When Ramseur Records released Samantha Crain's EP, 'The Confiscation,' two years ago, it was a debut only in the loosest sense of the word, as Crain had already self-released a fairly voluminous series of demos before signing with the label. The young Oklahoman (and full blood Choctaw) sings and writes with the emotional authority that one would expect from someone who shares roots with Woody Guthrie.
Presented by Red Bull, the competition presents a handful of top local club DJs who will each be asked to do 15 minutes in which they must blend three styles of music. The winner will head to Denver to compete in the national finals in October; the grand prize is a trip to Paris for the international finals.
In a feature in The New York Times Magazine, Gabriel Roth — co-owner of Daptone Records and creator, songwriter, arranger and bassist (under the name Bosco Mann) for the increasingly successful retro-Soul/Funk band Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings — recalled the great music he listened to in college: James Brown's work for Cincinnati's King Records. Roth had a specific fondness for Brown's 'Gettin' Down to It,' a 1969 album he recorded with (as Roth told writer Saki Knafo) "these white Jazz guys" — the Dee Felice Trio.
The music media has loudly and deservedly trumpeted the incredible accomplishments of The Shins and The New Pornographers in sustaining impressive streaks of quality across consecutive albums. Perhaps less noticed among their similarly toned Indie Rock peer group, Midlake put together an equally brilliant string of releases before unleashing this year's 'The Courage of Others,' a solid candidate for "album of the year" honors.
If the '50s had been a more enlightened and progressive period in music history, Wanda Jackson's name would be accorded the same reverence as Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley. But because the music industry adhered to the misguided notion that no one would accept a Rockabilly girl playing as hard, loud and fast as the boys, Jackson doesn't enjoy the same vaunted position as her storied male contemporaries.
There's quite a bit of anticipation about Scottish Indie Rock band Frightened Rabbit's first-ever Cincinnati-area concert Thursday. Since their first U.S. tour in 2007 — and especially since the recent release of their third studio album, 'The Winter of Mixed Drinks' — the five-piece band has been earning lots of mentions as the next U2.
The Southgate House's "Artist in Residence" series (featuring a local band performing a free show each Wednesday of the month in Juney's Lounge) spotlights ukulele-lovin' Roots/Folk/Pop duo Shiny and the Spoon for the month of May. Amber Nash and Jordan Neff will team with a different artist each Wednesday, starting with Mike Oberst of The Tillers this week.
Harlem answers the unasked question of what Vampire Weekend would sound like if they'd been obsessed with '60s Brit Garage Pop, Buddy Holly and The Modern Lovers instead of a preppy vision of Pavement. Despite their name, Harlem hails from the music Mecca of Austin, Tex., where their early singles and full-length debut 'Free Drugs' attracted the attention of Matador Records, which has just released the trio's sophomore album, 'Hippies,' to fairly consistent acclaim.
You have to give emotionally mature props to Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss. The once-married couple has been playing together in some form for the past two
decades, divorcing after forming Quasi but going on to release a handful of albums, including the brilliant new 'American Gong.'
The singer/songwriter's newest album, 'True Devotion,' is a semi-autobiographical Folk-centered collection, one that basically says, "Hi, I'm Rocky, and this is a snapshot of my life during a three-year hiatus." The new record offers a poet wielding an acoustic guitar, his warm storytelling lifted by an innocuous trifecta of drums, keys and strings.