New Greater Cincinnati Releases Galore

Northern Kentucky Indie Rock foursome Philosopher’s Stone is set to unveil its first full-length in a decade, When Life Rafts Begin To Fail, in conjunction with a free show at Covington’s Avenue Lounge this Saturday. The show opens at 9 p.m. with

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Northern Kentucky Indie Rock foursome Philosopher’s Stone is set to unveil its first full-length in a decade, When Life Rafts Begin To Fail, in conjunction with a free show at Covington’s Avenue Lounge this Saturday. The show opens at 9 p.m. with guest Andyman Hopkins. 

When Life Rafts Begin To Fail — which includes the music video for the ear-grabbing single “Paint” — is the band’s most consistent display of its slanted AltPop sound, which somehow manages to be hypnotically smooth and fluid, but also filled with constant curve balls. The band still utilizes space very well, something that makes them quite original, filtering in a stream of artsy, almost symphonic noise on “Quickly Slowly” without being jarring, for example, and inserting unexpected riffs throughout. Meanwhile, the variety of keyboard sounds (from Deep Purple grinding to New Wave twiddling) also adds to PStone’s sonic mystique. The group’s melodies are uniquely catchy, sticking with you as much for the phrasing and emotive way singer/guitarist Brad Denham delivers them as the notes used. Let’s hope it’s not another decade before the follow-up. (

• Saturday at the Northside Tavern, the most Alt AltCountry band in Cincinnati, the raucous, rollicking Cletus Romp, celebrates the release of its new recording, Snake Oil: half truths, outright lies and the gospel. Straw Boss and The Incline District also perform at the 10 p.m. show.

The words “swampy” and “backwoods” show up in the first sentence of Cletus Romp’s bio and there are few words to better describe the quintet’s unique approach to Americana music. Strutting somewhere between Tom Waits’ gruff yet grounded adventurousness and the Legendary Shack Shakers’ riotous abandon, Cletus Romp would make the perfect soundtrack for an LSD-assisted tour of the Florida Everglades. There’s a creepy quality to several songs on Snake Oil (“Cold Ground” has that spooky Screamin’ Jay Hawkins vibe), while a few tracks inch toward “normal,” like the surprisingly sweet ballad “Lullaby.” 

If you like your Roots music haunted, twisted, rockin’ and weird, Cletus Romp is your new favorite band. (

• It’s looking like the historic Emery Theatre on the border of Over-the-Rhine and Downtown is back in business. On Friday, the Emery hosts a dual album release party/concert in honor of two new releases from the label Ol Kentuck, run by SubPop recording artist and Northern Kentucky native Daniel Martin Moore. One of the albums is a vinyl release of producer/guitarist/composer Ric Hordinski’s Arthur’s Garden; the other is the first effort from a duo project consisting of Moore and singer Joan Shelley (pictured) titled Farthest Field. The event will also feature readings from authors Silas House and Marianne Worthington. It’s a great time to check out the Emery circa 2012 because the concert is also free. (

Rumors, Lies and General Misunderstandings

• R.E.M.’s 1988 mainstream breakthrough album, Green, will be the subject of a benefit for Northside’s Building Value, Inc. this week. Following BVI’s annual fundraiser, ReUse-apalooza, on Friday, Cincinnati rockers Messerly & Ewing will head up a Green tribute concert at the Northside Tavern at 10 p.m. The Messerly & Ewing band will become a Rockestra that night, joined by several local musicians as they play the seminal AltRock album, including Jazz pianist Chris Comer, singer/songwriter/guitarist Mike Fair and members of The Ass Ponys, Wussy, Seven Speed Vortex and Eagle to Squirrel. The show will also include a raffle of R.E.M. merch and memorabilia donated by the legendary band thanks to a friend of M&E’s from the R.E.M. camp. (

Also this Friday at the Northside Tavern (in the club’s front room), Ohio born and bred Hip Hop artist (and occasional CityBeat contributor) Ill Poetic is debuting a cool new music video for his track “Gone.” The 10 p.m. premiere party is free and DJing specialists Apryl Reign (featured in CityBeat’s recent cover story about the women of Cincinnati Hip Hop, “Where My Ladies At,” issue of April 11), DJ Rare Groove and DJ Pillo from Selectas Choice will spin. The video takes a look at Cincinnati and the local Hip Hop scene in the ’00s, when the MC/producer cut his teeth. Ill Po says, “This video is for all Cincinnati folks who lived through the riots, Scribble Jam and everything that happened in the early-mid 2000s, as well as the new scene of heads who love this city and its music scene.” Check Tuesday for the online debut of the clip. 


• Be sure to visit the music blog at every single day of the work week for “This Date in Music History,” a round-up of the live music in town that night and the latest news and notes for our splendid local music scene. 

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: [email protected] 

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