• Rock/Reggae band The Ohms (coming off a year that found them releasing a self-titled full-length recorded in Hollywood with Dito Godwin, known for work with No Doubt, O.A.R. and many others) presents its eighth annual “Jingle Jam” benefit show Friday at Play By Play Café. This year benefiting the FreeStore FoodBank, attendees donating three or more non-perishable food items receive $3 off the cover charge. The Ohms (pictured) are joined by two groups recently back from lengthy hiatuses, The Terrors and The Black and Tan Carpet Band. (www.ohmsmusic.com)
• Kevin and the Octaves might just be the most successful Cincinnati band you’ve never heard of. The band is the brainchild of Jamie Mandel (Nice Guy Records, The Scrubs) and Eric Tuffendsam (Moonlight Studios, Curbsquirrels) who put the project together in 2006 in an attempt to find a way to make a living making music without just “trying to sell albums to people who don’t buy albums anymore,” Mandel says.
In 2008, the twosome tapped into the Christmas market with the holiday album Hang Your Stocking Start The Rocking. The album’s Punk/Pop versions of traditional seasonal faves also led to several song placement deals and, in honor of the album’s release, Mandel and Tuffendsam put together a full band to play a hometown live show. Saturday at the Southgate House’s Parlour, the “band” presents its third annual Christmas show, an all-ages affair with Harmon and All Out Best. (www.myspace.com/kevinandtheoctaves)
• The local veterans of SS-20 have been doing Punk Christmas songs since before most of the people going to the Kevin and the Octaves show were probably born. If there was a Now That’s What I Call Cincinnati Christmas Music compilation, vintage SS-20 songs like “Is Santa Listening?” and “War Toys on Christmas” would dominate the track listing. The band picked up the tradition last year with the release of a new holiday EP and for this year’s stocking they offer Christmas Made In China, a nine-track EP featuring three new songs (the title track, “No Money for Toys” and the instrumental “March of the Elves”), three from last year’s release and three from 1987. SS-20 (which now features former Sluggo/Mimis/SHAG guitarist Chris Donnelly) celebrates the season and the release Saturday at Covington’s Down Under. www.myspace.com/ss-20)
• Jazz keyboard master Steve Schmidt presents his annual “Steve Schmidt Organ Trio Christmas Spectacular” with back-to-back free shows at The Comet Monday and Tuesday. Joining Schmidt (rockin’ the Hammond Organ) for the popular show full of groovin’ holiday standards are guitarist Brad Myers and drummer Marc Wolfley, plus vocals from Triage’s Eugene Goss. (Guitarist Dan Faehnle was slated to fill the guitar role but, according to Schmidt, another band he plays in, Pink Martini, scored a slightly higher profile gig on The Tonight Show.)
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