Love You Live: Top 10 Live Music Events and Photos of 2007
BY KEITH KLENOWSKI
10. The Hold Steady at Southgate House,
9. Midpoint Music Festival on Main St.,
8. Robert Pollard at Southgate
7. Morrissey at Murat Theatre (Indianapolis)
6. Josh Ritter at Southgate.
5. Cincinnati Entertainment Awards at Taft Theatre
4. Arcade Fire at Waterfront Park (Louisville)
3. Peter Bjorn and John (left) at Bogart´s
2. Bonnaroo (Manchester, Tenn.)
1. Wilco at Louisville Slugger Stadium
Top 10 Reasons for Independent Artists to Give Their Music Away for Free In 2008
BY ILL POETIC
I preface this by saying you don´t have to give all your music away for free, but you are gonna have to come up off some of them MP3s, homie.
10. Fuck CDs. All we need is vinyl and MP3s. The way we packaged music keeps getting smaller and smaller. Now it´s invisible. No one wants to pay for invisible. And nothing sounds better than vinyl. I say: sell vinyl, free MP3s.
9. As you read this, 10 people downloaded my record off a bootleg site. Two people won´t listen (recycling bin). Three will skim (my documents/my music). Five will enjoy it (desktop/playlist). Five fans, eight who will remember my name. Keep multiplyin´.
8. Music´s oversaturated. Everyone has the American Gangster bootleg. If we won´t pay for a Denzel movie, we´re not paying for an unknown independent artist. Except to support. This is why you might as well just sell your shit at shows and mom/pop stores for the hardcore fans.
7. Fans come to shows. Clubs like people. When you bring people, clubs pay you. If 500 people download your record and one-tenth of them come, you got 50 fans right now who wouldn´t have shown up otherwise. Keep multiplyin´.
6. It helps level the playing field. People want good music. That´s why we download a major release -- to see if it´s garbage. That´s why Soundscan numbers went out of fashion in ´04. Free downloads and sites like MySpace can make an indie artist, and a major artist equals to some fresh ears.
5. An artist will always make money if they´re smart. Art never dies, and if people don´t pay in some way to support (shows/shirts/etc.), we´ll have no soundtrack to our lives. No one wants that. Think of other outlets. Free music helps you build a brand.
4. Ringtone, mufucka. A bay bay.
3. Nine Inch Nails, Saul Williams, Soulja Boy. Indie-minded artists on major labels always succeed in what they´re trying to do. Bet you NIN´s next record is free. Or damn close.
2. It´s headed close to this point anyway. Rick Rubin taking over Columbia is only going to push everyone closer to this idea. Might not be totally free, but shit´s gonna be different.
1. Radiohead. The lesson: sell your shit. People do want to buy and support good music. Let ´em. You deserve it. If they want it free, fuck it. Embrace the bootleg. You´re building a brand and a fan base. Independent is that shit right now. Even for majors.
ILL POETIC (myspace.com/illpoetic) is a local MC and producer, performing a live-band show at Baba Budan´s this Saturday.
A Few of Over the Rhines Favorite Things
BY LINFORD DETWEILER
1. Our new Louis Armstrong box set. Most soulful Sunday morning music ever.
2. Wilco´s Sky Blue Sky. Great road record. Probably got the most road airplay on our tour this year.
3. Paste magazine. It´s still possible: a real music magazine in America.
4. Mary Gauthier´s Between Daylight and Dark. Snuck up on us. Best slow burn of 2007?
5. Michael Wilson´s new Cincinnati portrait studio: daylightportrait.com. And the great show of his work (mostly portraits of American musicians) at York Street Café that kicked it off in November.
6. The so-called New Atheists. No, they´re not a band. I´ve been reading Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. Provocative stuff.
7. Santa Fe. Karin and I are hooked. This will be the fifth August we head to the high desert to host a weeklong songwriting workshop with other writers, painters, authors.
8. Rosie Thomas. Singer/songwriter/saint girl. Made us laugh really well on the road.
9. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Raising Sand. Produced by T Bone Burnett. What can I say, it works.
10. Leonard Cohen, I´m Your Man, DVD. Came out in 2006, but we didn´t see it until this year. Stunning.
LINFORD DETWEILER is a founding member/multi-instrumentalist with Over the Rhine (overtherhine.com)
2007 Media Matters
BY DAVE DAVIS
This year brought an embarrassment of riches to music and entertainment. As music, video and data converged, new devices, services and options popped up like dandelions after a spring rain. Here are some of the biggest changes in entertainment media from the past year.
10. Hulu, a legitimate site for downloading TV shows, is marching in baby steps to battle with the likes of YouTube, TiVo and Joost for a share of the online video bonanza. While NBC´s spat with Apple slowed the train, video is following music to portable players and the Web. Hulu returns NBC shows yanked from iTunes (where they were sold for $1.99) to a freely downloadable -- but ad-supported -- format. Well, at least they got it half-right...
9. The merger of Sirius and XM means satellite radio can finally grow up. As competitors, the two companies were most successful at driving up the cost of programming and generating windfalls for big-name shock jocks. The new company must refocus on its core business of creating the freshest radio-like content or disappear.
8. While the iPhone tops the list of many tech-types and the slick mobile has earned its spot here, we have some reservations. The slow network, limited capacity and locked-down AT&T contracts leave us a little cold. Maybe it will be better next year?
7. Recently, if you had to pick a company that would shake up the entertainment world with technology, Apple came to mind. But Amazon.com has brought us all kinds of love this year -- they introduced the first serious competitor to Apple´s iTunes
6. ... also, Amazon redefined the used CD market with new seller accounts (think eBay without the hassle of setting up auctions and writing ads), and ...
5. ... finally, Amazon created a brand new way to read books and newspapers with their Kindle eBook. Talk about staying busy!
4. Consumers flexed their collective muscle this year, making digital rights management (DRM) obsolete and quality cool! First Amazon´s store upped the ante on quality and convenience with 256K, DRM-free MP3 files. Then iTunes followed their lead, charging extra for their higher-res files (and unfortunately many labels are withholding licenses for DRM-free tracks from Apple). And if that weren´t enough, consumers seem hell-bent on avoiding a re-run of the VHS/Beta wars with HD and Blu-Ray. Both formats are selling slowly (unlike, say, the iPhone).
3. WOXY´s parent, LaLa.com, put yet another twist on music selling. Like Amazon, they made it easy to list and sell your old CDs. Better than Amazon, they link their content-centric vehicles (like woxy.com) to the shopping cart so it´s a breeze to click/buy tracks while they play. No shopping or Googling necessary: Hear it, like it, buy it, done!
2. We can´t thank WVXU enough for putting WOXY back on the air, as well as a Jazz stream, as HD radio feeds. The WVXU/WGUC merger has brought even better radio to the Tristate, which is saying a lot since both stations are true gems. Whatever fears folks might have had about WVXU´s switch to all-news were for naught. Music´s back, with more choices and clarity. Nice!
1. The Death of the Music Industry As We Knew it happened in October 2007, as the most bankable artists continued their flight from the major labels. Radiohead´s In Rainbows was only the most hyped escape; Paul McCartney´s deal with Starbucks, Madonna´s Live Nation score and the impending end of Nine Inch Nails´ contract made it clear: The other shoe has dropped, and the future is now.
I can´t wait for 2008!
DAVE DAVIS writes the monthly CityBeat column Distribution Revolution and makes records at Sound Images.
Blues, Beatles and Bootsy!
BY BLAKE TAYLOR
CD release party for 46 Long´s Time´s Right. This is more than shameless self-promotion. Jonathan and I were so touched by everyone who came out to Arnold´s on Aug. 1. The courtyard was packed with friends, family, fans and about 20 small children dancing their little legs off. We´ll never forget it. Thanks.
Jason Ricci and New Blood -- Rocket Number 9. The most electrifying live band you haven´t seen yet finally released an album, thanks partly to Grammy-winning producer John Porter and Eclectogroove Records, that is worthy of the band´s collective talents. Not just a Jason Ricci harmonica showcase, it´s a group effort with great songs.
Hanging out with Spoon´s Eric Harvey and jamming with Seismic at my brother´s L.A. House of Blues wedding. Look, I´m 37. I teach school and have small kids. I don´t get out much, so indulge me here. Besides, Eric´s an old friend from the neighborhood. Heck, we had the same piano teacher. At least one of us made good.
The Beatles -- Love. Officially released in November of 2006, I deliberately avoided this album until my way-cooler little brother finally made me listen to it this summer. If you´re a Beatles fan with an open mind, this is a must, as it includes rare studio takes and brilliantly blended remixes/medleys of classics by George Martin and his son. Too many great cuts to mention, but the Mr. Kite/She´s So Heavy medley is worth the price of the album alone.
The Blues Heroes of Cincinnati concert at Play by Play Café. Filmmaker/musician Chuck Land put together this day-long concert featuring all of the great names of Cincinnati Blues. You name them, they were there. Music lasted over 12 hours and really emphasized what a treasure we have in our Blues community. Look for the DVD next year!
Bootsy at Everybody´s Records. A great tradition. Brought my kids this year. Now I gotta find a leather top hat and star-shaped sunglasses for my 3-year-old for Christmas.
Big Joe Duskin and H-Bomb Ferguson. R.I.P.
Cincinnati Blues Fest. Another great tradition. Two days of the top national and local Blues talent for a tiny admission fee. This year´s King Records tribute stage stole the show.
Favorite Discoveries of the year: Cat Empire, Gogol Bordello, Hazmat Modine and a bunch of Fela Kuti videos on YouTube.
Radiohead´s In Rainbows experiment.
BLAKE TAYLOR sings and plays harmonica/vocals for 46 Long (46long.com) and is a teacher, writer, superdad.
2007: Full of Grace, Chills and Robert Plant
BY KIM TAYLOR
(In no particular order)
1. Watching Patti Smith talk, sing, spit and get inducted into the (Rock and Roll) Hall of Fame.
2. Robert Plant and Allison Krauss making musical love. Raising Sand is my favorite record of the year.
3. The performance of closet opera singer Paul Potts on Britain´s Got Talent.
4. Bj´rk´s new record, new video, tour with Joanna Newsome, life, thoughts, crumbs. Anything. I love it all.
5. Led Zeppelin reunion show and YouTube video that gave me chills for five minutes straight.
6. The White Stripes´ Icky Thump video.
7. The passing of the great Luciano Pavarotti.
8. Terence Blanchard´s A Tale of God´s Will (A Requiem for Katrina). He scored Spike Lee´s When the Levees Broke. His record uses some of that soundtrack.
9. Grace Potter. She´s a brilliant performer and musician and, if you haven´t seen her and the Nocturnals live, then put it on your to-do list.
10. Jose Gonzalez´s In Our Nature.
KIM TAYLOR´s (kim-taylor.net) album, I Feel Like Fading Light, was named one of the best CDs of 2007 by Performing Songwriter Magazine.
Family Affairs And Euro-Adventures
BY NAPOLEON MADDOX
10. The continued progress of Ill Poetic with a U.S. tour in summer, a European tour in the fall and a beautiful second solo album, The World Is Ours. Ill Po is righteous on the mic, the pad, in the studio and a true gentleman in person. Great to see him make big strides in ´07.
10. My sister Rita had a beautiful wedding in Massachusetts. It was like the Amazing Race for me to get there, but when I did it was pure Soul Food. The ceremony was beautiful and the family came together in a very inspiring way.
10. I developed a new addiction on the road in 2007 -- a true music video station in Austria called GoTV. Favorite band I found there is Beatsteaks and the song Demons Galore.
10. Watching my teenage nephew mature as he holds and takes care of his 11-week-old nephew.
10. The World Music Festival!!! BOOM -- a new tradition off to a bangin´ start. Hats up, respects in for Zach, Liz and anyone else that made that event happen. Astonishingly well-organized and well-attended with great music all through the Southgate House.
10. In late July, IsWhat?! played at the Greenwich with Juice Lee´s band. There was a guy at the show named Theory Hazit.
10. From June 30 to July 7 IsWhat?! did a tour in France. (Line-up: Jac Walker, Chris Walker and Anthony Lee.) The whole tour was a blast, but the pinnacle was a block party in Mantes la Jolie, 45 minutes outside of Paris. This is the home of many Africans that migrated to France. (Imagine Winton Terrace, Faye Apartments or the old Lincoln Courts, except imagine that it´s out by Middleton, Ohio and high housing projects cover the entire town.) It was a humbling experience and inspiring. The break-dancing they did was like nothing I´d ever seen. Maybe the best.
10. DJ Premier live at the Knitting Factory in New York. There isn´t anything more to say about that.
10. IsWhat?! with Archie Shepp playing in the band in Milano, Italy, Nov. 29.
11. As awful as it has been to see Chris Walker hurt, it has been even more encouraging to see the community and people from around the world support, pray for him and rally around him and his family. It´s a blessing to see him take it all in and get better every time I see him.
NAPOLEON MADDOX fronts Hip Hop/Jazz group IsWhat?! (iswhatmedia.com).
Top Ten Off-Stage, Non-Musical Environment Local Rocker Appearances
BY C.A. MACCONNELL
10. When it was still hot out, I ran into singer/guitarist Michael McIntyre (minus the Marmalade Brigade) on the spongy kids playground nestled inside the top part of Burnett Woods. I was nastily, sweatily doing yoga. McIntyre looked cool; he was playing on the playground with his son. After our healthy exercise, we shared a smoke.
9. Not to be outdone, I also ran into Brian Lovely (Brian Lovely´s Flying Underground, Faux Frenchmen) at the same playground in the same woods. Lovely was also playing with his little one. I was walking around kind of lost. Over the past 10 years, I´ve run into Lovely a lot. Very recently, I started running into Lovely everywhere -- on my street, at Sitwell´s, around the corner -- everywhere. Hey, who´s stalking whom?
8. A while back, I nearly ran smack into Reuben Glaser (Pearlene) on the sidewalk. He was on his way into the post office, looking stylish. I was on my way out, looking ridiculous in grimy workout clothes. I fucking had on leg warmers. Not long before this incident, I ran into Glaser inside the post office. My point here -- when mailing letters, dress well; rockers love hanging out there. And they often have free CDs with them too. Bonus.
7. Earlier this year, Tracy Walker traced a finger across her forehead and then walked toward me on Ludlow. She smiled, but she had no idea who I was, even though I´m her MySpace friend.
6. Over the past year, I ran into a dozen or so other rockers I can´t mention. We were at a place I can´t mention because it was called Anonymous.
5. Some time ago, I spied Billy Alletzhauser (The Hiders) on his way to get Indian food. He was in a car, the passenger side. I also see him walking up/down the street, but usually his hair´s in the way and he doesn´t see me. Or maybe he does see me and he uses the hair as a convenient disguise. Either way, it´s hard to miss his bouncy swagger, black boots and the way he bobs his head slightly when he moves, looking down. Um, the more I think about it, he´s probably Hidering from me after all.
4. About a month ago, I spotted Hip Hop artist Abiyah at IGA. She had no idea who I was either, but she was hard to miss. She was in the veggie section. I acted like I was going to the organic veggie section, and then when she wasn´t looking I headed for the candy aisle.
3. A few days ago, I saw The Way Downs´ bassist Marc Mayo on his way to see an art flick at the Esquire. Mayo looked kickin´ as usual. And again, I was caught wearing fucking leg warmers.
2. Just today, I spotted drummer Andrew Jody (Pearlene) at the bus stop. I ran at him, waving and then left without saying Hello. He looked back at me, dazed and confused. Then he waved back. I think he smiled and I think he knew who I was, but I´m really not sure. I´ve had about 10 identical experiences with Jody.
1. I ran into my stalker Brian Lovely again. This time was at CVS Pharmacy. Turns out, he had to get medicine for allergies and I had to get medicine for, well, not allergies.
C.A. MACCONNELL (camacconnell.com) is a regular contributing writer to CityBeat.
An Abnoxious Film and Music Top Ten
BY SHAWN ABNOXIOUS
8.) Andrew Gabbard of Buffalo Killers replacing the lost feathers on the headstock of his Spirit Guitar.
7.) Not seeing The Lions Rampant do their naked thing that everyone won´t shut the hell up about.
3.) Watching Adam Wesley of The Cincinnati Suds tell a college kid So what? after the youth accused Adam of calling him a dick and exposing his penis the previous evening.
10.) Driving down Frat House row and yelling NERDS! at the top of my lungs while Jamming Econo just moments before coining the term Amazing Columbus Jazz and realizing Nelson´s Blood is running through my veins.
1.) Meeting a weird truck driver at The Gypsy Hut who told a story about eating Siamese cats for breakfast and Pit Bull dogs for lunch whilst living with a Pilipino gang of thieves and assassins in Hawaii.
6.) Rediscovering my DVD copy of Northfork that I forgot I lent out to a friend.
4.) How the main guy in The Mist killed his companions just minutes before they would have been saved by the military, proving that life is a hard fucker.
2.) Driving laps around Cincinnati Mills mall listening to advance mixes of The Sundresses upcoming CD Barkinghaus with (the band´s) Brad Schnittger. And, yes, we were wearing our baseball caps crooked because we want to be UFC contenders.
5.) Watching John Brannon of Easy Action at The Comet refer to songs as jams. And well, just that band in general. Very memorable!
9) How emotionless and casual (even for a robot) Optimus Prime appeared in the movie Transformers when he learned that Jazz was destroyed. Aw, Jazz we lost a great comrade but gained new ones. Ouch! He was the First Lieutenant!
SHAWN ABNOXIOUS is the founder of ´zine/Web site Neus Subjex and a contributor to CityBeat.
BY LISA WALKER
These were the albums in heaviest driving rotation this year (i.e. the most frequent offenders in the CD wallet). While 2007 makes a good showing, when it comes to traveling music, I´m kinda stuck in the past.
1. 13th Floor Elevators -- The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators (1966)
2. Dinosaur Jr. -- Beyond (2007)
3. Captain Beefheart -- Safe as Milk (1967)
4. Galaxie 500 -- Today (1988)
5. The Fervor -- Bleeder (2007)
6. Feist -- The Reminder (2007)
7. Charlotte Gainsbourg -- 5:55 (2006)
8. Junior Kimbrough -- You Better Run (2002)
9. Sister Vanilla -- Little Pop Rock (2007)
10. Deerhoof -- Friend Opportunity (2007)
LISA WALKER and Wussy (wussymusic.com) released Left for Dead in 2007, an album that was placed in Rolling Stone´s list of the best CDs of the year.
Playing, Road Doggin and DLR-Worshipping with Ric
BY RIC HICKEY
1. The Stray Cats, The Pretenders and ZZ Top at The Sommet Center in Nashville (Aug. 1, 2007). For months I´d been sniffin´ around looking for something fun to do on my 40th birthday. I dare say there´s little that is more awesome than seeing and hearing Brian Setzer, Chrissie Hynde and Billy Gibbons all on the same night.
2. Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, Tenn. (June 14-17, 2007). Second year in a row I had the pleasure and privilege to cover Bonnaroo for CityBeat with my good friend and excellent photographer Keith Klenowski. This time we took with us my ex-girlfriend´s 18-year-old son, Damian Bondy, of Evansville, Ind. Like a son to me, Damian is much funnier and hipper than Keith and I could ever dream of being and it kept us on our toes to have an actual teenager in our party. The three of us saw hundreds of performers on 12 stages over the course of four days and nights, including The Police, The Decemberists, Tool, Ornette Coleman, Ween, Tortoise, The White Stripes, The Flaming Lips, David Cross, Wilco, Richard Thompson, Manu Chao and John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin, among countless others. Car-camping and walking around in the summer heat for four days and nights is not for the fainthearted. The Bonnaroo experience is like nothing else, but it´s kinda like getting a tattoo: it ain´t for everybody but once you´ve been to Bonnaroo, you just wanna go again and again and again
3. David Lee Roth Finally Rejoins Van Halen. As a teenage loser guitar geek outcast who grew up in the ´80s, Van Halen was my religion and my salvation. I haven´t seen the reunited VH yet, but early reports have all been positive. All those years I was waiting for the inevitable reunion maybe I should have been saving up for a ticket, cuz it´s ridiculous what I just paid for a ticket for their upcoming appearance at U.S. Bank Arena in March. Fuck it. I´ve been waiting a lo-o-o-ong time for this shit!
4. Zappa Plays Zappa at Coney Island´s Moonlight Pavillion (July 24, 2007). Dweezil has assembled a touring band worthy of his famous father´s notoriously complicated and bizarre music. The show at Coney featured footage of Frank himself on a huge video screen behind the band, performing rabid, razor guitar solos perfectly in sync with Dweezil and the band´s live performance. Frank freaks rejoice. ZPZ is for real.
5. Being a Local Musician. I´ve been in The Game since 1985, and 2007 was one of the best years I have ever enjoyed as a musician in this town. My first CD release in over five years got a really warm reception and I was blessed with a number of sweet gigs, including MidPoint, opening slots with Adrian Belew, Los Lonely Boys and psychodots, as well as some house-afire Freak Rock Madness with my band The Loose Wrecks at the Southgate House and our long-overdue first-ever gig at The Comet. I sat in with local loonies Wampa last month at The Mad Frog, where we played an hour-long set of all Zappa material. (Something we plan to do on a semi-regular basis beginning in 2008.) This is a great town to be a working musician, really. There are a lot of great bands here and some amazingly dedicated people that support local music. It goes without saying that I wasn´t the only one who had a good year. We should all be grateful for the likes of Duppy A Jamba, 500 Miles to Memphis, Goose, Buffalo Killers, Songwriter Night at The Poison Room, etc.
RIC HICKEY (myspace.com/richickey) is a local singer/songwriter/guitarist and contributing writer to CityBeat.
A Garganolicious Top 10
BY JASON GARGANO
In alphabetical order. And, as ever, subject to change based on day, mood and/or coffee-to-alcohol intake ratio.
Blonde Redhead -- 23
Lush, dreamy soundscapes coalesce with singer Kazu Makino´s high-pitched coos to hypnotic effect. Half the time I can´t tell what the hell she´s talking about, which suits the band´s mysterious aesthetic just fine. Ironically, it´s their most assessable record to date.
PJ Harvey -- White Chalk
The musical equivalent of my Zooey Deschanel movie crush, Ms. Harvey is as compelling as any artist currently drawing breath. That admission aside, this is yet another unexpected -- maybe the most unexpected -- turn in an existence full of them. White Chalk´s spare, piano-based vignettes hit as deeply as anything in her fearlessly vulnerable output.
Jay-Z -- American Gangster
I didn´t even bother with last year´s comeback record after witnessing the lame, product-placement-laden first single/video. Desperate for a Hip Hop fix (it´s been a mediocre year by any standard), I picked up American Gangster a few weeks ago and it´s yet to leave heavy rotation. Just when I thought he´d pulled a DeNiro and was ready to coast into comfortable, lucrative post-relevance, Jay reengages courtesy of his predecessor in crime, Frank Lucas. Addictive despite Diddy (aka its clichés).
LCD Soundsystem -- Sound of Silver
This is the sound of a system informed by old-school Bowie and new-school zeros and ones. LCD main-man James Murphy knows how to sculpt a tuneful clatter, and if his words sometimes fail to live up to his robust beats, they rarely compromise the end product. That goes double for North American Scum.
Les Savy Fav -- Let´s Stay Friends
Conceptual in the best way (subtly), the lyrically engrossing Let´s Stay Friends evokes everything from lacerating Post Punk to Disco. Yes, Disco. I almost danced.
Thurston Moore -- Trees Outside the Academy
Like his better-known day job´s late-era efforts, this solo outing is both beautiful and ominous. While the acoustic injection might surprise some, it shouldn´t: As usual, effect trumps creative constraint.
The National -- Boxer
The Cincinnati natives make it five-for-five with Boxer, another affecting collection of textured, brooding Rock songs marked by Matt Beringer´s whiskey-soaked baritone and evocative, desolation-laced lyrics. Forget football -- St. X has spawned one of the best musical units on the planet.
Okkervil River -- The Stage Names
Jagged Folk Pop that conjures a less excessive Conner Oberst. Yet comparisons are fruitless: Frontdude Will Sheff´s concise, literate songs and emotive, I-mean-it vocals penetrate with singular precision. One request: Gimme a live stop.
Radiohead -- In Rainbows
The more they crawl into their shell, the more fascinating they get. Say what you will about their anguished business/creative tendencies, no one feeds off the existential dread of our times better than these egg-headed Englishmen. I´m convinced Thom Yorke is a brother from another planet, which might begin to explain the otherworldly ache and awe that emits from his mouth. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi is damn near weep-worthy.
Spoon -- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Britt Daniel´s minimalism is taken to its apex here, a testament to his longstanding (some say stubborn) dedication to form and craft. Few disguise disgust (or longing) better than Britt. Only the title goes too far.
JASON GARGANO is CityBeat´s Arts & Entertainment Editor.
The Proof Is in the CD Bins: The Best Records of 2007
BY RYAN MCLENDON
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- The Is Is EP
Proof that 2007 was not a complete fumble for established artists.
Small Sins -- Mood Swings
Proof that Canadian imports are delicious.
Von Sdenfed -- Tromatic Reflexxions
Proof that new musical genres are created every 15 seconds.
Rasputina -- Oh Perilous World
Proof that Cello-Rock is the best of all Rock.
Air -- Pocket Symphony
Proof that Jarvis Cocker does the best British Nick Cave impression.
Bloc Party -- Weekend in the City
Proof that I´m a douche-bag for missing their show last summer.
Iron and Wine -- The Shepard´s Dog
Proof that pedestrian chic music can rock our socks.
The Cliks -- Snakehouse
Proof that a transgendered female can write and sing about women better than a biological male.
Amy Winehouse -- Back to Black
Proof that Annie Lennox might have swallowed Nina Simone.
Radiohead -- In Rainbows
Proof that certain things never go out of style.
RYAN MCLENDON is a contributing writer for CityBeat.
The 2007 CLOCMAs!
BY CHRIS LEE
The time has come, once again, for the annual CLOCMAs (Chris Lee Official Cincinnati Music Awards). 2007 is winding down, and we must praise those that deserve to be praised. The CLOCMAs do just that. So sit back, read it, enjoy it, talk about it with your pals and support your local artists. And remember, winning a CLOCMA is a highly prestigious honor so you bands or artists that win, enjoy the fame and fortune that comes along with being a CLOCMA winner. You are the few, the proud, the elite The CLOCMA Winners. Now on to the awards!!!
1. The Two´s Company Three´s a Crowd CLOCMA goes to: WATCHFIRE.
Bassist wants to play Funk riffs over the Metal. Can´t find anyone to come in and play what they need. Do they call it a day? Do they give up and end it? Not a chance! Just do it like Croatan and become a two-piece! (myspace.com/watchfire)
2. The We Only Need One Gig to Show That We Reign Supreme in the Local Punk Scene CLOCMA goes to: CHINESE FINGERTRAP
With only one gig under their belt as of this writing, Chinese Fingertrap (which features ex-members of The Dull Boys) already are amongst the best local Punk bands, keeping the old-school, raw, high-energy Punk vibe alive better than any local Punk band aside from Eighty Sixed. (myspace.com/thechinesefingertrap)
3. The Keeping It As Raunchy As 2 Live Crew and Damn Proud of It CLOCMA goes to: DEATH DEALAZ
This local Hip Hop act take the Rap lyrical raunch to the extreme, bringing to mind such acts as Willie D or 2 Live Crew. Check out these lyrics: We´re the Death Dealaz And #%*&& %%#$ ***** % #*&*% #** &&%%!!! Holy crap! That´s even too raunchy to print in CityBeat! Once the local politicians and ultra conservatives of our fair city get wind of Death Dealaz, expect to see some serious protesting at their shows, which will promptly put their record sales through the roof (always funny that it ends up like that). (myspace.com/deathdealaz)
4. The What´s Up With No One Checking Out This Phenomenal Solo Acoustic Guitarist CLOCMA goes to: SCOTT BRAVO
Scott is as unknown as it gets in this area. Yet he is easily one of the best acoustic guitar performers this city has ever seen. Fans of folks like Adrian Legg, John Petrucci, Django Reinhardt and fans of acoustic, ambient, Nu Jazz, go check this guy out! Amazing songs and amazing live performer. You will not be disappointed. (myspace.com/scottbravomusic)
5. The Let´s Groove to the Cool Wave Sounds of Some Surf Music CLOCMA goes to: THE FLUX CAPACITORS
This band is cool. This band is fun. This band rocks. Influenced by such artists as Dick Dale, Man Or Astro-Man and Devo, The Flux Capacitors built up a good local fan base during the year and continue to knock over crowds with their Surfness. (myspace.com/surfthefluxcapacitors)
6. The Any Band With a Singer Known As The Gooch´ Deserves a Serious Mention CLOCMA goes to: BRODY´S MILITIA
Local Punk/Metal scene Icon The Gooch sings for Brody´s Militia and they rock. Enough said. (thrashyourface.com/brodysmilitia)
7. The Their Singer Hooks Me Up With the Flyers And They Rock the Death Metal Something Fierce CLOCMA goes to: RETRIBUTION
If you like mega-heavy, in-your-face Death Metal like Six Feet Under or Jungle Rot, then you should already know about these guys, one of the Cincinnati area´s premiere Metal bands. Although the CEA committee continues to show them no love, they continue to outdraw, outpromote, outintensify, outgrowl, outdeath and outmetal just about every Metal band within the Tristate region. Oh, yeah, and their singer/bassist gets me the ultimate hookup on mass flyers. Can´t beat that. (myspace.com/retributionband)
8. The Hey Chris, What´s Up With You Being Into Some Pop Country Seriously, What´s Up With That? CLOCMA goes to: KINSEY ROSE
This local Pop Country acoustic performer writes great songs, has a beautiful voice and plays a solid rhythm guitar. Caught her set once at Dirty Jack´s, and I was hooked. She plays out a lot in the area, so do yourself a favor and catch a set sometime. (myspace.com/kinseyrose)
9. The I Haven´t Seen Them Live Yet but I Do Work at UPS With Their Guitarist CLOCMA goes to: WHITE GIRLS
I´ll catch them sometime soon because that´s what co-workers do. The songs on their MySpace page are pretty cool. (myspace.com/musicalwhitegirls)
10. The CLOCMA HALL OF FAME
Ten bands from Cincinnati music´s past honored as CLOCMA Hall of Fame Inductees. To be considered for the CLOCMA Hall of Fame the band or artist must have been rockin´ out in the local scene a minimum of 10 years ago.
And the 2007 CLOCMA Hall of Fame Inductees are (listed alphabetically): A.M.F., Bludstone, Deathless, Devil Nut Motherhole, Doc and the Pods, Human Zoo, Roundhead, Seventh Seal, SS-20 and Willing Victim.
And finally, a special Get Well Soon CLOCMA to local Bass Guru and all around Great Guy, CHRIS WALKER.
That is all. See you in ´08. Keep on rockin´!
CHRIS LEE (myspace.com/chrisleesolo) is a veteran local guitarist and member of the Ill Poetic Live Band.
Top 10 (and Then Some) of 2007
BY BRIAN BAKER
1. The New Pornographers -- Challengers
The New Porns are front-loaded with individual talent so it´s little surprise that their collective efforts are so amazing. But four albums in a row without a dud? That´s some kind of record, if you´ll pardon the pun. Great White North is exactly right.
2. The Shins -- Wincing the Night Away
Natalie Portman was spot on in Garden State. The Shins will change your life, possessed as they are with the uncanny ability to reinvent their influences as moody yet muscular Pop sounds as fresh as next week´s catch.
3. Robert Plant/Alison Kraus -- Raising Sand
Two of the great voices in their respective fields pool their considerable resources to create a sound that is neither Rock nor Bluegrass but an uncanny and completely unique hybrid.
4. Bruce Springsteen -- Magic
As good as he´s been throughout his career, I was beginning to think I was a Springsteen fan by force of habit. Then he drops the Jersey E Street hammer with this inspired set, his best complete album since Born to Run.
5. Wussy -- Left for Dead
Rolling Stone, MTV and Robert Christgau all agree -- our little Wussy kicked a whole boatload of mainstream ass with their sophomore album. Most bands couldn´t manage an album this chaotically focused and brilliantly unnerving by their fifth or sixth try. It´s the best kind of scary to think where they´ll go next.
6. The National -- Boxer
Albums this subtle and textured and nuanced often get overlooked because the band forgets to assert itself in all that subtly textured nuance. Not so with The National, our homeboys-made-NYC-good. Boxer smolders with ´round midnight passion and the kind of Alt.Pop intensity that The Cure and The Smiths perfected.
7. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings -- 100 Days 100 Nights
Former wedding singer and corrections officer Sharon Jones shakes, shimmies and shouts with enough visceral energy to make Tina Turner seem like a shrinking violet. The verve and vitality of Motown and Stax is what´s generally lacking in today´s Soul music, and Sharon Jones is the cure for the genre´s current anemia.
8. The Sharp Things -- A Moveable Feast
I dreamt that Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb battled on a reality show for the right to arrange and produce a Chamber Pop orchestra with expansive Rock band aspirations. When I woke up, The Sharp Things were playing. Coincidence? I think not.
9. Jose Gonzalez -- In Our Nature
Jose Gonzalez is like a one-man United Nations. His Argentinean parents raised him in Sweden, where he plays a Spanish guitar and sings in English. From there, it figures that he totally lives up to all the comparisons to Nick Drake.
10. John Doe -- A Year in the Wilderness
After turning American Punk on its collective ear in the late ´70s and early ´80s with X, John Doe has mellowed into an impressive Americana artist. But this album finds Doe vibrating harmonically in the space between the two extremes. Raw, immediate and moving, this is the pinnacle of Doe´s solo career.
More Than Honorable Mentions: John Fogerty, Okkervil River, Ian Moore, Gena Rowlands Band, Ian Hunter, The Stooges, Birds of Avalon, They Might Be Giants, The Broken West.
Best shows of the year: Dweezil Zappa at Moonlight Gardens on his Zappa Plays Zappa tour, with a stellar set pulled from his father´s magnificent catalog and Lite Brite´s Saturday night lineup, featuring diverse and powerful performances from West Indian Girl, The Sharp Things and Aloha.
BRIAN BAKER is a contributing writer for CityBeat.
Cartoons, Goodbyes and Future-Telling With Ez
BY EZRA WALLER
Zappa Plays Zappa at Moonlight Gardens
It´s impossible to slag Dweezil for milking his dad´s legacy so long as he is doing such a great job at it. This year´s ZPZ tour featured a more career-spanning set list, Ray White´s soulful croon and guitar, plus a projected video of Frank with original audio playing along with the band on a few tunes.
Farewell to Death in Graceland and Crybaby
Saying goodbye to these local Rock juggernauts on the same night was tough (Crybaby´s demise was a surprise, to boot), but the parting gifts can´t be beat. Both bands distributed copies of their swan-song LPs at the raucous farewell show.
The Evens at Reakirt Auditorium (Cincinnati Museum Center)
Getting to see the softer (and funnier) side of Ian MacKaye in such an intimate venue was great, but being able to take the kids along was better. Kudos to the organizers. More shows here please!
Caterpillar Tracks EP release at The Gypsy Hut
Watching these guys crank out fresh, uncompromising Rock music is always a good time. Seeing it happen in front of a legion of sweaty fans is just magical. CT is the antidote to over-hyped flavors-of-the-week.
Cloven Hoof Theatre at the CEA After Party (Poison Room)
This troupe has come a long way since their tit-or-miss beginnings a few years ago. The contributions of a number of seasoned performers and musicians have elevated them from sideshow filler to a full -realized vaudevillian experience.
Ween at Lifestyles Pavillion (Columbus)
Some fans have abandoned Dean and Gene since hippies discovered them, but I´ll take the opposite tack: Ween should capitalize on the fact that they are better songwriters than any Jam band and take over the summer shed circuit. There are worse things than thousands of screaming fans that know all of your songs.
This Adult Swim masterpiece succeeds in combining two of my favorite entertainment vehicles (Metal music and vulgar 10-minute cartoons) while diminishing neither. It works so well because they consistently nail both the guitarmony-laden songs and the bellicose humor.
Vulcan Freedom Fighters at The Poison Room
Beaming down for their first local appearance, VFF brought their Techno-Stoner Rock in its full glory, with backing videos edited just as cleverly as the copious Star Trek dialogue in each song. Could this be the birth of a new genre?
Led Zeppelin reunion show
I don´t even care if it spawns a reunion tour or not. Just knowing that they pulled off at least one post-Bonzo performance that actually did justice to their incalculable legacy is inspiring.
The Apparitions show Dec. 22 at The Dame in Lexington
OK, it hasn´t happened yet, but I´m hoping it will make the Top 10. This eclectic Roots/Post Rock band is getting together for their first show in almost a year. They have been keeping busy with numerous side-projects, none of which scraped The App´s majesty.
EZRA WALLER is a contributing writer for CityBeat.