During the pre-parties at the MidPoint Music Festival last week, CityBeat announced this year's crop of nominees for the musical program of the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. The awards are to be dolled out at the ceremony at the Taft Theatre on Nov. 18. (Also, mark your calendars for Nov. 3, when Brink: A New Music Showcase takes place at the Southgate House, featuring the potential "next wave" of exciting local music newcomers). To cast your CEA vote, go to
CEA voting is now open
During the pre-parties at the MidPoint Music Festival last week, CityBeat announced this year's crop of nominees for the musical program of the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. The awards are to be dolled out at the ceremony at the Taft Theatre on Nov. 18. (Also, mark your calendars for Nov. 3, when Brink: A New Music Showcase takes place at the Southgate House, featuring the potential "next wave" of exciting local music newcomers). To cast your CEA vote, go to citybeat.com/cea.
Around 100 different local artists were nominated. First time nominees this year include newcomers like Bad Veins, Eat Sugar, The Seedy Seeds, the Jon Justice Band, Joe Hedges, Jonuh, Nathan Holscher, Matthew Shelton, Beneath the Sky, Cross, Wasteland Jazz Ensemble, The Read, Pomegranates, Shades of J, Angels of Meth, Frontier Folk Nebraska, The Lions Rampant, duppy à jamba, The Pinstripes and the Dan Karlsberg Group.
In the "critical achievement" categories, which are the only ones not selected by the public (instead, CEA Nominating Committee members cast their votes), there is a little more diversity this year. In the "New Artist of the Year" category, the nominees are The Seedy Seeds, Jon Justice Band, Eat Sugar, The Lions Rampant, Dan Karlsberg Group, The Read, Pomegranates and Joe Hedges.
The "Album of the Year" category consists of the latest records by Ill Poetic, Over the Rhine, Pearlene, Wussy, The Chocolate Horse, 500 Miles to Memphis, The Seedy Seeds and The Sheds.
Finally, the "Artist of the Year" category contains C Spencer Yeh (Burning Star Core), Pearlene, Wussy, Buffalo Killers, Bad Veins, Heartless Bastards, The Great Depression and 500 Miles to Memphis.
For the full run-down, you can also check the Spill It blog at blogs.citybeat.com/spill_it.
Winning 'Hearts and Minds'
Conservatives would have you believe that every young man and woman serving in the military, fighting someone else's war in Iraq or elsewhere, is on the same page as the Bush regime and all of its followers. I don't know about you, but whatever my intention was if I were to join the military, if things turned out how they have, I would be pissed.
Leave it to the artists to get the point across that many soldiers are as frustrated with the mismanaged "war" as the majority of the general population of the United States is at this point. I mean, they are actually there, on the ground, experiencing the horrors of war first hand as they hear of the lies told by our government to get us there in the first place. A few Hip Hop projects recorded by former or current soldiers have gotten a lot of attention for pointing out the complexities of fighting a war they don't believe in and being loyal to your country despite your aggravation with its policies.
Rockers serving have also weighed in. One of the more poetic and visceral is Cincinnati's Josh Hisle, whose acoustic-based Indie/Emo band, Lost in Holland, releases the EP Hearts and Minds this Saturday at the Blue Note in Price Hill.
While fighting in Iraq, Hisle turned to his acoustic guitar (which he and his troop buddies called, "The Vet") as an outlet for his overwhelming frustration. The Marine squad leader kept the songs to himself, not wanting to put doubts into his squad-mates' heads — as it says on the band's MySpace page, "If his squad knew (Hisle) felt this way, they may begin to doubt the cause, rendering him ineffective as a leader." Once he left the corps as a decorated veteran, he began to play the songs live and received a positive response right from the start.
"Emo" is, of course, all about bare emotion. Given Hisle's experiences, his brand makes other Emo practitioners look like pussies (don't let the Emo tag scare you — LiH's music has only a passing resemblance to the stereotypes of that sound). The acoustic presentation might suggest a Dashboard Confessional type of approach, but Hisle's songs don't whine — there's way more diversity and the "emotions" in his Emo are way more complex. There's also some sublime melodies, an almost Elliott Smith presentation on some songs, and fans of Unwritten Law will appreciate Hisle's ability to make Punk-descendent acoustic music as powerful as if he had used distortion.
I'd quibble more about the occasionally out-of-tune vocals (only a few times is it completely distracting), but often it fits the fragile, exposed vibe of the songs. The tracks that are decorated with additional instrumentation (piano, drums, etc.) are especially strong; hopefully Hisle mostly takes the "full-band" approach when he's ready to make a full album.
No matter your personal musical tastes, if you appreciate art delivered unfiltered and based on deep, real-life experiences and music that is graceful yet weighty, you will certainly appreciate the heart put in to Hearts and Minds. (lostinholland.com)
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com