When Wilco plays Cincinnati this week,
the opening act will be a singer/songwriter and guitarist whose
textured, ethereal, slightly dazed and bluesy Rock sound is earning him
comparisons to The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile. He is Steve Gunn.
If you’re a Donkeys fan, you know the San
Diego quartet from its decade-plus history, three exemplary albums on
Dead Oceans and 2014 debut with new label Easy Sound Recording Co., Ride the Black Wave.
You know they haven’t had a lineup change since forming in 2004 and
that they’ve been nominated twice (winning once) for Best Rock Band at
the San Diego Music Awards.
Marc Cohn isn’t particularly prolific,
but when he lays hands on a piano or guitar, something extraordinary
happens. Witness the ubiquitous platinum success of “Walking in Memphis”
from Cohn’s eponymous 1991 debut, which earned him a Best New Artist
Grammy. Neither 1993’s The Rainy Season nor 1998’s Burning the Daze matched his debut’s immediacy, and it was nearly eight years before Cohn wrote new original music.
There is an odd circularity in the work
of Kevin Barnes. Back in 2005, of Montreal’s amazingly prolific and
profoundly talented frontman was pursuing an Electronic/AfroBeat
direction on The Sunlandic Twins and celebrating the arrival of
his daughter Alabee. Ten years and five albums later, Alabee is a
10-year-old tween and Barnes and his wife Nina are navigating the stormy
seas of separation and divorce.
Country/Americana group Wilder issue its debut EP with a Kentucky Derby-themed release party, Plastic Ants celebrate the vinyl release of their debut album, Ellery hosts a book launch party in honor of singer Tasha Golden's poetry collection and Automagik premiere a new single/video but delay planned EP release.
Chicago has given us many things over the
years. Awesome pizza. Billy Corgan. The Cubs, who will always do worse
than the Reds. And each winter a chance to look at the weather report
and not feel quite as downtrodden about “all the snow” that we get. Chicago’s greatest gift to the world, however, came in 1994 with the birth of a little band called Wilco.
The idea behind Jayme Stone’s all-star
group, Lomax Project, is so brilliant it leads one to wonder why no one
has thought of it before. Alan Lomax was the legendary song-catcher and
in-the-field recorder who went out into rural areas, wrong sides of the
tracks and the outskirts of America in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s to
collect obscure ethnic Folk music. Lomax took along a portable
reel-to-reel tape recorder and captured the music of many unknown
artists who would go on to be recognized by the larger population.
Japanese music culture has always been
adept at absorbing Western musical forms and translating them into
familiar but distinctly new concepts. Shonen Knife may have begun as a
de facto Ramones tribute, but the band has grown into a unique sonic
entity that embraces all genres and reconfigures them into its own
singular sound. Given that, what can we make of Peelander-Z?
When I was getting into music as a
teenager, I took a genealogical approach to discovery. If I liked a
particular band, then presumably I’d like the bands its members had
played with previously or would play with subsequently. If you applied that same connective logic
to Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, you would a) experience a healthy
degree of corollary success, and b) collect a backbreaking amount of
material in a hurry.
Cincinnati area artists Ben Knight & the Welldiggers, Coconut Milk, Jane Decker and The Rubber Knife Gang celebrate new releases this week. Plus, Arnold's and Neltner Small Batch collaborate on a new local music compilation set for release on Record Store Day.