· Impressively brutal local Metal crew Azygous celebrate their new CD release, Whiskey Driven Hate Machine, this Friday at the Mad Hatter in Covington. The fast and furious band — which plays what they self-describe as "Whiskey Core Metal" — has put out various releases since forming in 2002, but Whiskey Driven is being presented as the band's first "official" long-player. Azygous hopes to build on the connections and fan bases it has grown through hard touring, and they already have plans for another full-length album. Friday's show is loaded with some of the band's area Metal peers, including Pain Link, Retribution, Dead Broke, All Fall Pray, Corruption of Blood and Blood Born. The all-ages show kicks off at 7 p.m. (azygous420.net)
· If you're ears aren't ready to bleed, perhaps the release party for Kevin Fox's new solo acoustic album is more your speed. The excellent local songwriter is throwing a shindig to celebrate the CD, Deep Sleepers, this Friday at the Play by Play Café in Silverton. Special guests (including members of Fox's self-titled band) will be sitting in and Working Class Villain performs after Fox's 7 p.m. show. While Fox can write a snappy Pop song as good as anyone, he feels Deep Sleepers is more about deeper personal experiences (though there is still evidence of Fox's sharp wit). The $10 cover charge includes a copy of the new CD.
· Sunday is the release date for the new CD from Elaine Diehl, Different Drum. Though she's been performing around town for the past 25 years — playing everything from Rock with local faves Elaine and Biscayes to Big Band Jazz with Lee's Junction Big Band — this is Diehl's first solo album. Diehl gets a hand from several locals on the disc — Country singer/songwriter Danny Frazier duets with her on the title track; Paul Bromwell (Diehl's musical partner in the Bromwell-Diehl Band) and Jan Diehl (Elaine's real-life partner) produce; and Joani Lacy, Chris Goins, Jim Swartwout, Joel Bruce and Ted & Dixie Karas also appear on the disc. You can catch Diehl promoting the album a couple of times this weekend. On Saturday at 7 p.m., Diehl will premiere the CD on Mr. Rhythm Man's show on WNKU (89.7 FM; wnku.org). Friday night, catch Diehl with Elaine and the Biscaynes at Maloney's at 9 p.m.
· Former local Pop/Rock band Marking Twain moved to Chicago a few months ago and location wasn't the only thing that changed for the group. The members have also decided on a new name, Hey Hostage. The band's first show in Cincy with the new name takes place this Friday at the 20th Century Theatre in Oakley. The band has made three new songs downloadable for free on their MySpace site (myspace.com/heyhostage). Speaking of name changes, Oval Opus — who co-headline Friday — are also switching monikers. Through a contest on its Web site, the band settled on "Scarlet Kings," which will become their name on Jan. 1.
· It's been nine months since The Minni-Thins have played Cincinnati, but the band is back this week for two shows. Singer/guitarist Jeremy Strickland moved to New York City at the beginning of the year, but the band is still working on new music. A new single, Chorus of the Zombie Apocalypso, is available now as a free download at myspace.com/minnithins or you can pick up a copy at any of their live shows. The band's sophomore album, That Old Kentucky Blackgrass, is near completion and due out this winter. Thursday, The Minnis play the Poison Room with Celebrity Pilots, Wolfy, Arch and The Dollyrots. The band performs a free show at the Northside Tavern Friday with The Chocolate Horse and The Spanish Prisoner.
More Local Notes
· The area's finest photographer of musicians, Michael Wilson, is presenting an exhibition of some of his work Wednesday at York Street Café. Wilson — who has shot everyone from Over the Rhine and Kim Taylor to The Replacements to David Byrne — is celebrating the opening of his new portrait studio, The Daylight Portrait. For the York Street party, Faux Frenchmen and the Comet Bluegrass Allstars perform. Many of the photos are a part of a silent auction, which benefits the International Adoption Center. To preview some of the portraits to be auctioned, go to daylightportrait.com.
· Wussy's second album, Left For Dead, got its national release recently, and the press has left a trail of fawning reviews in response. The band scored four-star reviews in both Spin and Rolling Stone. Wussy cheerleader Robert Christgau (who championed the band's last record, Funeral Dress) writes in Rolling Stone that the band's music is like "a Yo La Tengo too tight to get cute or far out dispensing a Velvet Underground derivative fluent enough to warm the erectile tissue of anyone with a thing for guitar drones." But he still liked their last album better (must have warmed his erectile tissue even more). No Depression, Magnet and several other press outlets have followed suit with similarly adoring praise. (wussymusic.com)
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com