Central Parkway YMCA Stage (Masonic Cathedral)
9 p.m. The New Pornographers
In 2000, The New Pornographers’ debut album, Mass Romantic (later declared one of the best Indie Rock albums ever made), yielded the deliriously compelling “Letter to an Occupant” and heralded the beginning of an unbroken 17-year string of recorded excellence. From the hair-raising Roy-Wood-meets-Ray-Davies thump of Twin Cinema and the darkly bracing Challengers to the exquisite New Wave/Synth Pop reinvention/revisitation of Brill Bruisers and brilliantly transitional Electric Version and Together, the pure-Pop-for-all-people collective has managed to push all the right buttons and amass one of the most consistently satisfying music catalogs in Rock history. The band’s latest, Whiteout Conditions, is a logical extension of Brill Bruisers, with even more electronic texture and pulsations underpinning the New Pornographers’ adrenalized Canadian Invasion Pop/Rock in a hybrid frontman A.C. Newman once described as “Krautrock Fifth Dimension.”
You’ll Dig It If You Dig: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame condensed into a single wing. And Krautrock Fifth Dimension. (Brian Baker)
7 p.m. Filthy Friends
(Seattle; Portland, Ore.)
What do you get when you combine members of Sleater-Kinney, The Fastbacks, Young Fresh Fellows, King Crimson and R.E.M.? Filthy Friends answered that question for the masses this year and it’s as entertainingly varied as you’d expect. Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker provides the sublime lead vocals, giving the band’s first full-length effort — the recent Kill Rock Stars release, Invitation — its sense of cohesion, while Peter Buck’s guitar playing remains as identifiable as any other player of the past 40 years outside of The Edge, giving the LP’s tracks a welcoming sense of familiarity. Overall, Invitation is simply a fun jam session of a Rock & Roll album, though incredibly well written and constructed (the precise backing vocals drive home the point that this is not a toss-off — these people are f’ing pros!). Moving from vintage Power Pop and early CBGB’s Art Punk to swaggering Glam Rock and Nuggets-ready Garage Pop, Invitation actually sounds like the musicians are having a great time in the studio making it, which is especially infectious coming from a band of musicians with such an extensive collective history in the biz.
YDIIYD: Patti Smith, Sleater-Kinney, R.E.M., the history of melodic Rock & Roll. (Mike Breen)
6 p.m. Preoccupations
The sense of unease in Preoccupations’ shadowy Post Punk is like a scar. After the band Women ended suddenly following an onstage fight (the group’s guitarist died after the split as well), some of the members formed Viet Cong, eventually signing with taste-making indie imprint Jagjaguwar and launching a self-titled album into a seemingly welcoming Indie Rock scene in 2015. When the band started work on a follow-up, the earth was shifting under the members’ feet — longtime relationships ended in the wake of touring behind the debut, every musician had moved to a different city and, after announcing it would change its name from Viet Cong in the wake of mounting protests, the group hadn’t yet settled on the moniker it would use. The disjointed musicians came together in the studio with a blank slate and used the swirling turmoil to their advantage, injecting it into the dark, absorbing 2016 album Preoccupations, which was also the new band name.
YDIIYD: Swans, Interpol, Echo & the Bunnymen, Wire. (MB)
5 p.m. Welles
Jeh Sea Wells’ grandfather gave him a cassette copy of Sgt. Pepper when he was in second grade, and it became a listening obsession for the Arkansas native. The irony in this situation is that the Fab Four’s masterpiece is over twice as old as Wells, yet he effortlessly channels the spirits of The Beatles in their experimental phase (even drifting into “White Album” territory), as well as Nirvana at its angst-ridden best, with discernible shades of David Bowie floating through the mix. Wells’ early work was credited to Jeh Sea Wells, but a couple of years ago, he decided to operate under the band name Welles, which is how his brilliant new five-song EP Codeine is bannered. Whatever name he decides to hang on it, Wells needs to make a couple of full-lengths of this stuff as soon as humanly possible.
YDIIYD: Kurt Cobain’s tribute to Sgt. Pepper with “fuck” inserted into every song, literally and figuratively. (BB)
4 p.m. Swarming Branch
Swarming Branch is not a band in the conventional sense. The core of the collective is vocalist/guitarist Andrew Graham and drummer Lon Leary, and the duo’s experimental approach to writing and recording typically involves an Impossible Missions Force of talented collaborators and the concept that the group’s sound will be determined in the moment of live or studio creation. That said, Swarming Branch’s recently released new album, Surreal Number, represents Graham’s most linear musical execution to date while maintaining an adventurous sense of artistic whimsy, all contained within the concept that synthetic and organic systems can successfully work in tandem. Even with a loose set of applied rules, Surreal Number proves that Swarming Branch is still a freewheeling example of originality within a familiar musical framework.
YDIIYD: Dan Bejar’s Destroyer making 8-bit Folk Rock with Beck. (BB)
3 p.m. Lemon Sky
At the nexus of Prog and Pop and the most classic of Classic Rock, Lemon Sky exists as ephemeral idea and solid structure, as paisley hallucination and tangible reality, as crystalline melodicism and monolithic riffage. In a single song, the Cincinnati quintet can encapsulate the pummeling bravado of Led Zeppelin, the passionate innocence of The Beatles, the intricate head-trip of Pink Floyd and the contemporary heart-punch of Queens of the Stone Age and The Flaming Lips. The exciting thing about Lemon Sky is that its wide-eyed, self-titled first album and emphatically brilliant sophomore release Dos, as good as they both happen to be, are mere hints at the band’s musical potential. A more recent triumph is its unexpected cover of The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” one of the more potent entries in the Fab Four’s catalog, which Lemon Sky transforms into a soaring, searing sonic marathon of orchestrated guitars and a Viking rhythm section. Valhalla my ass, Lemon Sky is Rock heaven on earth.
YDIIYD: The Beatles and Led Zeppelin going full metal crouching tiger with light saber guitars. (BB)
2 p.m. The Speedbumps
Indie Folk Rock
After dropping out of Kent State and traveling around playing music for change, singer/songwriter/guitarist Erik Urycki returned to Northeast Ohio to form a band. Launched in 2007, The Speedbumps developed an acoustic sound informed by a love for both contemporary Roots artists and Indie Rock, releasing its first album in 2013 and earning praise from a variety of outlets. When the band decamped to an isolated cabin to make the follow-up to 2015’s Soil to the Seed, The Speedbumps began a musical transformation sparked by Urycki’s discovery of the joys of the electric guitar and a general desire to shift gears. Released in July, When the Darkness Comes is a more full-bodied and vigorous collection of songs that lean more in the direction of rich, emotive Indie Pop and Rock than Americana, still centered by Urycki’s raspy voice and captivating melodies, but delivered with a renewed sense of energy.
YDIIYD: Artists unafraid of drastically reinventing themselves after establishing a successful formula, like Wilco and Radiohead. (MB)
Skyline Chili Stage (Taft Theatre)
10 p.m. Broken Social Scene
The Broken Social Scene collective was created by core members Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning just before the turn of the millennium, birthing a project that expands and contracts depending on which of its 20-plus members are involved at the time. The rotating cast features primarily Canadian singers and musicians, many of whom are involved in their own bands, some of which have experienced major success — Amy Millan and Emily Haines of Indie faves Stars and Metric (respectively) are original members of the BSS family, as is breakthrough singer/songwriter Leslie Feist. Those vocalists and the 12 other artists involved at the start of BSS returned for the latest album, Hug of Thunder, the project’s first since 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record. Despite the many contributors, Drew and Canning have always done a good job of keeping BSS albums focused — the band’s music is certainly its own entity, regardless of who’s involved — while live shows (which also utilize the revolving-door policy) can feature more than a dozen musicians, adding an extra sense of jubilance to the proceedings.
YDIIYD: The sound of Canadian Indie Rock circa the 21st century. (MB)
8:25 p.m. Frightened Rabbit
Scottish guitarist/vocalist Scott Hutchison found the perfect vehicle for working out his internal struggles when he began writing songs and performing them under the name Frightened Rabbit, his mother’s childhood name for him due to his crippling shyness. His first album, 2006’s Sing the Greys, was essentially a solo album with brother Grant on drums, but they expanded to a trio with guitarist Billy Kennedy for 2008’s The Midnight Organ Fight. Frightened Rabbit’s third album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, scored them an Atlantic Records contract, which spawned the commercial/critical success of 2013’s Pedestrian Verse. Burnt out from the road, Hutchison, Andy Monaghan and Simon Liddell recorded a side project called Owl John before commencing on their amazing fifth album, last year’s Painting of a Panic Attack, with production by The National’s Aaron Dessner. The group was such a hit at last year’s MPMF (the band also apparently had a great experience, calling MidPoint “brilliant” on its Facebook page), it’s back for the 2017 edition.
YDIIYD: Snow Patrol and Travis shooting dice in the Gallagher brothers’ alley. (BB)
7:25 p.m. Bedouine
Azniv Korkejian is truly a citizen of the world. Born in Syria and raised in Saudi Arabia, she later relocated to Boston and Houston before her nomadic existence in America took her through Kentucky, Texas and Georgia, where she earned her degree in sound design. Korkejian settled in L.A. and became a dialogue and music editor for the film industry, but a fortuitous meeting with bassist/producer Gus Seyffert led to her evolution as a singer/songwriter. For her stage identity, Korkejian adopted the name Bedouine, a feminization of the Arabic word for nomad, a fitting description of not only her life’s journey so far, but also her ephemeral style, sound and approach. Bedouine’s self-titled debut is a marvel of atmospherically orchestrated ’60s Folk/Pop that is gently time-machined into the 21st century.
YDIIYD: Julee Cruise and Norah Jones sitting in on Nick Drake’s beyond-the-veil music class. (BB)
6:15 p.m. Adam Torres
Singer/songwriter Adam Torres’ life so far has been pretty fascinating, in and out of music. Born in New Mexico and raised in the Cincy exburb West Chester, Torres found his musical footing in Athens, Ohio, where he performed as a solo artist and as a member of the regionally popular band Southeast Engine. Torres put out his first album, Nostra Nova, DIY-style in 2006, then carried on with his life, still writing music but quitting the band, focusing on college and traveling to Ecuador to do volunteer work. Ending up in Austin, Texas in 2011 for graduate school, Torres later worked on a project to improve the water quality of the Rio Grande River, all the while hearing the music calling him back. Since leaving Athens, Nostra Nova had become a cult favorite, earning a widely praised reissue in 2015 and building up anticipation for Pearls to Swine, Torres’ debut album for the respected Fat Possum label, a year later. Now entrenched in the latest unexpected phase in his life, Torres kicked off 2017 with the EP I Came to Sing the Song, then headed out on the road for new adventures, playing shows all over the world.
YDIIYD: Neutral Milk Hotel, Jeff Buckley, Bon Iver. (MB)
5:05 p.m. DYAN
Indie Pop trio DYAN came together when the film-scoring duo Alexis & Sam (whose work can be heard in various feature films and TV shows like Animal Kingdom and Sesame Street) decided to write a more traditional song to use over the main title sequence of a movie they were scoring. Inspired, Alexis Marsh (singer/guitarist/bassist) began writing more songs, eventually decamping to Cincinnati to form an album. Dan Dorff Jr. (once a regular presence in the Cincinnati music scene who went on to work with Jim James and Ray LaMontagne) joined Marsh while recording in Louisville, Ky., adding drums and piano. Marsh’s scoring partner Sam Jones (guitarist/synths) came in during the album’s mixing, marking the first time the three members of DYAN worked together. The trio’s sparse but warm, visceral mix of synths and electronics with enchanting melodies and textural guitars and cello exhibited on DYAN’s 2016 debut, Looking for Knives, hit a nerve, garnering attention from popular music blogs and traditional music-press outlets while notching 500,000 spins of the title track on Spotify in just its first month available (it’s now nearing 1.8 million streams).
YDIIYD: Sylvan Esso, Purity Ring, The xx. (MB)
3:55 p.m. Saturn Batteries
From its beginning seven years ago, Saturn Batteries has been the sonic equivalent of the story of five blind men describing an elephant based on its disparate body parts. With guitarist/vocalist Brad Gibson at the helm, a rotating collective of band members created a broadly familiar yet ephemerally unclassifiable body of work and a solid reputation as an energetic, powerful and versatile live act. Saturn Batteries’ two EPs, 2013’s Ever Been in Love? and 2014’s Real Far East, offered up spritely Indie Pop with a beautifully dark streak that hinted at early New Wave/Pop/Punk elements refracted through a modern Midwestern sensibility. The arrival of former Gold Shoes guitarist/vocalist Archie Niebuhr added yet another layer of emotional and musical complexity to Saturn Batteries’ already tangled definition of itself. The band has evidently been working on a full-length debut for the past few years, and hopes run high that this year will yield the fruit of that labor.
YDIIYD: The Cure if they’d been born 35 years later as a Pop band in the Midwest with no eyeliner or hairspray. (BB)
2:45 p.m. Blossom Hall
A couple of years ago, keyboardist/vocalist Nancy Paraskevopoulos and guitarist/vocalist Phil Cotter (welcome back?) began writing odd little Pop-goes-the-Garage songs that didn’t really fit into the context of their respective groups at the time. Equal parts ’80s New Wave, ’90s AltRock and contemporary jitter Pop, Paraskevopoulos and Cotter’s outlet project became Blossom Hall. Initially practiced as a duo, an impending show necessitated a call to drummer/friend Charlie Schefft, who filled in for the gig and never left. The trio has posted a few of their live performances on YouTube and recently released its first official single, the reflective yet propulsive “Easy to Want to Die,” inspired by Paraskevopoulos’ near-drowning experience. A full Blossom Hall album is in the works; hopefully, additional material will require no further brushes with death for inspiration.
YDIIYD: The quiet insistence of Belle and Sebastian, the loud insistence of Blondie. (BB)
Superior Kia Stage (Taft Ballroom)
Citizen formed while its members were still in high school; a few short years later, the band was signed to Punk/Hardcore label Run for Cover Records. It’s debut full-length, 2013’s Youth, and its melodic mix of Hardcore and Emo sounds raised the band’s profile, as did a persistent touring schedule, which included dates with The Wonder Years and Modern Baseball, as well as a stint on the Warped Tour. As one might expect from a band that got its start so young, as the musicians’ skills sharpened, Citizen’s sound has evolved: 2015’s breakthrough album Everybody is Going to Heaven was even more informed by Grunge, Emo and other AltRock influences (even Shoegaze and Post Punk) and helped expand the group’s listenership. The band’s popularity continues to rise, assisted by sweet gigs like an opening slot on this summer’s AFI/Circa Survive tour of theaters, amphitheaters and arenas, setting the stage for the October release of Citizen’s third album, As You Please.
YDIIYD: Title Fight, Alkaline Trio, Superheaven. (MB)
9:15 p.m. Pile
In 2007, Pile was created by young singer/guitarist Rick Maguire as a solo project. Within a couple of years, Pile evolved into a powerhouse four-piece band, becoming heroes of Boston’s music scene (particularly among fellow musicians) before expanding its loyal fan base by regularly taking its fervent, visceral live show on extensive tours across the U.S. and Europe. Pile’s legend is also built on the oscillating dynamics of its music — while certain traits (unanticipated structures, tension, emotional directness and intensity) seem inherent, new elements and angles of Pile are revealed with each album release. The band’s explorations and Maguire’s expansive framing have led the music through the realms of Post Punk, Hardcore, Noise, Folk, Prog, Punk, Indie Rock and beyond. Even given those standards, Pile’s fifth album, this year’s A Hairshirt of Purpose, is a fairly drastic tonal shift, with more of a focus on melody and much of the bombast and complexity replaced by fluidity and introspection. The songs retain Pile’s unconventional slant, but the expansiveness is more in the scope of the lens than in the winding, twisting roadmap. As usual, the results of Pile’s latest redirection are revelatory.
YDIIYD: At the Drive In and The Jesus Lizard switching bodies with Failure and Built to Spill. (MB)
8 p.m. Ampline
Post Punk/Post Rock
Ampline’s roots go back nearly two decades. The band began as a quartet but shed members over the years, eventually leaving founding bassist Kevin Schmidt, who soldiered on with guitarist Mike Montgomery and drummer Rick McCarty to become one of the loudest, most powerful and most intricately arranged juggernauts in this or any city. Originally all-instrumental but developing a vocal component over time, the past 16 years have seen Ampline release four incredible albums of anthemic Punk/Prog, marked by Jazz-tinged time signatures and arena Rock bombast, and become a live act with an almost feral intensity. The trio’s fifth album (and first new album in seven years), Passion Relapse, is slated for release in January 2018 and is cause for the kind of celebration reserved for astronauts returning from the moon. You can prepare for the idea of Ampline, but the reality will blow your mind every time.
YDIIYD: Volume you can touch, invention you can hear, music you can taste. (BB)
6:50 p.m. Mad Anthony
Mad Anthony’s Ringo Jones and Adam Flaig wield two guitars as loud as Krakatoa’s megaton hissy fit, and Marc Sherlock hits the drums with an impact that has to be measured in velocity and foot-pounds per square inch. And through it all, Jones howls like an enraged mutant singing into the exhaust fan of a jet engine at full thrust, defiantly remaining audible over the din. Mad Anthony’s live shows and catalog over the past decade have earned the band a zealous and righteous fan base, but its latest project, the yearlong Mad Anthology, is insanity on a massive scale. Built on its well-executed plan to write and record a song a week, alone and with numerous brilliant friends, for 12 calendar months, the band released the results online weekly. With that stone successfully pushed up a steep hill, the only thing crazier would be to release the results in physical form. Meet crazier: Mad Anthology: Volume One, a collection of highlights from the series, is on track for a vinyl and CD release, with plans in the works for further volumes getting hard-copy runs. I’ll have what they’re having, in a much smaller dose.
YDIIYD: Throw five pounds of nuts and bolts in a musical blender, garnish with guitars and drums, serve scalding hot. (BB)
5:40 p.m. Brat Curse
There was a time not terribly long ago that Dayton, Ohio’s Astro Fang was one of the most popular Indie Rock bands from the Gem City whose name didn’t include the words “guided” or “by” or “voices.” The band’s unexpected breakup was triggered by the relocation to Columbus, Ohio of guitarist/vocalist Brian Baker (what a virile, talented, handsome name he has). Joined by Astro Fang drummer/vocalist Chris Mengerink and new bassist Justin Baker, the equally adrenalized and potently hormonal Brat Curse took shape and soon took Columbus by similarly electrified storm. The band’s self-titled debut was a contemporary blaze of ’70s British Punk cross-pollinated with ’80s Midwest Pop/Rock. With the arrival of guitarist Joe Camerlengo, Brat Curse’s imminent new album promises more and better of the same.
YDIIYD: The raised-in-Ohio Buzzcocks taking Manhattan with Dinosaur Jr. (BB)
4:30 p.m. Kid Stardust
Powerful vocalist Chrissy von Savoye and imaginative guitarist Drew James met when they were both living in New Jersey trying to play music. The seeds of Kid Stardust were in the ground after that meeting, but the pair decided that the high cost of living in Jersey wasn’t particularly conducive to their Rock & Roll dreams and ultimately decided to relocate to Cincinnati, where they hooked up with bassist Ryan Hickman and drummer Rick Henry and were embraced by the local music community. A debut EP, last year’s Something Like This But Better, offered a great representation of Kid Stardust’s expressive, from-the-gut Indie Rock. The complete lack of gimmicks and pretense allows the band’s music to exist without a timestamp — it’s a sound that would have been just as enthralling had it existed in peak-CBGB’s New York, the pre-spotlight Seattle of the late ’80s or the Strokes-ruled turn-of-the-millennium NYC scene.
YDIIYD: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Gits, early Pretenders, Bully. (MB)
3:20 p.m. Even Tiles
Former Atriums/Die Pilot vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Justin White tried several band projects before going solo with songs that could either be performed alone with loops and pedals or with a complete band. From there, White assembled Justin WW and the Inner Ocean, which ultimately evolved into Even Tiles with the release of 2013’s The Lower Tangent, a six-track EP that garnered critical acclaim and high expectations for the future. The band, with a few personnel changes along the way, has been a fixture at subsequent MidPoint showcases and other events ever since. Even Tiles’ website bio promises an imminent update, which we can only hope is the band’s subliminal message that new recordings may be on the horizon.
YDIIYD: Broken Social Scene meets Clem Snide meets Deerhunter meets your soul. (BB)
2:10 p.m. Lo, The Loyal Conscripts
Orchestrating a sound that dramatically maneuvers between a shimmer and a roar, Lo, The Loyal Conscripts’ music brings together cerebral intricacy, wild-eyed exploration and feverish intensity, exploiting and balancing the tension and harmony of its arrangements. Formed from the ashes of Cincinnati band If I Ever, Lo, the Loyal Conscripts initially featured a vocalist and released 2015’s Remember to Breathe, but ultimately the musicians decided to go the all-instrumental route and allow their heavy Post Rock to speak for itself. This summer, guitarist Daniel Whitford and drummer Ryan Braun (joined by bassist Tyler Stemmer for its MPMF performance) announced plans to take a break from live shows in order to write and refocus, with MidPoint serving as their last show for the time being.
YDIIYD: Russian Circles, Rosetta, Mouth of the Architect. (MB)
YMCA Ballroom Stage (Masonic Ballroom)
10:35 p.m. William Elliott Whitmore
(Lee County, Iowa)
Many musicians have day jobs that they toil away at when they’re not writing, recording and touring, but William Elliott Whitmore’s working alter ego is slightly more complicated than that — he’s a farmer in Iowa and has to schedule all of his musical activities around planting/growing/harvesting cycles. Over the past two decades, Whitmore has managed to turn out eight stellar examples of his Folk/AltCountry craft by adapting the same basic principles of farming taught to him by his father: Care for your creations in the brief time you have to tend to them and diversify to maintain healthy growth. Whitmore’s last album, 2015’s Radium Death, found the acoustic singer/songwriter plugging in and playing electrically (mixed in with his proven stripped-down approach) for the first time in his recorded career with fairly stunning results. Like every good Folk artist, the power of the songs themselves is Whitmore’s primary concern, and regardless of the nature of their presentation, his material worms its way into the listener’s head, heart and soul in equal measure and with equal force.
YDIIYD: The social and musical traditions of a whole lot of Guthries, and the translations of Cincinnati’s own (and now New York’s) Josh Eagle. (BB)
8 p.m. Valerie June
Without ever hearing a note of music by acclaimed singer/songwriter Valerie June, just knowing that the Tennessee native’s first major-label album, 2013’s Pushin’ Against a Stone, was produced by and co-written with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach — and that June has collaborated with the Old Crow Medicine Show and opened for Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Norah Jones and Jake Bugg — would be enough to draw a crowd to her shows. But it turns out June is as versatile and sharp as a Swiss army knife and blessed with a talent that stretches the boundaries of human measurement. Her new album, The Order of Time, is a thing of interstellar beauty and an exquisite joy; the perfect synthesis of everything Valerie June has done better than well to this point.
YDIIYD: Sturgill Simpson and Nikki Lane having a music baby and raising her up to take over the family business. (BB)
6:30 p.m. The Cactus Blossoms
Brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum formed The Cactus Blossoms after a childhood of Beatles fandom and the discovery of classic and obscure Country music and early Rock & Roll. After self-releasing a few albums (beginning with their 2011 eponymous debut), an appearance on Prairie Home Companion and extensive touring, the breaks came head-spinningly fast: Americana sensation JD McPherson’s offered to produce their first widely available album, 2016’s acclaimed You’re Dreaming, and David Lynch’s production company invited them to be involved in an episode (or more) of the director’s reboot of Twin Peaks. Classic Country with a modern twist doesn’t come any better than The Cactus Blossoms.
YDIIYD: The Louvins, the Delmores and the Everlys interpreted by Dwight Yoakam. (BB)
5:30 p.m. David Luning
David Luning didn’t find his calling particularly late in life, but he was introduced to the medium of his calling surprisingly late, especially considering how well suited he proved to be for it. While at Berklee College of Music in Boston studying film scoring, Luning says friends played him some Folk/Americana music and it was the first time he’d every really listened to anything from the genre. But considering the music was by songwriting legend John Prine, perhaps that lightning-bolt moment when Luning changed course and decided to become a Folk/Americana troubadour isn’t a complete shock. He dropped out of school and retreated to California, developing a Country-flavored sound and releasing his debut album, Just Drop On By, in 2012. Luning’s risk seemed to be pay off, with the album drawing critical praise (including a co-sign from superstar Keith Urban) and leading to extensive touring, film and TV song placements and a profile-raising audition on American Idol. Earlier this year, Luning released his highly polished follow-up, Restless.
YDIIYD: The Steel Wheels, The Honey-cutters, Jim Lauderdale. (MB)
4:30 p.m. Virginia Man
Indie Folk Rock
The last time a band made serious inroads with a grassroots fan-building effort on Southeastern college campuses, it was a little outfit known as the Dave Matthews Band. The latest group to work that angle is Virginia Man, a talented quintet that wears its home-state pride in its name. The big difference is that Virginia Man was born in the firestorm of the social media age, which has fast-tracked its exposure, leading to a fairly quick 250,000 spins on Spotify for its debut single, last summer’s “Paper Shields.” Virginia Man was still keen to hit the road and earn its audience the old-fashioned way, but with the modern twist of capitalizing on the exposure with a 21st-century crowd-funding campaign that raised over $8,000 for the band to record Let Us Be, Virginia Man’s debut EP from earlier this year.
YDIIYD: Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers with a few less men on a dead man’s chest. (BB)
3:30 p.m.Youth Yamada
Born in Philadelphia, singer/songwriter Youth Yamada grew up in Japan, developing his musical skills and a deep love of The Beatles — he claims to be able to sing and play the basic instrumental parts for every one of the more than 200 songs The Beatles released. Forming the band The World Chocolate in Tokyo, Yamada recorded and released albums and toured Japan before moving to New York in 2009 and putting his skills to work in The Meetles, a Classic Rock cover band that, of course, plays a lot of Beatles. Funneling his classics-informed talent into a solo career, Youth Yamada’s album debut, this year’s Acoustic Safari, makes for a satisfying and entertaining listen, with Yamada expertly translating the melodic and musical spirit of The Beatles and other ’60s Pop icons into his upbeat acoustic stroll. His slightly loose grasp on English creates a vague lyrical haze, but it adds an offbeat charm to the album that just makes you want to keep listening.
YDIIYD: Jonathan Richman playing The Beatles, The Beatles playing Jonathan Richman. (MB)
2:30 p.m. Rachel Mousie
Inspired by the artistry of performers like Nina Simone, Norah Jones and Radiohead, Cincinnati native Rachel Mousie started writing and performing music when she was in college at Ohio University. Since then, her R&B, Pop and Jazz-influenced original songs have been featured on a pair of albums and she has become a regular performer all over her hometown area. For live shows, Mousie developed a setup that incorporates a looping station, allowing her to layer her vocals in the moment and also craft percussion sounds on the spot, creating a unique new dimension to her songs. With the technique becoming a part of her songwriting process and creative identity, Mousie entered the studio with co-producer Michael Ronstadt (who also provided strings) to record her third album, Talk to Your Babies, which is set for release in early October.
YDIIYD: The way songwriters like Imogen Heap and KT Tunstall use looping vocals to add an otherworldly aura to their songs. (MB)