Plus, Cari Clara returns to Cincinnati's club scene to promote latest album
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Cincinnati rockers Strangetunge celebrate their latest recording, Tunge in Cheek, in Newport, while Cari Clara returns to Northside to promote the new Deep Elm release, Midnight March.
by Mike Breen
75 days ago
Vegas chart-busters to play Horseshoe Casino's new outdoor pavilion in May
While the new Horseshoe Casino had a couple of concerts booked for its indoor "Pavilion" by the time the new "adult playground" opened last week (opera boyband Il Divo and comedian Joel McHale), today the casino announced its biggest music event yet. On May 16, chart-topping band The Killers will perform at the venue's "The Shoe," the first act (with more to be announced) to play the "outdoor event plaza." The band is a fitting booking for the new joint — as Las Vegas natives, the band members are all to familiar with the casino lifestyle.The Killers are a big get — as an "outdoor shed" or large theater band, without The Shoe they'd probably be playing Riverbend or the Taft Theatre. It's another good sign that Cincinnati music fans can expect more tours to be routed through the area in the future. Tickets for The Killers concert go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. here. The band will be supporting its latest album, Battle Born. Here's the video for Battle Born single, "Miss Atomic Bomb."
Folk rockers Frontier Ruckus dig into the past for seeds for the future
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 6, 2013
While based in Folk, the critically acclaimed Frontier Ruckus isn’t afraid to let popular music influences seep in.
by Mike Breen
109 days ago
California native and acclaimed Jazz composer/saxophonist Donny McCaslin got a fairly big jump on his music career, performing with an ensemble of experienced musicians by the time he was 12. If there was any nepotism involved (the group was McCaslin’s father’s, a vibraphonist), the criticisms probably faded quickly as McCaslin started his own group in high school and managed to get them booked multiple years at the Monterey Jazz Festival. The saxophonist studied intently and performed in youth orchestras that traveled the globe, all before earning a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He moved to New York City in the early ’90s and found work quickly, replacing Michael Brecker (a huge influence on the young musician) in the group Steps Ahead and going on to play with the Gil Evans Orchestra and many others. By the mid-’90s, McCaslin — who had deeply explored the various aspects and possibilities of traditional Jazz — began to collaborate on more experimental Jazz projects, including the group Lan Xang and Ken Schaphorst’s big band (alongside John Medeski and other unique top players). McCaslin’s creative curiosity set the tone for his diverse solo albums, which have been widely acclaimed for the composer’s successful risk-taking. When McCaslin plays the Blue Wisp Jazz Club tonight (with shows at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.), he’ll be supporting on of his most compelling releases yet, 2012’s Casting for Gravity. The album was inspired by McCaslin’s interest in Electronic music, an uncommon ingredient in most forms of Fusion. The album roams from textural, ambient explorations (particularly on a cover of Scottish electronica duo Boards of Canada’s “Alpha and Omega”) to quirky, funky meditations like the glitchy “Tension.” It’s a recipe that shouldn’t work, but Casting for Gravity is a fascinating listen that makes one wonder if visionaries like John Coltrane or Ornette Coleman might not have pursued this direction if they were born 60 years later. It’s primarily a progressive Jazz album, with tasteful electronic flourishes. Instead of aping Electronic music nakedly, McCaslin seamlessly incorporates the arrangement spirit of Electro masters like Aphex Twin or more contemporary EDM artists into his own compositions. Tickets for tonight's shows are $20 (students can get into the 9:30 p.m. show for $15). Here is a clip of the band performing the latest album's track, "Stadium Jazz."• The husband and wife duo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, better known as Shovels & Rope, were slated for an appearance at MidPoint Music Festival here in Cincinnati last fall, but an offer to open for Jack White convinced them to bow out of the fest.Given the hardscrabble road the pair has traveled over the past five years, it’s hard to argue with their choice. Denver native Trent and Nashville-raised Hearst had been in several bands before crossing paths in Charleston, S.C. (they’d met on tour over a decade ago), eventually playing in each other’s bar bands and becoming friends.In 2008, the pair formalized their friendship by writing and recording the album Shovels & Rope and releasing it under their own names.The duo ultimately decided to name its group after the title of that debut album and released O’ Be Joyful last summer to ecstatic press notice, with frequent references to Johnny Cash and June Carter and John Doe and Exene Cervenka (although they’re just as quick to namecheck The Cramps and the visceral pairing of Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello). (Preview by Brian Baker)Shovels & Rope's success continues to rise, as evidenced just last week by their network TV debut on David Letterman's show (see below). But even on a local level, their ascent was obvious — tonight's appearance at the Southgate House Revival was moved from one of the smaller rooms in the venue to the larger "Sanctuary" room after it was clear that they could fill it. Showtime is 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $12 at the door (while they last).
by Mike Breen
114 days ago
Contemporary "Newgrass" kings Yonder Mountain String Band return to the area tonight for an all-ages, 8:30 p.m. show at Covington's Madison Theater. Tickets are $25. Opening the show is the very cool Lake Street Dive, a "jazz-schooled, DIY-motivated and classically pop obsessed" quartet that formed at Boston’s New England Conservatory. Check out this clip of the group performing the Jackson 5 classic "I Want You Back."In an interview with CityBeat's Brian Baker, YMSB's guitarist/vocalist Adam Aijala said fans might hear a new song or two at tonight's show. As for when you might hear a new album with new material, Aijala said the members have been having trouble finding time to get in the studio between familial obligations and touring. Read the full interview here and check out the group's 2010 appearance on CBS's Late Late Show. (There will be a pre- and post-show party at Stanley's Pub, which is also offering a bus ride to and from the Madison show. The CEA-winning Rumpke Mountain Boys will perform.)• Eclectic NYC Indie Rock troupe Mice Parade marches into MOTR Pub tonight for a free, 10 p.m. appearance, the second date on its current tour. Formed as a solo project by Adam Pierce at the end of the ’90s, Mice Parade has featured various band members since and nearly every successive release has shown growth and a different side of Pierce's writing. Candela, Mice Parade's latest addition to its already stacked discography (released this past Tuesday), is one of Pierce's most compelling releases to date, showcasing a fascinating, psychedelic brand of "Shoegaze" Pop that is as unpredictable as it is riveting. Check out CityBeat's preview of the show here. Below is the first single/video from Candela, "This River Has A Tide." Mice Parade -- "This River Has A Tide" from paul yates on Vimeo.Find more live music options in Greater Cincinnati tonight here.
After nearly 15 years, Yonder Mountain String Band finds new ways to do old things (and vice versa)
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Most bands would be kicking at the studio
door after a long stretch between albums, but Yonder Mountain String
Band has never subscribed to any set of rules beyond their own.
by Mike Breen
121 days ago
This week, local music fans can check out four brand-new musical projects live
Last Friday at Bogart's, CityBeat and the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards presented a showcase featuring some of the best new local bands of 2012. (Check out some pics from the event here.) This coming week, four brand-new acts (featuring musicians from other established groups) will be playing their first shows ever. Here's a round-up of the new bands (possible nominees for next year's CEAs?) debuting. • Joey Cook of Indie Pop greats Pomegranates has a new solo project called Danny and His Fantasy. Cook — who also headed up the side project Firs and has done a few solo shows with friends and bandmates — leaked the great track below via YouTube a couple of weeks ago. The piano-laden track "Too Out of Touch" is a great slice of dancey and wonderfully melodic Pop, highlighted by Cook's soulful falsetto, that wouldn't be out of place on an of Montreal record. Danny and His Fantasy's debut show is this Friday at Mayday in Northside. Cook will be joined at the free show by Phil Cogley, the Indie Pop maestro from Columbus who performs under the name The Saturday Giant. Cogley's been making waves from our state's capitol, recently earning a slot on Columbus Alive's annual list of "Bands to Watch" for 2013. Locals Speaking Suns also perform.• Also Friday, Pop Goes the Evil plays its first live show. The new crew debuts at MOTR Pub, playing a free show with Indiana rockers Left Lane Cruiser. Pop Goes the Evil is fronted by singer/guitarist Lucas Frazier, formerly of the popular, kick-ass local Rock outfit The Dukes Are Dead. The new group — rounded out by drummer Jordin Goff (also of The Yugos) and bassist Evan Roberts (organist for heavy local band Grey Host) — has issued a couple of great music videos, showcasing a swaggering, energized Pop/Rock sound that's not chasing any trends, opting instead for a more timeless appeal. Here's the second single from Pop Goes the Evil, "Golden Apple." Pop Goes the Evil "Golden Apple" Official Music Video from POP GOES THE EVIL on Vimeo.• Ian Gullett from the great Electro/Indie act Diet Audio is back with a new Electronic project called Photo Electric. Teaming with talented vocalist Cassie Mullen, the duo issued a three-song teaser EP called Boom on Bandcamp for free download. Mullen's crafty, sweeping melodies and seductive vocals combine with Gullett's backdrop of evocative Electronic soundscapes, with intriguing beats, ethereal-to-noisy guitar and an overall ghostly ambiance. Click here to download the EP and check out the duo's first video, for their tune "Tom," below. Photo Electric's debut live performance is Saturday at Newport's Southgate House Revival. The band performs with local Electronic band Playfully Yours and Lexington act SHOZO. Showtime is 9 p.m. and cover is $5 ($8 for those 18-20). The band is asking fans to shoot video at the debut show and send it their way for a planned music video (click here for details). Photo Electric is currently finishing up their debut album. • Tuesday, Jan. 29, at The Comet in Northside, as part of Electronic duo You, You're Awesome's residency at the club, you can check out one of the first shows by Halvsies. The band spawned from a collaboration between YYA's Yusef Quotah and vocalist (and CityBeat contributor) Maria Seda-Reeder, whose voice floats on the same wavelength as Marianne Faithful, Marcy Mays and Hope Sandoval. Halvsies' first EP, Words + Music, showcases the group's eclectic sound, a somewhat trippy brand of Indie Rock with Garage/Nuggets flourishes. Quotah and Seda-Reeder are joined by Stephen Streit (formerly of The Host) on bass and Ohio Knife's Joe Suer on drums. Here's "Stronger Than Teflon" from the debut EP:<a href="http://halvsies.bandcamp.com/track/stronger-than-teflon">Stronger Than Teflon by Halvsies</a>Halvsies plans to release two more EPs over the next few months.
After gradual chart success, Ed Sheeran straps in for a potentially epic 2013
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Writing since his teen years, 21-year-old singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran became a star in the U.K. in 2011. His U.S. success picked up in earnest last year and now Sheeran appears to be on the verge of becoming a household name in the States.
by Mike Breen
Local children's music superstar celebrates new 'The Barber of the Beasts' with show Saturday
Holidays are especially exciting times for children and, given the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., kids all over will likely be going to be getting a little extra love this season. Zak Morgan knows kids. The Cincinnati-based singer/songwriter has already had an amazing career in children’s music, with his second self-financed album, When Bullfrogs Croak, earning numerous awards and acclaim, including a 2004 Grammy nomination for Best Musical Album for Children, a remarkable feat for an independent artist. Morgan’s accomplishments and hard work (he notches over 200 shows a year for kids across the country) paid off with a contract with Universal Music’s kids’ music imprint, myKaZoo Music. His debut for the label, The Barber of the Beasts, came out in late October and would make a fantastic stocking-stuffer for the little ones this Christmas.Like his previous releases, The Barber of the Beasts features artwork by famed local illustrator C.F. Payne and contains an extensive booklet of lyrics and drawings. The album also features some notable guests, from local musicians like Dan Dorff, Paul Patterson and Josh Seurkamp to nationally acclaimed artists like Robbie Fulks and locals Karin Bergquist (Over the Rhine) and the iconic Bootsy Collins. But it’s Morgan’s magical stories and songs that are the focal point. There is a perfect formula for children’s music; like with kids’ films these days, many artists try to hard to make their albums “parent friendly” and tend to go overboard, while those who “dumb things down” tend to be the most annoying. Morgan’s gift is finding the perfect balance. The Barber of the Beasts is for smart and imaginative kids and parents, seeming designed to be enjoyed together. Morgan is great with clever word play and he isn't afraid to drop a few “big words” (or at least unfamiliar words). That’s where the booklet’s excellent vocabulary guide comes in handy. Parents can go over words with their children, who will have not only been entertained by Zak’s fantastical storytelling, but will also learn something in the process. Many of the tracks on Barber feature gorgeous chamber string arrangements, but there are also tunes like “Snow Day,” on which Morgan channels his inner Tom Waits (vocally), the shuffling, jazzy Pop cut “Swinging On A Star,” the Country-esque “Nancy Jane” and the great Bootsy collaboration, “The Case of the Dry Markers,” a swingin’, “spooky” Jazz struttin’ mystery with a Halloween vibe. Here is the debut music video from the album for "The Case of the Dry Markers":The songs and music are elegant and often downright majestic (particularly the ones with the spine-tingling string arrangements), while Morgan’s clever stories are loaded with a silliness that the young listeners will gleefully embrace. I believe The Barber of the Beasts (which will specifically appeal to kids between around the ages of 1-8, but certainly fits the "fun for kids of all ages" bill) was released in time to make next year’s Grammy nominations. It will be a crime if it doesn’t make the cut. When it comes to children’s music, Zak is like the Bob Dylan of the genre — minus the curmudgeonly grumpiness, of course. This Saturday at 1 p.m., Morgan and a host
of special guests will present the local release party for the album at
The Monastery recording studio (2601 Stanton Ave., Walnut Hills), the
performance/recording space owned and operated by producer/guitarist Ric
Hordinski (who also performed on, produced and co-wrote material on the album). Tickets are available through brownpapertickets.com for $10
(or $20 for families of two-five people). Remaining tickets will be
available at the door the day of the show for $15 (or $25 per family).
Your ticket also includes food and admission to the post-show pizza
by Mike Breen
Veteran ace Jazz pianist/organist Steve Schmidt returns to The Comet in Northside to launch his Christmas-themed two-night stand at the venue. Schmidt's annual Christmas Jazz "Spectacular" has become a local holiday tradition. Schmidt whips out his organ (a Hammond B3; get your mind out of the gutter!) for the occasion and, as always, brings along some top-shelf special guests for the shows. Schmidt is joined by Brad Myers on guitar and Mark Wolfley on drums, plus two amazing singers — Eugene Goss (known for his work with Billy Larkin as Triage) and the great Mandy Gaines. The Steve Schmidt Organ Trio Christmas Spectacular runs 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. tonight and tomorrow at The Comet. There is no cover charge.