December 23, 2022

Don’t Miss These 10 Outstanding Albums Released by Cincinnati Musicians in 2022

Cincinnati has been a hotbed of quality music for decades – sometimes we just need to be reminded about it. Luckily, plenty of local musicians (and some native Cincinnatians who are now based elsewhere) continue to release albums that drive home just how rich and layered the Cincinnati music scene really is. Below, check out some of those records that have been playing on repeat in the CityBeat office.

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Crime of Passing, Crime of Passing
Ace indie Feel It Records, which is now based in Cincinnati, dropped this potent, nine-song debut back in April. Frontwoman Andie Luman sounds as if she is singing from the bottom of a well, pleading for someone to listen. The band around her whips up a curious racket indebted to Joy Division and Siouxsie and the Banshees but with their own layer of unease as ominous synth and guitar lines mingle with an insistent rhythm section. The mood is icy, the soundtrack to a world spiraling out of control. Don’t be surprised if David Lynch incorporates Crime of Passing’s spooky vibe in his next mind-bending cinematic effort. Info: crimeofpassing.bandcamp.com. (Jason Gargano)
Photo: Fair Use, crimeofpassing.bandcamp.com

Crime of Passing, Crime of Passing


Ace indie Feel It Records, which is now based in Cincinnati, dropped this potent, nine-song debut back in April. Frontwoman Andie Luman sounds as if she is singing from the bottom of a well, pleading for someone to listen. The band around her whips up a curious racket indebted to Joy Division and Siouxsie and the Banshees but with their own layer of unease as ominous synth and guitar lines mingle with an insistent rhythm section. The mood is icy, the soundtrack to a world spiraling out of control. Don’t be surprised if David Lynch incorporates Crime of Passing’s spooky vibe in his next mind-bending cinematic effort. Info: crimeofpassing.bandcamp.com. (Jason Gargano)
Pete Fosco, Invisible Ground Sessions
Local experimental guitarist Pete Fosco released Invisible Ground Sessions on Nov. 14 in collaboration with the Athens-based podcast Invisible Ground. Invisible Ground explores the intersection between local history, art, music and storytelling in the community. Fosco recorded the album, which consists of two long improvised guitar pieces, cloistered in a cabin in the woods between Athens and Nelsonville. It's the perfect music to get lost in – the gently swirling guitar layered through reverb and delay pedals creates a meditative, almost raga-like ambience. Be sure to check out Fosco's other solo guitar projects on his Bandcamp profile. Info: petefosco.bandcamp.com. (Derek Kalback)
Photo: Fair Use, petefosco.bandcamp.com

Pete Fosco, Invisible Ground Sessions


Local experimental guitarist Pete Fosco released Invisible Ground Sessions on Nov. 14 in collaboration with the Athens-based podcast Invisible Ground. Invisible Ground explores the intersection between local history, art, music and storytelling in the community. Fosco recorded the album, which consists of two long improvised guitar pieces, cloistered in a cabin in the woods between Athens and Nelsonville. It's the perfect music to get lost in – the gently swirling guitar layered through reverb and delay pedals creates a meditative, almost raga-like ambience. Be sure to check out Fosco's other solo guitar projects on his Bandcamp profile. Info: petefosco.bandcamp.com. (Derek Kalback)
Fruit LoOops, Last Chance at the Pharmacy
Experimental noise rock group Fruit LoOops’ 2022 release Last Chance at the Pharmacy is an expansive, freewheeling set of sounds assembled and melded together like a sound collage of 20th century musical styles or some abstract modern sculpture. The band has more in common with the Dada art movement, though, generating creative chaos that is sometimes spontaneous, absurd and intentionally off-kilter, which makes for a more than refreshing take on songwriting. Though everything often seems in disarray, it still feels intentional and orchestrated, all held together with a through-thread of post-punk that seems to share a lineage to bands like Suburban Lawns or the futuristic chaos punk of Brainiac. Songs like “Suffer,” with its crescendo chorus of the four-piece band pushing into overdrive, or the pounding of “Pharmacy” are followed by the samples and electronic noise collage of “Loveitkissit” as a type of palate cleanser, but the songs all feel like biting into some kind of sour citrus fruit that is strangely delicious. Info: fruitlooops.bandcamp.com/album/last-chance-at-the-pharmacy. (Brent Stroud)
Photo: Fair Use, fruitlooops.bandcamp.com

Fruit LoOops, Last Chance at the Pharmacy


Experimental noise rock group Fruit LoOops’ 2022 release Last Chance at the Pharmacy is an expansive, freewheeling set of sounds assembled and melded together like a sound collage of 20th century musical styles or some abstract modern sculpture. The band has more in common with the Dada art movement, though, generating creative chaos that is sometimes spontaneous, absurd and intentionally off-kilter, which makes for a more than refreshing take on songwriting. Though everything often seems in disarray, it still feels intentional and orchestrated, all held together with a through-thread of post-punk that seems to share a lineage to bands like Suburban Lawns or the futuristic chaos punk of Brainiac. Songs like “Suffer,” with its crescendo chorus of the four-piece band pushing into overdrive, or the pounding of “Pharmacy” are followed by the samples and electronic noise collage of “Loveitkissit” as a type of palate cleanser, but the songs all feel like biting into some kind of sour citrus fruit that is strangely delicious. Info: fruitlooops.bandcamp.com/album/last-chance-at-the-pharmacy. (Brent Stroud)
Lung, Let It Be Gone
The two-piece cello and drums duo Lung is one of the hardest working bands in Cincinnati (and likely beyond). All of the nonstop touring seems to keep paying off, further strengthening the band’s cabaret punk, art-rock sound. Let It Be Gone is as strong as anything they’ve released to memory. Often angular and striking, the album takes surprising turns, with classically trained cellist and vocalist Kate Wakefield playing driving riffs through fuzz pedals and making her cello sound more like a baritone guitar, at times. She lets the natural beauty of the instrument come through, such as in the title track “Let It Be Gone.” Drummer Daisy Caplan creates solid foundations for the dynamic songs while propelling them forward. Wakefield’s vocals soar over everything, at times incorporating her opera background to great effect on songs such as “Rag Doll,” “Siren” or closing track “Bones,” which breaks down into a haunting and impressive layer of a capella vocals before diving back into the dirge. Info: lung.bandcamp.com/album/let-it-be-gone. (BS)
Photo: Fair Use, lunglunglung.bandcamp.com

Lung, Let It Be Gone


The two-piece cello and drums duo Lung is one of the hardest working bands in Cincinnati (and likely beyond). All of the nonstop touring seems to keep paying off, further strengthening the band’s cabaret punk, art-rock sound. Let It Be Gone is as strong as anything they’ve released to memory. Often angular and striking, the album takes surprising turns, with classically trained cellist and vocalist Kate Wakefield playing driving riffs through fuzz pedals and making her cello sound more like a baritone guitar, at times. She lets the natural beauty of the instrument come through, such as in the title track “Let It Be Gone.” Drummer Daisy Caplan creates solid foundations for the dynamic songs while propelling them forward. Wakefield’s vocals soar over everything, at times incorporating her opera background to great effect on songs such as “Rag Doll,” “Siren” or closing track “Bones,” which breaks down into a haunting and impressive layer of a capella vocals before diving back into the dirge. Info: lung.bandcamp.com/album/let-it-be-gone. (BS)
Slow Glows, But What Do I Know
But What Do I Know, the sophomore album by local shoegaze band Slow Glows, is a psychedelic work of epic proportions. Listening to it — especially with headphones cranked way up — is like being pulled into an oceanic oil painting. From “Cast a Shadow” to “Cloudless,” you tread water sonically in waves of guitar and bass drenched in delay and reverb while being lulled by the slow and steady motion of the drum kit. Kelli Redding, guitarist and vocalist for the band, began her musical journey as a classical pianist before at age 18 transitioning to guitar. Along with drummer Rachel Thode, she would eventually go on to form Slow Glows. Inspired by shoegaze legends like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, Slow Glows soon began creating their own body of work and in 2022 released But What Do I Know, which was recorded live at Mt. Saturn Studio with producer Brian Olive. Pro tip: Once you’ve listened to the album, go and hear Slow Glows perform these amazing songs live. Info: slowglows.bandcamp.com/album/but-what-do-i-know. (Eric Bates)
Photo: Fair Use, slowglows.bandcamp.com

Slow Glows, But What Do I Know


But What Do I Know, the sophomore album by local shoegaze band Slow Glows, is a psychedelic work of epic proportions. Listening to it — especially with headphones cranked way up — is like being pulled into an oceanic oil painting. From “Cast a Shadow” to “Cloudless,” you tread water sonically in waves of guitar and bass drenched in delay and reverb while being lulled by the slow and steady motion of the drum kit. Kelli Redding, guitarist and vocalist for the band, began her musical journey as a classical pianist before at age 18 transitioning to guitar. Along with drummer Rachel Thode, she would eventually go on to form Slow Glows. Inspired by shoegaze legends like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, Slow Glows soon began creating their own body of work and in 2022 released But What Do I Know, which was recorded live at Mt. Saturn Studio with producer Brian Olive. Pro tip: Once you’ve listened to the album, go and hear Slow Glows perform these amazing songs live. Info: slowglows.bandcamp.com/album/but-what-do-i-know. (Eric Bates)
Sorry, Eric, The Problem with Fun
The second full-length album from Sorry, Eric, led by songwriter and singer Eric Dietrich, is a further continuation of the observational and idiosyncratic post-punk of 2020’s It’s Okay. Title track “The Problem with Fun” opens the album and comes on like a playful dream before jumping into the punchy and extremely catchy chorus. The songwriting is often observational and biting, as in minimalist standout track “Data” that recalls Devo with a chorus of “when data got weaponized” and in the lampooning tune “Anything’s Possible When You Lie.” The album is always hook-heavy with tasteful touches of  arrangement and melodic guitar work juxtaposing or, at times, further driving the songs’ existential and sometimes bleaker themes, making for interesting songwriting that’s well executed by a band working as one entity. Info: bandcamp.com/album/the-problem-with-fun. (BS)
Photo: Fair Use, happyfamilies.bandcamp.com

Sorry, Eric, The Problem with Fun


The second full-length album from Sorry, Eric, led by songwriter and singer Eric Dietrich, is a further continuation of the observational and idiosyncratic post-punk of 2020’s It’s Okay. Title track “The Problem with Fun” opens the album and comes on like a playful dream before jumping into the punchy and extremely catchy chorus. The songwriting is often observational and biting, as in minimalist standout track “Data” that recalls Devo with a chorus of “when data got weaponized” and in the lampooning tune “Anything’s Possible When You Lie.” The album is always hook-heavy with tasteful touches of  arrangement and melodic guitar work juxtaposing or, at times, further driving the songs’ existential and sometimes bleaker themes, making for interesting songwriting that’s well executed by a band working as one entity. Info: bandcamp.com/album/the-problem-with-fun. (BS)
Spoils, Find Later
Spoils would fit nicely alongside acts like Wet Leg or Phoebe Bridgers on a festival lineup, and deservedly so, with strong, emotive songwriting and performances on songs like “Needle” and the flowing lines of “I’m Glad.” The visual imagery of “Riverbed” features singer and songwriter Nina Payiatis’ well-executed vocal melody and the band’s display of well-crafted arrangements beyond their years. Notably, “Millersong” ends with a climactic chorus quickly fading out to reveal a tender and longing string part to end the song that feels like the soundtrack to the album's cover, a blurred drawing of a figure standing at a statue or gravestone, seemingly in reflection. It all adds up to a strong debut of dreamy indie rock with a touch of punk that proves why Spoils are one of the city’s bands to watch. Info: spoilsohio.bandcamp.com/album/find-later. (BS)
Photo: Fair Use, spoilsohio.bandcamp.com

Spoils, Find Later


Spoils would fit nicely alongside acts like Wet Leg or Phoebe Bridgers on a festival lineup, and deservedly so, with strong, emotive songwriting and performances on songs like “Needle” and the flowing lines of “I’m Glad.” The visual imagery of “Riverbed” features singer and songwriter Nina Payiatis’ well-executed vocal melody and the band’s display of well-crafted arrangements beyond their years. Notably, “Millersong” ends with a climactic chorus quickly fading out to reveal a tender and longing string part to end the song that feels like the soundtrack to the album's cover, a blurred drawing of a figure standing at a statue or gravestone, seemingly in reflection. It all adds up to a strong debut of dreamy indie rock with a touch of punk that proves why Spoils are one of the city’s bands to watch. Info: spoilsohio.bandcamp.com/album/find-later. (BS)
Sam Stansfield, Extreme Falcon
This standout record is the kind of album that has the special feel and intimacy that only recording at home can bring. At times, it’s pared down and driving in songs like “Covered in Goo” or “Company Car.” At others, it’s soaring with hook-heavy, low-fidelity anthems like “Jennifer’s Brand New Baby” and plenty of playful experimentation throughout. As is often the case with the medium, the 4-track tape-recording method plays an important role in the sound and feel, as the instruments themselves add a touch of timelessness and charm. But songwriter Sam Stansfield doesn’t rely on that surface sheen alone, using layered guitar, occasional synthesizer hooks and finely crafted melody to deliver first-class, grade-A bedroom pop that transcends the bedroom. Info: samstansfield.bandcamp.com/album/extreme-falcon. (BS)
Photo: Fair Use, samstansfield.bandcamp.com

Sam Stansfield, Extreme Falcon


This standout record is the kind of album that has the special feel and intimacy that only recording at home can bring. At times, it’s pared down and driving in songs like “Covered in Goo” or “Company Car.” At others, it’s soaring with hook-heavy, low-fidelity anthems like “Jennifer’s Brand New Baby” and plenty of playful experimentation throughout. As is often the case with the medium, the 4-track tape-recording method plays an important role in the sound and feel, as the instruments themselves add a touch of timelessness and charm. But songwriter Sam Stansfield doesn’t rely on that surface sheen alone, using layered guitar, occasional synthesizer hooks and finely crafted melody to deliver first-class, grade-A bedroom pop that transcends the bedroom. Info: samstansfield.bandcamp.com/album/extreme-falcon. (BS)
Sudan Archives, Natural Brown Prom Queen
Genre-bending musician on the rise Sudan Archives is Cincinnati native and violinist Brittney Parks, who is now operating out of Los Angeles. Her second album Natural Brown Prom Queen is a flowing onslaught of creative energy featuring elements of folk music filtered through forward-thinking R&B and electronic dance music, making for one of the most innovative and fresh-sounding records of the year. The album – like 2019’s Athena – received critical praise and earned her a fair amount of acclaim, landing her an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert where she performed single “Selfish Soul,” which might be the song of the year. It inhabits some twilight zone of reggae dancehall-tinged R&B featuring filtered bass, hand claps, huge-sounding drums and echoing vocals that go from dreamy to commanding, punctuated by anthemic violin lines and unexpected turns with a wall of a chorus. It’s all pure defiance. Info: sudanarchives.com. (BS)
Photo: Fair Use, sudanarchives.bandcamp.com

Sudan Archives, Natural Brown Prom Queen


Genre-bending musician on the rise Sudan Archives is Cincinnati native and violinist Brittney Parks, who is now operating out of Los Angeles. Her second album Natural Brown Prom Queen is a flowing onslaught of creative energy featuring elements of folk music filtered through forward-thinking R&B and electronic dance music, making for one of the most innovative and fresh-sounding records of the year. The album – like 2019’s Athena – received critical praise and earned her a fair amount of acclaim, landing her an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert where she performed single “Selfish Soul,” which might be the song of the year. It inhabits some twilight zone of reggae dancehall-tinged R&B featuring filtered bass, hand claps, huge-sounding drums and echoing vocals that go from dreamy to commanding, punctuated by anthemic violin lines and unexpected turns with a wall of a chorus. It’s all pure defiance. Info: sudanarchives.com. (BS)
Willie & the Cigs, Loaded With Hits
After a year of being in demand and getting attention from their live performances, Willie & the Cigs released their debut Loaded With Hits, which does its best to capture the lively proto-punk – and, at times, countrified, jangling – rock and roll sound that they achieve in performances. Opening track “Dead Cowboys” is triumphant country rock with a false ending of descending guitars and organ that feels transcendent and sophisticated, fading to silence before a rebel holler calls out and kicks back into the song. “Airplane” is a delightfully childlike, Jonathan Richman-style bopper that displays some of the band's ever-present guitar handiwork. The following track, “Watchin’ Clouds,” takes a different turn as a cinematic ballad that sounds like it could be the soundtrack to some love story set in a dust-filled town down south. “Hand Me Down” with its bouncing rock and roll drive, is a standout and indicative of their sound, while the Rolling Stones-esque closing track, “Drunk” captures the band’s playful, oftentimes countrified, charm. Info: willieandthecigs.bandcamp.com/album/loaded-with-hits. (BS)
Photo: Fair Use, willieandthecigs.bandcamp.com

Willie & the Cigs, Loaded With Hits


After a year of being in demand and getting attention from their live performances, Willie & the Cigs released their debut Loaded With Hits, which does its best to capture the lively proto-punk – and, at times, countrified, jangling – rock and roll sound that they achieve in performances. Opening track “Dead Cowboys” is triumphant country rock with a false ending of descending guitars and organ that feels transcendent and sophisticated, fading to silence before a rebel holler calls out and kicks back into the song. “Airplane” is a delightfully childlike, Jonathan Richman-style bopper that displays some of the band's ever-present guitar handiwork. The following track, “Watchin’ Clouds,” takes a different turn as a cinematic ballad that sounds like it could be the soundtrack to some love story set in a dust-filled town down south. “Hand Me Down” with its bouncing rock and roll drive, is a standout and indicative of their sound, while the Rolling Stones-esque closing track, “Drunk” captures the band’s playful, oftentimes countrified, charm. Info: willieandthecigs.bandcamp.com/album/loaded-with-hits. (BS)