Cover Story: Some Mic It Hot

The summer brings a slew of CD releases by area artists

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The film biz goes into blockbuster-sequel overdrive. The television world largely falls back on reruns. And the music suits prepare superstar album releases timed to an overly active touring season.

Yes, summer's here and the time is right for the entertainment industry to guess how to best siphon off your warm-weather spending money.

Of course, for independent local artists, the route to getting a CD on the shelves has less to do with target marketing and more to do with the realities of budget money, time off from work and/or school and general procrastination.

Summer isn't a particularly light or heavy time for local discs, but there is a horde of promising projects set to trickle out over the next few months. Here's a selective overview of just some of the Cincinnati area recordings scheduled for release, plus a spotlight on the more anticipated local efforts.

JUNE
Local label Nice Guy Records continues to build national attention with Bottom Line (pictured), who will spend their summer on the Van's Warped Tour. The label's June 17 release, Nice Guys Finish Last, should further spread the word to the Punk/Pop faithful. The compilation album, following the label's two previous successful various artist collections (Ohio and Beyond and Pop-Punk Fever), features local groups Bottom Line ("Nevertheless"), Curbsquirrels ("Rain to Snow") and Fling 10 ("Hopes Shot Down"), plus big-name national acts like Midtown (Bottom Line toured Japan with them last year) and Ultimate Fakebook. The disc, priced at a spare-change worthy $4.98, will be nationally distributed and available at Best Buy and on

 
Bottom Line



The film biz goes into blockbuster-sequel overdrive. The television world largely falls back on reruns. And the music suits prepare superstar album releases timed to an overly active touring season.

Yes, summer's here and the time is right for the entertainment industry to guess how to best siphon off your warm-weather spending money.

Of course, for independent local artists, the route to getting a CD on the shelves has less to do with target marketing and more to do with the realities of budget money, time off from work and/or school and general procrastination.

Summer isn't a particularly light or heavy time for local discs, but there is a horde of promising projects set to trickle out over the next few months. Here's a selective overview of just some of the Cincinnati area recordings scheduled for release, plus a spotlight on the more anticipated local efforts.

JUNE
Local label Nice Guy Records continues to build national attention with Bottom Line (pictured), who will spend their summer on the Van's Warped Tour. The label's June 17 release, Nice Guys Finish Last, should further spread the word to the Punk/Pop faithful. The compilation album, following the label's two previous successful various artist collections (Ohio and Beyond and Pop-Punk Fever), features local groups Bottom Line ("Nevertheless"), Curbsquirrels ("Rain to Snow") and Fling 10 ("Hopes Shot Down"), plus big-name national acts like Midtown (Bottom Line toured Japan with them last year) and Ultimate Fakebook. The disc, priced at a spare-change worthy $4.98, will be nationally distributed and available at Best Buy and on amazon.com.

On June 17, the three local bands play a CD release party for Nice Guys Finish Last at The Void in Northside.

· Abiyah will release the first single, "Freaky-Deaky Room," from her sophomore album, Onomatopoetic (release date to be determined). The "Floetry" queen says she wanted to get the single out in the summer, "due to the 'bump it in your Jeep' nature of the song."

· June 17 sees the release of Taking Flight, a Jazz/Rock/ Electronica full-length by local producer/musician Dan Scherbarth, who plays all of the instruments on the "mood-altering and atmospheric" album.

· Later in the month look for In a Sense, the debut EP from The Trent Affair, featuring local music vets Dan Souder, Jeff Conner and Dave Cupp. The release mixes Classic Rock influences like The Beatles and Dylan with NeoPop classics like Flaming Lips and Neutral Milk Hotel.

· The first album from the deliciously-named all-girl Indie Pop band Cincinnati Reds UK comes out through the datawaslost label.

· Bluegrass singer/instrumentalist Dwight McCall, who was raised in Cincinnati and has since gone on to wide acclaim in the Bluegrass world — besides playing with J.D. Crowe & The New South and other heavyweights, he was the singing voice of George Clooney on "Man of Constant Sorrow" in O, Brother Where Art Thou — will have his solo debut, Kentucky Peace of Mind, released on local label Lavenir Records.

· Rock quintet Eightfeet releases its second album, Waiting 'til Thursday ..., late in the month.

· Popular local Rock band Odd Man Out gets around to putting out its first full-length debut in late June. Besides unveiling the new disc at a CD release party, the group has also worked up a start-to-finish complete album "cover" of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon for the occasion.

· For Algernon, the new band fronted by local singer/songwriter and solo acoustic favorite Jason Wells, have slotted June 14 at the Southgate House for the release of its debut disc, Orange Watches & Lost Loves.

· "Papa Joe" Kretschmer, formerly of the Folk duo The Ditch Lilies, releases his second solo disc, Open Mike, early in June. The CD mixes his trademark humor with straightforward acoustic offerings.

JULY

DJ/musician/producer/techhead Boom Bip (aka Bryan Hollon (pictured)) earned international acclaim with his dazzling full-length Seed to Sun on Lex Records last year, leading to frothing reviews and European and U.S. tours. On July 1, his four-cut 12-inch EP, From Left to Right, gets a domestic release. The record is out in Europe now and has already received a five-star review in Muzik magazine, which called it "truly outstanding." The release features the new title track, which gradually cuts together live instruments (including some Thurston Moore-esque guitar) with electronic sounds, a nod to Bip's formation of a live band. The other three tracks are remixes from Seed to Sun — Boards of Canada icily rework "Last Walk Around Mirror Lake;" "The Unthinkable," Bip's collaboration with Indie Hip-Hop superstar Buck65, is retooled by Venetian Snares; and "Closed Shoulders" gets deconstructed by Why? and Odd Nosdam of the underground Hip-Hop project Clouddead. Another Boom Bip EP of new music and remixes is currently being prepared for a later summer release.

· A full-length from datawaslost honcho and Swissfarlo singer/guitarist Tim Heyl (going by the name Velcro One) is set for July 1.

· Local rockers Drift are hoping for a July release for their second effort, Follow the Day.

· Look for the new video and music CD release, The Enemy of All Good Times, from experimental project Roesing Ape. The disc is being released in conjunction with the dronedisco label/collaborative.

· Pop/Rock faves Hoodwink pop out the five-song EP, The Faces Of, on July 4, following a brief hiatus from the club circuit following replacement of their drummer.

· Ray Solinski, who plays acoustic on Wednesdays at Mount Adams' Blind Lemon, will release the fleshed-out Folk/Roots/Funk album Katie Bar the Door in late July. The album will feature cello, accordion and violin accompaniment.

One of the longest-running and hardest-working Indie bands on the local scene, Thistle, returns in superb form this summer with Tired Anchor, its third album and first in five years. It's also the trio's best work yet, with incredibly effective guitar-based songs that seem a shoe-in for college radio airplay (the band's previous efforts have done well on the CMJ charts). The disc is the latest from the band's label, Tiberius Records, which is also releasing several other new albums in the coming months, including the stunning debut from The Light Wires (featuring Thistle's Mike Montgomery and Rick McCarty on bass and drums), a new full-length from Covington (featuring current and former members of Ampline) and the third album by Columbus' Silo the Huskie. As always, Thistle plans to hit the road to support Anchor, so catch 'em locally while you can.

Buckra (pictured) follows up late 2000's The Fall of Porkopoplis with the charming So Many Weapons, slated for a July 4 release date (with a release party planned the same night at the Yorkshire Club). Fans of the band's playful, humorous and musically-sound blending of Pop, Hard Rock, loungy swing and dashes of Urban music won't be disappointed. Already princes on the local scene with their tireless promotional efforts, the strength of Weapons — from the production to the songwriting to the individual performances — bodes well for the band's further inroad into the national music mind-set. Tracks include Buckra neo-classics like "Bubble Gun Bandit" and "Shake Your Baby Fat" (previously released on the stop-gap EP Loose Gems) as well as lesser-heard cuts like the jazzy strut "Doomed," dirty rocker "Smoke Signals" and the Latin-tinged "Sweet Face."

Remarkable singer/songwriter/ guitarist Tracy Walker (pictured) has worked long and hard on her new release, All This Time, her first new product since 1998's Naked. And she's enlisted some ace talent to lend a hand. Walker has a thoroughly pro backing band for the project, including Blessid Union of Souls' Eddie Hedges (drums), keyboard master Ricky Nye, bassist Adam Sanregret, percussionist Charlie Schweitzer, guitarist George Simon and trumpeter Mike Wade, one of the best Jazz musicians in the region. Co-producing the disc is David Kuhn, who's worked with artists like Natalie Cole, Bob James, Earl Klugh and Joan Jett. San Francisco photographer Jim Block is shooting the cover art. "This project has come together through the talent, hard work and patience of all involved," Walker says, adding that the album will contain a mix of full-band songs and more stripped-down tracks.

AUGUST
· The first disc from local Indie datawaslost to garner national distribution, Coltrane Motion's No Well OK Maybe Just a Little, is being prepared for an Aug. 8 release. The project, headed up by DWL co-founder Michael Bond, will get national tour support in July and August.

· Singer/songwriter Zack Thomas will have a new album out in late August/early September. Tentatively titled Block, the CD will be out on Clear Records, with national distribution through Quicksilver Records & Distribution.

Bass god Freekbass (former SHAG bottom-end-holder Chris Sherman, pictured) and his eponymous band have managed to find time in their busy touring schedule to work on the follow-up to 2001's Body Over Mind, which was picked up last year for reissue and distribution in Japan. Back in the production chair is Funk legend and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Bootsy Collins. The new, as-yet-untitled disc also features some quality guest players, including Bootsy's brother Catfish Collins, guitar eccentric/KFC-bucket-as-headgear purveyor Buckethead and Richard Fortus, who played guitar in a late version of the Psychedelic Furs and Richard Butler's post-Furs band, Love Spit Love. One CD that probably won't see the shelves this summer is Guns 'N Roses' long-delayed Chinese Democracy, which — in an odd twist — could explain Fortus and Buckethead's availability for the Freekbass project. The two are members of Axl Rose's recent lineup of the Rock & Roll juggernaut.

SEPTEMBER

AltPop trio Promenade (pictured) have been at Group Effort Studios off and on ever since the release of their 2000 album, Save the Radio, one of the finest slabs of melodic Rock music released in Cincinnati since the last psychodots album. In that time, the band has played numerous regional shows, flirted with record labels and management deals and saved up money to pay for the recording, even playing "guest bartenders" this spring for a promotional stunt. Highlights from the band's live shows — including "Buttons" (a version of which has been available on a couple of compilation albums) and "Lazy Way" — are expected to be included on the album, which the band hopes will see the light of day in late August or September at the latest. The tentative title is Promenade — Part 1.

"The idea (for the album title is) that we've got all the material for Part 2 written," says singer/bassist Scott Cunningham. "And some of that has actually already been recorded. If we can do it right, we could release Part 2 within a year. Plus, the strategy will help keep a fire under us."

· The long-awaited new album from Wojo, How to Try Without Succeeding, is penciled in for release the first weekend of September.

· Singer Amy Lauren Ketchum of the local band Elation has put together the solo debut, Slippery Minutes, with producer/musician Kent Meloy. Ketchum calls the sound a mix of Darkwave, Electronica and Trip Hop.

· Kent Meloy has also constructed a new lineup for his band, Staring at the Sea. An EP featuring the new group, Ocean Loves Emotion, will be released in mid-September.

· Former Freekbass sideman and independent producer Edward Denton (a.k.a. Beta 17) is working on the funky Electronica full-length Aerodrome, in Chicago with production assistance from Bootsy Collins, Frankie Romano and Grammy-nominated Mousse T.

· Superb Indie trio The Sundresses releases its debut full-length CD through the datawaslost label.

· Singer/songwriter Tristen Shields will also make a datawaslost debut in September.



More info, links and song clips from most of the artists featured here can be found at CityBeat's local-music Audiofile Web site (music.citybeat.com).

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