Super 77 celebrates the release of its new album, The Ghost of Howard, Saturday at alchemize. The group is joined by And How, And Andy and the Elliott Ruther Trio for the 9 p.m. event. Attendees get a free, limited edition two-CD Howard package that includes the album, plus a lyric booklet and a bonus disc featuring unreleased tracks and covers of The Cars' "Just What I Needed" and Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer."
The Ghost of Howard is a buoyant, jovial Pop/Punk/Rock album with loads of energy and a silly, domineering sense of humor. Besides the strong lead vocals, muscular harmonies and tight performances, Super 77 succeeds with ambitious arrangements and songwriting that doesn't always stick rigidly to the Pop handbook. The band has more in common with Weezer than any of today's "Punk Pop" boy bands — the sublime "Day in the Sun" and "Shazam the Destroyer!" (and the goofy "Hot Dog Song") recall the days before Rivers Cuomo and Co. became the new Smash Mouth. But "A Scientist Loves the Creature From the Black Lagoon" and "Air Clean Damper" are the album's centerpieces, with relatively epic structures showcasing the band's ability to utilize a wide angle lens where other bands only have the vision of a Polaroid Instamatic.
As you can tell from the song titles, there's a lot of mirth in 77ville. But there's a smartness underlying even the silliest lyrics.
Reading the band's lyric sheet is a bit like watching a really good romantic comedy in the vein of Billy Wilder's The Apartment — there are plenty of laughs, but there's more at work here than just hot dog jokes. A thicker mix (or perhaps better guitar tones) could have given some of the songs the beefiness they deserve. But, as it stands, Howard is a solid representation of one of Cincinnati's more promising young bands. (super77.org)
Meadoe unveils its debut long-player, Cincinnati Whether, Friday at The Comet. Joining the twosome for the release shindig are The Chocolate Horse and The Invitational.
Bands from The White Stripes to The Kills to Fiery Furnaces have made the two-person format a popular motif in the past few years. But Meadoe forges its own path on Whether (though comparisons to The Kills wouldn't be way off base), surging through full, bombastic stompers and sparser, sparkling Indie Pop nuggets with equal poise. The Meadoe music makers — Rob Deslongchamps and Krista Gregory — switch off on everything (guitar, drums, vocals, songwriting), giving the album a contrasting yet cohesive fluidity. Highlights include "Beautiful," with harmonies and a melody that sound like a lost Scrawl track, the slicing riffage and tambourine shimmy of "No Bass," the sweeping acoustic lo-fi-ness of "Something Still" and the blissfully erratic, "Insane," which starts and stops and speeds up and slows down more than the No. 31 Metro (and contains this non sequitur gem: "Mary Tyler Moore got fat from eating cookies"). The D.I.Y. album was recorded in the band's practice space, and candid conversational snippets sneak in between songs, all of which gives the album a warm, informal vibe that is incessantly charming. But it is the duo's spontaneous way with songwriting that is most alluring; the songs' winding, playful structures and evocative melodies will have you retreating to this Meadoe time and time again. (meadoe.com)
More Local Notes
· The "Zippo Hot Tour" battle of the bands competition comes to town with a series of live playoffs, starting Friday at Jefferson Hall. Following the online voting stage of the contest, the last bands standing are Severed, In-Rage, Arrival, Defunct Red, Session 9, The Times, Strip the Image and Sohio. Two bands square off on each night of the playoffs; Defunct Red and Strip the Image play Friday's kick-off. The playoffs continue Sept. 16 at Jefferson Hall and move to the Mad Frog on Sept. 23 and 30. The ultimate winner of the contest (nine other cities are participating) gets a chance to showcase for Capitol Records, around $100,000 in prizes and an opening slot for an 11-city tour with a national headliner. (zippohottour.com)
· The Staggering Statistics, The Thirteens, Campfire Crush and Mercurochrome play The Greenwich in Walnut Hills Saturday. The funds raised go to Joe and Carla Tucker, proprietors of Tuckers Restaurant in Over-the-Rhine. The Tuckers recently lost their 7-month-old grandson to SIDS, and the money will help keep their business afloat while they deal with their loss. Music starts at 9:30 p.m.