Valentine's Day

The incredible, rootsy quintet The Hiders release its debut CD, Valentine, this Friday in conjunction with a show at alchemize. Locals pictureshow and wil-o-ee also perform. Valentine was recorded i

The incredible, rootsy quintet The Hiders release its debut CD, Valentine, this Friday in conjunction with a show at alchemize. Locals pictureshow and wil-o-ee also perform. Valentine was recorded in Nashville by Brad Jones, who has worked with artists like Josh Rouse, Jill Sobule and Marshall Crenshaw. Hiders singer/songwriter/guitarist Bill Alletzhauser first crossed Jones' path as a member of The Ass Ponys, who worked with Jones on a few albums.

Hovering in the Americana-sphere around artists from Neil Young and The Band to newer acts like Sparklehorse and The Thrills, Valentine is, in a word, mesmerizing. Alletzhauser, bassist Victor Strunk and drummer Todd Drake are also with atmospheric Indie faves Ruby Vileos, and if you know that band you'll have some sense of the warm, celestial glide prevalent on the album (singer Beth Harris and guitarist/pedal steeler Toby Ellis round out the lineup, while Dave Gilligan lends harmonica and Tyler Ramsey plays keys and guitar on the album). On opener "Everything I Wanted," Ellis offers pedal steel swells that illuminate like a sunrise, wrapping around Alletzhauser's organic, melancholic melodies and Harris' perfect harmonies (she is Emmylou to Alletzhauser's Neil). There is a natural hypnotic glaze to most of tracks, as the acoustic and electric guitars and the sweeping rhythms combine to create a billow of irresistible ethereality.

Other highlights on the album include the Greek mythology-referencing "Persephone," which rattles the cage a little more than most tracks with its distorted, lost-in-the-woods-at-night guitar stomp; the trembling, gently-rolling lullaby for a departing lover "Magic Show"; the twilight-twinkling "You Can't Hurt Me Anymore"; and "Bury Me," which recalls the earlier roots-rockin' days of Wilco. But highlights, shmilights ­ there isn't a dud in the bunch here.

The songs are full of drama and soul, possessing an imposing majesty and a vibe of sober sorrow that makes Valentine a perfect "shoulder to cry on" CD for anyone going through a soul-crushing breakup. With an album this amazing under their belts, there's no hiding for The Hiders anymore. The race for best Cincinnati-spawned CD of 2006 just got a frontrunner.

SXSW Redux
Didn't have the money or time to go to the South By Southwest music fest/conference earlier this month? Kicking yourself for missing all of the great regional acts who made the trek to Austin? This Thursday, you can make up for it at the Southgate House, as five acts who might or might not have recovered from their SXSW hangovers perform. The show is dubbed "OHxINxKY," referencing the state homebases of the five acts performing (that's the ol' Tristate Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, for those initials-reading-challenged). The show features a good slice of on-the-rise talent — representing Cincinnati/Ohio are Wussy and Peter Adams, while Northern Kentucky's Minni-Thins big-up for the Bluegrass State. Two great Indiana acts round out the bill — fantastic Country Folk troubadour Otis Gibbs, who met Brit Folk legend Billy Bragg at the recent SXSW fest (they both played an impromptu concert for an Austin soup kitchen) and so impressed him that he asked Gibbs to tour with him, and Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, a trio specializing in vintage Blues stylings. Showtime is 9 p.m. and admission is $6.

More Local Notes
· Local rockers Lorenzo are ready to roll with their debut CD, Love Shape Bruise, which is due out June 6 on local EO Records and distributed nationally by Universal. The album's first single, "Nothin' Left to Talk About," is already doing gangbusters on Rock radio, including major play on WEBN. The band will get the locals ready for the release with their first headlining show in the area (first as Lorenzo, that is ­ the band is a reworked version of the late Echo Park), this Friday at Annie's. The group is joined by Rootbound and Langus for Friday's big gig. (lorenzolounge.com)

· Country/Metal band Liquid Fire performs Friday at Rising Sun, Indiana's Grand Victoria Casino's ballroom for a concert benefiting the family of Jeremy Ludeker, a close friend of the band who was killed in a car accident. The money raised ­ a limited-edition Jack Daniel's Peavey guitar will also be raffled off — helps cover funeral and gravestone costs. Liquid Fire, fresh off a three-week tour of the south, is currently prepping for a new full-length release, due later this year. Showtime is 8:45 p.m. and admission is $10. (lfire.com)



CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com

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