore full-length Sleepcrawling.
Soapland comes clean about its name and debut EP, The Inflatable Real
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 8, 2011
You might think you’re getting the joke in Soapland’s name, assuming it refers to the long and profitable presence of Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati. Soapland wouldn’t be the first to take a jab at P&G’s pervasive profile. When Wizard Records owner John James conceived his 1988 local album project, his original title concept was We Built This City on Pork and Soap.
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, April 5, 2011
The CincyPunk Fest has emerged as one of the most popular benefit concerts in the region, raising money for various charities since its inception a decade ago. For CincyPunk Fest 10, the event returns to Newport’s Southgate House this Saturday and Sunday under new management and with a lineup full of some of the top music-makers in Cincinnati. And, despite its name, the fest is again a showcase for much more than just Punk Rock.
MidPoint Music Festival was a rollercoaster of emotions and sounds
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 29, 2010
We had joy, we had fun. We had some frustration and anger, too. Such has been the way of the MidPoint Music Festival since its origins in 2002. But, in the end, MPMF’s 2010 edition proved to be the most successful yet, drawing thousands of music lovers to downtown, Over-the-Rhine and Newport over the course of three days.
Jan. 30 • Mayday
0 Comments · Tuesday, January 26, 2010
"Earthquakes" is a live music/dance night at Northside's Mayday on the last Saturday of every month. Founder Kendall Bruns (and fellow DJ John Hogan) spin a variety of cool dance/Indie tunes and showcase an original local band. This month check out locals State Song, who are currently finishing work on their debut release for Phratry Records.
Oct. 31 • Southgate House
0 Comments · Thursday, October 29, 2009
Perhaps the only show you can attend Saturday and not be encouraged to wear a costume, the annual BRINK New Music Showcase returns to the Southgate House Halloween night with three floors' worth of local band freshness. An attempt to spotlight the next crop of local music wavemakers, the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards-sponsored event has hosted scores of eventual big-shots in past years. This year features acts nominated for the 2009 CEA "New Artist of the Year."
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 28, 2009
BRINK is back! Perhaps the only show you can attend Saturday and not be encouraged to wear a costume, the annual BRINK New Music Showcase returns to the Southgate House Halloween night with three floors' worth of local band freshness. An attempt to spotlight the next crop of local music wavemakers, the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards-sponsored event has hosted scores of eventual big shots in past years.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Early fall is starting to shape up as "music festival" time in Cincinnati. After another spectacular MidPoint Music Festival, you'd think folks might want some down time. Instead, they have plenty more "fest" choices this weekend: Popopolis, Clifton Heights Music Festival, Pharaohfest and a Jake Speed-led tribute to Woody Guthrie.