There's a lot of action in Kim Taylor's world these days. The singer/songwriter (who nabbed the 2004 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Singer/Songwriter of the year) is slated to perform in Texas with her full band (Amos Heller, Josh Seurkamp and Ric Hordinski) at this year's South By Southwest music fest/conference in mid-March. Before that, she'll head out on the road with Over the Rhine, opening for the group and also singing back-up for them, as they gear up for the March 29 release of their new Virgin/Backporch release, Drunkard's Prayer. But before all of that, she'll be doing a "post-Valentine's Day" show with her band at the York Street Café in Newport on Friday (NYC's Anne Heaton opens). The show also marks the official 10th anniversary of live music at York Street.
Taylor's most recent release is a short but sweet five-song EP, aptly titled Extended Play, which builds on the dreamlike nature of her impressive debut, 2002's So Black, So Bright, and takes it even further, in terms of the strength of songwriting and atmospheric seasoning. The EP is as nuanced as a whisper, but it is far from background music. The woozy, soul-tingling nature of Taylor's dazzling voice is instantly grabbing, floating on the same celestial plain as Billie Holiday and Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval.
Narcotic Dream Pop rooted in organic flavoring, Taylor's songs are mysterious and evocative, favoring subtlety over the direct hit. Even with something out of the ordinary, like the Reggae rhythm of "Maggie," Taylor, her band and the production conjure a smooth glide of otherworldly airiness that is entrancing.
"The Drive" is an elegiac ballad that soars like a Gospel song, while "Telephone" majestically hovers like a lost Joshua Tree-era U2 outtake. The entire EP is nothing short of gorgeous.
Many in town have reckoned it's only a matter of time before Taylor garners a record deal and wider recognition. With a calling card like Extended Play under her belt, it's a marvel it hasn't happened already. (kim-taylor.net)
On Saturday, Dayton, Ky.'s Gardenhose is set to release their latest CD, Epiphany, with a show at the Southgate House. While the band continues in the familiar vein of their radio-friendly album, Strangely In Between, Epiphany is appropriately named, as the band seems to have landed on a sound more of their own making and less directly inspired by today's biggest Rock hit makers. The songs on Epiphany are more fully realized and less predictable, resulting in zealous Pop Rock driven by a beefy rhythm section, grinding, occasionally heavy guitars and hooky melodies. The band is no less accessible; you can imagine these songs sandwiched comfortably into any "New Rock" radio station's playlist. Singer Brad Fiedler's voice rings with matchbox 20-type melodrama, but this time out it seems less forced and more natural (and the band rocks much harder than the matchboxers). Though not a reinvention of the wheel, Gardenhose's more developed sound will appeal to fans of commercially-viable Rock & Roll with a Pop bent. (gardenhosemusic.com)
More Local Notes
· Electronica and its various forms will be on glorious display at Friday's "Electrofest" at the Southgate House. Show organizer Amy Whitaker, singer of the local Electro Pop band, Diet Audio, says she founded the event to draw attention to the quality Electronic acts in the Cincinnati area as well as some from out of town. Despite being home to some good Electro artists, Cincinnati isn't exactly known as a hotbed for the genre. Along with Diet Audio (which mixes acoustic instruments with loops and samples), Electrofest features Cincy "Trip Pop" duo Hungry Lucy, Cleveland's multi-media "Electro Rock" darlings, Infinite Number of Sounds, Portland's The Wanteds (see Sound Advice, page 34), Dayton's My Latex Brain, the more experimental Cincinnati-area group 24 Hour Flu (which uses lap tops, synths and power drills) and organic, locally-based Trip Hop duo Entheos. DJ The Late Circuit spins between sets. Proceeds benefit the Save the Animals Foundation (staf.org). Showtime is 9 p.m.
· Local Rockers Deceiving Ralph come off of a self-imposed hiatus Friday for a show at Top Cat's in Corryville that also features "Japunk" band The Spunks (see Sound Advice, page 34), The Gravity Car and Super 77. Deceiving Ralph has spent the last 13 months working on its third full-length CD, which the band says is more mature and a departure from their usual "two-minute long, three-chord, goofy Pop Punk songs." Music starts at 9:30 p.m. (deceivingralph.org)