Local Pop/Rock trio Ellison release the EP indecisive and halfhearted on Friday at Top Cat's. Amy Hedges, Bulletproof Charm and The Scene open.
Ellison began two years ago as the Josh Hill Band (christened after the band's singer/guitarist), but lineup changes led to the new name. On their debut release, the threesome runs through six tracks of passionate and accessible Pop music. The songs bear some of the trademarks of "Emo," but there's a more graceful, grown-up edge. The yearning drips from Hill's voice on tracks like "Your Goodbyes" and "More at Ease," but his strong singing ability makes the songs flow poetically, avoiding the "whiny" pitfall other young bands routinely fall into when they wear their hearts on their sleeves. Everything about the EP is done remarkably well and professionally — from the performances, songs and studio clarity to the CD packaging and slick "behind the scenes" mini-documentary included on the disc. Though the songs never really jump out (Hill's low-key vocals and the slick production create a repetitive drone after a few listens), they are well put-together and certainly radio ready. Rock fans who like a little grit in their Pop will want to look elsewhere, but fans of almost scientific songcraft with an elegant, emotional core will easily buy what Hill and Co. are selling. Call it Adult Contemporary music for kids or Emo for adults — either way, Ellison have what it takes to take their career to the next level.
More Local Notes
· Ted Reisman of the local Bluegrass crew Rumpke Mountain Boys has started a canned food drive centered around several of the area's music venues. Club hoppers are encouraged to bring food items and drop them in the cardboard drums when heading out to the following clubs: Arlin's, The Viper Room, Arnold's, The Comet, Courtyard Cafe, Crow's Nest, Stanley's Pub, Foley's Pub, Jack Quinn's, The Mad Frog, Millions, Mt. Adams Pavilion, Northside Tavern, Rivertowne Bar & Grill, Shady O' Grady's, Stagge's Saloon and Tabby's American Grill (more venues are being added). The food will be donated to the FreeStore/FoodBank.
· The Southgate House show by local "Satanic Jug Band' Hogscraper on June 25 took on a different, weightier meaning after the band received word that local musician Scotty Duncan had died in a car crash on June 17. Duncan was the drummer for the Punk trio The Amoeba Men, one of the best bands from the local scene in the late '80s and early '90s. Duncan was joined in the band by Jason Knarr (now in Jackass) and guitarist Hank McLendon, now also known as Henry McHenry, the banjoist for Hogscraper. McLendon and his current bandmates decided to donate proceeds from the Hogscraper show to Duncan's wife and children. For others who wish to donate, a memorial fund in the name of Timothy Scott Duncan has been set up at the Union Savings Bank in Northside (6701 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45224-1009).
· Friday at Sudsy Malone's, four bands unite to pay tribute to D.J. Wise, the younger brother of local bassist Tim Wise (16 Piece Bucket, C.D.P.), who passed away recently. The show features C.D.P., The Effrays, The Socials and a reunited 16 Piece Bucket. Admission is free, but donations for Wise's family will be accepted at the door.
· The Rivertown Music Club, a monthly benefit/showcase of local, original music talent, has picked the winners of its first recording grant, given out in the memory of late local drummer, Red MacCormack. Saturday at the Blue Note in Price Hill, the Music Club honors winners G. Burton (of Hyde Park Outrage), Turnbull ACs and Kristen Key. Each receive $500 in grant money. The artists will also perform (it marks the debut full-band show for the Turnbulls), joined by fellow locals Cain, Drift, Cats Walking Backwards, patientZero, The Smitty's and host Kelly Thomas with her band, The Fabulous Pick-Ups.
· Cathedrals move on to the final round of the "Lollapalooza Battle of the Bands" contest at the Madison Theater Saturday. After advancing from last week's live play-off round, the quartet now has home-field advantage as they face the victors of the battles in Cleveland, Columbus and Chicago. The winner of Saturday's finals wins a slot at the two-day Lollapalooza fest in Chicago, July 23-24. Saturday's show is free.
· Len's Lounge frontman Jeff Roberson brings his "Murder Creek Assembly" Americana/Roots music night at the Northside Tavern to a close on Wednesday. The final edition of the series features singer/songwriters Emily Strand and Todd Lipscomb (of the Kentucky Struts), as well as a set from Roberson.
· Local Jam/Rock faves Grand Oversoul open Saturday's Rusted Root show at Bogart's. The band — currently working on their first full-length studio album — starts at 8:30 p.m. (grandoversoul.com)