Monday, October 29, 2007

Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos sign to Epic

Donewaiting (as far as I can muster) broke news on Indiana's Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos signing to Epic Records. Here is the link to that report HERE
Margot has been on a constant rise for the past several years. Well done.
Check out this post on their Myspace for more details:

Well, it is finally official. We have signed to Epic. The press release went out this morning. So many emotions. Excited certainly. Alot of fear. They are a big company. Here are some reasons we have chosen to go this route...
1. Andy, the fellow who ran V2, is now running the division of Epic that we are on. We like Andy alot, and trust him.
2. We get to make the records that we want to make.
3. The people we know over there seem to have a realistic understanding of the way that music is changing. They don't don't seem to hate, or fear, the internet.
We can't wait to get back on the road with some new music.
Let's not start the 'sellouts' talk until the record comes out. I think it might surprise you.

I still think Arrah and the Ferns are next from Indiana's roster to follow.

Pollard's surprise 50th

The Buddha Den did a nice write-up and included many pictures of Bob Pollard's 50th Birthday Party in Dayton.
Check it here

American's Next Great Way for Everyone to Take a Crap on One Another in Music Scenes all Across the Country

I'm pretty behind the ball of this one, but let's take a look back anyway.
I meant to write about the Fox TV show "America's Next Greatest Band" back when I heard that Columbus band The Fabulous Johnson Brothers were rumored to be involved somehow. They are a Midwest band and I write about Midwest bands. Perfect tie in!
Then I heard a Dayton band was also involved as well. I think they are called Northmont.
There was some discussion in Cincinnati HERE
There was some discussion in Columbus HERE and another bigger one HERE.

I thought it was pretty funny that "selling out" became such an issue. It's indie rock, people. There's no such thing as selling out at this level. You just go from being a band no one has heard of, to being a band no one has heard of ... from a TV show.
Ultimately, the Midwest was represented by Chicago's Dot Dot Dot and The Muggs from Detroit. I seem to remember liking The Muggs when they played them on Sirius Radio's "Underground Garage." At least, I think it was them.
I think overall that this show gave a good glimpse into why the music industry sucks: Heavy focus on gimmicks, Nashville, bands from LA, swing bands, punk bands dressed like clowns, more Nashville ... all of which represented in the top 12.
At least I think so, I didn't really do very much research to write this.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Midwest/New York

The Radio Free Chicago blog recently posted a link to a nice New York vs. Chicago discussion.
My take with Chicago is that where to go and who to see is more heavily based on word of mouth. The entire city is like a big speakeasy. I think that sums up the Midwest pretty well.
When it comes down to it, everyone knows who to see and where to go in New York.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ta Tanka Killers

As most of you know, I think Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers are fucking awesome.
So here's an excellent review of their recent gig opening for the Black Crowes the other night in Louisville at Palace Theater, courtesy of Mike Breen's "Spill it!" column for City Beat (see links to the right):


A cup of filtered Bear

Cleveland twee pop favorites Bears recently got some nice hype courtesy the Filter Blog (see links to the right).

Swan change

I mentioned before that Columbus, Ohio's Black Swans have another CD coming out to follow up the much-heralded "Sex Brain." The group's "Change!" is out and I saw this nice review up over at the Columbus site Find that HERE

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bar roundup

• Good news for fans of Northside Tavern in Cincinnati.
Word on the street is that owner Ed Rush may be expanding the venue. I wonder if this expansion is going to include an actual stage? That would be a perfect solution for the bar, and pretty much the only thing it truly lacks. I suppose it can also get a little crowded in there at times, depending on the popularity of the band.
But I have already written about how I think this is the best venue in the state. This may take it even higher.
However, it continues to baffle me as to why most venues insist upon charging at the door and charging bands for sound.
While those bars continue to close, Northside thrives.

• In other news, most already know that Little Brothers closed in Columbus. It was a hard hit. I've been told that it's even harder to book shows in Columbus now that it's gone. But its old location on south High Street is set to be filled by Liquid - a bar that sounds like a place for yuppie college kids to walk to from their million dollar apartments in the Gateway District.

• By the way, remember how I said I hoped Toledo's re-opened Frankies wouldn't turn back into a haven for goths and industrial metal? Well, it kind of has already ...

Noise in the Midwest:
Part One, the origins of noise

I was watching an interview on TV once with artist Chuck Close and something he said made me think of art in relation to the avant-garde. His teacher once told him if you truly want to stand out from the crowd, when you come to a fork in the road, take the harder path. Everyone else will be taking the easier ones. If you have the choice between working with crayons or working with lead, pick the lead. After choosing so many difficult paths, you'll soon find yourself standing all alone.
Perhaps this was how the avant garde was born? It's music that definitely brings out the best and the worst of people. It can clear a room faster than a fire drill, or fulfill the lowliest soul of the hipster elite.
But any article on underground music like this can easily become overblown, gigantic and incomprehensible. So I'm going about it vaguely. If you're looking for an "insiders" view of indie noise, you won't find it here.
I can barely describe the weather right now, let alone an abstract form of art. So think of this as your Midwest Noise Rock 101.
Thankfully, the culmination of this underground culture may get more attention this winter when a few Ohio experimental musicians hold the first Noise Fest, to be held Nov. 30- Dec. 2 in Columbus. I hope to write more about this festival as it unfolds. Until then, I can only say that I've heard it's being planned and that Swordheaven are involved in setting it up.
Just know this: For every rock band that exists in your town, I found there are often just as many experimental and noise rock bands that you have never heard of.
At the outset of this article, I was told about dozens of noise rock and experimental bands currently existing in the region. I had never heard of any of them. Not one.
So as I went around each state in the Midwest doing my People with Animal Heads underground music project, I asked about these bands and found that people not only knew them, they knew them personally. One might think there is some sort of, dare I say, avant garde community going on.
It seems that no regional town is devoid of the art-form. There are dank run-down venues in Cleveland, Minnepaolis, all over Indiana, Chicago, Detroit, Kentucky, Cincinnati and more, where people get together to smash shit up with a Speak N' Spell, crank up their guitars incomprehensibly, bring their drum kits made of pots and pans, or blast a few squealing saxophones for good measure.
Historically, jazz went from 1920s ragtime to Sun Ra, Rock n' Roll went from Buddy Holly to Creation and Velvet Underground. Even punk went from The Ramones to any black t-shirt feedback garage trash being created down the block. So what happens when it's not enough. What is there to say after you've already said it all?
"I think 'noise' is supposed to be something that you can't categorize," Cincinnati music space owner Jon Lorenz said. "It's the catch-all of weird music."
Lorenz used to run Skull Lab, a venue which opened up a national stage for unique and avant garde music of all kinds. The venue closed up shop in September, leaving a bit of a vacuum in southern Ohio, until he quickly replaced it with the Art Damage Lodge venue.
"I have high hopes for noise rock and what it may become," Lorenz said. "Maybe someday it will have a punk rock style revolution or something. It's weird because many people come from different backgrounds and find noise. Many people have many different reasons why they like noise."
Tom Lax and Roland Woodbe, the guys behind the Siltbreeze Records, also weighed in on the concept of noise rock.
The label has historically been one of the punk/hardcore/noise movement's highest proponents and has come back after a long hiatus. More recently it released the Psychedelic Horseshit LP on Oct. 23.
Lax has said in previous interviews, "The semantics of who's the first punk band is really beyond my comprehension … The Midwest had, arguably, the best hardcore scene back in the day. There are folks today that will swear by Midwest noise bands over other locale's. That said, there's a big difference between Wolf Eyes and Lambsbread, though they both fall under that umbrella."
Lax definitely has his ideas of how noise rock started.
"I'm sure a lot of bands just did what they knew, or could do. Some beautiful mistakes. But there are others who knew exactly what they were doing. Hard to say which is better. A little of both, I suppose," he said.
Lax and Woodbe said they both think the origins of noise rock stemmed from the genesis of punk and hardcore music in the Midwest.
Of course, everyone has their opinions. The art form has been documented as far back as the early 1900s by painter Luigi Russolo.
"Personally I don't think noise came out of this punk hardcore movement," Lorenz said. "Obviously, people were doing noise way before the 1990s. I think noise rock came from the 1960s - I guess with Nihilist Smasm Band and the first Red Krayola record, and of course what the Velvet Underground was doing. But it has changed over time into something pretty new. It has been taken in many different directions since then, or combined with many different genres."
Lorenz sees a kinship with Magik Markers in newer bands such as Wolf Eyes or Hair Police.
Ohio avant garde guitarist Larry Marotta sees a number of reasons why noise rock has its appeal.
"Well noise, like all rock and roll or punk before it, is a medium which readily embraces and openly celebrates the untrained, the unskilled, and the disenfranchised. If you have a mixer or guitar, a distortion box, an amp, and some interesting artistic ideas or a point of view, you can immediately get started setting up shows, touring, and playing. But once you get involved, you immediately start meeting all of these interesting and eccentric characters. You become a part of a wonderful and supportive community of people. Also, there’s such an fantastic variety of styles and approaches within the noise community. For example, I have more of a traditional music background. I can read music, improvise over chord changes, and play a wedding. But in the noise arena I can very easily work with someone who has no traditional musical training and make music with him or her. In fact, the challenge for me is to not let my training stifle my own creativity when I’m performing. Working in the noise community of musicians forces me to stretch beyond my comfort zone," he said.
Marotta said when he started playing music in the late 1980s in Miami, FLA. there was a lot of experimentation going on.
"You’d see bands taking a lot of chances with instrumentation – like you might see a band with just five guitar players, or just a guitarist and a drummer, etc. Also, in the pre-Nirvana period there was a lot less emphasis on commercial success, so people weren’t worried so much about writing commercial material or weren’t concerned about clearing our a room of people once in a while. Once Nirvana hit, and I think for much of the early 90s, any band could suddenly make it. I think there were talent scouts all over the clubs in Ohio at that time. In short, the current noise climate is a throwback to a time in the 80s in which people were doing more music for its own sake with no particular concern about being liked or being commercial. And if you record your own CDRs and sponsor shows in your basement or living room, you’ve pretty much detached yourself from any business concerns (like selling enough beer, or getting enough money at the door to pay the sound guy). You can literally do whatever the heck you want."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Et Tu, Avant Garde?

Many of my longer-time readers know that I started a side project within People with Animal Heads to delve into Noise Rock/Avant Garde music coming out of the Midwest. I find avante garde music facinating, especially since a lot of the best musicians in this mode are from the region - Ohio, more specifically.
I am now announcing that I plan to release the end results of my Noise Rock facination through several parts of one long-ass article.
Do I think the article is the end all be all of a Noise Rock explanation? No.
Do I think it's the best article ever written? Fuck No.
Honestly, out of a possible 10 stars, I give it a 5. Not necessarily because of how I wrote it, but because of the musicians themselves.
I like to imagine avant garde performers as intellectuals. Maybe they are.
Maybe they just hate talking about their art. Or maybe they are just some dullard weirdos banging shit onstage and the minute you ask them to talk about why, they have no answer. Maybe they are like Of Mice and Men, petting animals until they beat them to death?
Because when it came down to it, this article could have been exceptional if I could get half the musicians I wanted to ever write my ass back. It's really quite retarded.
I haven't been studying Midwest underground music out of complete boredom. I see something going on in the Midwest going on right now and I want to talk about it. Maybe talking about underground indie rock forms is a bad thing? Will it become too commercial and water itself down?
Or maybe if avant garde musicians just sit back and keep their mouths shut like they always have, the art form will die back down again like it always has. Maybe it'll never get anywhere. Maybe it will.
I know I am personally getting bored of some aspects of it already. We'll see. I just know it's getting harder and harder to tell the difference between some bands.
All that said, I think something special is going on around these parts and I hope to talk about it in full detail. Please join in and keep reading.

Proper Star Swipes

There's a band out of Columbus I've liked for some time, called The Proper Nouns who are on Columbus Discount Records. Very original mid-to-late1960s styled indie brit pop. I think what sets them apart are the lyrics and the vocal delivery of singer/songwriter Matt Ogborn. It can't hurt that he has some good bandmates backing him up.
I'm talking about them now because I saw they have a new video up for their tune "Lesser Stars." I like it a lot.
At first I thought, "What the fuck is a star swipe??!!" Then about halfway through the video I said "Ohhhh."
Check out the video HERE
Also, I hear they've been recording for another CD.

Veins run deep

Maybe I've been doing this too long and I'm jaded.
But does Cincinnati's Bad Veins have buddies in high places or something? I always thought they sounded like a more indie Killers with a better gimmick with that reel-to-reel and the telephone thingy. Don't get me wrong, I like their music. But I notice if there is a national band that comes through Cincy, they are usually the openers, then there's the Cincy entertainment awards, USA Today's Pop Candy was all over them. WOXY loves them and put them on a Gothamist/WOXY line up at CMJ. Then they got two other spots performing on CMJ. That's awesome, because they're a Midwest band (which is the point of this site). But what's the story? They don't even have a CD out.
Anyway, the reason I ask is that I got the recent CMJ: Official CMJ Music Marathon Wrap up email and in it was this poll:
Who was the breakout act of this year's CMJ Music Marathon?
• Black Kids
• Cut Off Your Hands!
• Alberta Cross
• Foals
• 1990's
• Bad Veins

In case you're curious, these were the results when I voted:
• Black Kids - 15 %
• Cut Off Your Hands! - 11%
• Alberta Cross - 39%
• Foals - 9%
• 1990's - 12%
• Bad Veins - 10%

Monday, October 22, 2007

WOXY's Local Lixx Podcast #3

As promised, your weekly reposting of WOXY's Local Lixx program. Head on over to the link to download the program.

10/11 - Episode #3
This week on Local Lixx we continued to bring some great local and regional artists to the forefront. The Chocolate Horse, a band that was born as a side project of the band Readymaid, features Jason Snell on lead vocals and also has the unique sound of experimental bow and saw, played by Andrew Higly. Their debut album, Patience Works!, released earlier this year, was an old school vinyl release.
Southeast Engine out of Athens, OH, have their debut full length coming out on Misra Records on Oct 16th. The band hooked up with Misra thanks to a recommendation from The Wrens, who they had opened for and befriended. We also gave you another local Lounge Act performance, which will be a regular feature on Local Lixx. Be sure to check out great music from Cincinnati, Columbus and Athens, Ohio, in this episode. Enjoy!

The Chocolate Horse - - "I'm In Another Place" - Patience Works!
Bird And Flower - - "That's The Ticket" - Demos
Coltrane Motion - - "Twenty Seven" - Songs About Music
Southeast Engine- - "Quit While You're Ahead" - A Wheel Within A Wheel
Knife The Symphony - - "Common Elements" - S/T EP
Pearlene - - "Watch The Way" - Lounge Act

Friday, October 19, 2007

Midwest at CMJ

So I was trying to think of all the regional bands hitting the CMJ going on right now. I know about Columbus' The Black Swans, Athens' Southeast Engine and Cincinnati's Bad Veins Chicago's The 1900s, Columbus' The Black Canary, Chicago's The Bound Stems, Detroit's The Hard Lessons, Chicago's Head of Femur, kinda Columbus band HO-AG, former Columbus band (now Chicago band) The Loyal Divide, Chicago's The Ponys, Pittsburgh's Shade...

And that's just the bands I have heard of from the Midwest.

As you can see, I started trying to link to their web-sites and then gave up.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sohio gear theft: Reward offered

Help a brutha out. Anyone with any information regarding the theft of Cincinnati band Sohio's gear stand up and be counted.
When the local rock band Sohio takes the stage at the Northside Tavern on Friday, they'll be playing on borrowed guitars.
Band member Mark Houk said someone broke into the house he rents on Eaton Road and took six guitars valued at more than $8,000 from the band's practice room.
"They broke in through the cellar door outside, kicked in the basement door, and let themselves out through the front door," Houk said.
The break-in took place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday while Houk was at work.
Although much of the band's other equipment — microphones, amplifiers and lights — was left untouched, Houk said they took six instruments including two American-made Fender Stratocasters, a Fender Telecaster and an acoustic guitar he said was "my baby."
"It was a 1992 Taylor acoustic/electric with gold tuning pegs," he said. "The current retail value on that guitar is about $3,500."
All of the guitars were in cases. Also missing is a case containing guitar effects pedals, an air rifle and a BB handgun.
Houk said is offering a $500 reward for information leading either to the conviction of the thieves or the return of the guitars.
Anyone with information may call (513) 375-2758 or (513) 785-1256.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

All Hail

Columbus-based All Hail Records recently added to its roster of bands, joining PWAH favorites Cincinnati/Columbus band Paper Airplane.
The label announced it signed Columbus "band" Electric Grandmother, whose new CD "The Stenographer" will be out on Nov. 6.
EG performs a very specific style of his own creation dubbed "sit-com core." Essentially, he takes programmed beats and makes up songs about 1980s television shows and movies. It kinda recalls the now-deceased Wesley Willis style of song.
I'm still trying to figure out where the label is going, but they already stressed to me that they are not trying to sign specific types of bands, which would explain going from Paper Airplane to Electric Grandmother.
The Paper Airplane "Middlemarch" CD release show is scheduled in Columbus for Friday, Nov. 9 with PWAH favorites Time and Temperature and The Lab Rats, which is a great bill.
But that weekend is expected to be a big one for All Hail, as Electric Grandmother will hold his CD release show on Saturday Nov. 10 at Andyman's Treehouse.
It could be a tough call for Nov. 10 because EG will be up against PWAH favorite Gil Mantera's Party Dream Machine, holding a release show for its new DVD w/ fellow locals Brainbow who I have interviewed before and Cleveland/Akron band Houseguest.

Wilco and Bird fly into Columbus

On Tuesday night Midwestern indie rock heroes Wilco arrived back in Columbus at the Mershon Auditorium in support of its newest release Sky Blue Sky.
Fellow Chicagoan Andrew Bird took the role of opener this time around. I was actually surprised at how many people had never heard of him before. Jeez people, come back to the world of the living.
On a side note, I learned last night that Cincinnati's Heartless Bastards are going to be opening for Wilco soon on a few dates.
And for the drunken 40-year-old man who almost ruined the concert for me last night, I thank God that you spent most of the show stealing everyone else's seats so you could get a better view. It gave me plenty of alone time to waft the smell of distilled gin from the air and to avoid being forced to talk about your love of "A Boy Named Goo" all night.
For all accounts, the show was a perfect amalgamation of why Wilco is in a class alone amongst songwriters these days. Seeing them live is like witnessing a nice ballet of six members working in perfect symbiosis (six bespectacled and slightly pudgy members). And when they all come together, they go straight for a hard kick to the balls.
There were the hits (Via Chicago, Sunken Treasure, Red Eyed and Blue, Hummingbird, Outta Site Outta Mind). There were the alt country bits (Airline to Heaven, Walken, Forget the Flowers). But I think what stood out was the nice mix of forward thinking art-rock being performed alongside such standards that made for an interesting show.
Tweedy was in top form, although he seemed a little subdued the whole time whilst rocking out. He was clad in a much-too-large white suit equipped with bedazzled flames or flowers (not sure which, didn't have great seats).
For me the entire concert was reduced to one moment: Via Chicago. The band's performance of this song seemed to define why I love Wilco. It was so well-crafted that it made me question what a great song could be. It was inspiring and I never say that.
Another great moment happened in the first two seconds, as guitarist Nels Cline tripped over a guitar cord and took a header onto the ground as he walked on stage.
Speaking of Cline, I think what many will come away with after last nights performance is how he has finally found his role in the band. The last time Wilco came to Mershon, Cline was noodling all over the songs. He seemed out of place and his tone was weird.
Today, the Columbus Dispatch called him the "MVP" of the show and declared him as the reason the songs worked so well live. Sure, he played great, but I'm not so sure I agree. I just think Cline has learned exactly what Tweedy wants and shines at bringing that vision alive. Tweedy loves the Television-style lead guitar and Cline is doing that more now. Last time around he was in definite Allman Brothers territory.
I thought Bird was an excellent choice of opener, because he shares the same love of avant garde indie pop. Bird also sat in on Wilco's Jesus, etc. on violin.
Thankfully Bird's set was better than the last time he was in town. I honestly feel guilty that I don't enjoy seeing the man perform live. I think his talent is boundless and his songs are beautiful. But the minute he starts looping violin parts I want to run out of the building. It was much easier to take in a shortened opening set.
I went to this show all by myself and I soon fell into the problem of people who go to shows by themselves: Strangers started talking to me. They were drunk.
So while I was desperately trying to hear Wilco perform Sunken Treasure (one of my favorite songs ever), I had Mr. Drunken 40 year-old father of three telling me the history of Wilco as if I just stumbled into the show for my goddam health. Really? He was addicted to drugs?!
The man was explaining to me why he likes "Sunken Treasure" so much AS THE BAND WAS PERFORMING IT RIGHT IN FRONT OF US.
Sometimes I hate people.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dylan invades Dayton

I checked the link to new Dayton musician Jordan Hull upon recommendation from the Dayton site Buddha Den (see links).
At first I wasn't sure what to think of Hull's music. To make clear: I'm a pretty long-term Dylan fan. If someone says their favorite Dylan song is "That everybody must get stoned song," I avoid them immediately. I may hit them with an upper cut to the chin to make my point clear.
So the minute I hear someone that sounds like they may be trying to ape Dylan's voice, I get suspicious. But after checking out all the tunes on Hull's Myspace site, I can see he is pretty unique. His voice does sound a lot like Dylan's (almost to the point of doing an impression) but he also sounds a lot like Leon Redbone too. But it comes off very natural and not so much a posture. Overall the songs are more rooted in traditional folk than Dylan's later work. Hull's more cabaret/parlor folk, than Woody Guthrie.
I get the same feel from Hull's music as I do from another Dayton musician named Wes Tirey. In fact, on stage Tirey looks like the spitting image of Dylan circa-1965. But both are able to create their own unique voices.
I say check them out and form your own opinions.

When it comes down to it, many musicians start out trying to be the next Dylan or the next Jimi Hendrix or the next so and so. Some never make it beyond a simple posture. Remember all those bands sounding like Pearl Jam in the late 1990s? Remember all the lame singers who sounded like Dave Matthews? That was the worst.
The good musicians are able to mix the styles of their heroes with their own unique voice and it can become something interesting. That's what happened to Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, isn't it? Ozzy Osbourne wanted to be the next Beatles. Kurt Cobain wanted to be the next Pixies.
It makes me think of other cities in the region and if similar things are going on. Like the obvious love The Lindsay has of Sonic Youth. Or how a ton of bands in the 1990s (especially in Columbus) wanted to be the Afghan Whigs.
I think it's really interesting how Noise Rock can be growing so much in Ohio and yet simple acoustic guitar musicians keep multiplying too...

Columbus: Manup refocuses into Nice Life

Just saw this on Columbus music site

From Robert Duffy: I don’t think it’s the world’s biggest secret that local Columbus record label Manup Music, co-owned by David Lynch and Carabar Ron, has come to an end. After releasing several excellent albums by bands such as Church of the Red Museum, The Lindsay, and Rosehips, the label is no more.
I spoke to Ron yesterday and he told me he’s launching a new label, “Nice Life.” The first release will be by The Slide Machine. The release show is Friday, and will also serve as Ron’s birthday party. After that, there is the Church of the Red Museum seven inch later this month.
Ron said while he might put a few Columbus albums out at first, the plan is to release bands from all over the country, and not make the label locals only. There’s no website or Myspace page for the label yet, which seems to fall in line with how Ron does things.

My take:
I always thought it was too bad that The Lindsay never did shows. People in Columbus LOVE that band. But I think they couldn't because I think they have members in both Cleveland and Columbus. I wonder if that band is gonna stick it out. Apparently, Fat Girls by the Snack Table are doing a reunion show in Columbus on Nov. 8.
Is that a sign?
Manup also got some criticism for the way it merged with Carabar shows. I just heard many times from at least a dozen different musicians that their bands got dropped from Carabar bills, in favor of bands who were on Manup. Hope that is not going on anymore. It's not really a slam on the Carabar folks, because most musicians I know think they and the bar are great.
But it's kind of the old trick bookers do. If you want to be good at it, just get yourself a bar. Then you will always be able to offer gigs to any bands that need it. Then you can swap shows whenever you like. If you have a label involved, then you will always have the ability to book your own bands this way.
The downside is that if you start dropping bands off bills in favor of your own, it can get messy. I even heard of some CD release shows at Carabar that suffered because they found other bands were suddenly added to their bill, which is kind of lame.
It's all a part of what I think has ruined countless music scenes in different cities. This stuff starts and then only the bands who are best buddies with the bookers and bars get the good gigs. It happens A LOT in Athens, Columbus and Cleveland. It kind of happens in Cincinnati to a certain extent, but it's not as hard core.
A good way to tell if your music scene is already screwed is to ask any musician: "If such and such national band comes to town for a show, what local band will open?"
I bet they will already know.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Midwestern Roundup!

• Other sites: Blah, blah blah blah, Radiohead. Here's another article about our friend's band.
• I've decided maybe I've been too hard on Eric Clapton over the years. Sure, since he stopped doing drugs he's become an even more lame version of Babyface. Sure he stopped playing cool psychedelic guitars in the late 60s. Sure he gave up trying to sound interesting decades ago. But I really liked him in the mid-90s for some reason. Then I stopped abruptly and have made fun of him ever since. But I saw an interview with him recently regarding his latest autobiography and now I'm just thinking: The dude is old. He's doing what he likes to do. He lives in Columbus sometimes and he's happy. He actually LIKES Columbus. So he must be a better man than I...
The Harlequins, based out of Cincinnati, have some good news and bad news. The group recently lost its drummer, but have quickly rebounded with a new drummer. They also have some new tunes up on their Myspace site. Newest song "Schizo Radio" sees the band exploring a route slightly more atmospheric than it's previous Strokes meet Smiths style. I said it before, and if I haven't, I'll say it again: Keep an eye on these blokes. I'm expecting great things.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Get updates: PWAH on Myspace

Just a reminder, check People with Animal Heads out on Myspace at this location. You can get updates on new articles and links to some of the great current Midwestern bands.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dayton's Buddha Den site
Get to know Dayton better

Dayton is one of those cities that most music fans have no clue what is going on there. I wrote my opinions a long time ago on the subject and added some bits about Bands to Watch in Dayton. I think that was in January or February, so check the archives. But I recently found a newish blog that is documenting what is currently going on in the Home of Pollard.

It's called The Buddha Den and I'm going to be checking it out from now on (assuming they do a lot of updates).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Aleks and the Drummer invade Brooklyn to record

Chicago's Aleks and the Drummer will soon be hooking up with some east coast heavyweights on the recording of their next CD.
The group has done a great job of getting their name out nationally. I thought of them as my own personal find, then I kept seeing their name pop up in bigger music blogs!
The band has been keeping plans under wrap on the recording of their next album, but they recently told People with Animal Heads that those plans are set.
"Aleks and the Drummer are going to record their first EP in Brooklyn on December 1st with producer Dave Sitek and engineer Chris Coady," the band wrote.
Sitek is the man behind production on artists such as TV on the Radio, Celebration, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Scarlett Johansson and Coady has worked with all of the afforementioned, plus Gang Gang Dance, Architecture in Helsinki and more.
"We think it will probably sound OK working with these amateurs," the band joked.
It's great to hear the next Aleks and the Drummer offering will be in capable hands. They are making some truly inventive sounds.

Local Lixx episodes

It's probably silly for me to post the new Local Lixx show episodes on here, since you can just check them out at WOXY. But I like how they have been providing band websites and such. Joe over at the excellent Each Note Secure site has played some great tunes from regional bands. I'm just playing catch up right now. But from now on I'll post each week's episodes.

Local Lixx
Thursdays - 8:30 PM ET
Local Lixx is a 30 minute weekly feature highlighting the best local bands in the Cincinnati, Dayton and Tri-State area.

10/04 - Episode #2
This week we heard music from a lot of artists that were recently nominated for 2007 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. Four of the six bands featured in this episode got the nod for one or more awards and the two that did not are excellent as well. Be sure to listen in as we hear from local duo Bad Veins with a new song from their recent Lounge Act session, as well as new music from new bands like Eat Sugar, The Lions Rampant, and Paper Airplane. Enjoy!

• The Lions Rampant "70/30" from Play Rock N Roll
• Eat Sugar "Sixteen" from S/T EP
• Bad Veins "This Ending (Lounge Act)" from Lounge Act
• Matthew Shelton "Out At Sea" from Cold Water, Hot Blood
• Paper Airplane "Missing" from Middlemarch
• Staggering Statistics "Turnstile" from I'm Thinking About Changing

09/27 - Episode #1
Local Lixx is back on I'm happy to be re-starting a Cincinnati tradition here at with my first episode of Local Lixx. I think we got off to a great start with this episode too. We kicked things off with The Great Depression, a band out of Cincinnati that has recently signed to Curb Appeal Records and is out on the road with Rocky Votolato. We also touched on some new young talent here in Cincinnati with music from The Read and All The Day Holiday. And we turned over a new leaf in some ways as well, branching out to both Columbus and Louisville for some great independent music. So enjoy episode 1 of Local Lixx and get ready for lots more to come!

• The Great Depression "Watching Vermont " from S/T Album
• The Sheds "Too Many Pictures " from The Sheds Quit Smoking
• The Read"Heliocentric Daughters " from Demo EP
• The Evil Queens "Year Of The Cretin " from Lovesong Werewolves
• All The Day Holiday "Take A Moment " from We'll Be Walking on Air EP
• Cabin "I Was Here " from I Was Here EP

Monday, October 8, 2007

Midpoint success/curse

It's a been a week since I've had access to the Internet, so sorry for the lag.

The reviews are in on Midpoint Music Fest 2007 and they were positive. I heard between 40-50,000 people invaded Cincinnati. Reports from bands indicate many packed bars. That is the stuff that keeps you going. People do still care about Midwest indie music!

Let's hope the bands that packed the houses don't fall prey to what I call The Midpoint Curse.
It's what happens when people see your band at Midpoint, loved what they saw, but then never go see you again because "Oh, I already saw that band before." Then they go see a different band. This curse can last upwards of a year.