Monday, April 28, 2008

Spotlight: Dayton/Columbus band MOON HIGH

I've seriously been trying to NOT do as many features on Ohio bands, since this is a Midwestern music site, but I can't help it they are always the first ones done with their interview questions!

Anyway, some bands end up getting hype heaped on them because they know people who know people.
I hate those bands.
Other bands end up getting hype because they are creating interesting music, doing as many shows as they can, and show off a unique voice that people just can't help but talk about.
Such is the case with Dayton/Columbus band Moon High. Combining visual elements in their stage shows and tapping into a unique blend of psychedelic folk and indie pop, the band is superb. Relaxed vocal deliveries, banjo, cello, acoustic guitars and a delicate use of drums coming in and out.
Moon High consists of Ryan Wells of Dayton and Columbus musicians David Fowler (also of Heavy Mole) and drummer William Jankowski (also of Church of the Red Museum).
Wells recently took time to answer some questions I had...

PEOPLE WIITH ANIMAL HEADS: One aspect I've enjoyed about your band, other than the music, has been the visual elements of light circles you guys use. What brought that on?

RYAN WELLS: Well, David and I had discussed at great length what all we wanted to incorporate in our live performances well before we started playing out, and lighting was one of the first things that came to mind. We just felt it would enhance the overall experience for the audience to have some visual stimulation that coincided with the audible stimulation. Really turn it into a “performance” rather than a “show”. I think we both agreed that lanterns would fit the mood of our music because they give such a diffused, almost eerie, glow when put through a dimmer; and the banjo light being a stark cold blue was a nice contrast. The fact that they are all circular glowing objects tied it together nicely, especially with the name Moon High. It can be a slight inconvenience setting them up at every show, but the response has been encouraging enough to keep them as a staple element in our live performances.

PWAH: In Ohio it's getting more and more difficult for quieter bands to get an audience, because every city is so stuck into this full-on rock mind frame. I really appreciate scene diversity. That's why it has been nice to see the Moon High name getting passed around more frequently. But have you encountered this dichotomy of having to compete with sheer volume?

RW: Much to our dismay it has been very difficult to battle the sheer level of noise created by people just hanging out in a bar. It’s different from club to club, depending on how elaborate of a sound system they have, but it didn’t take long for us to realize that quieter environments (i.e. house shows or gallery shows) are much more conducive to what we play. You can’t always pack as large of an audience in a basement as you can in a bar, but at least you know that everyone is there to listen to the music. It would be nice to find more places like Skylab, in Columbus, that do produce really good turnouts for quieter bands; but we’ll just have to wait and see if the Ohio music scene starts to shift its ways from the rock and roll mind frame a bit.

PWAH: Describe the Dayton/Columbus connections. I think your other guitarist is from the band Heavy Mole, if I'm not mistaken? How has the helped or hurt you being split between cities?

RW: You are not mistaken. David (guitarist for Moon High and drummer for Heavy Mole) does live in Columbus along with our drummer Bil (who also plays in Church of the Red Museum); while I reside in Dayton. David and I became friends while I was living in Columbus a few years back, but the idea for Moon High didn’t come about until around a year and a half ago when I approached him about possibly working on music together through email. As we grew more and more interested in what we were making musically, the idea of becoming an actual band evolved, despite the long distance. Sadly I’d say there is little to no benefit that comes from us living almost 100 miles apart. I drive to Columbus pretty much every weekend and David drives to Dayton pretty much every Tuesday, so with the insane cost of gas and the almost overwhelming waste of time spent driving, it can put a strain on us. However, we stay surprisingly productive for all the hurdles we have to leap and have such a genuinely enjoyable time being in this band that it’s really a small price to pay in our eyes.

PWAH: I really like to focus on the aspect of Midwestern music on my site. How do you think being from the Midwest has influenced your music?

RW: It’s hard to say really. I think the most direct Midwestern influence would be the strange balance of desolation and urbanization that we live in. There are some bigger cities in the Midwest, but they are always surrounded by so many small towns and communities that are, for lack of a better description, very Midwestern. It’s sort of like being in the South and seeing these places that could ONLY be in the South. There’s definitely a unique feeling when you’re planted in Midwestern rural areas, and I think that whether it’s intentional or not, it comes through in our music.

PWAH: What are some midwestern bands you like right now that you think other people should know about?

RW: I would certainly recommend to anybody who hasn’t already heard of Buffalo Killers to check them out. They have a new album coming out in June that is going to be really amazing. I’ve also been into Time and Temperature (no on-line presence, despite many efforts to get her to) and Jordan Hull lately; as well as Southeast Engine and Gretchen King.

PWAH: Tell me a bit about your CD, any lyrical themes you delve into and what your plans are right now to get the word out on it.

RW:The album is self-titled and was hand made in a small run of a little over 100 copies. We wrote, recorded, and produced the album over most of 2007 and are currently selling it at shows and on our website (
I feel that David and I have both brought somewhat different lyrical themes to this record, while managing to find a common musical ground.
My songs tend to touch upon somewhat fantastical situations that attempt to give a message of creating balance and understanding; while David’s are more centered upon personal reflections of real people, but written in a poetic sense that can be universally understood.
At the moment we’re trying to play as many shows as possible to support the album and have just recently started looking into contacting some labels about the possibility of putting out an official version (hint to any label that might be reading this).

Friday, April 25, 2008

All Hail Captain of Industry

In another nice move for Columbus label All Hail Records, they can now claim Dayton, Ohio super group Captain of Industry among its roster of experimental indie pop bands.
At first it wasn't clear to me what direction All Hail was going with its choices, but it has lately become a hotspot for off kilter indie pop. Like I said before, there are virtually no labels that will give indie pop bands a chance these days. But if you play punk, labels will track you down like drunk blondes.
From label co-founder Tony Clark:
All Hail Records has just signed Dayton, Ohio's Indie pop-rockers, Captain of Industry. The band spent the end of 2007 recording their new record in New York, and will be releasing it this June to coincide with their summer tour. The record is a natural extension of Captain of Industry's sound, mixing indie rock, pop songwriting, and just the right amount of experimentation to keep everything sounding brand-new. They've also recorded enough new material beyond the album for an EP that will hopefully see the light of day later in 2008 either from an official release or a free download. With all the new material and summer and fall touring plans, 2008 is looking to be a busy year for Captain of Industry.
"We're very excited about this deal," he said. "Their will be a full tour, including many Ohio dates and a radio promotion campaign."
In addition, he said to celebrate the release All Hail Records is going to press "a compilation that will feature 4 songs from Captain of Industry (two of those songs are previously unreleased material). The new comp will also have new songs from Take no Damage, Proper Nouns and if we are all lucky Paper Airplane."
In other All Hail Records news, Friday, May 2nd is the official release date of The Proper Nouns' new album, "A Million Hurtful Things."
The record continues down the path started on the band's last record, "Birds and Butterflies", which was released by the quintessential Columbus indie label, Columbus Discount Records.
"A Million Hurtful Things" is full of The Proper Nouns' trademark brand of fuzzy pop, exploring elements of 60's British rock, pop, and psychedelia, which is channeled through a bouncy rhythm section, a mix of gauzy organ and guitar, and eloquently constructed vocal lines. All of this comes together to create a true pop masterpiece.
The band will be celebrating " A Million Hurtful Things" with a release show on Friday, May 2nd at Café Bourbon Street (2216 Summit Street, Columbus, OH). Filling out the bill will be RTFO Bandwagon and Heavy Mole. You can listen to songs from the new record on Myspace at and on our website at
Look for the record on sale at local record stores and online at on Friday, May 2nd.
From what I've heard from the new Proper Nouns CD, this release has some of the band's best tunes yet. Really well-done stuff.

Poor, poor McCain

Way to take a stand, McCain!
Four fucking years too late, douchebag.
Why, next thing you know he'll be taking such wildly political stances as speaking against child prostitution or denouncing things like rape.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain was sharply critical yesterday of what he called the Bush administration's disgraceful handling of Hurricane Katrina and vowed, "Never again."
McCain, putting some distance between himself and President Bush, said if he had been president during the 2005 catastrophe he would have immediately visited New Orleans after the killer storm.
While he said he was not being critical of Bush for not visiting New Orleans, "I'm just saying I would've landed my airplane at the nearest Air Force base and come over personally."
Two days after the hurricane made landfall in August 2005, when immediate recovery efforts were chaotic, Bush surveyed the damage during a fly-over in Air Force One while returning from a trip to the West Coast.

Come to think of it - two days? I remember it was more like five days before Bush got off his fat ass and took a look down south at his wet pants.

Full link:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tony Fitzpatrick - Chicago

A few people have been asking me lately about the artwork I use on the People With Animal Heads myspace page.

It's by a Chicago artist named Tony Fitzpatrick, who I discovered one day a few years ago while randomly doing image searches for animal drawings that have people with, um, animal heads.
Oddly enough, I discovered one of my favorite artists ever. He's got a ton of great ideas and you can learn more at his web-site
Of course, I'm 99 percent sure he has no idea this site exists or that I flamboyantly display his art on Myspace...

Back at it!

Good news out of Cincinnati these days.

First off, PWAH favorite The Heartless Bastards are headed back to the studio in their follow up to the stunning "All this time."
Here's the Myspace note from Erika:
Going into the studio to record the follow up to All This Time with producer and native Cincinnatian Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Trail of Dead). Can't wait for you to hear it, and to see you all this fall on the road.

As if that wasn't good enough, another PWAH favorite The Sheds announced they have been writing new material and will be off its self-induced hiatus by the fall.
That's not soon enough for me...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

REVIEW: Fake Fictions: Krakatoa

There's nothing I hate more than when a music site promises to write about a band's new release and then doesn't. I have made this fatal error.
So tonight I hope to reclaim my honor by mentioning the latest effort from Chicago's The Fake Fictions.
In essence, this band is exactly why I started this site. I wanted to find music that represents no boundaries. I have said many times that being a fan of independent music should not be about liking one genre. It should be about appreciating all genres enough to have the balls and the ability to do something unique with it.
That's why I have been enjoying Fake Fictions new release Krakatoa. I swear I have heard this band before, and now I'm starting to think I saw them live at some point. I think that's why I remember them, because they sound like they'd be fucking great live.
They find a way of combining the best of Television-style guitar focus, with retro-girl group drum beats and excitable vocals that seem to be a cross from the 80s and today. But when you jumble it all together into individual songs it's incredibly fun too. For an example of this in detail just check out when the band attempts to sing the vocals through what seems to be entirely through the room mics on "Which Witch is Which."
What I'm really digging on are the twin guitar solos that weave throughout everything they do. It really makes their work stand out. I just love the mechanics involved in "(I cannot get any) Satisfaction." But when those twin guitars are adding to the singers its bliss.
Now, there are 14 songs on this thing, so I obviously don't have the time to talk about ever damn one. Instead, give it a listen for yourself at The whole CD is streaming for you there.
If I had anything negative to say, it would be about my longtime hate/hate relationship with surf music. I can tell that this band has more of a love/love relationship with surf music. That's cool. Thankfully, they spend 90 percent of their time trashing the image of surf rock into something fresh and new, and then spend 10 percent of the time celebrating it.

Midwest Alerts!

• If you're into the heavy stuff. Here's a link to Pitchfork interview with Dead Child's David Pajo (Slint, Tortoise, Zwan), who apparently lives in Columbus, Ohio despite the band being primarily from Louisville. Read that, HERE.
• The Daily Iowan reports about the American Indian's historical presence in the Midwest and how perhaps it's not as talked about or displayed as much as it should be, HERE.
• Here's a Business Week article with Pitchfork founders on the Pitchfork.TV thing, HERE.
• Columbus, Ohio's El Jesus De Magico? There's an interview with the band on the Ohio State University's Lantern, HERE.

Friday, April 18, 2008


The television news is all a-flutter today.
The Midwest got an earthquake in southern Illinois.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Blackout Fest XIII (Ex Eye Eye Eye)

From the Athens Post:

As much as I'm hoping Athens sees a kind of rebirth of great bands, I want to shine a light on an upcoming festival. A year ago I did an interview with Blackout Fest organizer Scott Winland about his show. I think the link is to the right in the "Best of PWAH."
But it's back again. Read on, little reader:

While some consider 13 an unlucky number, to Scott Winland, organizer of Blackoutfest XIII, it’s a testament to the prosperity of a lasting underground music festival.
“(Blackoutfest) is always a success. It started as a one night, local show and then it evolved into a two-day event and then a three-day event,” said Winland, who runs Blackout Booking.
Blackoutfest kicks off at 6 tonight at The Union, 18 W. Union St., and features more than 30 bands, from local bands like The Makebelieves to the premiere of RIBS, a “supergroup” of underground musicians, during its three-day run.
The fest has become so synonymous with its venue that Mishka Shubaly, who will open the fest tonight with a solo set and later play in the New York-based band RIBS, said he contemplated getting a tattoo of The Union’s address last year.
“The only reason I didn’t get it was because I partied so hard that I didn’t make it out of bed until five — maybe this year though. People don’t always appreciate what a cool scene The Union is,” said the four-year festival veteran.
The Union is currently undergoing renovations to its downstairs bar, but did not close completely and is keeping its place in the local music scene, Winland said.
It’s incredible that a venue in a small town like Athens will continue to be known nationally as a place for underground touring acts to play, he said.
“I’ve toured in 40 states, and The Union’s my favorite club to play. In New York, people stand at club shows with their arms folded, texting or chatting at the bar,” Shubaly said. “But here, if it’s good music, people get into it and dance.”Blackoutfest has gained a reputation not just for its Athens atmosphere, but also the quality of acts that are broughtin to play.
“It’s the premier music festival in terms of underground music, and The Union is one of the best conclaves for underground bands in the Midwest,” said Chris Corbin, an Athens native and a member of the Dropdead Sons.
Some of the bigger names at this fest are Greg Cartwright, Kurt Vile and the Terrible Twos, Winland said. The Terrible Twos will close Blackoutfest late Saturday.
“(Blackoutfest) is about getting sweaty and touching people — that’s rock’n’roll,” Shubaly said.
Tickets are $10 for each night, or $25 for a three-day pass.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Midwestern Links

• I share a very similar taste in music with the people behind Aquarium Dunkard, which is why I probably like the site so much.
All the more reason, they published a nice article, with MP3s and video, on Guided by Voices.
Check that out, HERE.
• Mike Breen, Cincinnati music critic, reported that the Cincy Punk fest raised $6,000 over two nights for Alex Brauer, the former drummer for Lions Rampant, who has been battling testicular cancer. That's pretty amazing and hopefully will provide Brauer and his family was some monetary relief.
When I hear of people battling cancer, I honestly become pissed off these days because our government is set up to make their lives even more difficult. Prescription pills costing them hundreds of dollars a bottle, doctor visit co-pays, overnight hospital stay costs, etc. Will this country ever move forward and let these people do what they need to be doing: Focusing on recovering and beating their illness?
To the folks who organized the festival, it was touching to see it focused toward an individual the performers knew. I imagine that must have made for some inspiring performances and energetic crowds.
• Chicago's The Smoking Popes will be releasing its follow-up to 1997's Destination Failure on June 7th. It's called Stay Down and will be celebrated with a release party at The Metro. New songs are also available on their link.
• "A Skin, A Night" is a new movie by director Vincent Moon about former Cincinnati's truly exceptional The National. The film was made during the recording of the band's latest album "The Boxer" and is about the modern experience of making music. The film comes packaged with an EP called "The Virginia."
• I heard he still lives in Minnesota on a ranch, so I think I can consider Bob Dylan a fellow midwesterner. Word is the recent Pulitzer Prize winner will follow up his critically acclaimed autobiography Chronicles with a children’s book called "Forever Young." The forty page picture book is due to hit shelves October 6th.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers announce tour/new CD

Check it:
We are very proud to announce that Let It Ride, our new album produced and recorded by Dan Auerbach at Akron Analog, will be released July 8th, 2008 on Alive Records. The first 500 copies of the vinyl will also include a 6-song live bootleg from our show with The Black Crowes at The Orpheum Theater back in October. For a preview, check out the free download of Homegrown on our myspace page.
We'll be hitting the road in May with The Black Keys (dates below).

May 12 w/The Black Keys @ 9:30 Club :: Washington DC : All Ages
May 13 w/The Black Keys @ 9:30 Club :: Washington DC : All Ages
May 15 w/The Black Keys @ Terminal 5 :: New York, NY : 16 and up
May 16 w/The Black Keys @ The Electric Factory :: Philadelphia, PA : All Ages
May 17 w/The Black Keys @ Orpheum Theatre :: Boston, MA : All Ages

Monday, April 14, 2008

Athens, OH. 2008 update
A discussion with Donkey Coffee booking agent Leo DeLuca

So today I would like to talk about the Ohio city of Athens.
This also reminds me that I have been meaning to go through those City Features (to your right in the links) and update them all. It's been more than a year now and a lot has changed overall across the Midwest. We've had a ton of attention, but mostly because the bands moved to New York.
Back to Athens: I'm worried.
Lately I have been feeling as though the city is losing it's charm of irony that used to permeate everything it stood for. At one time - even last year - you could go out for a night of music in Athens and catch numerous folk bands, a few of what I like to call "I Don't Give a Fuck Punk Bands," some singer-songwriters, some loud roots rock, and you'd be hard pressed to not have a good time.
It just seems like the amount of bands coming from Athens is slowing down. Too many are disappearing. So what is happening is the "I Don't Give a Fuck Punk Bands" are filling every slot.
For those who read PWAH on even a mildly regular basis, you'd know that I love punk music and I love pop music (roots pop, not Brittany). I even like avant garde experimentalism. But for some reason I hate "I Don't Give a Fuck Punk Bands."
Maybe it's because they symbolize the utter lack of creativity that punk music slowly became. Maybe it reminds me of Columbus' Bernies at its worst in the late 1990s. It's just that I would AT THE VERY LEAST like to see a band think about what they're doing. Maybe even once. They could be stoned at the time. I will allow that. Maybe they will forget it an hour later. But as long as they HAVE thought once, I'm fine with it.
Maybe the one thought that glanced their brain was incomprehensible? Sure, that counts too.
So I recently had a discussion with Leo DeLuca, drummer of Southeast Engine and also current booker of Donkey Coffee in Athens. It was recently named "Ohio's Best Coffeehouse" by Ohio Magazine. The bar is looking to embrace the culture of Athens that seems to be falling by the wayside. It's trying to cultivate a venue where people go to actually hear music. Nothing more and nothing less. We're not talking about creating a scene. We're not talking about wearing huge glasses like Cheryl Tiegs and shopping at American Apparell, then standing next to a wall. We're just talking about music.
DeLuca explains that Donkey Coffee has become a haven for stripped-down folk and rock music. Rock bands are encouraged to play acoustic, with brushes, etc. The venue has hosted shows by Jorma Kaukonen (of Jefferson Airplane), Jonathan Richman (of The Modern Lovers), Sam Rosen (Vampire Weekend's touring buddy), Nat Baldwin (ex-Dirty Projectors), White Hinterland, Deer Tick, his own Southeast Engine, The Black Swans, and more.
"Shows at at Donkey are the antithesis of your typical rock concert. Listeners are very present and attentive, rather than distracted and loose-lipped," DeLuca said. "As a whole, people are there to focus on the music, rather than focus on what the person next to them is wearing, who's doing what after the show, etc. It's really nice to offer that to musicians. Obviously, performers long for their audience to listen. Amps are often cranked at rock shows to drown out all the yappers. Donkey provides an environment where musicians can play quietly and people will still listen. It's really nice."
DeLuca also commented on my worries about Athens' ironic culture being lost. It used to be the place that defined the granola hippie, co-mingling with the Charles Manson hippie of anger and the hipsters, alongside the college-aged baseball cap douchebag. Just imagine other colleges, but more fighting, cooler people and less posing.
"I think the eclectic nature of the Athens scene still flourishes, but 'I Don't Give a Fuck Punk Music' does seem to be growing luxuriantly. Actually, it seems to be dominating a lot of Ohio right now. To be honest, I really kind of like it. When Southeast Engine was at SXSW, the Austin paper did a whole article on the Columbus "shit-gaze" scene. I was pretty proud of old Ohio," DeLuca said. "The part I don't like is when the fever spreads at the expense of other molds of music. I agree with you, punk / shit-gaze / lo-fi is great, but we definitely need variety. The problem with that type of music is that it's often very elitist and closed-off to other genres. And when it's put in a dominant position, it tends to quell the voices of artists from different strains. You don't have to play dirty or lo-fi to not give a fuck. Listen to Bob Dylan, listen to Johnny Cash. Sure, the fidelity on some of their stuff was on the lower end, however, the vast majority of their work was very put together and very accessible."
So now it's time to reasses the current Athens music scene. Are there any new bands I don't know about? How does a good touring group from Cleveland get into Athens these days?
"Athens is hungry for a new band with an amazing sound and a lot of gumption," DeLuca admitted. "My favorite in the local scene right now is this band called Silo Circuit."
But he said the band is a pretty strictly Athens, not venturing into other cities yet.
However, this is exactly what I think the town needs. Touring bands need to know that there are groups they can count on in other cities to bring the people out for them. Out of town bands are trying to build their draw and if the local band doesn't have one, it leaves them back to square one.
"They generally draw a crowd," he said about Silo Circuit, "and I'd like to see them play outside of Athens. So I'd definitely encourage trying to trade shows with them."
DeLuca said Aquabear Legion - a community network for creative people - is based in Athens as well. It can be a good source for show trading.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Random notes

• I meant to point out that our fellow comrades in arms Buddha Den (which continues to do an excellent job documenting Dayton's music scene) has released its "Buddha Den 2008 Spring Sampler," featuring numerous great local bands from The Motel Beds, to Jesse Remnant, and The Sailing.
The site also spoke a bit about the new Breeders CD "Mountain Battles" out now.
The site also has an interview with Dayton band ... excuse me while I cut and paste the band name because I know I'll spell it wrong ... Ruetschle. It's pronounced like "Richly."
• The other day I was reading Spin magazine and noticed by chance that Cincinnati-based music critic Kari Wethington was the one who wrote the nice interview with Kim Deal. Midwest represents. I couldn't find an online version of the actual article, but here's this.
• I just now noticed a total of nine pages of discussion at Cincy about the closing of The Poison Room. Another one bites the dust. But honestly, I've been to the Poison Room on many occasion and I can tell you it was always dead. It was a cool venue, with a great stage. Just happened to be in an area of town you totally had to go out of your way to get to. There was nothing around it. I compare it to Columbus venue The Basement. Both are totally out of the beaten path that music fans travel. But The Basement is helped along by getting most of the national indie acts that come through. That role has been taken up by The Gypsy Hut in Cincinnati.
• I got word from Columbus band Paper Airplane that its members are currently recording with the engineer who did the last Heartless Bastards CD. I was listening the other week when WOXY's Local Lixx program played a short acoustic demo of theirs recorded at Columbus Discount Records called "Better with Medicine." But I'm not sure the link is up yet to hear the broadcast. The band will be performing new tunes this weekend with a show in Columbus at Thirsty Ear and a show in Dayton at Oregon Express with Twin Arrows (it's debut show, made up of former Late Nite Drivers members) and current buzz band Moon High.
• The Chicago based Riot Fest announced its dates (no lineups) for 2008. October 10th, 11th, and 12th. A venue has not been announced, but in past years it's been at the Congress Theater.
• Some info on Lexington's FreeKY festival, courtesy of You Ain't No Picasso, HERE.
• By the way, if you check pretty much any link on the right, you will find a load of articles and photos on Cincinnati's Music Now festival, organized by Bryce from The National.
• Can You See The Sunset From the Southside, Chicago site announced it is going on a bit of a hiatus. Of course, then they proceeded to have two new updates. Such as some Lollapollooza line up news: 2008 lineup for Lollapalooza: Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West, Wilco, The Raconteurs, Louis XIV, Love and Rockets, Gnarls Barkley, Bloc Party, The Black Keys, Broken Social Scene, Lupe Fiasco, Flogging Molly, Mark Ronson, Cat Power, The National, G. Love & Special Sauce, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Explosions in the Sky, Brand New, Gogol Bordello, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Dierks Bentley, Okkervil River, Amadou & Mariam, Blues Traveler, John Butler Trio, Girl Talk, Your Vegas, CSS, Eli “Paperboy” Reed & the True Loves, Battles, Steel Train, Jamie Lidell, Bang Camaro, Butch Walker, The Blakes, Mates of State, Tally Hall, Spank Rock, White Lies, Brazilian Girls, Magic Wands, Chromeo, Electric Touch, Duffy, Innerpartysystem, The Kills, The Postelles, Rogue Wave, The Parlor Mob, The Go! Team, Bald Eagle, Mason Jennings, Krista, The Gutter Twins, Ha Ha Tonka, Yeasayer, Witchcraft, Grizzly Bear, We Go To 11, MGMT, Sofia Talvik, The Weakerthans, Booka Shade, Santogold, Black Kids, Black Lips, Dr. Dog, Nicole Atkins & the Sea, The Ting Tings, Kid Sister, Office, The Cool Kids, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, The Whigs, Manchester Orchestra, Foals, Uffie, The Octopus Project, Cadence Weapon, Ferras, De Novo Dahl, Noah and the Whale, Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s, K’NAAN, Serena Ryder, Newton Faulkner, (& more TBA, I’m sure).

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pitchfork TV launches

I love to hate on them, but I also like to read them.
Yes, Pitchfork Media has launched it's PitchforkTV online.
It's looking pretty good so far. Interviews and live performances - not just Jay Reatard (who, despite myself, I have been enjoying the more songs I hear by him).
Go check it out: HERE
While you're at the site, also check out some coverage of Cincinnat's MusicNOW festival which happened last week, HERE

Friday, April 4, 2008

Midwest Alerts!

• The I Remember Dayton site has a nice bit on the possible sale and liquidation of Antioch College. That would suck. Misguided hippies or not, the college is an institution of a liberal top notch education. Dave Chapelle may end up living in the middle of nowhere, if that college dies. Read the article in the Dayton Daily News HERE and read IRD site's article HERE.
He also has a bit on a Dayton Musicians Co-op. Not to be a debbie-downer, but I just have never really liked the co-ops in any city. They always talk a big game (insurance for musicians/recording money for charity projects/etc) and all that happens are gigs twice a year in which bands give their hard earned time and energy so the co-ops can make promotional stickers, update their web site or something lame. After years and years of shows, only piddly things ever come of them. But I have hope. Maybe they just need to organize more events aside from live shows?
• Greg Kot has a nice review of Ray Davies recent Chicago gig, HERE
• I'm not really a big fan of Cursive, nor most bands out of that whole Wisconsin hype that sprouted up years ago. That said, here's a nice article on Cursive from the Daily Iowan, HERE.
• Here's a short little interview with Leon Redbone, who is performing in Michigan, HERE.
• With music venues dying all across the Midwest, it's funny that Cincinnati's Riverbend has plans to debut a new venue. Read that article, HERE.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Philly's Dr. Dog has announced it's all set for a new CD and tour:

Hey Folks
Well the cat's out of the bag. All this time in the studio seems to have paid off and it looks as though there is a record finished.
We're gonna call it FATE and you can take from that whatever you want. We can't tell you much, but we can tell you that when we sit back and listen, we're real happy with the way things turned out.
We spend a lot of time together, maybe more than any person should spend with another, but that's not a complaint. It's to say that when you spend this much time with a bunch of dudes, you learn from one another and you learn something about yourself. Not sure what that's got to do with anything, but at the moment we listen to this record and think that all the time we spend together has as much to do with the album as anything else.
As it happens we've got a calendar full of tour dates and a heap of new songs that we're getting excited to play and in some cases.. learn to play. For now we can let you know that it's all about to creep up on you. Consider yourself warned, FATE is upon you July 22 and we can't wait to see you.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Random notes

Lots of stuff going on lately. I've been a bit too busy to bother with any of it. So here's a diatribe on all of it.
There are a ton of new midwestern CDs coming out. Hopefully I can get around to doing some new interviews with these groups soon.
In Cincinnati, there is the Music Now festival (going on all this week). Check out Each Note Secure for more info.
I've still got my eye on the Forecastle Festival and what bands will be chosen to perform. Will it be the same four Cincinnati bands that always play everything (Bad Veins, Turnbull ACs, Lions Rampant, The Read, etc.)?
Nothing against these bands - I like them too - but for god sake festival organizers there are a ton of talented bands out there.
I got a few emails from bands promoting their new CDs. Namely, The Voodoo Loons, Lonely the Seabird's very last CD, Philly's The Hermit Thrushes are going to be in Iowa City July 24 in support of new releases.
PWAH favorite's Dayton-based Squids Eye Records is releasing the new Neotropic "Whiter Rabbits" CD, and on April 29 will release the work of Jesse Remnant "The Human Cannonball" and The Gluons "Meet the Gluons."
Both of these bands are pretty outstanding. Remnant's voice is killer and his music very melodic. Something must be in the water he and his brother Rem drink back at home.
I mentioned before how I enjoy The Gluons. They seem to be Dayton's answer to the Columbus shitpop wave. But unlike a lot of the Columbus bands, you get the feeling these young dudes came up with their sound all on their own and without influence by their surrounding contemporaries. Just give them a listen and judge for yourself.
I also got an email from Chicago band The Fake Fictions, a fuzz-pop band with a new album called "Krakatoa" coming out on Comptroller Records on April 18th. It is a concept album about the world's deadliest volcano explosion and its impact on modern society. They sent me a link to hear the CD early. I still haven't checked it out yet, but I want to try and get to it today at some point.
The thing is, I have heard of this band before. So my guess is that I liked them before, if I filed their name away in my dust-rattled head. Once I give them a listen I'll post a bit about their songs too.
Other than that, I noticed some Columbus folks are having a spirited debate on about production values.
Are too many Columbus CDs "over-produced?" Is it possible for a indie band to be over-produced? What constitutes being over-produced? Does Pro-tools suck?
I can confirm that Pro-tools does suck hard. Avoid it at all cost.
I guess some people think lo-fi CDs just sound better. I can agree with this stance to a certain extent.
Take Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks." What I always liked about it is that you can hear the room the band is playing in. You can hear the music bouncing off the walls. It just makes it sound more intimate and provides a picture into the performance. There is a warmth there that was created by recording more lo-fi.
Neil Young's "Tonight's the night" record is recorded about as lo-fi as it got back in the 1970s. Yet it's clean and pure. Is that over-produced by today's standards?
Then you got other CDs that sound as if the person is singing into a digital microphone. It just sounds dead and lifeless because they are trying too hard to make things sound clean and clear.
My feeling is that it doesn't matter how something is recorded. You can't polish a turd and you can't fuzz out a turd into white noise and call it shitpop.
Let's face it, The Beatles "Abbey Road" is totally produced to sheer pointless cleanliness, but it fucking rocks.
Times New Viking write great songs, so does Psychedelic Horseshit and The Gluons - yet they are recorded in a haze of dirt like the Dust Bowl just exploded. But they fucking rock.
I think there is an important middle ground to look at here. A strange dichotomy exists within the current shit pop trends. Being "over-produced" is looked down upon, but isn't "production" what it is entirely based upon?
They are making CDs sound extremely lo-fi. Isn't that being "over-produced" too?
Just something that came to mind.

Oh yeah. The Ranconteurs are coming through the midwest.
Um, $30-$40 a ticket?
Great band, but fuck them.