by Brian Penick
Editor's Note: Brian Penick of local music promotions company The Counter Rhythm Group has been guest blogging for CityBeat monthly to provide a behind-the-scenes look at his journey to release his interactive industry eBook, Musicians’ Desk Reference. Click here for his previous blog entries.Enough with the chitchat — let’s get down to business.For those of you that have been reading/following/listening/talking about Musicians’ Desk Reference
over the past several months, you might still have questions, and that
is OK. At times throughout this process I have even found myself taking a
step back to consider what exactly I am doing.
In reality, that is what this entire project is about —
questioning. Specifically, it's about the questions artists inevitably
are faced with in the music industry. You should question it all,
everything, all the time. That where this idea came from and, frankly,
how I live my life. And I would say it is working out pretty well.
But the time for questions is over — so let’s see some answers.
What is Musicians’ Desk Reference? It’s a music
industry progression eBook. What does that mean? It is an online
platform (website) that helps artists work through common scenarios in
the music industry, such as starting out, recording, promoting, touring
and building a team. It is a time management system that conforms to
your schedule and your level of interest. There is even a tool that
builds documentation for you, in addition to the packaging, including
several useful items, such as paper stock and labels for at-home
This platform is designed for everyone — from beginners to
professionals, and all those in between. You don’t like reading? That’s
fine; you can adjust it to recall very minimal information. You like
reading thousands of lines worth of information? Well, friend, you’re in
luck. Click away on our lists and just let us know you’re okay a few
months after filling your head with useful and practical information. If
you are a musician that is interested in furthering your career to any
degree — from a local to a national level — this eBook is for you.
Where did this come from? Me, actually. I am a musician
and have been for half my life. I have spent years in vans, trailers,
buses, airplanes, trains and even on boats playing original music all
over the world. I have always been fascinated with the music industry
and how it works, always wondering why things happened the way that they
This fascination led me start The Counter Rhythm Group, an
artist development/marketing/event promotion company — built by
artists, for artists — offering assistance groups that are younger and
newer than ones traditionally serviced. TCRG has worked to develop a
range of artists, from those that are still just starting out to some
that you can hear on commercial radio stations, all over the course of
almost three years. When the requests outnumbered the amount of work we
could handle, I decided to build a public platform based on our actual
working models. Fast-forward to the present day and you have Musicians’ Desk Reference.
We have worked tirelessly for months (beyond the almost
two years of development) building a robust product that is jam-packed
with information for the user and I can honestly say that we are still
impressed, even after staring at it for hours on end. We’ve even been
testing the specifics on a young Cincinnati-based band called PUBLIC,
and we are proud to say that things are going very well.
The best part is that the wait is almost over. I am very excited to announce that Musicians’ Desk Reference
will be available exclusively to the Cincinnati market at CityBeat’s
Midpoint Music Festival, three weeks ahead of the national launch in New
York City at the CMJ Music Marathon.
Hear that, Cincinnati? We love you so much that we are
giving you the opportunity to have this in your hands well before anyone
What’s that? You want more? All right!
We are also partnering with the fine folks at Midpoint
Music Festival as a sponsor, offering a complimentary full version of
the eBook to all showcasing artists. That’s right, you play and it’s
yours! But what if you did not get selected to the festival but still
want a copy? We will be on-hand all three days at our sponsorship tent— located at the MidPoint Midway Stage at Twelfth and Vine
streets (right next to the MPMF box office) — selling the eBook for 25%
off its regular retail price. We will also be presenting live demos of
the site with the development team available for questions.
I could not be more proud of the work that has gone into
this project and I am forever in debt to the dedicated folks that have
been behind me from the start (including CityBeat music guy Mike
Breen — someone please give that man a gift basket full of money for all
he does for the Cincinnati music scene). (Editor's note #2: Large, unmarked bills only, please.)
We really hope to level the playing field in the music industry with Musicians’ Desk Reference,
educating artists and helping them to build a strong foundation to work
from. We all have a similar goal for success in mind, however we define
it, and I want this project to give every individual that chance.
As artists, let’s take pride in our actions and help our
peers. Let’s step away from the competitive mentality and work together
instead of against each other. Let’s form a music community and
celebrate the opportunities that are available to us. This is our
industry and this is our time. Musicians’ Desk Reference: Empowering Artists to Progress Through the Modern Music Industry.Here is an introductory video for MDR's release:
by Mike Breen
Local indie rockers unveil "Honeybee" single from forthcoming EP just in time for Bunbury
Impressive Cincinnati AltRock trio Public is all set to performing at Cincinnati's huge Bunbury Music Festival this weekend, essentially opening the fest Friday at 2 p.m. with a performance on the Bud Light Stage. The band — nominated at the most recent Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for "Best New Artist" — released its four-track EP, Red, last summer and is now offering fans a brand-new recording, just in time to learn all the words and sing along at tomorrow's fest appearance.The new track is "Honeybee," a spacious, groove-driven Indie Pop gem which is slated for Public's forthcoming second EP. If you're download phobic, you can also grab
a physical copy of the single. Fifty are being pressed, featuring
hand-drawn artwork and a bonus acoustic B-side, "I Need You," and made
available at Bunbury.Both songs will be available for download on July 16. The stream and eventual download will be available at publictheband.com. Honeybee (Summer 2013 Single) by PUBLIC
by Mike Breen
Cincy trio makes its "Red" EP available for free download today only
Incredibly impressive young AltRock trio PUBLIC is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its first release, the four-track EP Red, today. In honor of the occasion, the band — one of the “Best New Artist” nominees at the most recent Cincinnati Entertainment Awards — is offering Red as a free download. Those interested in grabbing all four tracks without paying the usual $5 will have today only to nab it at publictheband.com. PUBLIC is currently readying a new single, “Honeybee,” which will drop in conjunction with the group’s appearance at the Bunbury Music Festival on the fest’s opening night, July 12. Give the EP a listen below then go grab your very own copy.<a href="http://publictheband.bandcamp.com/album/red">Red by PUBLIC</a>
by Mike Breen
First live voting event for the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards celebrates new, emerging local music at Bogart's
The polls have closed on voting for the 16th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, the ceremony/party for which returns to Covington's Madison Theater on Jan. 27. Indie Pop greats Culture Queer were added to the CEA performance lineup today, joining Bad Veins, Ricky Nye, Gold Shoes, The Dopamines, Jess Lamb and a special collaboration put together by the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation. While you can no longer vote online for your favorite local musicians, you can still have a say in one last category. The CEA New Music Showcase takes place Friday at Bogart's and, if you attend, you'll be able to vote for the "New Artist of the Year" CEA. The show will feature sets by New Artist nominees Jeremy Pinnell and the 55’s, DAAP Girls, Ohio Knife, The Natives, Public and Heavy Hinges (nominee R. Ring was unable to perform). Audience members will be asked to vote for who they thought did best and those total tallies will be weighted by votes from the CEA nominating committee to determine the ultimate winner. You can do some pre-show prep and pick up this week's CityBeat to read our special cover story package about this year's "New Artist of the Year" CEA nominees, with profiles on each artist. Click here to read the intro and you can click on the band names below to check out each artists' feature article. Below are a few audio tracks and videos from each nominee, so you can be even further prepared to vote wisely Friday night.• Heavy Hinges is one of several New Artist of the Year nominees that contains several familiar faces. The Rock/Soul/Funk/Jazz/Gospel/Roots hybrid the band pimps was crafted after popular band Buckra called it quits following a dozen years of local music service. Buckra's guitarist/singer Dylan Speeg and bassist Andrew Laudeman formed Heavy Hinges in early 2012 with guitarist Jeremy Singer (also currently in Jimmelegs) and drummer Brian Williamson, both also experienced local players. Rounding the band out is relative newcomer, singer/ukulele player Maya Banatwala. As expected in a field of New Artists, there isn't a ton of recorded material available from most of the groups. Heavy Hinges may have the least amount, but here's a cool promo video for an October show that includes a lo-fi Heavy Hinges recording as its soundtrack. • Ohio Knife is the Indie Rock duo featuring drummer Joe Suer and singer/guitarist Jason Snell, who first teamed up in the late ’90s in the six-piece band Readymaid. After that group split up, Snell launched The Chocolate Horse, a project intended to be more compact, with fewer members in order to keep things more manageable creatively and logistically. The Horse eventually became complicated, as well, so Snell and Suer (along with mostly studio-only keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Higley, another former Readymaid and Chocolate Horse member who now works recording sessions in Nashville) stripped down even more and formed Ohio Knife. The size of the project wasn't the only thing that was different for Snell this time around; he and Suer (who's played in Cincy bands like Caterpillar Tracks and others since the Readymaid split) play a hard-charging brand of melodic Rock, partially inspired by the Grunge bands Snell grew up listening to. The EP Ohio Knife is OK! was released by Detroit's Fountain Records right as the duo launched and Ohio Knife's second show ever was on the streets of Austin, Tex., where they were participating in a art/branding project with local company Landor at SXSW (footage from the trip formed the basis for an expansive, artsy window display in the downtown Shillito's building). Ohio Knife is looking to put out a full-length in the new year. Here's the Ohio Knife video for the song "Going Down."• Jeremy Pinnell and the 55s bring a Honky Tonk flavor to the CEA's New Artist category this year. Singer/acoustic guitarist Pinnell proved himself to be one of the area's best songwriters in previous projects like The Light Wires and The Brothers and The Sisters, roots-tinged outfits that suited Pinnell's penetratingly melancholic tunes perfectly. For the 55s, Pinnell reteamed with old high school pal Cameron Cochran, who also plays in Pop Empire and previously was in the excellent Folk duo The Sheds, to form a group that performed in the style of raw, vintage Country, like George Jones or Waylon Jennings. Rounded out by drummer Chris Alley and bassist Ben Franks, the 55s were a steady presence in the clubs in 2012, growing a loyal following in a relatively short period of time. The 55s have no releases out (there are plans for an LP soon, though), but there is some great live footage of the band shot for the one-shot video project, The Emery Sessions (which Cochran helped organize and record). Here is Jeremy Pinnell and the 55s performing "Back Home" at Over-the-Rhine's historic Emery Theatre. • If The Natives — a gifted local Hip Hop "band," that performs with live instrumentation — would have come out in the early ’90s, it would have taken them five years to accumulate the amount of music videos and audio releases they managed to released in 2012. Ah, technology. Even better, The Natives are creative and adventurous, so all of the work released is of extremely high quality. Oh and it's all available online for free. The band released two LPs in 2012 — the mixtape-styled Coup d'etat and the more artist- and song-oriented Native America. The Natives also collaborated on numerous pro videos for tracks from the albums, kicking off 2013 with the below clip for "So Much." The Natives will be working on members' solo projects to start 2013, so catch the group in action Friday, while you still can.• DAAP Girls played it coy when first hitting the local club circuit, leaving an air of mystery surrounding just who was in the band before they played their first show. Fans would soon discover that DAAP Girls were really dudes! And familiar ones to local music followers. Featuring members of The Lions Rampant and Newport Secret Six, DAAP Girls play a groovy, dance-friendly brand of Indie Rock that manages to sound both contemporary and vintage. The lack of much information about the DAAP Girls online has fed the mystery, but it's also partially because the perfectionist members wanted to take their time releasing recorded material. There's a light on the horizon, though, for those who've been craving a take-home version of DAAP Girls — the band's Tape Songs will be released a little later this year. Below is the public's first taste of the album in a great music video for "Kate."• The trio Public is the newest of the "New Artist of the Year" nominees. Though not far removed from high school graduation, the band already has a tight, masterful AltRock sound that should take them far. The three high school pals are talented musicians inspired by the likes of Muse, Led Zeppelin and The Killers. Public has released just one EP, Red, but it's a wildly impressive start. The songwriting and performance skills exhibited on Red (on which you can also hear touches of The Strokes and Modest Mouse) give one an indication that Public's just getting started and future work might be scarily good. Just last month, Public debuted the music video for the EP's "Castle in the Sky." • Though not eligible for your vote Friday because they had to decline the invitation to play the New Music Showcase due to scheduling conflicts, be sure to read up on R. Ring. The duo teams local guitarist/singer/songwriter/engineer Mike Montgomery with Dayton, Ohio music hero Kelley Deal. After meeting during a recording session, R. Ring was formed to help Montgomery get over some stage fright about playing a solo show. Though they didn't do the usual "let's get signed!" hustle and bustle, intending to keep the project casual, their unique style quickly began to gain attention. R. Ring played South By Southwest last year and have a European tour on the schedule for this March, though activity will largely have to be routed around Deal's other big 2013 adventure — a world tour with sister Kim to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their band The Breeders' seminal Last Splash album. There isn't a lot of recorded material available yet, since R. Ring has officially only released one 7-inch single, but you can check out their Daytrotter session here. Below is the A-side of R. Ring's single, "Fallout & Fire," which showcases the twosome's sparse, hypnotic approach.Friday's New Music Showcase at Bogart's starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $7.
Plus news on The Cliftones, School of Rock Mason and two new local bands
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The lineup for this year's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (Jan. 27 at Covington's Madison Theater) will feature a broad genre mix of nominees.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 16, 2013
A music scene is only as good as its new artists. This Friday at Bogart’s in Corryville,
the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards’ first New Music Showcase takes
place, featuring CEA nominees Heavy Hinges, Public, The Natives, Ohio
Knife, DAAP Girls and Jeremy Pinnell and the 55s.
Public blends a dark Pop streak with Indie Rock sensibility on debut EP
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Public’s debut four-song EP, Red,
released last summer through the local Counter Rhythm Group, offers the
yelping howl, martial cadence and galloping verve of Modest Mouse
without the thick icing of ironic hipster cool.
Elizabeth Harper takes Synth Pop to new level with collaborative group, Class Actress
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Harper fronted Class Actress, she had majored
in drama in college and moved to Los Angeles to follow her acting dream,
but found herself disillusioned. After relocating to Brooklyn, N.Y.,
Harper shifted her passion from the music of drama to the drama of
1 Comment · Wednesday, April 25, 2012
A state-contracted analysis of Ohio
Graduation Tests last year flagged seven individual answer sheets at
Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School for having a
suspiciously high ratio of erasures resulting in wrong-to-right answers.
Union: CPS using faulty budget model to make cuts
1 Comment · Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Cincinnati’s beleaguered public school system, faced with a
projected $43 million budget gap for next year, slashed 10 percent of
its teaching staff April 17. In a special session, the school board
voted unanimously to eliminate at least 237 jobs, saving the district
around $20 million.