Scott Cunningham, former singer/bassist for local trio Promenade, releases his first CD under the name Wake the Bear on Friday at Courtyard Café. Campfire Crush headlines the night.
For his debut, titled Woe Is Meat, Cunningham goes truly solo, recording and performing all the instrumentation himself. A humble, dreamy lushness is crafted with acoustic guitars, keys, synths, layered voices and heart-swelling string sounds, all tied together by Cunningham's emotive, vivacious lead vocals, which have the kind of effortless elasticity that only truly great singers can pull off. Like the Flaming Lips on downers, the disc has an orchestral tinge that is countered by a somewhat melancholic spirit. With its climbing melodies and sensual atmospherics, the album, while distinct, falls somewhere between Bright Eyes' Digital Ash in a Digital Urn and Arcade Fire's Funeral. Highlights include the Elliott Smith-ish "Soundtrack"; the sparse, poignant "Moving," with its stunning melodic build; the steamy, luxurious "Our Romantic Apocalypse," which is the dark equivalent of an Indie Pop Barry White slow jam ("In this bathtub/While we make love/As the water/That surrounds us/Slowly drowns us"); and "The Myth," on which Cunningham comes off like a less angsty, male version of Fiona Apple. Woe Is Meat is a luminous, textural bedroom magnum opus, as good as any one-man-band album you'll ever hear. (wakethebear.com)
Progressive Pop four-piece The Terrors unleash their debut full-length, Foolish Treasure Hunter, on Friday with a show at The Mad Frog.
The Terrors are "Pop" in the sense that they produce indestructible melodies, but their adventurous arrangements belie such compact terminology.
On Treasure Hunter, the group loads the songs with dizzying keyboard, synth and xylophone licks, dynamic guitar work and a powerful, creative rhythmic bite, drizzling unanticipated sound effects and quirks throughout to create a heavy, hooky brand of neo-psychedelia. While their sound has some of the trademarks of Prog (the keys get close to ELP territory on occasion), great songwriting and tasteful arranging keep things from getting wanky. Singer/guitarist Luke Pace-Scrivener guides the ship with his charismatic, high-ceilinged vocals, delivering towering melodies with a tone similar to Muse's Matt Bellamy. Besides the writing, the band's eagerness to experiment is what's most impressive about Treasure Hunter — the skittish, circuitous "Let Teeth Break the Ice" is the album's catchiest track, but the song breathes with the eclecticism of a Tool song. Elsewhere, "With the Flies" finds the band getting heavier, with near-metallic riffage and a startling scream section that throat-shredders everywhere will be jealous of, while "Adjust Your Eyes" sounds like Supergrass in epic mode and "Crystal" is an elegant, blanketing ballad, which, given the many twists and turns of the album, is in itself a surprise given its directness. Animated and artful, Foolish Treasure Hunter (which includes a bonus DVD disc) shows The Terrors have the talent to match their admirable ambition. (theterrors.net)
More Local Notes
· Impressive locals The Times have advanced to the national finals of the Zippo Hot Tour contest. If they win the grand prize, the group receives a $55,000 prize package, an opportunity to showcase for major label execs and an opening slot on the upcoming All American Rejects tour. Winners are determined by online votes; go to zippohottour.com and cast yours today (deadline is Sunday). (thetimesband.com)
· Saturday, Cats Walking Backwards will don an audio costume for their set at Covington's Jack Quinn's. The Halloween show — headlined by CEA nominees Trifectafunk and also featuring up-and-coming Jam band Headband — kicks off at 9:30 p.m. with tarot card and psychic readings, followed by CWB performing the entirety of Led Zeppelin's landmark Houses of the Holy album at 10 p.m.
· More Halloween fun can be had at the Viper Room on Monday. Gunnar Hansen (the original "Leatherface" from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) will be there, as will an impressive array of bands, including Black Tractor, Kill City, Gerald's Rainbow, Pulse 8 and Blacklight Barbarian. Call 513-333-0010 for discounted advanced tickets (it's expected to sell out). Showtime is 8 p.m.
· Guitarist Mike Fair (The Pretty Pretty Thieves, Haleymill) has joined Lonely the Seabird. Fair debuts with the band Thursday at Olde Fort Thomas Pub in Fort Thomas, Ky. The show also features Caterpillar Tracks, who recently returned from a European tour. Half of the proceeds from the night will be donated to help Guatemalan Indians impaired by Hurricane Stan. (lonelytheseabird.com)
· A benefit for the people of Darfur (via the relief organization, World Vision) takes place Friday at the Viper Room, raising money and also awareness about the genocide going on in that country. Music for the 9:30 p.m. show will be provided by Chaselounge, And Andy, Ryan Creamer and Marvin and the Experience.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com