· Indie popsters MercuroChrome release their debut CD, Is That What They Want, Friday at Northside Tavern. The band is joined by openers Staggering Statistics, featuring bassist John Curley, who also produced MercuroChrome's album. The four-piece features former Morals Galore singer/guitarist Brian Stegeman and showcases the new band's killer melodic instincts and dynamic song structures on tracks like the Elvis Costello-ish "Weatherman" and the slap-happy, Brit Invasion shaker "Out of Town." Get a teaser taste of the CD at myspace.com/mercurochromerocker.
· Buffalo Killers, the new project from Zachary and Andrew Gabbard (formerly of the late Thee Shams), have signed the dotted line with California label Alive Records, which is releasing the trio's self-titled debut Oct. 10 (the record comes out in September in the UK). Home to releases from The Black Keys, Soledad Brothers and Two Gallants, Alive is a "brother label" to esteemed underground Punk/Rock imprint Bomp Records. The Killers, whose sound goes deeper into the mind-tickling Psych Pop hinted at on the last Shams album, perform a free show Friday at The Comet in Northside. (buffalokillers.com)
· Earlier this year the local band Leisure slathered on glitter and eye-makeup, donned boas and other shiny thrift-store duds and took the stage of Newport's Southgate House for what turned into a couple of solid hours worth of immaculately played David Bowie tunes, including the entirety of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. It was a jaw-dropping performance that nailed practically every nuance and vocal inflection from Bowie's masterpiece. What would they do for an encore?
Well, the same thing (it was so good, why not?). The band is reprising the performance Friday at the Southgate House. Leisure's set of non-Ziggy Bowie material has been tweaked to include five songs not played last time out. Jason Arbenz from Goose and Wake The Bear open the show. For some samples from the last show (as well as some of the band's own fantastic Pop/Rock material), go to leisureband.com.
· Local Hip Hop DJ/producer Hi-Tek seems primed to top his classic solo debut, 2001's Hi-Teknology, with the forthcoming Hi Teknology 2 — at least judging from the looks of the guest list. Tek's new release features appearances from Talib Kweli, Common and Mos Def (who all appeared on his debut) as well as heavyweights Nas, The Game, Snoop Dogg, Slim Thug, Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes. The album is due Oct. 10 on Babygrande Records, the label home to artists like GZA and Jedi Mind Tricks. It's also been announced that Tek's protégé, Cincinnati Soul singer Dion (who appeared on the debut album from The Game last year and has also guested on releases by 50 Cent, Xzibit and 213), has signed with Dr. Dre's Aftermath label. Tek, who discovered Dion during a Cincinnati-area talent search, will produce some tracks on the singer's debut. (hi-teknology.com)
· The annual Cincy Blues Cookout, presented by the Cincy Blues Society (fresh off another successful Cincy Blues Fest at Sawyer Point), returns Sunday with a new home. Usually the cookout takes place at Lunken Playfield, but new rules disallow alcohol there. So the cookout will now take place at Goebels Park in Covington's Mainstrasse Village (near the clock tower). The food starts cookin' and the beer starts flowin' at noon, with music beginning at 12:30 p.m. with the famous "Cincinnati Blues Guitar Pull," featuring local axe-slingers like Dick Buchholz, Jim Dews, Jerry Hedge, Lightnin' Tim Jacoby, Smokin' Joe Kowis and Kurtis. Throughout the day, you can catch sets from local Blues luminaries like the Cheryl Renee Blues Band, John Redell and the Company He Keeps, Jerry Hedge and II Juicy, who will be heading to Memphis to represent Cincinnati at the International Blues Challenge this February. Admission is $10 and proceeds go to the "Blues in the School" program. (cincyblues.org)
· On Saturday, Covington's Mad Hatter hosts this year's benefit concert for the Eric D. Meyer Scholarship Fund. Meyer was a local writer, poet and spoken word artist who died in 2003, and his family set up the fund to financially support a poetry scholarship set up in his name at Northern Kentucky University. Various benefit shows have helped push the fund up to more than $20,000, making it one of the highest scholarships awarded at NKU (according to the memorial Web site, ericdavidmeyer.com). Saturday's benefit show features music from Mara, Pale Beneath the Blue, Sunday Matinee and The Great Depression.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com