Elementz, which uses the Hip Hop arts to engage local inner-city youth, is celebrating its eighth anniversary this Thursday with a special “open house” reception at the organization’s headquarters (1100 Race St., Over-the-Rhine) beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The event will feature numerous performances by artists who have been involved with and benefited from the Elementz program, from Hip Hop and R&B musicians to poets, street artists and dancers.
Advanced tickets are $10 (it's $12 at the door), which will go to help fund the center’s programming. Last year’s anniversary celebration drew around 300 people, according to elementz.org, where you can also find more info on the center and purchase advanced tickets. Elementz will be selling youth memberships for half off Thursday — for teens (13-18), a one-year membership can be obtained for $10; those 19-24 can join for just $20 a year.
Here's a quick video press release for the open house/party:
A pair of Cincinnati Hip Hop acts have recently released music videos showcasing new material. Both are compelling, well-produced clips for solid new tracks.
Alternative Hip Hop group Valley High issued the video for "That One Too" at the start of the month. The clip was directed by SnowRowe (who plays keys in the group) and, according to the YouTube page, the track is from the Valley High or Die Tape, due for release today. The group is fronted by MCs Moxy Monster and M.O. Click here for more on Valley High.
Last year, area MC Puck released the high-pro video for "Gitit," the latest of several clips. Now, Puck has returned with a new track and video that's perhaps his strongest yet. "Jordan Vs. Bird" is built around a hook from a remix of the band Grouplove's song "Colours." The video was directed by Dan Gotti. Puck is offering a free download of the track via his Soundcloud page here. Find out more about Puck here.
In May of 2011, a man broke into the home of Butler County Assistant Prosecutor Kelly O’Keefe in Fairfield and brutally attacked her. When her brother, Danny O'Keefe, came to her aid, he was also attacked, beaten and stabbed.
Miraculously, both siblings survived the attack. The man responsible was caught and sentenced to 21 years in prison. But the O'Keefe family's lives will never be the same. While Kelly has physically recuperated from the attack, Danny, according to an open letter from his mother, Kathy, has a long road of therapy and recovery ahead of him.
The mother of Danny, who was stabbed in the brain 19 times during the attack, writes, "Danny has Anthem insurance. They pay for 30 therapies a year. We got him on Medicaid, and they pay for 20 a year. Mercy Hospital is helping, but only for three therapies a week. We're told for Danny to get better he needs more, closer to 9 therapy sessions each week. He takes Speech, Occupational, and Physical therapy 3 times each week now. We're to send him to the University of Michigan UMAP program for speech. It's around $27,000 for 4-5 weeks of therapy, and his insurance doesn't pay for this. His doctors and therapists say he could need to go several times. Room and board for Danny and his caregiver (his dad will go with him) is not included in the cost. Neither is the cost of the other ongoing two therapies, physical and occupational."
The family has set up a website (where you can read about the harrowing attack and the siblings' recovery) and fund for people to donate here. This Saturday night at Bocca Billiards in Milford, three of Danny O'Keefe's cousins will reunite their local Thrash Metal band Azygous for one night only to perform at a benefit concert for O'Keefe's mounting medical bills.
The benefit will feature a strong lineup of local metallers, as well as raffle items from the show's various sponsors. Here are the set times:
11:30 p.m.-12 a.m. Azygous
11:00-11:30 p.m. Eyes On Tomorrow
10:15-10:45 p.m. Red Soul Rising
9:30-10 p.m. Specyphi
8:45-9:15 p.m. Soul Rot
8:00-8:30 p.m. Sinful Crow
7:15-7:45 p.m. Escape The Silence
6:30-7 p.m. One Shot Solution
5:45-6:15 p.m. Osiria
Click here for more on the event, which is open to all ages. Doors open at 4 p.m. and admission is a $10 donation.
Here's a video from Azygous taken from the band's 2007 album, Whiskey Driven Hate Machine.
Over the past decade-plus, Cincinnatian Eric Diedrichs has continually made splashes on the local music scene with the Pop/Rock band The Simpletons and his Cari Clara project (a mostly solo venture in the studio, but also a live band). A few years back, Diedrichs moved to Lexington, Ky., but Cari Clara continued, the live version of which (though largely on hiatus the past year or so) still featuring mostly Cincinnati area musicians — Eric’s brother Mark Diedrichs, Greg Tudor, Jason Arbenz (also of Goose), Josh Hagen and 500 Miles to Memphis frontman Ryan Malott.
Last summer, Diedrichs digitally released his fourth effort for Deep Elm Records, the elegant, evocative 10-track album, Midnight March. This Friday, Diedrichs returns to Cincinnati to celebrate the album’s physical release at Northside Tavern. The free local appearance will feature the full Cari Clara band, plus Cincinnati’s Ohio Knife and Dayton’s Motel Beds as openers.
Diedrichs recorded and produced the expansive and engrossing Midnight March in his home studio in Lexington and the crisp sound welcomes the listener to come inside and get lost in the unique textures and tide-like tempos and structures. Though a lot of “one-man show” albums lack a certain warmth and cohesiveness, Cari Clara is the rare all-solo effort that sounds and feels like a large, full band. But the music is rarely grounded, instead relying on a magical, ethereal aura upon which the songs hover.
Diedrichs has skills to spare — he’s an amazing vocalist, brilliantly able to translate emotion into words, melody and voice, and his top-notch musicianship (on guitar, bass, piano and a variety of programming and other instrumentation) is apparent on first listen. But as Cari Clara grows and evolves, the way Diedrichs constructs and conducts the varying sounds and layers has become dazzling, adding an extra level of enchantment to his always stellar songwriting prowess.
Midnight March is best listened to in full (once you start, you’ll have a hard time stopping anyway), a victory for the dwindling art of making a cohesive album and not just slapping together a collection of songs. Diedrichs says the album is something of a “coming of age” story, saying it’s “an emotional exploration of my own journey from childhood to adult.” That thematic thread is something everyone can relate to and Diedrichs’ lyrics have never been better.
From the shiver-sending ambiance of “When You Knew It” and orchestral, acoustic guitar-driven “Homage to Excess” to the slinky verses and charged, towering choruses of “Battle Hymn” and the Radiohead-meets-Postal Service slowburn of “Safe,” Midnight March is loaded with musical drama, with practically each song building from a hypnotic hush to exhilarating crescendo. With deft arrangements and orchestration, provocative lyrics and brain-burrowing melodies, Diedrichs has made the recording of his career. And, in many ways, it feels like he’s just getting started.
Deidrichs has the talent to become a career artist; hopefully Midnight March reaches the wider audience Cari Clara deserves so he is able to do just that.
Click below to preview and purchase Midnight March.
Latin/Salsa supergroup Tropicoso ended its 14-year-plus, every-Monday-night residency at Corryville club The Mad Frog back in January. But fear not Latin music and Salsa dancing lovers. Tonight you can catch the band’s first date of a new residency at the club. (Read more about the Monday night finale here.)
Starting this evening, Tropicoso will now play The Mad Frog the second Friday of every month (date in flier to the left). The shows are open to fans 18 and up and admission is $7. Doors open at 8 p.m. For more on Tropicoso visit tropicosomusic.com.
Check out this interview with Tropicoso from the eve of its 11th anniversary celebration at the Frog.
Here a clip of Tropicoso filmed when the group performed at the 2007 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards so you can start getting your groove going a little early before heading out tonight.
Local Rock/Soul/Pop crew The Guitars celebrates its newish release, Higher Action, tonight at Northside’s Mayday with special guests Animal Circles.
The recording is actually an expanded version of The Guitars’ phenomenal 2011 EP, High Action, with two bonus cuts — “El Alamein” and a cover of Billy Vera/The Remains’ “Don’t Look Back”— culled from an “Ultrasessions” live recording at local Ultrasuede Studios. The two cuts only serve to make the release stronger. The Guitars' songs have a timelessness — marked by non-pedestrian elements of Motown, Stax, The Box Tops and other vintage Soul Pop — that makes you feel, after just a couple of listens, that you've known these tunes all your life.
Oh, and in another tip of the vintage hat, this new Higher Action is being released on cassette by California indie label Burger Records (the label has put out material by The Black Lips, The GO, King Tuff and many others).
The Guitars are presently preparing to start recording new material with local artist/producer Brian Olive. Keep tabs on the band via their Facebook site here.
Here's the bonus-cut cover of The Remains’ “Don’t Look Back":
And here's the original release's addictive single, "Piltdown Man":