Joe Casey is agitated. The frontman and
chief word slinger for Detroit’s Protomartyr opens the quartet’s second
full-length record, the stellar Under Color of Official Right,
with this recurring statement: “There’s just a clack in the brain now.”
Sidewalk Chalk's just-released second album, Leaves, opens with a live clip in which frontdude/rapper Rico Sisney and frontlady/singer Maggie Vagle ask a crowd to shout out the Hip Hop crew's name on the count of three. It's a fitting intro, for this Chicago octet is, first and foremost, interested in interaction, about stirring minds and moving asses.
Ben Chasny and Donovan Quinn, doing
business as New Bums, are the sound of Bob Dylan and Neil Young raised
as brothers on the mean streets of New York, singing dark songs of
contemporary survival and busking for change with a cardboard sign that
reads “Paul Westerberg Relief Fund,” although they’re spending the money
on 40s and weed.
Vic and Gab’s first full-length, last year’s Love of Mine,
is even more assured, the sound of a band coming into its own. Album
opener “Love of Mine” sets the tone, a dreamily atmospheric Pop tune
that’s almost impossible to eradicate once it enters your ears.
The Dex Romweber Duo's Images 13 drops next month, and it’s an amalgam of everything that has erupted
from Romweber’s fevered creative genius from the start — twisted ’50s
Rockabilly and romantic Pop, high-octane ’60s Surf, raw, electric Blues
and even strains of Jazz and Exotica.
A decade ago, years before American
keyboardist Adam Weiner and British drummer/guitarist Dan Finnemore
realized their vision of incendiary Piano Rock as Low Cut Connie, Weiner
made his Greater Cincinnati solo debut. Booked at the original
Southgate House, Weiner found an audience unimpressed
with his offerings.
The mayor of Minneapolis declared Sept.
13, 2013 as “Har Mar Superstar Day,” in honor of a man whose soulful,
hyper-sexual R&B stylings have been overshadowed by his resemblance
to porn star Ron Jeremy and a stage show that includes the singer
clothed in nothing more than a pair of tighty-whities.
Every show Empires has played in
Cincinnati, it has been memorable. The Chicago quintet’s Queen City
debut was at 2010’s MidPoint festival, which guitarist Tom Conrad
recalls thusly: “I remember everyone being extremely wasted and playing
really late, and walking away thinking, ‘I don’t know what this was but
I’d love to come back.’”
Last fall, Sebadoh released the comeback full-length Defend Yourself,
the band’s first album in 14 years. The album recaptured some of the
dizzying sonic diversity of Sebadoh’s early Sub Pop recordings, but also
finds Barlow and Loewenstein’s songwriting skills as sharp as ever.
Eight years ago, ex-Rat Traps
vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Jeffrey Novak envisioned a Garage-stained
band that would nod toward Glam Rock and Power Pop influences, fueled
by the Punk he’d been playing since his teenage years. The
Nashville native formed Cheap Time and released the well-received self-titled debut full-length in 2008.