by Brian Penick
Editor's Note: Brian Penick of local music promotions company The Counter Rhythm Group has been guest blogging for CityBeat monthly to provide a behind-the-scenes look at his journey to release his interactive industry eBook, Musicians’ Desk Reference. Click here for his previous blog entries.Enough with the chitchat — let’s get down to business.For those of you that have been reading/following/listening/talking about Musicians’ Desk Reference
over the past several months, you might still have questions, and that
is OK. At times throughout this process I have even found myself taking a
step back to consider what exactly I am doing.
In reality, that is what this entire project is about —
questioning. Specifically, it's about the questions artists inevitably
are faced with in the music industry. You should question it all,
everything, all the time. That where this idea came from and, frankly,
how I live my life. And I would say it is working out pretty well.
But the time for questions is over — so let’s see some answers.
What is Musicians’ Desk Reference? It’s a music
industry progression eBook. What does that mean? It is an online
platform (website) that helps artists work through common scenarios in
the music industry, such as starting out, recording, promoting, touring
and building a team. It is a time management system that conforms to
your schedule and your level of interest. There is even a tool that
builds documentation for you, in addition to the packaging, including
several useful items, such as paper stock and labels for at-home
This platform is designed for everyone — from beginners to
professionals, and all those in between. You don’t like reading? That’s
fine; you can adjust it to recall very minimal information. You like
reading thousands of lines worth of information? Well, friend, you’re in
luck. Click away on our lists and just let us know you’re okay a few
months after filling your head with useful and practical information. If
you are a musician that is interested in furthering your career to any
degree — from a local to a national level — this eBook is for you.
Where did this come from? Me, actually. I am a musician
and have been for half my life. I have spent years in vans, trailers,
buses, airplanes, trains and even on boats playing original music all
over the world. I have always been fascinated with the music industry
and how it works, always wondering why things happened the way that they
This fascination led me start The Counter Rhythm Group, an
artist development/marketing/event promotion company — built by
artists, for artists — offering assistance groups that are younger and
newer than ones traditionally serviced. TCRG has worked to develop a
range of artists, from those that are still just starting out to some
that you can hear on commercial radio stations, all over the course of
almost three years. When the requests outnumbered the amount of work we
could handle, I decided to build a public platform based on our actual
working models. Fast-forward to the present day and you have Musicians’ Desk Reference.
We have worked tirelessly for months (beyond the almost
two years of development) building a robust product that is jam-packed
with information for the user and I can honestly say that we are still
impressed, even after staring at it for hours on end. We’ve even been
testing the specifics on a young Cincinnati-based band called PUBLIC,
and we are proud to say that things are going very well.
The best part is that the wait is almost over. I am very excited to announce that Musicians’ Desk Reference
will be available exclusively to the Cincinnati market at CityBeat’s
Midpoint Music Festival, three weeks ahead of the national launch in New
York City at the CMJ Music Marathon.
Hear that, Cincinnati? We love you so much that we are
giving you the opportunity to have this in your hands well before anyone
What’s that? You want more? All right!
We are also partnering with the fine folks at Midpoint
Music Festival as a sponsor, offering a complimentary full version of
the eBook to all showcasing artists. That’s right, you play and it’s
yours! But what if you did not get selected to the festival but still
want a copy? We will be on-hand all three days at our sponsorship tent— located at the MidPoint Midway Stage at Twelfth and Vine
streets (right next to the MPMF box office) — selling the eBook for 25%
off its regular retail price. We will also be presenting live demos of
the site with the development team available for questions.
I could not be more proud of the work that has gone into
this project and I am forever in debt to the dedicated folks that have
been behind me from the start (including CityBeat music guy Mike
Breen — someone please give that man a gift basket full of money for all
he does for the Cincinnati music scene). (Editor's note #2: Large, unmarked bills only, please.)
We really hope to level the playing field in the music industry with Musicians’ Desk Reference,
educating artists and helping them to build a strong foundation to work
from. We all have a similar goal for success in mind, however we define
it, and I want this project to give every individual that chance.
As artists, let’s take pride in our actions and help our
peers. Let’s step away from the competitive mentality and work together
instead of against each other. Let’s form a music community and
celebrate the opportunities that are available to us. This is our
industry and this is our time. Musicians’ Desk Reference: Empowering Artists to Progress Through the Modern Music Industry.Here is an introductory video for MDR's release:
Plus, modern day indie label Phratry celebrates nine years, DAAP Girls unveil new video
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Cincinnati-based King Records, a label that helped change the face of popular music in America, turns 70 in September and supporters have a month's worth of festivities to celebrate. Plus, modern day indie label Phratry celebrates its ninth birthday, DAAP Girls unveil "Molly" and MidPoint Indie Summer on Fountain Square ends Friday.
by Mike Breen
Cincinnati Darkwave duo releases creeping new clip for latest single
In February of this year, Cincinnati area
Electronic/Darkwave/Post Punk twosome Skeleton Hands released its
stellar full-length album, Gone (read CityBeat's review here). One of the standouts on the LP is the track "Oxygen," which encapsulates everything compelling about
the duo's sound — it's dark, danceable and moody, with synth
atmospherics, creeping melodies and vocals, electro-bass wobble and
shimmery guitar waterfalls.
Those retro/modern/futuristic urban-gothic sonics are
perfectly reflected in the brand new video clip for "Oxygen." The
ominous video — written by Thomas Stemrich (Director) and Josh Chiara
(Director of Photography) of local band Holy Beast — was shot over three
days in Northside and Over-the-Rhine.
The nutshell synopsis of the video: "In New Berlin, in the
basements of post-industrial mansions, lost youths pray to shrines for
nothing and participate in rituals that don’t matter. But tonight, one
of New Berlin’s daughters is through with the minutia, ready to dive
beneath the insincerity of cult posturing, and finally awaken the beacon
of change that swells beneath the city streets. Will this be another
lost night in Neverland or will she finally meet the beast of her
Stemrich and Chiara have made other music videos,
including "Night Drive" for the local act Polar Sky (Polar Sky and
Skeleton Hands both record for locally based Racecar Productions).
Sharfe says "Night Drive," and now "Oxygen," are unofficially akin to part
of a "series," with the Polar Sky clip setting the "New Berlin" tone
initially, and the Skeleton Hands' video taking it further.
"In the New Berlin videos, we see Cincinnati through a
dystopic lens," Sharfe says. "Prostitutes, cults, deities, people with
holes in their torsos. Strange stuff."
Skeleton Hands are currently taking pre-orders for copies of Gone
on vinyl. Click here to get in on the action. "Oxygen" will be
available as a single this fall through Racecar. The single release will
feature remixes, including ones by Kontravoid and the aforementioned
The duo also returns to the MidPoint Music Festival this
year, coming up towards the end of September in various venues around
Over-the-Rhine and Downtown. Skeleton Hands is slated to perform at 10
p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, at MPMF venue Below Zero Lounge (on Walnut
Street, next to Emery Theatre). Click here for MPMF tickets (or visit
Fountain Square Friday night between 8-11 p.m., where you can buy
tickets in person — one night only — for $10-$20 off).
by Mike Breen
Fountain Square's MidPoint Indie Summer concert series ends with locally-bred greats Why? this Friday; MPMF offering exclusive fest ticket deal
The grand finale of the season-long MidPoint Indie Summer concert series is Friday on Fountain Square.
It's always a bittersweet moment — the free series ends for this
summer, but that only means that the MidPoint Music Festival is less
than one month away.
The MidPoint Indie Summer series concludes just in time to
kick off Labor Day weekend this Friday. The show is headlined by
internationally beloved/locally based Why?, which is set to
release its Golden Ticket EP in a few weeks. The EP is the result of
some fan-engaging fun on the group's website.
On the Why? site, frontman Yoni Wolf explains: "We would
write a theme song for one customer who came to the … web store and
bought something every month. Like Mighty Mouse. It would be a song
about that person. We’d read all about them on Facebook and Twitter, and
sometimes even go so far as to contact their significant other to ask
them questions. Then I would write the song on piano and my brother
would take the skeleton of lyrics and piano and turn it into a fully
realized arrangement.” (Read more on Why? here.)(Wolf, by the way, has also been hosting his own very entertaining podcast called The Wandering Wolf (free for download on iTunes and Soundcloud). The show's have been hilarious and insightful, with Wolf chatting with guests like James McNew of Indie Rock legends Yo La Tengo, Cincinnati Hip Hop legend Mr. Dibbs and he and his brother's own father.)Also at the finale, there will be a one-time only special on tickets to the forthcoming MidPoint Music Festival 2013.
Those purchasing tickets in person at the Square Friday can buy
three-day passes for $59 ($10 off) and three-day VIP passes for $149
($20 off). Visit mpmf.com for the latest on the fest and mpmf.cincyticket.com for tickets (if you can’t make it Friday).
Also performing Friday on the Square: Nashville’s Moon Taxi and Cincy’s Vito Emmanuel. Showtime is 8 p.m.
by Mike Breen
Art Academy's 'Reverberation' exhibit spotlights 25 years of musical performances in Greater Cincinnati
Beginning Sept. 3 at the Art Academy of Cincinnati's Childlaw Gallery (1212 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine), the people behind the massive photography exhibition FotoFocus will set their lenses on the many great concert photographers in the region. Reverberation: Capturing the Live Music Experience will coincide with the MidPoint Music Festival, located just off the 12th Street MidPoint Midway (the strip featuring vendors, food, live music the box truck carnival and much more). Hours will be extended during MPMF, with the exhibit staying open until 9 p.m. on Sept. 26 and 10 p.m. on Sept. 27-28. (Normal hours, starting Sept. 3, are 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Mondays-Fridays, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays). The exhibit closes Sept. 29. The work of 29 artists will be featured in the exhibit, including shots from legends like Melvin Grier (an award-winning photojournalist who shot many years for The Cincinnati Post) and Michael Wilson (whose portraits have been featured on the covers of albums by The Replacements, Over the Rhine, Lyle Lovett, Ron Sexmith and many others), as well as Maurice Mattei, Sean Hughes, Keith Klenowski and Kara Smarsh. (Click on the names to check out some of the artists' work.)
Plus, the full 2013 MidPoint Music Festival lineup is announced
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The life and music of Country music legend and Ohio native Cowboy Copas (who died in the same plane crash that killed Patsy Cline) is celebrated in Adams County this weekend. Plus, the full MidPoint Music Festival schedule/lineup is available now at MPMF.com.
by Mike Breen
New venues and a slew of new artists announce for this September's three-day event
Head to MPMF.com right now to see the full lineup and schedule for the MidPoint Music Festival, coming up Sept. 26-28 at various venues in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. Due to the legal wrangling over the management of The Emery Theatre (widely covered in CityBeat and at citybeat.com), the classic Cincinnati venue — a favorite from last year’s fest — will not be a part of MPMF in 2013. But MPMF’s footprint is expanding to include downtown’s Mainstay Rock Bar (which has participated in the fest in the past) and first-time MPMF venue The Ballroom at the Taft Theatre. Like the activities on the MidPoint Midway, at the Contemporary Arts Center and in Washington Park, Taft’s Ballroom will be open to MPMFers of all ages. Tickets for individual Taft Ballroom MPMF shows will be available to purchase through Ticketmaster.com (with lower than usual ticketing fees, or avoid the extra fees altogether and buy them in person at the Taft box office). On Sept. 26, the Ballroom will be headlined by just-announced performers The Thermals; Murder By Death, Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons and Nicholas David perform at the Taft on Sept. 27; and, on Sept. 28, the lineup will feature Daughter, Bear’s Den and Cincinnati’s own Bad Veins. At mpmf.cincyticket.com, you can buy three-day passes, VIP tickets and other “a la carte” tickets for single shows in Washington Park and at Grammers. Shuggie Otis and Cody ChesnuTT headline the Washington Park stage on Sept. 26; The Head and The Heart and Youth Lagoon head up the Sept. 27 lineup; and Sept. 28 in Washington Park will be “The Breeders Day Party,” which starts at noon, with The Breeders performing their seminal Last Splash album at 7 p.m. Saturday’s Washington Park lineup also includes Twin Peaks, Gauntlet Hair, Foxygen and Cincy’s Tweens, who’ve been doing numerous tour dates with The Breeders. On the Dewey’s Pizza stage at Grammers (21-and-up only), Kurt Vile & The Violators, Snowmine and Cincinnati Psych Rock trio The Harlequins perform on Sept. 26, Warpaint and Secret Colours top the Sept. 27 bill and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, METZ and Deap Vally are slated for Sept. 28. The Cincinnati music scene is well represented once again at this year’s MPMF. Here are some of the area artists confirmed for the fest: Eclipse; Seabird; The Pinstripes; Young Heirlooms; Us, Today; Saturn Batteries; Sun Country; Darlene; Jody Stapleton and The Generals; Electric Citizen; Magnolia Mountain; Allan Pray; The Tigerlilies; Kelly Thomas and the Fabulous Pickups; Public; The Ready Stance; Mad Anthony; Mama's Porch Band; Hickory Robot; Ben Lapps; Ohio Knife; Honeyspiders; New Vega; Archer's Paradox; The Perfect Children; You, You're Awesome; Goose; Chick Pimp, Coke Dealer at a Bar; Plastic Inevitables; redkattseven; SHADOWRAPTR; Halvsies; DAAP Girls; The Cincy Brass; We Are Snapdragon; Black Signal; The Happy Maladies; ADM; Molly Sullivan; Come On Caboose; SOHIO; Wussy; Alone at 3AM; The Natives; Wussy; and The Kickaways. And Cincy Indie Pop greats The Fairmount Girls are slated to make their record 12th appearance at the 12th annual festival. Here are a few links for and visuals from some of the most recently announced national acts coming to MPMF 2013. Hunters (Brooklyn)Larry and His Flask (Central Oregon)Toy Soldiers (Philadelphia)Deap Vally (Los Angeles)Bare Mutants (Chicago; fronted by Jered Gummere of The Ponys and Jeanine O’Toole of 1900s)Magnolia Sons (Nashville)Sphynx (Austin, Tex.) Sphynx - Hunger (Live in Austin) from Sphynx on Vimeo.Dead Gaze (Oxford, Miss.)Goodbye June (Nashville)The Kicks (Nashville)Stay tuned for more updates on MPMF ’13, including details on some of the special bonus features on the MidPoint Midway and beyond. Follow MidPoint on Twitter and Facebook to get regular updates on the fest and its performers.Click below the fold for the recent press release regarding the Biore Strip and MidPoint's continued celebration of women in music.
The Requiem Project sues UC over its Emery Theatre contract; UC and its lessees shift the blame
14 Comments · Wednesday, August 7, 2013
The University of Cincinnati and the chain of command
between it and the Emery Theatre are giving conflicting explanations about
whose decision it was to cut the Requiem Project out of the picture.
by Mike Breen
Deadline for MidPoint Music Festival’s ‘Box Truck Carnival’ proposals extended to July 31
Besides all of the great music, one of the most fun elements of the MidPoint Music Festival (coming Sept. 26-28 to various venues in Over-the-Rhine and Downtown) is the MidPoint Midway, with its carnival-like atmosphere, music offerings, food and other vendors bustling along the fest’s 12th Street vein. The “Box Truck Carnival” is one of the cornerstones of the Midway, showcasing the creative minds of Cincinnatians in the form of “box trucks” that are remade into … anything the re-designers can dream up. The organizers at ArtWorks call them “experimental ‘carnival’ booths.” Last year’s box trucks included a photo booth (from Queen City Project), a “shadow-dance” club (from Golden Brown Enterprises), an improvisational comedy club (from OTR Improv), an interactive magnetic sculpture (from the Loose Parts Project) and a “Free Advice” booth (from Calcagno Cullen). ArtWorks and Springboard Cincinnati recently put the call out for proposals for the third annual Box Truck Carnival. Here are some of the details from ArtWorks:Artists and creatives are invited to create unique interactive installations within the confines of a 16' or 24' long truck. Past submissions have included performance art, a photo booth, putt-putt course, dance party, and more.Participants will be awarded a $500 stipend for materials and supplies, provided the truck is returned to the rental company with no damage or alterations after the festival. ArtWorks will cover the cost of one week truck rental, insurance, and mileage not to exceed 100 miles. Generators will be provided.A panel will got through all submissions and pick 8-10 concepts they’d like to see come to fruition. If you’re proposal is accepted, you will be notified by Aug. 9.The MidPoint Midway is free and open to the public. This year, the hours are 5 p.m.-midnight on Sept. 26 and 27, and noon-midnight on Sept. 28. (On Sept. 28, MPMF is planning some family-friendly fun — dubbed “KidPoint” — from noon-4 p.m. along the Midway. More info on that coming soon.)See what you can come up with over the next few days. Deadline for submissions is this WEDNESDAY (JULY 31), 5 p.m. Click here for the submission form. Email email@example.com with any questions. (This post was updated to reflect ArtWorks' recently extended deadline)