Greater Cincinnati indie label Phratry Records (phratryrecords.com) turns 10 years old this month, and to celebrate the label is doing what it does best — releasing some great music from some of the area’s finest Rock, Post Punk and Punk acts encased in some dazzling packaging. (A documentary film about the label is also in the works and the label will present a two-day concert in October in honor of its milestone anniversary.)
At the beginning of August, Phratry issued (on 12-inch vinyl) the great double EP Fake Bulbs/Phone Commercial by Noise Punk trio Gazer. To close out the month, the label released Sank for Days, a new six-track effort from local rockers Mad Anthony. It is Phratry’s 45th release overall.
Sank for Days — released nationally on Aug. 26 and available as a download and on CD and very cool clear vinyl with embedded nautical-themed art — will be feted this Friday at Newport’s Southgate House Revival (southgatehouse.com). Mad Anthony’s release party is a “whole house” affair (utilizing all three of the club’s performance stages) and open to all ages. Showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $7. The strong lineup also includes Ampline, Honeyspiders, Knife the Symphony, Ohio Knife, Smoke Signals … and others.
Last summer, Mad Anthony’s future momentarily appeared to be in question after the hard-touring trio suffered a serious accident, its tour van sliding off the road and slamming into some trees near Louisville, Ky. Besides equipment and van damage, the members suffered injuries, the most serious of which was drummer Marc Sherlock’s fractured vertebrae. But not only did they survive the accident, the musicians packed up and continued touring from coast to coast (with a sub filling in for Sherlock until he was ready to rock again), making Mad Anthony of the most indestructible bands you’ll ever encounter.
The band also wrote Sank for Days in the aftermath of the accident. Press materials for the release say the intention wasn’t to write about the accident, but themes of resiliency in the face of turmoil naturally worked their way into the songs. There are a few moments that seem particularly autobiographical. On the kick-off track “The Bottom,” singer/guitarist Ringo Jones sings, “Must be a reason that I’m still alive/Stumblin’ from town to town, from dive to dive/I’ve seen much stronger men fall victim to themselves/Don’t let it be the end while there’s still a tale to tell.”
To varying degrees, it’s a theme that repeats itself throughout the recording. But even if you don’t understand English, the music speaks a similar story, with eruptive, triumphant choruses intermingling with darker sonic moments. Like Queens of the Stone Age or Screaming Trees, Mad Anthony finds the sweet spot between Hard Rock and Punk/Post Punk, as well as light and darkness, and they caress that spot to great effect on Sank for Days. Jones and guitarist Adam Flaig intertwine their six-string work like snakes alternately wrestling and dancing, often locking in on tight, punctuating riffs that are buoyed by Sherlock’s remarkable and creative drumming.
Mad Anthony is not only one of Cincinnati’s most beloved original Rock bands, its also one of its best. If there was ever any doubt, Sank for Days shatters them instantly upon first listen. It’s the sound of a band that is hell bent on seeing a million faces and rocking them all, no matter what obstacles are thrown its way. (madanthonyband.com)
More Local Notes
• On Sunday, a few clubs/bars with decent views of this year’s WEBN Fireworks on the Ohio River are charging big bucks for the honor of drinking in their establishment and watching the sky light up from its confines. At Thompson House (thompsonhousenewport.com) across from Newport on the Levee, you can do all of that and listen to some live, original local music … all for $10. The club will have a variety of music on three stages for the all ages show, which begins at 5 p.m. Slated to appear at Rockin’ by the Riverfest III are Mary Cries Red, Technicolor Monster, Altered, Stellanova, Gods Below Us, Tara Lynn and many more. The club will empty out around 9 p.m. so attendees can watch the light show from its lawn; music starts back up again immediately after the fireworks.
• The 2014 MidPoint Music Festival, featuring nearly 150 performers from all over the world (including a large number of homegrown acts) in venues throughout Over-the-Rhine and Downtown, is just a month away (Sept. 25-27). Those planning on attending who have yet to purchase tickets should do so pronto to save some money. Three-day passes are $69 until Tuesday, when the price increases to $79. Get yours now at mpmf.cincyticket.com and be sure to pick up CityBeat (which owns and operates the fest) on Sept. 10 for our annual MPMF guide. (mpmf.com)