by Mike Breen
MidPoint Music Festival news and recomendations as the countdown reaches 13 days
MPMF news and musings: Kick-ass longtime MPMF sponsor Dewey's Pizza is giving away a trio of special "Next Level Experience" passes for you and two of your closest friends (or, I suppose, you could give them to people you hate, though that would just be kinda weird). If you win, you'll receive a three-day wristband and one night at the Dewey's Pizza/Grammer's stage in the best seat in the house (which appears to be a couch positioned very close to the stage). For more on Dewey's Next Level Experience contest, click here. And now, with the countdown down to just 13 days, here are our daily MidPoint Music Festival 2012 picks, today featuring all Ohio artists …BIG SHOTCloud Nothings (Cleveland, OH)Punk PopFrom his parents’ basement, Dylan Baldi created and released several acclaimed lo-fi recordings as Cloud Nothings before his 2009 EP, Turning On, pinged the critics’ radar and scored positive reviews on all the right blogs. Almost immediately, Baldi had to assemble a band to play the gigs that were offered to him, resulting in lots of touring and his slightly shinier 2011 self-titled full-length. This year has seen the release of the even more expansive Attack on Memory and a string of upcoming opening dates for Silversun Pickups. Not a bad three years for a Hardcore obsessed kid from Cleveland.You'll Dig It If You Dig: The idea of Tommy Keene and Kevin Seconds stirring up some Pop and some Punk for a Husker Du tribute. (Brian Baker)Cloud Nothings perform at Midnight on Friday, Sept. 28, at the Cincinnati Club. Here's the official music video for Cloud Nothings' "No Future/No Past." Cloud Nothings - "No Future / No Past" Official Video from Urban Outfitters on Vimeo.SLEEPER PICKShrub (Columbus, OH)Reggae/Hip Hop/RockReggae, Rock and Hip Hop have been brought together numerous times before and often there’s a weak link, with artists skimping on at least one of the three ingredients (or lacking the talent to infuse it properly). Six-piece Columbus band Shrub doesn’t have that problem — the Reggae jumps from the speaker courtesy of the air-tight groove, while the Rock comes from the band’s inherent power (and power chords). Meanwhile, the way the group (which has recorded with Ohio Hip Hop giant Blueprint) uses its Hip Hop skills may be most impressive, showcasing fantastic MC verses and a DJ who doesn’t just offer a few “wiki wikis” here and there, instead threading each track with clever samples and scratches.Dig: Sublime, G. Love, Gym Class Heroes drop the Pop, smoke a blunt and indulge their Reggae/Hip Hop fantasies. (Mike Breen)Shrub performs Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Here's a clip for Shrub's track "Supergirl."LOCAL LOCK PICKBrian Olive (Cincinnati, OH)Rock/PopAfter honing his skills as an original member of The Greenhornes, then later joining northern Ohio’s Soledad Brothers for a spell, Brian Olive struck out on his own to showcase his formidable songwriting skills and his ability to inhabit classic Rock and Soul styles without sounding throwback. After earning international attention for his 2009 debut album, Olive released Two of Everything in 2011, topping himself and distilling his seeming encyclopedic grasp on vintage R&B, Soul, Rock and Psych into a powerful sound brought to life with help from co-producer Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. When not working on other projects (like the latest Dr. John album), Olive and his band of local musicians travel throughout the U.S. (and occasionally Europe) frequently in support of the release. Dig: ’60s Pop, Garage Rock, Soul, R&B, Jazz and Blues. (MB)Brian Olive and his band perform Friday, Sept. 28, at the Vitaminwater Room/Hanke Building at 10 p.m. Here's a very cool promo clip for MPMF.12 featuring Olive's great tune "Strange Attractor." The clip was made by Big Media Company and directed by David Morrison (who local music fans will remember as the former drummer for The Ass Ponys and Ruby Vileos). MidPoint Music Festival 2012 from Big Media Company on Vimeo.Click here for full MPMF details via the official MidPoint site.
The first of two weeks' worth of daily recommendations for 2012's MidPoint Music Festival
The official MidPoint Music Festival guide, featuring preview blurbs on all 186 artists performing at this year's fest, is on the streets now to help make your MPMF.12 itinerary-planning a little easier. Yesterday, when the issue had just come out, I already had a handful of people asking me who my top picks were for the fest. Writing and/or reading and editing 186 paragraphs about 186 bands does things to your mind that I can't even explain, so I had to beg off. But I'm ready now.Starting today, exactly two weeks before MPMF.12 kicks off in the venues of Over-the-Rhine and Downtown, we're beginning the "Daily MPMFer," a daily dose of recommendations for who to see at the festival, should you have a hole in your personal schedule. We'll post three blurbs a day — one about a bigger, more known act, one about a slightly more under-the-radar "sleeper" and one about a local band. I'll also add a song sample or music video to each to give MPMF-goers an even better sense of the artists' talents. (The blurbs were written by myself, the legendary Brian Baker and scrappy up-and-comer Deirdre Kaye, both of whom were hugely helpful compiling our beast of a guide this year.) There are so many great performers at this year's fest, we probably won't get to all the worthy contenders, but we'll get you started (you have to do some exploring on your own). And, when in doubt, always go with the artist with "(Cincinnati, OH)" next to their name; all of our hometown MPMFers are worthy of your attention. Be sure to grab a guide (there should be plenty floating around come fest time) and start mapping out your long weekend of music. We'll also add any MPMF updates — crucial or otherwise — in these "Daily MPMFers," to keep you abreast of the latest developments. You can also click here for our MPMF hub on citybeat.com, with feature stories, MPMF-related tweets and more. Today's big news — three-day wristbands are selling quick and may well sell out. Be sure to grab yours immediately for the best pricing deal (limited one-day tickets will be $50 or you can pay individual cover charges which will add up quickly). Click here for more ticket info. BIG SHOTHospitality (Brooklyn, NY)Indie Pop Driven by the singular Pop song stylings of Amber Papini, Hospitality first caught attention with a lo-fi, untitled EP, which garnered a rare glowing review from Pitchfork. The band signed with legendary Indie Rock label Merge and released its self-titled full-length debut for the label earlier this year. At its core, Hospitality’s music has some of the primal vibe of early ’90s K Records releases, but the sophisticated arrangements wrapped around Papini’s compellingly unique voice give the album a depth those artists were rarely capable of. You'll Dig It If You Dig: Ivy, Tennis, Barbara Manning, Tiger Trap. (Mike Breen)Hospitality performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, on the Grammer's/Dewey's Pizza stage. Check out the band's emotionally-heavy new video for the track "Eighth Avenue." Hospitality - Eighth Avenue from Merge Records on Vimeo.SLEEPER PICKKitten (Los Angeles, CA)Indie Electro PopKitten frontwoman Chloe Chaidez grew up on Classic Rock and CMJ compilation CDs thanks to a tuned-in father who once drummed for Punk bands in L.A. Chaidez had her first band by the time she was 10 and by 12 she was opening for artists like Midlake and Bright Eyes. She had a false-start entry into the music biz when she was almost derailed by drinking and drugging, but she quickly righted the ship and got back on a sober track, crafting the music that would become Kitten’s recently released EP, Cut It Out, for Atlantic Records. The album mixes New Wave electronics, driving guitars and Chaidez’s stellar Pop songwriting abilities for a sound hip enough for the cool kids but catchy enough to fit right in with a lot of today’s Top 40 offerings. Dig: The Ting Tings and Teagan and Sara on the dancefloor, Grimes. (MB)Kitten performs at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, on the Know Theater/Biore Strip main stage. Here's the video for the title track of Kitten's new EP. LOCAL LOCK PICKAutomagik (Cincinnati, OH)Indie RockIt’s been a couple of years since Automagik dropped their eponymous debut full-length, and it’s way past time for the Cincinnati highwire rockers to birth its follow up. With helium-tinged vocals, glammy guitars and a Viking rhythm section reminiscent of The Darkness and Queen, Automagik has found the perfect balance of Garage Rock swagger, ’70s Rock bluster, New Wave quirk and Indie Rock anthemics, creating a jet-fueled sonic explosion that sounds eerily familiar and wildly original. Presumably, Automagik has worked up new material, but can they top the sugar rush head chill of “Brain Freeze” or the Rock operatics of “Paper Heart”? Show up, drink the Kool-Aid and be converted.Dig: Foxy Shazam if they’d been more obsessed with Weezer than Queen, and yet devoted to both. Queezer? (Brian Baker)Automagik performs Friday, Sept. 28, at Below Zero Lounge. Here's the very cool, dizzying video for "Teleportation Blues." Click here for full MPMF details via the official MidPoint site.
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.
MidPoint Film Festival presents local and international indie filmmaking talent
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 12, 2012
For the first time ever, in the historic Over-the-Rhine
district, Indie rockers and indie filmmakers are coming together for one
festival. The School for Creative and Performing Arts (108 W. Central
Parkway) will be the home of the MidPoint Film Festival (MPFF), which is
the official film component of the MidPoint Music Festival (MPMF).
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 29, 2012
There has been more activity downtown at
the former home of the historic Herzog recording studios than there has
been since the studio’s heyday in the ’40s.
by Mike Breen
Third Man Records traveling record shop to hit CMJ, Muddy Roots Festival and MPMF
One of the more popular features at this year's MidPoint Music Festival isn't a band or singer/songwriter — it's a truck. The "Rolling Record Store" used by (and stocked with releases from) Jack White's Third Man Records will be at MPMF Sept. 28 and 29, between visits to the Muddy Roots Festival and New York City's CMJ conference/fest. An extension of White's tiny Third Man record store in Nashville (connected to his label's HQ), the record truck stocks all kinds of Third Man releases, including limited edition vinyl, as well as various Third Man merch. There is also reportedly a DJ station so visitors can spin tunes and a sound system was installed so that bands/musicians can plug in and play. White himself has performed a few times along the Rolling Store's travels (but it's not a guarantee). The Third Man Records Rolling Record store — which debuted last year at South By Southwest in Austin, Tex. — will make a great addition to the growing MidPoint Midway, the outdoor area featuring vendors, a side-stage, poster exhibitions and other cool "pop up" projects. The bright-yellow truck even has local ties — it was built by Erlanger, Ky.'s C. Cook Enterprises, a car restoration and metal fabrication shop.I visited White's Third Man headquarters in Nashville a few weeks ago and got to check out the cool merchandise on sale in that closet-sized shop. The Rolling Record Store was parked in the parking lot. I didn't get a tour, but even from the outside, it's a pretty striking vehicle (and I took a few photos, like the one above). Can't wait to see inside at the end of next month!Here's White playing a "B show" (side gigs on his current solo tour) next to the truck during the recent Outside Lands Festival.
by Mike Breen
Sleeper pick for the best Fountain Square show of the summer
Tonight's free, all-ages MidPoint Indie Summer concert on Fountain Square is certainly one of the most eclectic ever … and may turn out to be one of the best ever. Exhibit A: Openers Sidewalk Chalk at 7 p.m.Chicago's Sidewalk Chalk have opened for De La Soul and ?uestlove, and Lupe Fiasco majorly shouted-them-out on his Twitter and Facebook pages. The band is described as "a hip-hop, soul, jazz octet that consists of a singer, emcee, drummer, bass, trombone, trumpet, keys player, and a tap dancer."Here's the music video for Sidewalk Chalk's "Water Song" from the group's album Corner Store. Exhibit B: Middle-slot performers Kansas Bible Company at 8:15 p.m. From nearby Goshen, Ind. (currently working out of Nashville), KBC has wowed Cincy crowds a few times in the past year or so. The dynamic Soul/Jazz/Rock band trumps Sidewalk Chalk's mere eight-person membership, featuring "a five-man horn line, three guitars, two percussionists and one bass."Dig this video for the great KBC tune "How to Build A Planet" from their album Ad Astra Per Aspera (rough translation: A rough road leads to the stars).Exhibit C: Headliners A Place to Bury Strangers at 9:30 p.m. Another frequent visitor to Cincy, the NYC-based APTBS are like a more abrasive, modern update of Jesus & Mary Chain's Psychocandy album. Guitar nuts can also bathe in some cool guitar sounds courtesy of the band's own line of effect pedals. (Read Reyan Ali's interview with the band for CityBeat from this past March here.)Here is a video from A Place to Bury Strangers' recently released Worship album, "You Are The One." (Mildly NSFW clip.)
by Mike Breen
Three of Cincy's greatest Pop/Rock acts perform for tonight's Midpoint Indie Summer show
Tonight's free MidPoint Indie Summer concert on Fountain Square is a bit different than most of the shows in the series. Not only is the bill all-local, it also represents three of the finest "Pop Rock" entities to ever emerge from the Queen City. Despite sharing a knack for writing incredibly memorable songs exploding with irrepressible hooks, each group has its own distinctive sound and draws from varying classic Pop/Rock influences from throughout time, from The Beatles to Todd Rundgren to The Buzzcocks. The Tigerlilies kicks things off at 7 p.m. The quartet has had a remarkable run over the past 23 years, despite the occasional upheaval — the group's lead guitarist slot occasionally seemed to reach "Spinal Tap drummer" proportions, but the ’Lilies balance that out by having the remarkable ability to enlist some truly amazing players who each have brought something unique to the group. Current six-slinger Brendan Bogosian is no exception; the guitarist's (formerly of local bands like Cash Flagg and The Woos) expressive, serpentine style of playing has weaved its way into (and added new wrinkles to the sound of) The Tigerlilies' deft brand of early Punk/Post Punk inspired Power Pop seamlessly. The band is currently working on its next album, which they hope to have out this fall. Next up (at about 8:15 p.m.) is the Roger Klug Power Trio, fronted (go figure!) by singer/songwriter/guitarist Roger Klug and featuring the great rhythm section of Mike Tittel on drums and Jamie Criswell on bass. Klug (former member of popular locals The Willies) has amassed an impressive discography since his mid-’90s solo debut, Mama Mama ich bin in dem La La Land, a garage-y display of Klug's clever, instinctive songcraft, and the highly addictive follow-up, Toxic and 15 Other Love Songs. Those albums help Klug build a following amongst Power Pop die-hards, and not just local ones. His records found a widespread cult following thanks to distribution from modern Power Pop juggernaut Not Lame Records and breathlessly positive press from pretty much any critic who took the time to listen to a song. After the ambitious (and creatively successful) Where Has the Music Gone?: The Lost Recordings of Clem Comstock in 1999 — a concept album featuring alleged "lost recordings" in a variety of vintage Pop styles (and credited to various made-up artist names) — Klug seemingly disappeared, putting out no new Roger Klug material for a decade and popping up only occasionally for area live shows. But in 2010, Klug fans were treated to an all-new LP, More Help for Your Nerves, which (somewhat amazingly) features some of his best tunes yet. Closing out the live-concert primer on Cincinnati's catchiest homegrown music from the past four decades is, fittingly, popular trio psychodots (starting around 9:30 p.m.). The ’Dots are genuine local music legends whose origins date back to the ’70s when a quartet of graduates from Toledo's Sylvania High School — Rob Fetters, Bob Nyswonger, Chris Arduser and Tom Toth — moved to Cincinnati and, with a few adjustments in the lineup over time, went on to become one of the Queen City's most beloved bands, the raisins.Local sensations of epic proportions, the raisins built up a huge (and hugely loyal) fan base in the city's clubs and, with its self-titled LP, scored a regional hit with the unforgettable, somewhat "New Wave-ish" "Fear Is Never Boring." If CityBeat ever does "Best Cincinnati Songs of All-Time," "Fear" is a lock for the No. 1 slot. There will be no debate.Following the raisins' split in the mid-’80s, Arduser rejoined Fetters and Nyswonger — as well as the producer of that debut LP, globally acclaimed Covington native Adrian Belew — in The Bears, which spread Cincinnati's best kept secret well beyond city limits with a pair of well-distributed albums so strong they were like the Midwest's own Beatles. By the end of the ’80s, The Bears had split as Belew began investing more time in his solo and other outside work. Perhaps sensing the end was near, Arduser, Fetters and Nyswonger (among about a bazillion other musical projects) began performing as a trio in 1988. The three masterful musicians officially became psychodots in 1991 when they released their self-titled album. The ’dots picked up where they had left off with the raisins and Bears and returned to their status as one of the city's most reliable original music draws.Psychodots went on indefinite hiatus in the mid-’90s as the trio's members continued to explore a variety of projects (from the Arduser-fronted Graveblankets to Fetters' solo work to Nyswonger's jobs in Bucket and many other local units). While remaining prolific individually, the band seems to have found a way to balance all of their projects better; both The Bears and psychodots have returned to action for live shows and even new releases. (The raisins have also reteamed for a few one-off shows.)The ’dots' live activity has been especially spare, limited usually to a couple of special shows a year around Thanksgiving time. But, along with tonight's appearance on Fountain Square, the trio seems ready for at least a little increased activity. After the Indie Summer show was announced, the psychodots were added as opening act for Cheap Trick's concert at the Taft Theatre next week, July 6.If you're one of tonight's three performers' fans, you're likely well aware of their histories. But if you're unfamiliar with any or all of tonight's acts, be sure to be on the Square by 7 p.m. for a free musical retrospective of Cincy Pop at its finest. (Fun fact: Arduser, Nyswonger and Fetters — with The Bears — and The Tigerlilies were performers at the very first Cincinnati Entertainment Awards in the mid-’90s.)
by Mike Breen
According to The Weather Channel, showers are tapering off and it'll be overcast today with a high of 63. Perfect "cool new jacket" weather (even if you did just pack it away after temps reached into the 90s). And a perfect night to enjoy the first MidPoint Indie Summer concert of 2012. The free, every-Friday series on Fountain Square kicks off with two of the Cincinnati area's finest Rock & Roll bands — Buffalo Killers and The Kickaways — as well as headliners (and popular MidPoint Music Festival alumni) The Bright Light Social Hour. According to CityBeat's Brian Baker, the Austin-based band "evokes the spirit of the ’70s with shards of Southern Garage Rock, Psychedelic Soul, electric R&B/Funk, Indie Pop and thunderously elemental Hard Rock, represented by acid-washed church and Farfisa organ, searing slide guitar and chunky riffage, Pop melodicism and a funky, slinky rhythm section, all in the service of songs that are compellingly contemporary and utterly appealing." They're also one of the best live acts in the country today. The Kickaways get things started at 7 p.m. Buffalo Killers are scheduled for 8:15 p.m. and Bright Light hits the stage at 9:30 p.m.This is a song The Who stole from Mose Allison. The Bright Light Social Hour are stealin' it back. • Two Hip Hop superstars are in town tonight for two separate shows. I would call them contemporary Rap legends, but younger folks probably call them "old school." Both are in the midst of comeback attempts. Gruff-voiced, ruff-rydin' DMX performs tonight at Inner Circle (the former Annie's) at 9 p.m. Tickets are $35-$55. For an extensive stretch, DMX was a bit like the Pete Doherty of American Hip Hop, making headlines with unusual arrests (animal cruelty, "identity falsification" and several traffic-related offenses among them). More recently, X has shown an interest in becoming a preacher and appeared on the VH1 celebreality series Couple Therapy, showing his thoughtfulness and willingness to become a better man. (He also had his own reality show in 2006, DMX: Soul of a Man.) None of this should overshadow the fact that DMX is one of the bigger selling Rap acts of our time. He had five straight albums debut at No. 1 and had his sixth, Year of the Dog … Again, just miss the top spot. DMX will give it another shot later this month — he's slated to drop his seventh album, Undisputed, on June 26. Here's one of his greatest greatest hits, "Party Up." (Fun fact: Former Cincinnati Red Michael Tucker used this tune as his "coming up to bat" music when he played for Cincy.) This is the "dirty" version, so it's probably NSFW for those without headphones.• Meanwhile, up in Corryville, rapstress Lil' Kim brings her "Return of the Queen" tour to Bogart's. Showtime is 10 p.m. and tickets are $27. Like X, Kim has also done some time in the pokey. She turned her jail stint into jail stint-ade, though, by working a reality show around her impending 2006 incarceration. Lil Kim: Countdown to Lockdown became the highest rated show premiere in BET history as 1.9 million fans tuned in for her special. Kim spent just over year in a detention center in Philly for allegedly lying about her role in a 2001 shooting outside of the Hot 97 studio in New York.Kim is one of the most successful and influential female Hip Hop artists of all time. She's currently trying to get her fifth album released (it's been delayed due to contractual issues). Earlier this spring, her collaborative track with Young Jeezy was leaked. (Listen to "Keys to the City" here.)I love it when Hip Hop artists sample Phil Collins, so here's Kim's video for "In the Air Tonight."• The legendary Jon Langford is in town tonight to open a local exhibition of his artwork and perform a free concert at Over-the-Rhine club MOTR Pub. The dynamic artist will be on hand for the opening of his Transmissions: Art and Words show at Over-the-Rhine’s Clay Street Press Gallery (1312 Clay St.) from 6-9 p.m. Then he'll perform with his band Skull Orchard at MOTR. Original opening act Matthew Friedberger (of Fiery Furnaces) cancelled. Lisa Walker and Chuck Cleaver from fantastic local band Wussy will open the show instead, starting around 10 p.m. Read CityBeat's interview with Langford here.• Modern Cincy Punk greats The Dopamines celebrate its new album release, Vices (due nationally on June 19), with a show at Mayday in Northside. Tickets are $9 at the door. Also performing: Pujol, Be My Doppelganger and Vacation. Showtime is 9 p.m. Dopamines fans who can't make it but are up for a road trip can head to Chicago for Night 2 of the record release partying at Wicker Park club Subterranean. Check out this great write-up in the Chicago Reader about the show, written by former local musician (Death in Graceland) Kevin Warwick. Here's a li'l Dopamines gem from the past to get you in the mood. Like DMX and Lil' Kim, the trio likes to curse like sailors. You've been NSFW'ed. Further warning: This song will be stuck in your head for days once you listen.
Full lineup of free concerts every Friday this summer
The lineup for this summer's MidPoint Indie Summer series — every-Friday free concerts on Fountain Square — features another strong mix of solid national headliners (many are MidPoint Music Festival alumni) from as far away as Australia and Timbuktu and local favorites. Stay tuned for additions and updates.Friday, June 1: The Bright Light Social Hour (Austin Tex.); Buffalo Killers; The KickawaysFriday, June 8: The Dynamites (Nashville); Khaira Arby and her Band (Timbuktu, Mali, Africa); The PinstripesFriday, June 15: The Seedy Seeds; Wymond Miles (of The Fresh & Onlys, San Francisco); Belle HistoireFriday, June 22: Art vs Science (Australia); You You're Awesome; ShadowraptrFriday, June 29: psychodots (openers TBA)Friday, July 6: Lydia Loveless (Columbus); Patrick Sweany (Nashville); The Ready Stance Friday, July 13: Seabird; The Harlequins; Jon Drake and The Shakes (Chicago) Friday, July 20: Ha Ha Tonka (Springfield, Mo.); Izzy and the Catastrophics (New York); The Ridges (Athens, Ohio)Friday, July 27: Orgone (Los Angeles); The Cliftones; Eclipse Friday, Aug. 3: Bear Hands (Brooklyn); Lightning Love (Ann Arbor, Mich.); Fort Lean (Brooklyn)Friday, Aug. 10: Budos Band (New York); Kansas City Bible Company (Nashville); Sidewalk Chalk (Chicago) Friday, Aug. 17: Class Actress (Brooklyn)Friday Aug. 31: Wussy; R.Ring The MidPoint Indie Summer concerts start at 7 p.m. each Friday this summer. Music lovers of all ages are welcome to attend.