Singer/songwriter Andrea Rosenthal celebrates the release of her latest Venus Mission CD, Love Me Back Alive (the first VM album since 2002's debut, Midwestern Soul), with a show at Jack Quinn's Emerald Ballroom Friday. Joining Venus Mission (which also features Mike Georgin, Aaron Mahoney, Scott Hacker and Chris Ellison) for the 8:30 p.m. event are Catalog Cowboys and California-based singer/songwriter Justin Sheehy.
For Love Me Back Alive, Rosenthal enlisted two of the area's more celebrated knob-twidlers, John Curley (who engineered live full-band sessions) and Ric Hordinski (who co-produced with Rosenthal). The first collaboration between the studio magicians creates a fitting dichotomy: Just as Rosenthal's songs (which feature a couple of co-writers) blur the lines between the celestial and the organic, the production has a lively, driving underbelly splattered with an atmospheric magnetism. With often biting, empowering lyrics of redemption out of sorrow, Rosenthal and her co-conspirators paint sweeping, emotionally self-reflective tracks with a variety of textures and engaging, creative nuances, from echoing guitars and spacious, almost psychedelic effects to jarring guest spots from singer/poetess Abiyah and rapper Swift.
The recordists and quality sessioneers recruited to play on the album bring Rosenthal's songs to life, but without the ornamentation the tunes would still stand up fairly well (though they'd tend toward a much more "Adult Contemporary" corner of the room). Rosenthal's airy yet pointedly expressive voice is uniquely effervescent, but it's also one of those love it/hate it kind of vocal styles. Standouts on the album (the ones where everything clicks at once) include "Girls of Virtue," a rolling, minor-key dirge that's the best written cut on the disc, and "I Want You," which features snake-charmer guitar and a defiantly abrupt, popcorn-bass-buoyed chorus. Occasionally, the songwriting doesn't stand up to encasement, but for the most part Love definitely holds up as Rosenthal's finest recording so far. (venusmission.com)
More Local Notes
· Dead On, the latest movie from local musician and filmmaker John Parker, debuts Oct. 19 at UC's Tangeman University Student Center at 6 p.m.
The experimental film turns the lens on the Cincinnati music scene, exploring the ups and downs of playing original music and featuring numerous live performances. Among the artists featured in the film are Moot, Roesing Ape, Jake Speed, Cole Brothers, Hobilly, The Wolverton Brothers, Meadoe, The Wankers, Buckra, Straw Boss, Ronnie Thompson and about 30 others. A companion compilation CD featuring many of the artists will be available at the premiere and some of the acts will play live sets before and after the screening. (subversiverecordslimited.com)
· Local Celtic music greats Silver Arm officially unveil their new long-player, Links, with a show Saturday at Jack Quinn's. The album is another flawless exhibition of traditional reels, songs and jigs (with even a little polka this time). If you can't grab one at the show, the CDs are available at silverarmmusic.com.
· The Hurricane Katrina relief benefit of the week? It's Sunday's American Red Cross charity concert at Jefferson Hall, dubbed "NEW Orleans: One Day, One Cause." The event — which runs from 5-10 p.m. — features quality sounds from a reunified Admiral Walker, The Ropers and Grand Oversoul, plus raffle prizes from several local businesses. The $20 admission goes straight to the ARC.
· Friday at Newport's Southgate House, a benefit for the American Cancer Society will feature local acts like Black Tractor, Fickle, The Hinges, The Infinity Ball, Langus, Luke Pace of The Terrors, Pike, Pale Beneath the Blue, Strip the Image and The Star Killers. Showtime is 9 p.m.
· R&B/Reggae crew Soulragga (along with Dayton's Seefari) open Saturday's concert at Annie's by Dancehall superstar Beenie Man. SR are gigging in support of their recent self-titled debut CD. Music starts at 9 p.m. and the show is open to music lovers 18 and up. (soulragga.com)
· Kim Taylor opens for celebrated singer/songwriter Amy Rigby on Saturday at The Loft above Tickets in Covington. Taylor, who continues to tour with Over the Rhine, recently found time to record her second full-length. Taylor tracked the album (no release date has been set yet) in New York City with local drum master Josh Seurkamp and New York-based guitarist/keyboardist Jimi Zhivago in early September. (kim-taylor.net)
· Popsters Chaselounge appear on local music radio show "Live City Licks" this Saturday at midnight on WAIF (88.3 FM). The band will discuss and play songs from their new CD, Black Plastic Ordinary, which is out Oct. 21. The band will celebrate the release with a show that night at Covington's Mad Hatter. (chaseloungemusic.com)
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com