WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Mike Breen 09.23.2014 32 days ago
 
 
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MidPoint Music Festival Critic's Picks: Saturday

MidPoint Music Festival 2014 kicks off this Thursday and we've been showcasing some of the Critic's Picks from our official MidPoint guide (which will be available throughout the fest). While most of attendees are likely very familiar with some of the bigger headlining acts, these suggestions mostly focus on some of the lesser known gems. (If you're in doubt, any act with "Cincinnati" next to their name is a slam dunk.) Here are some recommendations for this Saturday. Click here to check out the entire official guide, which has write up on all 150 or so MPMF acts. Tickets are still available here. 12:15 a.m. @ Arnold's Baskery (Stockholm, Sweden) Alt Roots/Country/Americana  Sweden’s Baskery formed in 2007, but the members didn’t have to go far to find each other. The group consists of sisters Greta, Stella and Sunniva Bondesson, who dub their unique spin on Roots/Country music everything from “Nordicana” to “Banjo-Punk.” But descriptions are especially difficult when it comes to Baskery; the trio’s third album, this year’s Little Wild Life, finds the sisters spinning a wide range of American Roots music styles into their own distinctive, wildly diverse sound. One second the group is showcasing its vocal harmony prowess a capella on the haunting “Northern Girl,” the next its strutting swamp boogie a la Southern Culture on the Skids on “The NoNo.” If you’re tiring of Roots music that doesn’t go off the same exact blueprints established a century ago, Baskery will show you just how far Americana can be taken. You’ll Dig It If You Dig: The Dixie Chicks without boundaries, The Beatles reborn as a sister act fascinated by Americana. (Mike Breen) 7:15 p.m. @ Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. (Outdoor Stage) Ancient Warfare (Lexington, Ky.)  Psych Folk/Rock Ancient Warfare’s dark and quiet intensity transcends the band’s tough-chick exterior. The quartet designs a sonic atmosphere the same way Saul Bass once designed logos: with elegant simplicity and ferocious creativity. The psychedelic aspect to Ancient Warfare’s presentation is more about texture than actual sound, as their languid, fuzzy melodies drift through their ethereal yet solidly constructed songs, like the heavy smoke in an opium den. The palpable weariness of Echo Wilcox’s gloomy vocals and haunted guitar, the intractable pull of Rachael Yanarella’s hypnotic violin, the subtle thunder of Reva Williams’ bass and the exquisite filigrees provided by multi-instrumentalist Emily Hagihara swirl and combine to make Ancient Warfare’s enveloping totality and assure that their imminent debut album, The Pale Horse, will be one of the fall’s most anticipated releases. YDIIYD: Sixteen Horsepower reimagined as the Velvet Underground by P.J. Harvey, Aimee Mann and Hope Sandoval. (Brian Baker) 10 p.m. @ Christian Moerlein Brewing Company (Indoor Stage) Apache Dropout (Bloomington, Ind.) Garage Pop Like all good college towns, Bloomington, Ind., is forever dishing up awesome bands with fresh, new music. In the case of Apache Dropout, that “new” sound is perfectly and thankfully reminiscent of some of the best music of the past. Their newest album, Heavy Window, comes from Magnetic South, co-owned by band member Seth Mahern. The guys pressed 1,000 copies of Heavy Window, one of their largest printings yet. Fun fact: The first half of those records feature glowing eyes on the eerie-cool cover. It’s the ultimate tell-tale sign of the drug-addled, paranoid Rock & Roll boogie on the inside. YDIIYD: The Who on acid, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club. (Deirdre Kaye) 11 p.m. @ The Drinkery  Xoe Wise (Chicago)  Singer/Songwriter/Electro Pop At 19, Xoe Wise moved from her North Carolina home (the first song she wrote was for a sick goat on her family’s farm) to Chicago and immediately became a fixture in the city’s burgeoning scene. Wise’s debut album, 2010’s Echo, generated a pile of positive local press, while its follow-up, 2012’s Archive of Illusions, earned her a sell-out crowd at Schuba’s, a spot on WGN-TV and a feature in the Chicago Tribune. Wise’s third EP, Breakfast, hit the Top 20 on iTunes’ Singer/Songwriter chart and she’s currently at work on her third full-length, irresistibly titled Racecar Orgasm. Wise plays solo acoustic or with a full Electro Pop crew, but either way she creates a dreamy and undeniable vibe. YDIIYD: Imogen Heap and Suzanne Vega play Twister on a musical game board. (BB) 11:15 p.m. @ Mainstay Rock Bar The Tontons (Houston)  Rock Big-haired Texas and its Rock & Roll-loving youngsters have eaten up and loved every second of their time with The Tontons. Now the band is out touring the nation and conquering ears and hearts across the globe. The group’s sultry Rock is just good enough to make The Tontons Cincinnati’s favorite band, too. “So Young,” off 2011’s Golden, feels like a modern, youthful, rockin’ spin on elevator music or like Henry Mancini decided to start a female-led Rock band. Asli Omar’s one-of-a-kind voice and perfect squeal makes each song on this year’s Make Out King and Other Stories stand out. YDIIYD: Blonde Redhead, wearing leather to Tiffany & Co. (DK) 8:45 p.m. @ Mainstay Rock Bar The Nepotist (New York, N.Y.)  Indie/Soul/Rock/Roots Good luck trying to find a one or two word descriptor for the music made by NYC trio The Nepotist. Actually, don’t even try — the group’s uniqueness and sonic diversity is what makes them so enjoyable to listen to. The Village Voice called them “Alt Soul,” a term the band has embraced and works well enough given the soulful vocals and rewired Steve Cropper guitar riffs. But then you have a track like the recent single “Kids,” which has bubbling banjo and harmonies befitting a Folk band. It’s a delicious stew that is blissfully unpredictable. The trio (formed by brothers Chris and Hayden Frank) has only been together a couple of years but has already drawn loads of glowing press thanks to its pair of EPs and various singles released just this year alone. A full-length is due early next year. YDIIYD: Grizzly Bear, Sufjan Stevens, Dr. Dog. (MB) 10:30 p.m. @ Memorial Hall Saintseneca (Columbus, Ohio)  Folk Pop When Saintseneca canceled an appearance at the Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus this July, the quintet made national headlines not for its music but for its social politics, because the members were against sex offender R. Kelly performing at the fest. Met with vicious protests, Kelly eventually pulled out (no pun intended) of the fest. This is one of many ways the folksy Appalachian Pop group has become famous this year, along with releasing the new record Dark Arc (produced by Bright Eyes member Mike Mogis), recording a NPR Tiny Desk Concert and gigging across the country. From grassroots house concerts in central Ohio to performing at national fests, it won’t be long now before everyone knows their name and music.  YDIIYD: Weird instruments like the bouzouki, the dulcimer and a bowed banjo playing lilting harmonies with a Ben Gibbard-y vocal affectation. (Garin Pirnia) 9:45 p.m. @ MidPoint Midway Stage Low Cut Connie (Brooklyn, N.Y.) Rock If you think Piano Rock is all Billy Joel and Elton John, sorry will be a much easier word for you after you’ve experienced the 88-key onslaught of Low Cut Connie. Featuring the manic piano fireworks of Adam Weiner and the ambidextrous drum/guitar magic of Dan Finnemore (and a full band’s worth of mayhem on tour), Low Cut Connie entertains with a vengeance and accepts nothing less than total surrender. Their first two albums, 2011’s Get Out the Lotion and 2012’s Call Me Sylvia, are loaded with catchy numbers that feature a lot of humor but stop well short of being simple novelties and showcase the duo’s disparate influences (Jerry Lee Lewis and Iggy Pop for Weiner; British Punk and Garage Rock for Finnemore). Low Cut Connie’s latest triumph was a spectacular version of Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire” on the Nilsson tribute This is the Town earlier this year, and rumors of a third album continue to swirl. But right now, the play’s the thing. See Low Cut Connie and marvel at the things a piano was never meant to do but should have been doing all along. YDIIYD: Ben Folds dipped in speed and forced to play Replacements and Stooges songs in a seedy cabaret. (BB) 8 p.m. @ MOTR Pub Wyatt Blair (Los Angeles) Power Pop Power Pop gets short shrift in any serious discussion of music because of its relative simplicity and perceived lack of gravity, but nothing could be further from the truth. Coming up with hooks and lyrics that get the job done in under three minutes and stick in the head like brain taffy may be among the most difficult musical tasks. Wyatt Blair doesn’t seem to have any problem at all, and his latest album, the confectionary Banana Cream Dream, is solid evidence of his lo-fi Power Pop ambitions (he also works with Peach Kelli Pop and Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel). As Andy Partridge once noted so succinctly, this is Pop. YDIIYD: Rick Springfield channeling T. Rex, produced by Tommy Keene. (BB) 10:45 p.m. @ Ballroom at the Taft Theatre Earth (Seattle, Wash.) Experimental/Post Rock Much like the planet itself, the band Earth has been through a lot in the past 25 years. Guitarist Dylan Carson founded the primarily instrumental band in 1989, cribbing the name from one of Black Sabbath’s early monikers. The band’s 1993 debut, Earth 2, has long been considered the launching pad for what Carlson dubbed Ambient Metal, a feedback- and distortion-drenched drone that influenced a subsequent generation. In the mid-’90s, Carlson shelved the band to deal with heroin addiction; it would be nearly a decade before the release of 2005’s Hex; or Printing in the Infernal Method, which retained a Doom Metal structure but incorporated Country and Blues motifs and was also heavily influenced by Cormac McCarthy’s novel, Blood Meridian. Earth’s next albums, Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I and II, were shaped by Carlson’s love of Pentangle and Fairport Convention, while the just released Primitive and Deadly finds Carlson moving in yet another new and different direction, incorporating straight Rock and even Pop elements into his long droning jams. With 16 lineup changes in a quarter century, it’s not unusual that Earth would shift identities, but even if the personnel had been stable throughout, Carlson would have retooled the band’s sound in any event and made a new, glorious noise to confront the world. YDIIYD: God’s guitar, Gabriel’s amp, the Devil’s road crew. (BB)
 
 
by Mike Breen 09.22.2014 33 days ago
 
 
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MidPoint Music Festival Critic's Picks: Thursday

It's MidPoint Music Festival week! If you need some guidance as you create your MPMF itinerary (which you can build and keep track of through the live.mpmf.com app),  we'll be showcasing some of the Critic's Picks from our official MidPoint guide (which will be available throughout the fest). While most of attendees are likely very familiar with some of the bigger headlining acts of the fest, these suggestions focus on some of the great acts beyond the top-of-the-poster ones. Remember — MPMF is about discovery. (And if you find yourself with a blank spot on your schedule, any of Cincinnati's homegrown talent playing MPMF are a sure bet.) Here are some recommendations for this Thursday. Click here to check out the entire official guide, which has write-ups on all 150 or so MPMF acts. Tickets are still available here. 8 p.m. @ Arnold's Old Hundred (Columbus, Ohio)  Indie Folk Rock In 2012, Columbus’ Old Hundred was listed as one of “10 Ohio Bands You Should Listen to Now” by Paste Magazine. If you didn’t heed that advice at the time, you should do yourself a favor and do so immediately. Along with scoring slots at regional fests and playing with the likes of Mumford & Sons, Phosphorescent and Cake, the group has put out a pair of full-lengths and two EP releases, including this year’s remarkable I Don’t Want to Die. The EP shows the unpredictable diversity of Old Hundred, opening with the sweeping Folk instrumental “Catamount I” before moving into gritty, melodic Indie Rock of “I’ll Be There (When You Die),” the beautiful harmony-laden “I Don’t Want to Die” and “Catamount II,” which begins with haunting Art Folk minimalism and builds into a noisy cacophony that could’ve been composed by Explosions in the Sky. You'll Dig It If You Dig: Fleet Foxes, Wilco, Grizzly Bear, Band of Horses. (Mike Breen) I Don't Want to Die by Old Hundred 10:30 p.m. @ The Drinkery Alpha Consumer (Minneapolis)  Indie Rock Considering Minneapolis’ storied history, Alpha Consumer has created a cultishly devoted fan base among one of the most sophisticated and discerning music audiences on the planet. The trio has also made fans within its peer group, collaborating with Andrew Bird, Bon Iver and Brother Ali, while maintaining a unique musical perspective of herky jerky New Wave as filtered through a melodic Pop prism that fractures its light into individual rays of New York Punk, Psych Folk and contemporary Indie Rock. Alpha Consumer’s last full-length, 2011’s Kick Drugs Out of America, was a blast of Indie oddballery, but the group’s recently released Meat shows a great deal more subtlety and musical growth toward the melodic heart and soul that was evident on its predecessor.  YDIIYD: Ray Davies, Paul Westerberg and Ween in the front row of a Devo concert. (Brian Baker) 10:30 p.m. @ Know Theater (Main Stage) Fathers (Chicago) Indie Rock  Fathers is a band with branches in Chicago but deep roots in the Cincinnati scene. Its members played previously in such Cincy stalwarts as Enlou, All The Day Holiday and Cathedrals. It should be noted that Fathers sound virtually nothing like any of those bands, but instead carves out its own niche somewhere between ’70s Easy Listening and more modern, propulsive Indie Rock. Nearly every song demonstrates a mastery of the delicate art of dynamic and mood. Of course, that being said, the band says its live show is akin to “an out-of-control bus with a bomb strapped to the bottom that will blow if the driver slows down.” So come prepared for anything. YDIIYD: Fleetwood Mac with vocals recorded in the My Morning Jacket reverb silo. (Ben Walpole) 10 p.m. @ Know Theater (Second Stage) Violent Mae (Hartford, Conn.) Indie Jazz Rock As their bio reads, vocalist/guitarist Becky Kessler and drummer Floyd Kellogg were supposed to work on her solo album together, not form a band. Kessler moved from Outer Banks, N.C., to work on an organic farm in Connecticut, where she met Kellogg. The result of their work together is last year’s self-titled debut, influenced by noisy bands Sonic Youth and Pixies, but also possessing notes of Jazz icon Charles Mingus and a sprinkling of Jeff Buckley’s Folk Gospel. On the upbeat melancholy of “Hole in My Heart,” Kessler sings about heartache in her raspy voice that’s in the ilk of Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom. This winter they went method and recorded the song “Man in the Country” in an abandoned mining cave. YDDIYD: The Heartless Bastards, Jeff Buckley without the high notes, New England in the fall, cave dwellers. (Garin Pirnia) 10:45 p.m. @ Mainstay Rock Bar The Infatuations (Detroit)  R&B/Soul/Rock/Funk The high-energy Soul style of The Infatuations has made them a favorite in their hometown scene, which is saying a lot when you realize their hometown scene gave birth to Motown and scores of bands known for amazing live shows (MC5, The White Stripes, etc.). The group recently scored five Detroit Music Awards (out of 14 nominations) including Outstanding Live Performance. The Infatuations bring the party for its live shows and their recorded work captures that sweaty, dance-demanding vibe perfectly. This year, the group released its first full-length, Detroit Block Party, 11 tracks of high-octane R&B that’s almost as fun to listen to as it is to experience in concert. Almost. YDIIYD: Motown, Stax, Marvin, Curtis, Otis. (MB) Midnight @ MOTR Pub Nikki Lane (Nashville, Tenn.)  Alt Country/Rockabilly With her unabashed bluster, Lane’s songs about jilted lovers and walks of shame generate either foot stomping or pensive swaying. (Note: She’s nothing like another Nashville “Country” artist who likes to write songs about exes, Taylor Swift.) Lane grew up in Greenville, S.C., then spent some time in NYC before settling in Music City, where she opened up a vintage store called High Class Hillbilly. That led to meeting and collaborating with Black Key Dan Auerbach, who produced her sophomore record, All or Nothin’. On songs “Man Up” and “You Can’t Treat Me Like That,” she lets those men know she’s the boss, all while never losing that alluring rhythm. YDIIYD: Strong vintage female Country artists like Wanda Jackson and Loretta Lynn and newer country artists like Lydia Loveless. (GP) 10:30 p.m. @ Mr. Pitiful's Steelism (Nashville, Tenn.)  Instrumental Rock/Surf/Roots Led by guitarist Jeremy Fetzer and pedal steel player Spencer Cullum, Steelism is a wide-ranging instrumental band that takes from Surf rock greats, classical soundtrack composers and vintage Soul music and creates its own distinct and completely engrossing sound. You can use Santo & Johnny — the pedal steel/guitar twosome that had a hit with the mesmerizing “Sleepwalk” — as a starting point, simply because it is a provocative instrumental hit using the same instrument motif, but Steelism takes the concept to levels that duo only dreamed of. They can pull off gorgeous Country balladry, Krautrock weirdness, rollicking Rock & Roll boogie, R&B smoothness with equal grace, managing to have its own strong musical identity craft cohesiveness in the face of such disparate inspiration. And no, you get swept up enough that you won’t once wonder, “Would this sound better with singing?” In this case, singing would be distracting. YDIIYD: The Ventures, Esquivel, Ennio Morricone. (MB) 10:45 p.m. @ Ballroom at the Taft Theater Barrence Whitfield and the Savages (Boston) Garage Rock/Soul Barrence Whitfield is the kind of performer that the word “frontman” was devised to define who they are and yet doesn’t go nearly far enough in describing what they do. Whitfield is a human tornado of Soul and Rock, a witheringly energetic gene splice of Wilson Pickett, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Arthur Alexander, with moves and grooves that would sprain Richard Simmons’ optic nerve. And around him are the Savages, a musical Special Forces unit that storms stages with blitzkrieg passion and unhinged abandon. And we’ll let Boston claim them, because the band started there three decades ago, but we all know that half the Savages hail from the Queen City (ex-Customs/DMZ/Lyres guitarist Peter Greenberg, ex-Customs/Auburnaires keyboardist Jim Cole, ex-Pearlene drummer Andy Jody) and their last two comeback albums — 2011’s Savage Kings and 2013’s Dig Thy Savage Soul — were recorded with John Curley at Ultrasuede (and Savage Kings was released on Shake It, so there). But the band will be happy to tell you that it doesn’t matter where they’re from, it matters where they’re headed. And the best you can do to get ready is strap your ass on tight; Barrence Whitfield and the Savages might just rock it off. YDIIYD: Little Richard mentors The Dictators, Wilson Pickett gives them a metric ton of Soul. (BB)  Barrence Whitfield & The Savages The Corner Man Later with Jools Holland from TKA on Vimeo.
 
 
by Mike Breen 09.18.2014 37 days ago
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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WNKU Supports Local Music, Local Music Supports WNKU

Cincinnati area musicians team up for Northern Kentucky public radio station’s fall fund drive

While commercial radio throws a bone here and there to homegrown musicians in Greater Cincinnati via specialty shows or segments, public radio station WNKU (89.7 FM; wnku.org) frequently adds songs from local artists to its regular-rotation playlist. And it has for years. The station also covers the local scene online with news and reviews, hosts local musicians for its live in-studio Studio 89 program and sponsors numerous musical events across the Tristate.Local musicians are returning the favor by appearing on the new compilation album, Get Real Gone: Road Songs for Public Radio. In lieu of, say, a cliched tote bag gift, WNKU will be giving CDs of the album to those who donate during the station’s fall fund drive. Listeners who become “sustaining members,” paying just $8 a month, or those who donate $96 can score a disc of their very own. The compilation features tracks by Roger Klug, Brian Lovely’s Flying Underground, Eclipse Movement, Goose, The Newbees, Balderdash, Tim Goshorn, Kim Taylor, psychodots, Marcos, Graveblankets, Davis Kinney, Charlie Fletcher, Jeff Seeman and Bromwell-Diehl. This Saturday and Sept. 27, several of the Get Real Gone participants will perform live at WNKU’s studio. This Saturday, the lineup features Davis Kenney (10 a.m.), Balderdash (noon), The Newbees (1 p.m.), Roger Klug Power Trio (2 p.m.) and Graveblankets (3 p.m.). On Sept. 27, tune in to hear Kim Taylor (10 a.m.), Jeffrey Seeman (10:40 a.m.), Brian Lovely’s Flying Underground (11:30 a.m.), Goose (1 p.m.), Charlie Fletcher (with The Bluebirds; 2:30 p.m.) and the Bromwell-Diehl Band (3:15 p.m.). Click here for more info and here to make a donation.
 
 

Walk the Moon Gears Up for New Album Release

Plus, local happenings

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The reigning Cincinnati Entertainment Award winner of Artist of the Year honors, Alt Pop quartet Walk the Moon, is finally set to release its second album for RCA Records.  

Sarah Jaffe with Astronautalis and Transit

Tuesday • Taft Theatre

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 17, 2014
 The music bug bit Sarah Jaffe early. And hard.   
by Mike Breen 09.17.2014 38 days ago
Posted In: Local Music, Music History at 03:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cincinnati in Song

Blog compiles impressive list of songs featuring “Cincinnati” in their titles

This morning we received a message from former CIncinnatian/current Silver Spring, Md., resident Chris Richardson about some Cincinnati music-centric posts on his cool music blog, Zero to 180.  Richardson has a rich knowledge of music in general — his blog “celebrates studio songcraft and some of the lesser-known stories behind the songwriters, musicians, producers, engineers, arrangers, label owners and the like” —  and he has good taste because he appears to be a big fan of pioneering local label King Records. (Here’s a great post about an interesting connection between King and Jamaican Ska.) Yesterday, the blog featured a fun post with a run down of songs from the past to the present that feature Cincinnati in the title. Tracks range from earlier cuts by Duke Ellington (“Cincinnati Daddy”) and Johnny Burnette (“Cincinnati Fireball”) through more recent material, like “Cincinnati Harmony” by The Dopamines, “Oh, Cincinnati” by The Seedy Seeds and “All Roads Lead to Cincinnati” by Jake Speed and the Freddies. Check the full list here. There are several great tunes on the list, but this one is pretty terrifying: Anything he missed? 
 
 
by mbreen 09.16.2014 39 days ago
Posted In: Local Music, Live Music, Music Video, Music News at 08:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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WATCH: Walk the Moon Plays New Single on 'Late Night'

Cincy band's second full-length for RCA Records due later this year

The reigning Cincinnati Entertainment Award winners of the Artist of the Year honors, Alt Pop quartet Walk the Moon, are finally set to release their second album for RCA Records. The album's lead single, "Shut Up and Dance," was released Sept. 10 and last night the group performed the song on Late Night with Seth Meyers. (Watch below.)The band's sophomore RCA full-length will be out before the year's end, according to the label. Walk the Moon kicks off its coast-to-coast “Shut Up and Tour” tour of smaller clubs in Seattle on Oct. 8. The band will perform some of the new material on the tour, which does not include a hometown date. The group will be in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 21, but that show instantly sold out. The Columbus date is also the first of several shows that will feature like-minded Cincinnati Pop Rock trio Public as opening act.
 
 

The Features with Seabird

Friday • The Ballroom at Taft Theatre

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 10, 2014
 While The Features have always successfully translated their visceral energy in the studio, it’s their live presentation that seals the deal. Get Featured in person.   

Pokey LaFarge with Dom Flemons, The Tillers and more

Tuesday • Miami University Middletown’s Dave Finkelman Auditorium

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 10, 2014
 What is cool about LaFarge is that if he were alive and playing music in 1936, he would be just as successful as he is now.   

John Cowan with John McFee and Friends

Saturday • Miami University Hamilton’s Parrish Auditorium

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Cowan has always had one of the most powerful voices in the business, one not only capable of singing Progressive Roots music but also able to bring dynamic Rock vocals to the microphone as well.  

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