9 p.m. Wink Keziah & Delux Motel (Charlotte, N.C.)
Wink Keziah & Delux Motel (Charlotte, N.C.)
Wink Keziah has turned the raw material of his harrowing life experience into the tripabilly Country swampiness of his songs with Delux Motel, his latest and perhaps greatest band (he once guitared for Adam's House Cat, the precursor to Drive-By Truckers). Steering a drunken course from Honky Tonk to Bluegrass to Soul, Keziah and Delux Motel hit you no matter where you live.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Memphis Soul laced with moonshine Roots Rock served steaming hot at a Bakersfield barbeque. (Brian Baker)
10 p.m. Kort McCumber (Gold Hill, Colo.)
Kort McCumber (Gold Hill, Colo.)
Making wistful, energetic Roots music with an acoustic base, Kort McCumber has the instincts of a Pop songwriter and the soul and chops of a back-porch Bluegrass pick-and-grinner. McCumber is a quick-study multi-instrumentalist, capable of handling everything from mandolin and banjo to bouzouki, piano, upright bass and electric guitar. McCumber has released about an EP a year since 2000 and his latest CD, Lickskillet Road, is due later this year.
Dig It: Paul Simon using Bluegrass and Folk music as inspiration instead of African music on Graceland. (Mike Breen)
11 p.m. Leigh Evin McCullough (Chicago)
Leigh Evin McCullough (Chicago)
Though her music is largely acoustic, there's nothing about singer/songwriter Leigh Evin McCullough's output that screams, "background music in a coffeehouse." Sassy and soulful, McCullough's music is compact, tight and vibrant, with her naturally powerful voice being its magnetic heart. And, while others in Rock history have written veiled songs about "spanking the monkey," McCullough might have concocted the most direct song about wanking, "Masturbation," a tune about getting caught with your pants down (literally!) that shows McCullough doesn't take herself too seriously.
Dig It: Ani DiFranco, Patti Smith during a blackout. (MB)
Midnight Jake Speed & The Freddies (Cincinnati)
Jake Speed & The Freddies (Cincinnati)
The Queen City's very own Woody Guthrie, Jake Speed, has been a leading light in the Cincinnati Folk scene for several years, playing clubs, coffeehouses and almost any kind of other venue with his band of Roots music specialists, The Freddies. Speed plays it totally traditional musically, but his social commentary (which is alternately touching and hilarious) is completely reflective of the current times. Speed's charismatic stage presence could charm the panties off a nun. Dig It
Dig It: Living your life by the code of "W.W.W.D.?" ("What Would Woody Do?"). (MB)
1 a.m. Bourgeois Gypsies (Sierraville, Calif.)
Bourgeois Gypsies (Sierraville, Calif.)
Kaisa MacDonald and Arnold Mitchem joined forces a couple of years ago at an open mic set up at a holistic clothing-optional health spa (you couldn't make this stuff up any better). As a result, they formed Bourgeois Gypsies, fashioned a sonic hybrid of laidback Cali Blues and high-desert Folk and impressed nearly everyone who's seen or heard them. Bourgeois Gypsies are currently working on their third CD and are, as far as we know, going to be clothed for their MPMF showcase.
Dig It: Classic Folk with a positive summertime vibe and an Indie attitude. (BB)
9:15 p.m. Never the Nines (Hoboken, N.J.)
Never the Nines (Hoboken, N.J.)
2006 was a banner year for this piano-up-front Rock band. They released their first proper LP, The State of Things, and added guitarist/utility player Austin Briggs to the fold. Their heavy sound absorbed more soulful elements and Charlie Irwin is doing a lot more brooding, making the music equal parts ass-shaking and head-banging.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Keane, Starsailor, Jeff Buckley with more piano and fewer octaves. (Ezra Waller)
10:15 p.m. Brice Woodall (Chicago)
Brice Woodall (Chicago)
Chicagoan Brice Woodall has earned a loyal fan base and plenty of critical acclaim with compelling live shows at home, in the Midwest and all along the East Coast. Woodall has four albums to his credit, including last year's Feathery Trigger, and all are brimming with catchy Pop melodies and haunting sonic textures. Woodall tours with two distinct bands, the Bots and the Positrons, but no word on which will join him for his MidPoint debut.
Dig It: Wilco with Jeff Buckley up front and Radiohead behind the curtain making spooky noises. (BB)
11:15 p.m. Peter Adams (Cincinnati)
Peter Adams (Cincinnati)
One of Cincinnati's "artists on the verge of a major breakthrough," singer/songwriter Peter Adams has already drawn much attention with his orchestral, accomplished songwriting, which is informed by Indie Pop masters like Neutral Milk Hotel and The Flaming Lips. Indie Rock mag Magnet has featured Peter -- who has been in constant contact with industry folks while making his much anticipated new album -- on numerous occasions, including a full-page article for a recent "artists to watch out for" package. Not bad for an unsigned singer/songwriter. And a sign he probably won't be so unsigned much longer.
Dig It: Radiohead, Neutral Milk Hotel, "Violin-soaked Punk Folk Rock," as Adams calls it. (MB) 12:15 a.m. CRITIC'S PICK: Of God And Science (Albuquerque, N.M.)
CRITIC'S PICK: Of God And Science (Albuquerque, N.M.)
This band is all over the map, and every bit of the countryside is gorgeous. Their self-titled album is more a breathtaking tapestry of sounds than a collection of songs. Whether it's organ, percussion, slide guitar, vox or piano, each note is lovingly rendered and carefully hung on a Baroque mantle. At their core is an interesting duality. Most of their creations are heavy-hearted, slow-paced Indie Pop songs. There are instrumentals, dramatic breaks and an overall minor-key dreaminess that is delicate yet ominous, like getting a paper cut from origami. Then there's the Garage-inspired, almost AltCountry persona that they slip into on a number of tunes. Done to varying degrees, it's as if they're temporarily possessed by Mark Lanegan. It could be the vestigial remains of Flake (of which the recently-added Ryan Martino was a member), the band that would eventually morph into The Shins. However they came by this dichotomous trait, it offers some levity to what is otherwise a very momentous affair.
Dig It: The Decemberists, Minus the Bear, Radiohead. (EW)
1:15 a.m. Ramsey (Cincinnati)
Producer/local Pop icon Brian Lovely calls self-taught musician Joel Ramsey -- who's been creating a live buzz for the past year under his surname -- "a dark troubadour." Ramsey's debut CD, Heaven's Dark Corners, came out this year and he's spent time honing a band that can take his Alt.Rock head/Gypsy Jazz heart/Pop soul vision to the next level.
Dig It: Spoon, Radiohead and Muse drunk on gypsy gin. (BB)
9 p.m. Telling on Trixie (New York, N.Y.)
Telling on Trixie (New York, N.Y.)
Vocalist Derek Nicoletto and guitarist Brad Small began in a Funk/Jam band called Trixie's Itch and elements of that groove remain in the anthemic and soulful Power Pop of their new aggregation, Telling on Trixie. Their self-titled debut hit CMJ's Top 30, a pair of the band's songs earned Honorable Mentions from Billboard's Songwriting Panel and one of America's Top Models is in their new video (that's got to count for something).
You'll Dig It If You Dig: A band equally guided by KISS and Stevie Wonder, and a lead singer who lists "stage combat" as one of his responsibilities. (BB)
10 p.m. The Whitney Barricklow Band (Cincinnati)
The Whitney Barricklow Band (Cincinnati)
Armed with great songs, an ace backing band and one of the finest singing voices in Cincinnati, Whitney Barricklow has had an active (if not so visible) year, singing on commercials for everything from Roto-Rooter to chili and working on not one but two new full-length albums. With such an amazing voice, it's easy to overlook Barricklow's songwriting instincts, which are just as impeccable. Pop music with brains and a heart. What a novel concept!
Dig It: Lisa Loeb, Leigh Nash, Jewel. (MB)
11 p.m. The Kevin Fox Band (Cincinnati)
The Kevin Fox Band (Cincinnati)
Drawing influence from seemingly the entire historical time line of Pop/Rock (from James Taylor to Nirvana), the Kevin Fox Band make well-crafted Pop music with a sense of cleverness and humor that is as ear-grabbing as the abundance of hooks. The band tours the eastern half of the U.S. frequently and their most recent album, the diverse All Over the Place, came out in 2005. Dig It:
Dig It:Sister Hazel, Third Eye Blind, Barenaked Ladies. (MB)
Midnight Nate McDonough (Springfield, Ohio)
Nate McDonough (Springfield, Ohio)
Springfield, Ohio, might not be the Simpsons' Springfield, but it certainly has become an unlikely source for world-class musical talent, giving R&B star John Legend and up-and-coming singer/songwriter Griffin House to the world in the past few years. Nate McDonough just might be next in line. McDonough's latest CD, New Day, has the natural smoothness of the best AAA-format music and an accessibility that makes his music perfect for Pop radio, as well. Dig It:
Dig It:John Mayer, Gavin McGraw, dude singer/songwriters VH1 plays a lot. (MB)
1 a.m. Brian Lisik (Akron, Ohio)
Brian Lisik (Akron, Ohio)
With a wonderful grasp of classic Pop/Rock, Ohio songwriter Brian Lisik makes music that is not "of" any specific era. With a tinge of twang, Lisik's songs ring with a melodic effortlessness that great songwriters like Paul Westerberg and Jeff Tweedy ooze on a regular basis. Happiness is Boring, co-produced by former GBV member Todd Tobias, came out last year; look for a DVD featuring footage from the tour behind that album in the near future. Dig It:
Dig It:Paul Westerberg, Soul Asylum, Jesse Malin. (MB)
9 p.m. Screaming Mimes (Cincinnati)
Screaming Mimes (Cincinnati)
Purveyors of well-crafted Power Pop built on a foundation of tasty guitar and witty lyrics, the Mimes string dozens of magnetic melodies together in a single tune, and then repeat this trick over and over until it almost looks easy. Their long-awaited album Tragedy Comic will be released soon by Deary Me Records.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: psychodots, Big Star, a slightly more serious Randy Newman (EW)
10 p.m. Jeremy Vogt Band (Indianapolis)
Jeremy Vogt Band (Indianapolis)
After a decade toiling away on the cover band circuit, singer/songwriter Jeremy Vogt and his bandmates decided they wanted sing and write their own music. In 2005, they released their debut CD, People in Strange Places, a record full of emotive, radio-friendly Pop Rock. Since going original, the band has played their hometown's "outdoor shed" venue several times, guesting at shows by Counting Crows, John Mayer and Dave Matthews.
Dig It: Goo Goo Dolls, Everclear, Gin Blossoms. (MB)
11 p.m. Spit Hot Fire (New York, N.Y.)
Spit Hot Fire (New York, N.Y.)
New York quintet Spit Hot Fire has made a reputation at home and up and down the Atlantic seaboard playing an exhilarating blend of Funk-fused Alternative Rock and a swinging mesh of melodic Pop and Dub Reggae. After forming a mere year and a half ago, Spit Hot Fire's monthly NYC shows have become known for spillover attendance and a wall-to-wall party atmosphere.
Dig It: Edgy Alt.Rock with a dubby twist of Dancehall Reggae, like the Chili Peppers backing Buju Banton. (BB)
Midnight The Newbees (Covington, Ky.)
The Newbees (Covington, Ky.)
Married couple Jeff and Misty Perholtz formed The Newbees in 2004 as a means of fleshing out their acoustic act with a fuller sound. Since then, the group has released two albums of fun, direct Pop, Songs from a Dilapidated Apartment and this year's Famous, and been featured in a television ad campaign for Gold Star Chili. Dig It
Dig It: Ben Folds, Fountains of Wayne, Gold Star Chili. (MB)
1 a.m. The Electric Souls (Newport, Ky.)
The Electric Souls (Newport, Ky.)
9:15 p.m. for algernon (Cincinnati)
for algernon (Cincinnati)
For algernon is the project of Cincy-based singer/songwriter Jason Wells, a storyteller with an amazing ability to translate deep emotion into wonderfully soulful Indie Rock. Wells' ability to explore the intricacies of his and others' mental state has been poured out over several releases (under his own name as well as his "band" moniker) since his 2001 debut, Public Diary. In 2006, he released the lump-in-throat long-player, remember why we ran, which brilliantly explored the certainties and uncertainties of romantic relationships with heartfelt, heartbreak honesty.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Wilco, The National, break-up music. (MB)
10:15 p.m. Cassavettes (Boston)
What are all these Texans doing in Boston, getting voted Best Local Band in the Boston Phoenix and scoring a Boston Music Award nomination for Outstanding Americana Act? Very well, it would seem, as Cassavettes mixes Beatlesque melodicism with Folk expanse and boozy Rock swagger.
Dig It: Like Elvis Costello comparing divorce stories with Mojo Nixon over a half a hundred beers while the bar band plays Ryan Adams and Neil Young covers. (BB)
11:15 p.m. TBA
12:15 a.m. Earwig (Columbus, Ohio)
Earwig (Columbus, Ohio)
Making feisty, highly melodic Pop Rock with an endearing lack of studio polish, Earwig are earning high press praise and radio airplay and have become a big draw on the Columbus circuit. One critic called the band's album, Center of the Earth, "frighteningly brilliant," but don't be frightened. Earwig's buoyant sound makes them come off like a loveable bunch.
Dig It: Buffalo Tom, The Hold Steady minus the spoken-word schtick, Counting Crows minus the pretension. (MB)
1:15 a.m. Cari Clara (Cincinnati)
Cari Clara (Cincinnati)
Eric Diedrichs is brilliantly talented and pathologically busy. He was a sensation in the '90s when the Simpletons roamed the Earth with hooks to spare and he's most recently been contributing big, anthemic guitar sounds to Moth. Post-Simpletons, Diedrichs created Cari Clara as an experimental Pop persona and he's been exhilarating fans ever since. Diedrichs' latest Cari Clara EP, You Better Run, is a fantastic hint at the expansive full-length he's working on.
Dig It: The Beta Band with an incurable case of Popophrenia. (BB)
9:15 p.m. Direc-T (Istanbul, Turkey)
Direc-T (Istanbul, Turkey)
Up for the "longest distance traveled" award for this year's MidPoint, this Turkish trio plays dramatic, passionate AltRock with lyrics in both English and Turkish. The band has been up and running for a decade and their career has included shows with Pulp and David Byrne (at a big music fest in their hometown) and a win at the 2001 Roxy Music Awards (Turkey's AltGrammys).
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Muse playing Silverchair covers. (MB)
10:15 p.m. Loyal Divide (Chicago)
Loyal Divide (Chicago)
Not sure which is more striking: how different they are from the rest of the music world or how much different their songs are from one another. Drawing equally from Post Rock, Ambient, Avant-Garde and New Wave, it sounds like the "finding themselves" phase of a band that could be a household name in four or five years.
Dig It: Talking Heads, Flaming Lips, Tortoise. (EW)
11:15 p.m. Twilight Revival (Chicago)
Twilight Revival (Chicago)
After barely a year together, Chicago's Twilight Revival has managed to attract a loyal fan base with an infectious blend of Indie Rock riffs and rootsy Americana textures. The quartet's self-titled debut EP is likewise an effective combination of blustery Rock volume and Folk Rock subtlety that delights in big hooks and fantastic vocal harmonies.
Dig It: An R.E.M./Replacements keg party with a Wilco/My Morning Jacket hangover. (BB)
12:15 a.m. The Vinyltones (Cincinnati)
The Vinyltones (Cincinnati)
The 'Tones are nothing if not well traveled. Their polished Americana-tinged Power Pop has been released in Japan (2005's Memoirs of a Songbook) and performed in Afghanistan (they played a string of military bases there last year). How does a hard-working bunch of Midwestern boys respond to this kind success? Make another album, of course. Their next barnburner is in production.
Dig It: Supergrass, Buffalo Tom, a direct flight from Detroit to Manchester. (EW)
1:15 a.m. Stereo Deluxe (Indianapolis)
Stereo Deluxe (Indianapolis)
Carving a comfortable niche between new and old Power Pop, SD trot out hot guitar licks, serious backbeats and bass punctuation. Top it all with Jay Elliot's finely tuned vocals -- which capture a stunning range of influence, from Brit Pop to Blues Rock -- and cut them loose with a fierce precision.
Dig It: The Shins, Spoon, The Walkmen. (EW)
9 p.m. CRITIC'S PICK: Western Civ (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
CRITIC'S PICK: Western Civ (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Making bug-eyed, imaginative Indie Rock with wiry guitar texturing and effective, spectral melodies, Alabama-bred quartet Western Civ released its debut EP in late 2005, having spent a few years writing and recording several albums' worth of material. This past spring, the band finally leaked more material, via its debut full-length, Remington Steel Magnolia.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Pavement. (MB)
10 p.m. Arrow Sparrow (Cincinnati)
Arrow Sparrow (Cincinnati)
Arrow Sparrow subtly incorporate classic Americana and American Pop influences into their straightforward but creative and memorable Indie mix. The band started in 2003 as a recording project of members Richard Lucas and Joshua Butts, who played together in the Columbus, Ohio-based band The Flood Plain. Though they cite influences as varied as Lee Dorsey, The Band and Townes Van Zandt, the group's sound comes out in an original way, a perfect mesh of the past and present.
Dig It: Members of Spoon and Silver Jews jamming at a 4 a.m. afterparty/hootenanny. (MB)
11 p.m. johnnytwentythree (Cincinnati)
Pulling off dramatic volume swells is more challenging than it sounds: The players must have individual mastery of dynamics, telepathic links to one another, and the difficulty increases exponentially with each new instrument. Add a video backdrop emotionally welded to the music and the margin of error becomes nil. Yet J23 excels.
Dig It: Mogwai, musical cloud-bursts, the video projector as an instrument. (EW)
Midnight Sparky Quano (Japan)
Sparky Quano (Japan)
Using a combination of real-time sampling and a multitude of guitar effects, Sparky Quano single-handedly creates and manipulates pulsating experiments right before your eyes. Watching his videos online, you get the impression he could have made any of the last few Tool albums by himself in a few hours.
Dig It: Buckethead, Drums & Tuba, NIN. (EW)
9:15 p.m. TBA 10:15 p.m. TBA
11:15 p.m. CRITIC'S PICK: Coltrane Motion (Chicago)
CRITIC'S PICK: Coltrane Motion (Chicago)
Long before LCD Soundsystem had the Indie Rock world asking, "What is this? Electronica? Indie Rock?," Michael Bond and Coltrane Motion were blurring those lines and pimping energized, circuit-frazzling Electro-New-Wave-Indie-Rock. Previously based in Cincinnati, the group relocated to Chicago a few years ago. Coltrane Motion's latest CD, the thoroughly entertaining, slightly spastic, highly passionate Songs About Music, is their best, as the widespread radio and press attention from the Indie and blog worlds attests. The band's herk-n-jerk sound and live show are something to experience.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Apples in Stereo locked in the computer/meth lab for the weekend. (MB)
12:15 a.m. DAX (Austin, Tex.)
DAX (Austin, Tex.)
With harder-edged Rock guitar, slithering vocals and an Electronica pulse, Austin's six-piece recalls that period in the early '90s when so-called "Industrial" music (just AltRock with synth noise and electro-beast, mostly) seemed poised to take over the Alternative Nation. The band's debut release, DAX: The EP, sounds like a mix between Nine Inch Nails, Garbage and Skunk Anansie. Fun fact: DAX is likely the only band at MidPoint to have played with both A Flock of Seagulls and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister.
Dig It: My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult toning down the freaky sex stuff and gunning for a Rock radio hit. (MB)
1:15 a.m. Abiyah (Cincinnati)
Experimental Hip Hop
From her beginnings as local Floetry missionary, Abiyah has morphed into a focal point for all sorts of cross-genre alchemy. The menu for her MPMF showcase is diverse as always, supported by rhythmic foundations built from beat-box, computer and live instruments and adorned with turntable and some of the biggest and most beautiful voices around.
Dig It: Half beat poet, half seductive siren, all magnet for cool musical ideas. (EW)
9 p.m. Jayne Sachs (Dayton, Ohio)
Jayne Sachs (Dayton, Ohio)
After a brief hiatus to deal with newfound family life, Dayton scene vet Jayne Sachs returned to music two years ago with her fifth and best-recorded effort yet, Sutures. Sachs songwriting has matured but she still retains an irresistible Pop quality that would appeal to most anyone with an ear for sharp melodic hooks. Sachs has been rewarded for her songwriting skills with many awards and positive notices, including a win in the "Pop" category of the John Lennon International Songwriting Contest.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Leigh Nash, a slightly more domesticated Ani DiFranco, Lisa Loeb. (MB)
10 p.m. Levi Weaver (Nashville, Tenn.)
Levi Weaver (Nashville, Tenn.)
After a run as a musician in Texas, Levi Weaver picked up and moved to Birmingham, England, where he would eventually break back into music. Just last year he dove back in head first, making atmospheric Alternative Americana that began to draw a crowd, with his first tentative shows blossoming into a full-scale U.K. tour. A gig with Imogean Heap made her a fan and she invited Weaver to bring his supple, violin-laced music back to the States for an extensive run on Heap's U.S. tour. You'll Dig It If You Dig: 11 p.m. Stacy Rock (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
You'll Dig It If You Dig:That Nickel Creek/Radiohead collaborative album that will never happen. (MB)
Stacy Rock (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
When a singer/songwriter gets yardsticked against Tom Waits or Emmylou Harris, it's time to sit up and take notice. So it is with classically trained Montana native/Brooklyn resident Stacy Rock, whose piano stylings and storytelling prowess have earned the previous comparisons, along with references to Carole King and Bob Dylan. Rock's debut CD, One Way Home, is making a lot of critics give her a second (and third and fourth) listen.
Dig It: Tom Waits' drinking piano played by Carole King stone sober. (BB)
Midnight Brigid Kaelin (Louisville, Ky.)
Brigid Kaelin (Louisville, Ky.)
Jazz, Country, Roots and Pop music all converge in the sound of singer/songwriter Brigid Kaelin. Her musical career might not have happened were in not for a tragic twist of fate. A successful TV producer in New York City, Kaelin moved back to Louisville to be with her mother, who had been diagnosed with cancer. Kaelin rekindled her love affair with music while in Kentucky and decided to stay and make a go at a music career. Her debut CD, Keep Your Secrets, came out in '05; a new one is in the works. Dig It Shanna Zell (New York, N.Y.)
Dig It: Eavesdropping on a conversation about songwriting between Nellie McKay, Carole King and Lucinda Williams. (MB) 1 a.m.
Shanna Zell (New York, N.Y.)
Shanna Zell is young in age but old in the soul, where it counts the most. At 23, Zell has already been performing for seven years, writing and singing songs about the vagaries of love, the wonders of sex and the truth of life. Zell's 2005 debut full-length, Hurricane Season, has garnered plenty of local airplay on WAIF, she's played dates at the Southgate House and has been a previous MidPoint featured artist.
Dig It: Lucinda Williams and Ann Wilson channel the spirit of Love (Arthur Lee's band and the emotion) and Rock. (BB)
9:15 p.m. RoryMI (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
RoryMI (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
Rory is an impossibly young Dutch guitarist with a new CD called Musical Journey and long career ahead of him. After drums and soccer, Rory took a shot at guitar when he was 10; three years later he entered himself in the Sena Guitar Awards and won the 12-17 age division. Four years later he celebrates his debut CD and his first MidPoint appearance, but he won't celebrate his 18th birthday until December.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Steve Vai and Joe Satriani cutting heads in a Funk/Soul/Jazz playoff. (BB)
10:15 p.m. Wasted (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Wasted (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
A band called Wasted from Amsterdam? It's a bit like calling a band from Washington, D.C. "Politically Corrupt," no? The Dutch trio's music reflects the debauchery of Amsterdam (by way of the Sunset Strip circa 1997), but not in the "stoned groove" way you might think. The band sounds like that era in Hard Rock when the hair-spray bottles were put away in favor of bandanas and the scarves and satin gave way to denim and leather.
Dig It: Avenged Sevenfold, L.A. Guns, Motley Crue. (MB)
11:15 p.m. Exit 31 (Stein, Limburg, Netherlands)
Exit 31 (Stein, Limburg, Netherlands)
With more harmonies than Queen and lyrics like "You make me feel like puke on the floor," these Dutchmen have an '80s Pop Metal appeal. In fact, it sometimes seems like the members of Exit 31 haven't turned on a radio since 1989. Not a bad thing -- if you grew up in that era and loved White Lion, Whitesnake and the like, these are your dudes. They've been together for over 10 years and are currently touring the U.S. for the first time, where they'll also be finishing their sophomore album. Dig It:
Dig It:The Offspring if they came up in Pop Metal's heyday instead of during Punk's commercial breakthrough period. (MB)
12:15 a.m. Touchin' Tongues (Venlo, Netherlands)
Touchin' Tongues (Venlo, Netherlands)
Touchin' Tongues began in the Netherlands nearly a decade ago as a family affair with the Pieck brothers (guitarist Tasilo and bassist Nicolas) and their cousin, guitarist Ernesto Risakotta. The band swelled to a seven piece and they played Funk/Soul/Rock covers, which soon morphed into originals. Touchin' Tongues has released a number of singles that have been widely acclaimed by Dutch radio.
Dig It: Lenny Kravitz and Mother's Finest kicking the Soul Patrol's ass. (BB)
KNOW THEATRE UNDERGROUND
9 p.m. Holy Crap (Cincinnati)
Holy Crap (Cincinnati)
Power trio Holy Crap kept local rafters dust-free and cleaned out ear canals on a regular basis from 1999 to 2002, releasing their well-received EP Rock and Roll for President and garnering plenty of praise along the way. After a brief hiatus, the band is back with their eponymous new full-length and a desire to turn it up, tear it down and build it back again.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: The Who, the Stones, the Kinks, The Beatles ... Classicrockapalooza. (BB)
10 p.m. Vanity Crash (Cleveland)
Vanity Crash (Cleveland)
Dripping with classic Power Pop influences and a swaggering Glam strut, Vanity Crash emerged from a production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch when cast-band members decided to write songs in a somewhat similar style and give it a go as a "real band." The band has appropriately been placed on bills with like-minded dram kings The Darkness, New York Dolls and Poison. Their eponymous debut received solid press praise and their next one -- allegedly a concept album about an insane serial killer (is there any other kind?) -- is sure to continue that trend.
Dig It: David Bowie and Marc Bolan meet Rick Springfield and Greg Kihn, (MB)
11 p.m. The Fairmount Girls (Cincinnati)
The Fairmount Girls (Cincinnati)
Drummer/singer Dana Hamblen and keyboardist/singer Melissa Fairmount have made their Fairmount Girls one of the top original Indie bands in the city, though the lineup over the years has been about as stable as a schizophrenic off his meds. Recently, the Girls re-emerged as something of a supergroup, with a new lineup (perhaps their best yet) consisting of members of The Ass Ponys, The Tigerlilies and Lovely Crash.
Dig It: Well-sung, well-written Indie Pop with sunshine melodies/harmonies, pulsating textures and switchblade lyrics. (MB)
Midnight CRITIC'S PICK: The Unbearables (Austin, Tex.)
CRITIC'S PICK: The Unbearables (Austin, Tex.)
Formerly known as Garage rockers with albums full of three-minute Brat & Roll rockets, The Unbearables cemented their place in music history with last year's Just One Bite, a zombie Rock opera. Seriously. Augmented with horns, a 10-piece choir and a host of oddball instruments, it's a genre-bender that is zero percent cacophony and 100 percent majesty. This all might sound like something a bunch of guys getting high after band practice might dream up and then forget by the next morning, but it didn't even end with the album. Hooking up with Austin theatre troupe Loaded Gun Theory, they staged Bitten! A Zombie Rock Odyssey. Based on the mixed reviews, it sounds like the show could use some script tweaks, but the soundtrack couldn't be any better, driven by the inescapable tightness of the rockers at the heart of the ensemble. Maybe someday they'll go back to being a regular band, but for now they continue to feast on grateful audiences everywhere.
Dig It: Zombie Stardust, Godspeed You Black Zombie, Zombiephonic Spree. (EW)
9:15 p.m. John Carter (Nashville, Tenn.)
John Carter (Nashville, Tenn.)
Arkansas native John Carter opted out of the Marines last year after a 10-year career in order to pursue his Country music dream full-time. Exposed to music as a child through his parents and church, Carter taught himself to play guitar while serving as a helicopter door gunner and stationed on a ship. Carter's first five-track EP is available now.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Alabama and the Oak Ridge Boys making camp and singing around the fire. (BB)
10:15 p.m. Kelly Thomas (Cincinnati)
Kelly Thomas (Cincinnati)
Thomas once mused that she feels like the "local music den mother." One could go on about the musical seeds she has sown and cultivated around town, but there'd be no room left to talk about her tasty Blues voice, which radiates strength and poise even while wallowing in hillbilly heartbreak. Oh, mama!
Dig It: Delany & Bonnie, Lucinda Williams, a polished Janis. (BB)
11:15 p.m. CRITIC'S PICK: The Wrenfields (Dearborn, Mich.)
CRITIC'S PICK: The Wrenfields (Dearborn, Mich.)
For the past seven years, The Wrenfields have consistently been one of the Detroit area's most popular Alternative Country bands. Intelligent, ambitious and amps-to-11 loud, The Wrenfields have scored several Detroit Music Awards for their studio and stage work and even placed a single from their Seconds album on the European Country Charts. The band's next album will be produced by the Jayhawks' Gary Louris and Polara's Ed Ackerson.
Dig It: The Jayhawks and Lucinda Williams channel their inner chicken-wire roadhouse band. (BB)
12:15 a.m. Tupelo Honey (Ft. Thomas, Ky.)
Tupelo Honey (Ft. Thomas, Ky.)
High school pals Heather Turner and Katie Wefer have turned their self-taught guitar skills and a series of talent competitions and cover gigs into original songs and their real band, Tupelo Honey. Turner, Wefer and Tupelo Honey's debut EP, Sweet, came out this past spring.
Dig It: Patty Griffin and the Indigo Girls harmonizing to whatever's on local Roots/AAA-happy NPR affiliate WNKU. (BB)
1:15 a.m. Woosley Band (Columbus, Ohio)
Woosley Band (Columbus, Ohio)
This airtight ensemble cranks out slanted Roots Pop gems that aim straight for the heart and rarely miss. They already had several magnificent albums under their belt when they released a musical mother lode earlier this year: a double LP. It brims with energy and swagger, but there is darkness inviting you to plumb their songwriting depth.
Dig It: American Music Club, Guided By Wilco, Lou Barlow. (EW)
NEW STAGE COLLECTIVE
9 p.m. entheos (Cincinnati)
Entheos' music is based on a curious dichotomy, taking simple but effective acoustic songs and lathering them up with tasteful electronic flourishes. Imagine traditional Folk influences mingling with a deep love of British artists like Doves and Coldplay and you'll be close to what this original Cincinnati group comes up with. Airy and ambient, entheos' music is soothing but hardly just background noise to fall asleep to. Live, the band faithfully re-creates the songs, but they get an extra bump of adrenaline that makes it a little less "Dream Pop" (as they like to call their sound).
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Everything But the Girl, Tracy Thorn (solo), Air. (MB)
10 p.m. Ric Hordinski (Cincinnati)
Ric Hordinski (Cincinnati)
From the moment he offered up those languid, gorgeous guitar lines in Over the Rhine, we were hooked. Everything he's done since -- Monk, solo shows, brilliant production and performance work for David Wilcox, Kim Taylor, Nathan Holscher and a host of others -- has been equally tasteful, powerful and moving. ric hordinski doesn't merely make music, he sculpts the air with notes and wrings real emotion from wood, wire and electricity.
Dig It: Life and love in a collection of shivery musical notes. (BB)
11 p.m. The Black Canary (Columbus, Ohio)
The Black Canary (Columbus, Ohio)
It's rare that a band can look back to the distant past for real inspiration (rather than retro novelty) and look ahead by translating that inspiration into something unique. Columbus Psych Pop quartet the Black Canary (hey, wasn't she a DC Comics/Earth 2 superhero?) has managed that difficult wirewalk, producing a sound that is experimental and innovative while appropriately referential to Psych's rich late-'60s history.
Dig It: Pink Floyd shoegazing instead of Wall building. (BB)
Midnight The Times (Cincinnati)
The Times (Cincinnati)
Two years ago, The Times were the local representatives for the national Zippo Hot Tour competition where they placed second overall, which was probably for the best. Their 2005 debut CD, Begin, would likely have been devoured by corporate ignorance and label malfeasance. Better they should remain here in Cincinnati and grow into a first class Alt.Rock outfit with integrity and soul.
Dig It: The power and delicacy of U2 and Coldplay, at local, non-arena availabilities. (BB)
9:15 p.m. Treologic (Chicago)
Hip Hop with strong instrumental leanings is the specialty of this Jazzy crew. A mixture of young and seasoned performers, they are bound by finely honed musicianship and a clean and cohesive style steeped in R&B history. MC Billa Camp matches their skills with lyrical and mental clarity guaranteed to work the crowd over.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: The Roots, Digable Planets, Timbaland. (EW)
10:15 p.m. TBA
11:15 p.m. CRITIC'S PICK: The Team (Indianapolis)
CRITIC'S PICK: The Team (Indianapolis)
Fronted by the duo of TA (who sings) and Tell Ross (who rhymes) and backed by a strong live band, The Team are the result of a brilliant observation -- most hit Hip Hop songs feature a sung R&B hook. So why waste time with all these "special" guests? Start a group with a singer and an MC and you're set. The band's music is the true meeting point of modern R&B and Hip Hop, the line between which is so paper-thin right now, it's hanging by a thread anyway. The Team are ready to snip that thread altogether.
Dig It: Ludacris featuring Chris Brown, Jay-Z featuring Ne-Yo. (MB)
12:15 a.m. Charlie Superfly (New York, N.Y.)
Charlie Superfly (New York, N.Y.)
If you're looking for credentials, Charlie Superfly was recently named Miss Black Howard Stern and she's hotter than the hinges of hell. Musically, Charlie is all about the '70s in all its glorious facets, from Blaxploitation cinema (dig her Cleopatra Jones look) to the era's wide-ranging music -- Sly Stone, Led Zeppelin, Prince, Tina Turner, Steely Dan and everything between and beyond, all of which winds up on her EP, Everybody's Sexy. Word up!
Dig It: Old-school R&B with a smooth Pop finish and a crunchy Rock foundation. (BB)
1:15 a.m. Marvin & the Experience (Cincinnati)
Marvin & the Experience (Cincinnati)
Beginning with a diverse education at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts downtown, continuing with eclectic music gigs around the world and ending up back in Cincinnati as a contributor to a wide range of some of the biggest names in local music, it's no wonder Marvin Hawkins calls his band the Experience. A standout at the last three MidPoints and a two-time R&B/Funk Cincinnati Entertainment Awards nominee, Marvin & the Experience are ready to get up for the get-down.
Dig It: Funk Hop Soul and Roll, with a twist of whatever you like. (BB)
9:15 p.m. Matt Humphreys (Toronto, Canada)
Adult Contemporary Pop
Matt Humphreys (Toronto, Canada)
After studying piano and voice in college, singer/songwriter Matt Humphreys formed a successful Folk/Celtic group called Urban Folk with his brother. The project lasted five years, after which Humphreys went back to his solo acoustic roots. His smooth, technically proficient vocal approach garnered the attention of Canada's Canadian Idol, where Humphrey's placed in the Top 50 in two different seasons. After a flirtation with Idol success, Humphreys got back to his own thing again, releasing his first long-player, Everything Changed On The Way, this past March. The album has received airplay on Canada's CBC network.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Elton John, Ben Folds, other male Piano Pop balladeers. (MB)
9:55 p.m. Laura Glyda (Chicago)
Laura Glyda (Chicago)
Chicago singer/songwriter Laura Glyda maintains an unfiltered blog at her Web site that proves that it's not only in her songs that she reveals thoughts and details with refreshing honesty and poeticism. Those revealing, personal lyrics are wrapped in a warm blanket of acoustic simplicity, as Glyda's strong vocals give a confident, emotive voice to her internal life.
Dig It: Janis Ian, Laura Nyro, Sarah McLachlan. (MB)
10:35 p.m. Greg Johnson (Los Angeles)
Adult Contemporary/Singer Songwriter
Greg Johnson (Los Angeles)
You might not know Greg Johnson, but he's a triple-platinum superstar in his native New Zealand; the Auckland Philharmonia performed a program of his songs in 2005 and it took the Dixie Chicks to knock his latest album Me and Joanna out of the No. 1 slot. Johnson will draw you in with a combination of Cabaret flair, Pop hooks and masterful storytelling.
Dig It: Billy Joel and Elton John Down Under (fashion your own joke for that punch line). (BB)
11:15 p.m. Ric Hickey (Cincinnati)
Ric Hickey (Cincinnati)
For an astounding two decades, Ric Hickey has been one of the area's most inventive and inspired guitarists and songwriters. Divining the commonality between The Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson and Frank Zappa, and his unique creative place among that triumvirate, Hickey continually finds fresh and singular ways to express his own vision, alone or with the Loose Wrecks. Light a candle, knees on the floor and thank your deity that Hickey has done all this right here in Cincinnati.
Dig It: The Blues from above, the Country from below, the Avant-Garde from Rigel 9. (BB)
11:55 p.m. Tom Vollman (Milwaukee)
Tom Vollman (Milwaukee)
Dig It: Son Volt, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi unplugged. (MB)
POISON ROOM: POISON STAGE
9 p.m. Pike (Cincinnati)
Wielding their vintage sound and New Wave attitude, Pike took home the top prize at the GoGirls Music Battle of the Bands in Austin, Tex., last year. They've kept busy touring, put out a great-sounding new disc and wrote the Cincinnati Rollergirls' theme song, a task for which they could not have been more perfectly suited.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Bratmobile, L7, Nashville Pussy. (EW)
10 p.m. Love in October (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Love in October (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Love in October needs a globe to illustrate their bio. Brothers and native Swedes Erik and Kent Widman play guitar and bass respectively and bring a shiny, crunchy Scandinavian Pop ethic to LiO, while guitarist Nik Pfeifer hails from the West Coast and drummer Mike Swanson provides the hometown anchor to the Minneapolis-based quartet.
Dig It: Foo Fighters challenging Motion City Soundtrack to a go-kart race. (BB)
11 p.m. Shindig (Louisville, Ky.)
Shindig (Louisville, Ky.)
Though their name is a synonym for "party," the sound of this Shindig is like a really intimate get-together where everyone talks about their feelings and plays through the psychic pain with a few rounds of Go Fish. Luxuriant Emo Pop is what this Kentucky quintet makes, pumping out instantly catchy songs that speak to base human emotions like a close friend/confidant in the time of crisis. The band has released a series of CDs since 2001.
Dig It: Gin Blossoms reincarnated as an Emo band. (MB)
Midnight Ellison (Cincinnati)
If more bands were able to write perfect Pop songs and produce flawless DIY recordings like Ellison, maybe record deals would still grow on trees. Based in spot-on melodicism, chorus harmonies and pealing guitar leads, their uplifting sound is as good as any contemporary you can name.
Dig It: Matchbook Romance, Lovedrug, Copeland. (MB)
1 a.m. The Frantic (Chicago)
The Frantic (Chicago)
Though impossibly young, the sound of this Chicago four-piece is remarkably far along and focused. Resisting the total castration process that most Punk bands today seem to go through in an effort to be more Emo, The Frantic can legitimately be called a "Punk" band, though they also possess a very catchy Pop core which gives their songs a sing-along appeal that even your mom could love.
Dig It: Sum 41, Dropkick Murphys and Anti-Flag in a circle jerk with the Circle Jerks. (MB)
POISON ROOM: TOXIC STAGE
9:15 p.m. Postcard (St. Louis)
Postcard (St. Louis)
In their Electronic Press Kit, Postcard instructed me to watch the video before I do anything else, as they're a visual band first and foremost. The clip is raw and there aren't any explosions or makeup or Stonehenge stage set, but they do appear to be an incredibly energetic live band. The group's sound takes the classic soft-loud-louder dynamic and fills in the nooks and crannies with passion and soul-bleeding vocals.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Blue October (but good), Hard Rock with an AltRock soul. (MB)
10:15 p.m. Kevin Elliot and The Broken (Los Angeles)
Kevin Elliot and The Broken (Los Angeles)
More Rock and less Punk than their Emo cousins, this quartet (Elliot is originally from Kentucky) enlisted some high-profile folks to produce their debut, Damage of This Day, and the results are top notch. The breathy vocals soar over an even mixture of energetic tunes and those with a more deliberate paced.
Dig It: Thursday, Nine Days, The Get Up Kids (EW)
11:15 p.m. TBA
12:15 a.m. The Lions Rampant (Burlington, Ky.)
The Lions Rampant (Burlington, Ky.)
The Lions Rampant are on a Blues Brothers mission from God to bring fun back to the concept of Rock, which the Burlington trio accomplishes with balls, brains, hooks and lion costumes. Oh, and a devotion to scorching Blues as filtered through contemporary melodic Pop.
Dig It: Jon Spencer's Pixies Explosion with a Grunge jones. (BB)
1:15 a.m. Creepin' Charley and the Boneyard Orchestra (Indianapolis)
Creepin' Charley and the Boneyard Orchestra (Indianapolis)
With their Americana-set-on-evil strut, it's tempting to compare them to the Cow Punk of 20 years ago. But most of those acts focused on laugh-getting and had a hollow sound, whereas CCatBO have an unmistakable heaviness, lots of guitar leads and genuinely macabre storytelling, kind of like Tom Waits fronting Skynyrd.
Dig It: Dash Rip Rock, Morphine, trailer park self-destruction. (EW)
9 p.m. Arrica Rose and the ...'s (Los Angeles)
Arrica Rose and the ...'s (Los Angeles)
If you're going to have unpronounceable punctuation in your band's name, you better be worth the hassle of coming up with a pronounceable version (I think most go with "The Dot Dot Dots"). Singer/songwriter Arrica Rose claims influence from artists as diverse as Billie Holiday, Elliott Smith, Patti Smith, Hank Williams, Edith Piaf and Nick Drake. Her most recent recording, Last Night On Earth, is organic, glistening Pop music with a rootsy undercurrent.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: A smoother Lucinda Williams, a rockier Cowboy Junkies. (MB)
10 p.m. The Lucas Cates Band (Madison, Wis.)
The Lucas Cates Band (Madison, Wis.)
Encouraged by friends, Lucas Case traded in his trumpet for guitar while living in New Hampshire. Returning to his hometown, he hit the open mic circuit where someone discovered him and offered an indie record deal. Cates unlisted some high school friends to form a full band and they released the debut CD Contradictory. Cates prides himself on creating a fun live show experience, saying, "I want everyone to leave having had a great time." Dig It:
Dig It:Buoyant, upbeat (but mellow) Pop a la Jack Johnson. (MB)
11 p.m. Goose (Cincinnati)
The creative braintrust of Jason Arbenz and Paul Cavins have been dropping jaws locally and nationally for nearly 25 years. The pair started Liquid Hippos in the mid-'80s, then formed the long-running and much-heralded Throneberry in 1990. Arbenz and Cavins conceived Goose in 2002 with former Hippos guitarist Jordan Arbenz (yes, the Arbenz brothers are together again) and bassist Lance Stapleton. Goose's debut CD, Live It Up, Turn It Goose, was hailed in these very pages as one of last year's best locally produced albums.
Dig It: Sweet and sour Rock with a side of cryptic lyrics. (BB)
Midnight CRITIC'S PICK: Southeast Engine (Athens, Ohio)
CRITIC'S PICK: Southeast Engine (Athens, Ohio)
The cover of their forthcoming Misra Records release, A Wheel Within a Wheel, depicts a pastoral landscape with a massive, fusty, spoked wheel which is half in light and half in darkness and partially ablaze, floating menacingly above the earth. In this case, you can judge an album by its cover. This is their third full-length and it's as fearless as their past work, if not more so. The instrumentation switches from sparse to dense and visits all points in-between, but it is the vacillation of the drums and percussion that is the most striking. Normally the stalwart in popular music, SE allows them to fluctuate or disappear completely, underscoring the album's theme of uncertainty. As the title would suggest, many lyrics are inspired by biblical verse and several songs have a distinctive Gospel feel, but it's primarily Armageddon-obsessed Folk and not inspirational pap. Like a decrepit rope bridge, this album will test your faith as you traverse it, but you'll be glad you did.
Dig It: The Apparitions, My Morning Jacket, Bonnie "Prince" Billy (EW)
1 a.m. The Jack Fords (Cleveland)
The Jack Fords (Cleveland)
The Bluesy twang and casual swagger of this band was captured in all its intensity earlier this year on Bent Outta Shape, a live album recorded in a hometown bar. Probably the smartest thing they could have ever done, the beer-bottle clanking and cheering crowd fuels the kind of performance you can't reproduce in a studio.
Dig It: The Faces, Bottle Rockets, Drive-By Truckers. (EW)