Camera Allura

Saturday at The Comet in Northside, local Indie/Electronic group (in)camera hosts a release party for their first recorded effort, a four-song, self-titled EP. Toledo's Stylex also performs. On the

Saturday at The Comet in Northside, local Indie/Electronic group (in)camera hosts a release party for their first recorded effort, a four-song, self-titled EP. Toledo's Stylex also performs.

On the EP (a "teaser" for the band's forthcoming full-length), the band showcases its groovy balance of hypermelodic Pop and tweaky, electro-fused, almost cinematic soundscapery. Bassist Jay McCubbin (also of The Wolverton Brothers) and ex-Roundhead drummer Bill Bullock provide the creative, air-tight pulse, while guitarist Robert Paquette decorates the tracks with ringing, expressive guitar work, which wraps itself around the band's imaginative, multifarious textures. Singer/keyboardists Shelagh Larkin and Susan Smith are (in)camera's focal point, as they layer waves of spacey sonics on top of each other, giving the group its distinct, adventurous "SynthPop" edge. Larkin and Smith's vocals are also vital, as they brilliantly bounce sublime melodies and countermelodies off of each other and harmonize like they've been singing together since birth. The synths and effects add a pleasurable '80s vibe (think the more progressive and artful of the '80s Post Punk bunch, not the Top 40 New Wave of the era), though the guitars give the EP a more modern context and you can hear echoes of everything from Stereolab to Lush to My Bloody Valentine in the mix. If the characterization "ElectroPop" leaves you with images of frigid, robotic drivel, let (in)camera show you there can be a more kaleidoscopic depth to it than you'd ever imagined. (incamerasound.com)

Mission of Ambition
"I let it all out with every exhale" is a line from the first track on Top 19.5, an abridged, "greatest hits"-type version of an ambitious new CD project from prolific local experimental Hip Hop artist Mission Man. The musician/rapper (known at birth as Gary Milholland) indeed lets it all out on the Complete Mission Man Collection, an exhaustive (and occasionally exhausting) career retrospective that includes 121 tracks covering nine years and over seven CDs worth of material.

The disc also contains album liner notes and artwork, photos, lyrics and a couple of video clips.

While, technically, Mission Man's music could be called "Hip Hop," this isn't for your typical Rap fan. Milholland's an interesting writer, but his blunted, often deadpan delivery would send Eminem or Jay-Z fans screaming (and when he actually "sings," well, let's just say Biz Markie may have a new duet partner). With a lo-fi, home-recorded base, the minimalist tracks are arty and don't really follow any of the established blueprints, resulting in a collagist, spoken word-meets-experimental music aesthetic that isn't for everyone. It's a bit like "outsider art," where you can't tell whether Milholland is trying to sound like Nas and this is what came out, or if he is intentionally trying to create something as unusual and downright weird as some of the tracks are (even the oddballs in the slanted Hip Hop coalition, Anticon, would find most of MM's tracks beyond bizarre).

The full Collection is available at cdbaby.com/missionman4, while the shorter Top 19.5 set is offered only at shows. Both releases will be available at Thursday's CD release party at the Mad Frog in Coryville. For more on Mission Man, go to myspace.com/missionman.

Blues News
· The Cincy Blues Society is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, and on Sunday at 5 p.m. they host a birthday shindig at the Mansion Hill Tavern in Newport. The event kicks off with the famous Cincy Blues Guitar Pull, a jam session featuring Chris Carero of Blue Lou and the Accusations, Marcos Sastre, Scott Covrett, Mike Tucker, Steve Priestle, Rick Leighton and Gregg and James Clark, the winners of this year's Cincy Blues Challenge in the solo/duo category. The Blues Challenge's big winners, the Sonny Moorman Group, play at 6:40 p.m., followed by Cheryl Renee and the Mr. Little Trio, Dick and the Roadmasters and Them Bones. The event is free and runs until 11 p.m.

· Speaking of Blue Lou and the Accusations, the long-running Blues band has returned to its regular Friday night gigs at Mansion Hill Tavern after a two-month hiatus. The band was working in new member Brian Aylor, a drummer who has also played with Ricky Nye, Natalie Wells and a host of others. The band plays the Tavern each Friday at 10 p.m.

· With most Blues gigs taking place in bars, it's difficult for younger bluesers to have an opportunity to work on their chops in front of a live audience. But the "Under 21 Blues Jam" is a new remedy, offering the non-drinking youth a chance to strut their stuff every Sunday at 4 p.m. at Burbank's in Sharonville. All players under 21 are welcome; sign-up sheets are available the day of the jam. (cincyblues.org)



CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com

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