· My first "blind item!" I feel like Cindy Adams. In the '90s, when The Afghan Whigs were becoming more and more well known, the band would sometimes book "super secret" shows at smaller clubs, going under assumed names like "Gato Negro" and "The Havana Sugar Kings." This Sunday, a certain local band with a national profile and gigs at much larger venues under their belt will play a free show at the Northside Tavern. The mystery band is going under the pseudonym "Cocktails and Dreams" (local rockers 1000 Arms and Hip Hop turntable crew Animal Crackers are also on the bill). Here's a hint — it's NOT The Afghan Whigs.
· That most subversive of holidays, 4/20, is coming up this Friday, and some of Cincinnati's most popular Jam bands are teaming up for a celebration at Stanley's Pub that night. Reggae faves Selecter, rootsy jammers Grand Oversoul and the Dead-lovin' Jerry's Little Band are scheduled to play the 9 p.m. shindig. Tickets are $10.
· There was a great piece in this past Sunday's Chicago Sun-Times about Bootsy Collins' efforts to turn the old King Records studios in Evanston into a museum honoring the crucial Cincinnati-based record label.
The story (go to our blogs at citybeat.wordpress.com for a direct link) says Collins is working with the Cincy Blues Fest to honor King at its event this summer. The article also includes quotes from councilman John Cranley (who is also working to get the old King building saved) and Darren Blase of Shake It Records.
· Artful instrumental experimentalists johnnytwentythree have a new album coming out, recorded with Paul Oldham (brother of the iconic Will) in Shelbyville, Ky. The disc features 60 minutes of music and three films. While not an official "release show," the band's Stephen Imwalle says they will have the CDs available this Friday at Kaldi's. For that free show, the group is joined by Abraham Smith, who appears on the new album.
· A lot of musicians were slow to react to the illegal war on Iraq, but not veteran Punk band SS-20. Their "Moron With a War On" was released three years ago. This Saturday, in "honor" of the fourth anniversary of the mistake in Iraq, the band is releasing a three-song CD titled Moron With a War On, which features a reworking of the title track, this time (like the rest of the songs) in an acoustic format. The disc also contains "These Days Let's Praise" (about Ohio's marijuana laws) and "Car Won't Start," one of the finest songs from the band's heyday. A release show is being held Saturday at the Mt. Washington Bakery (at the corner of Plymouth and Beechmont avenues), which is now home to a furniture and curio shop. The CD is available at Shake It Records.
· Local Jazz great, pianist Phil DeGreg, is celebrating the release of his latest CD, Down the Middle, Thursday at the Blue Wisp. For DeGreg's 10th release, he traveled to Los Angeles last summer to record a collection of originals and Jazz standards. The album also contains a song written by legendary Cincy Jazz saxophonist, Jimmy McGary, entitled "Palindrome." Discs will be available Thursday for $10.
· Musician/songwriter Roger Yeardley has revived his band, The Balance Allstars. The first version played in the late '90s and featured members of Circus of the Sun and New Age Insomniacs. The new band features Yeardley (guitar, bass, vocals), singer/drummer Doug Perry and Jim Lawson, also on guitar, bass and vocals. The band will have a rotating fourth member occasionally and other guests will also periodically join them. See who shows up when the group debuts this Friday at Fries Café in Clifton. And look for a CD from the band, due as early as next fall.
· Jeff Roberson, leader of local Folk/Rock group Len's Lounge, is going solo with his next release. Sorta. Roberson has been working on a disc in Nashville with some stellar session players, including guitarist Reggie Young (who played on Dusty Springfield's "Son of A Preacher Man" and Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds") and bassist Bob Babbitt (a member of the legendary Motown house band, the Funk Brothers). The album is in the mixing stage, but you can hear some roughs at myspace.com/jeffscottroberson. One of the songs available to hear is "Sam Nation," a tribute to the former frontman for the Country rockin' Thirteens who died tragically in a car accident last year. In related news, Roberson is having a party to celebrate his birthday this weekend. Roberson joins Knoxville's Mic Harrison (former member of the V-Roys and Superdrag) on Saturday at the Northside Tavern for the festivities.
· Congrats (once again!) to Cincinnati's Heartless Bastards, who were included in the initial lineup announcement for Lollapalooza, this year, taking place Aug. 3-5 at Chicago's Grant Park.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com