12:15 a.m. Tyler Childers & The Foodstamps (Paintsville, Ky.)
Spawning from a working-class coal town in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains might sound like an Americana artist cliché, but it is Paintsville, Ky. native Tyler Childers’ reality. The soulful singer/songwriter (who now works out of Lexington) writes with a poetic, observational depth that belies his youth (he’s in his early 20s), and frequent touring has helped him build a growing following across the region, including here in Cincinnati. While perfectly capable of captivating audiences with just his voice and an acoustic, Childers also amps things up and tours with West Virginia rockers DeadBeats and Barkers as Tyler Childers & The Foodstamps.
You’ll Dig It If You Dig: Drive-By Truckers, Jeremy Pinnell, Ray Lamontagne. (Mike Breen)
11 p.m. Ona (Huntington, W.V.)
Indie Roots Rock
There’s a dash of twang in the rockin’ stylings of Ona, perhaps unavoidable for a band straight outta West Virgina named after a tiny rural town in the state. But mostly Ona makes kick-ass, straightforward Rock & Roll loaded with energy, passion and solid melodies. The band has released a pair of singles to date, but on the night of Ona’s MidPoint performance, the group’s debut long-player, American Fiction, will be released via W.V. label Twin Cousins Records (PopMatters debuted the album’s sizzling first single, “Rocks in the Basement,” earlier this summer). Keep flammables away from the stage — once Ona gets rolling, sparks fly.
YDIIYD: Old 97s, Steve Earle, Wilco, Tom Petty. (MB)
9:45 p.m. Elk Creek (Cincinnati)
Cincy’s Elk Creek started drawing local attention with the release of 2014’s Greenfield Project EP and subsequent shows supporting it. The group’s unique spin on Roots/Americana music — which eschews clichés and blends in Modern Rock and Blues influences — helped the group stand out from the crowd, as did its creative incorporation of harmonica as a lead instrument. The group recently went through a lineup crisis when founding member Brad Smith, a vital part of its sound, left Elk Creek. But the band bounced back, with bassist Nick Whittenburg moving into the vacated guitar slot and BJ McKinney of Sohio joining to play bass, mandolin and keyboards. The band is planning to start work on a new recording with the refreshed Elk Creek lineup (and more rocking sound) after its MidPoint appearance.
YDIIYD: Shannon Hoon returns from the dead, embraces Americana music (but can’t let go of his Rock & Roll passions) and masters the harmonica. (MB)
8:30 p.m. Arlo McKinley & the Lonesome Sound (Cincinnati)
Tim Carr had been kicking around the Cincinnati music scene for a while, playing in Punk bands and then teaming with celebrated local singer/songwriter Jeremy Pinnell to form the folksier Great Depression. But, despite encouragement from his peers who knew better, he lacked the confidence in his writing to move to the front of the stage. As a result, his alter ego, Arlo McKinley, was born, and one of the city’s best Folk/Americana songwriters emerged from the transformation. With his ace band The Lonesome Sound, McKinley recorded and released a remarkable self-titled album in 2014, cementing the arrival of a major talent in Cincinnati’s rich Roots music scene.
YDIIYD: A musical shoulder for the brokenhearted to cry on, Gram Parsons, Neil Young. (MB)
CHRISTIAN MOERLEIN BREWING CO. (ALL AGES)
10:45 p.m. Heartless Bastards (Austin, Tex.)
In the past decade, Heartless Bastards has been transformed from a local band with world-class talent to a world-class band that has never once forgotten its local roots. Thank Erika Wennerstrom for that deft bit of art-before-commerce hand-jivery. The Bastards’ blistering frontwoman has somehow achieved the perfect balance of ambition, drive and ego to create an increasingly impressive catalog of music while remaining humble enough to insist none of it is that big of a deal. For instance, Restless Ones stands among the Bastards’ finest work, and it’s being touted as a best-of-2015 frontrunner and yet, other than slightly better-produced videos, Heartless Bastards isn’t greasing the path to the bigger time at the expense of their dignity, ethics or loyal fan base. Although Wennerstrom’s brand of sincerity can’t be taught, her approach (and reaction) to fortune and fame is a lesson to all musical up-and-comers. Bring the goods, be someone (instead of becoming someone) and be better than your reviews when you take the stage. That’s success, the Heartless Bastards’ way.
YDIIYD: Tom Petty channels ’60s Rock chicks while playing arena-scaled garage-band riffs. (Brian Baker)
9:30 p.m. Alberta Cross (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Alberta Cross was formed in London in the ’00s by Sweden native Petter Ericson Stakee. After playing just a few shows, the singer/guitarist and since-departed co-founder Terry Wolfers were signed to Geffen Records (and Fiction Records in the U.K.), which released The Thief & the Heartbreaker EP in 2007. After traveling to Brooklyn the following year to work on its first long-player, the band decided to relocate permanently. ATO Records (the label co-founded by Dave Matthews) released the band’s first album, Broken Side of Time, in 2009, and the band began relentlessly touring the world, hitting up every major music festival you can think of in the process. Second album Songs of Patience came out in 2012, after which Wolfers left for a solo career and Stakee reconfigured the band lineup again. In October, the third Alberta Cross album, a self-titled affair, will be released on Dine Alone Records.
YDIIYD: Oasis reborn as Band of Horses, The Verve reborn as My Morning Jacket. (MB)
8:15 p.m. The Donkeys (San Diego, Calif.)
The endearing Indie Pop of The Donkeys is built on a variety of influences (they have a sitar and aren’t afraid to use it), but tying it all together are cranium-snuggling melodies and a gauzy, warm feel that conjures images of a chilled drive to a Pacific Coast beach and cranking up some ’70s AM radio gold on the car stereo. The band formed just over a decade ago in San Diego (which explains the beach vibe), and has released four albums to increased acclaim since. The group’s most recent album was 2014’s mesmerizing Ride the Black Wave, which was likened by critics to Pavement, The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Grateful Dead upon its release (though the band’s sound shape-shifts so often, pinning it down with comparisons can be misleading). Black Wave was reportedly completed in 2012, but delayed after The Donkeys left the Dead Oceans label to join the roster of the new L.A. imprint, Easy Sound Recording Company. The delay also pushed back the release of a new Donkeys’ EP (now slated for later this year), so fans will probably hear at least a few new tunes during the band’s MPMF set.
YDIIYD: The Elephant 6 Indie Pop collective goes on a company retreat to a tropical island, but ends up just chilling out on the beach and doing endless bong hits instead of lame team-building exercises. (MB)
7:15 p.m. Ancient Warfare (Lexington, Ky.)
Since their scintillating appearance at last year’s MidPoint, Ancient Warfare (guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Echo Wilcox, violinist Rachael Yanarella, multi-instrumentalist Emily Hagihara) has added Oh Me My bassist Derek Rhineheimer to the lineup and finally released their long-anticipated debut full-length -— the cinemascopic soundtrack to the apocalypse, The Pale Horse. Ancient Warfare is a potent sonic concoction that blends cacophony and melody, density and delicacy, expanse and intimacy, while applying its substantial gifts to a veritable record store of influences and genres. Like the daylight dark of an eclipse or the smoldering ash of burned love letters, Ancient Warfare finds exquisite beauty in the gray absence of light.
YDIIYD: Johnette Napolitano recreates Concrete Blonde as The Velvet Underground in the 21st century. (BB)
THE DRINKERY PRESENTED BY CINCYMUSIC.COM (AGES 21 AND UP)
12:15 a.m. Vinyl Williams (Los Angeles)
Indie Psych Pop
Listening to Vinyl Williams is like listening to Vinyl Williams listening to Vinyl Williams. That is to say, when we listen to his layers upon layers of intricate “sonic matrices” — loaded with reverb, languid vocals and Shoegaze-y echo-chamber revelry —we’re probably incredibly close to what Vinyl Williams wants us to hear, thanks to his deft musical mastery. A native of Los Angeles and the grandson of legendary film composer John Williams, Lionel “Vinyl” Williams (who plays live shows with a full band) has a firm grasp on his vision of Psychedelic Pop by way of Chillwave, incorporating clever distortions, muddied guitars and wandering synth lines, which yield fluttering, gleaming psychedelic sound bites that resonate long after the dust has settled.
YDIIYD: Toro y Moi, Jesse Ruins, Lotus Plaza, Tycho. (Leyla Shokoohe)
11 p.m. American Wrestlers (St. Louis)
One-man, lo-fi, bedroom Indie Pop can be a tricky channel to navigate. A single creative source can result in an overly homogenous sound. If the “fi” is too “lo,” lyrics and music become a muddy, distorted mess. If the bedroom is the artist’s isolated universe, they don’t have much to explore in their music. Gary McClure, formerly with Working for a Nuclear Free City, doesn’t suffer from those problems in his solo project, American Wrestlers. A Scottish expat who moved to the States for love, McClure created his American Wrestlers material on his wife’s electronic piano and Ibanez guitar, along with a pawn-shop bass, and he recorded at home on a Tascam 8-track recorder. He collected bloggers’ e-mails, sent out MP3s and got a phenomenal response; his eponymous 8-song debut came out on Fat Possum this past spring. The fi is lo — there’s more hiss than the raw footage from Snakes on a Plane — but the Pop is sensational.
YDIIYD: Playing demo poker with The National, Dave Grohl and a super-medicated Robert Smith. (BB)
9:45 p.m. Nick D’ & The Believers (Columbus, Ohio)
Keyboardist/vocalist Nick D’Andrea abandoned his teaching path to form the Believers with friend/producer Joseph Barker, who shifted from guitar to drums, while guitarist Kerry Henderson remained in essentially the same gear to round out the trio. Claiming The Black Keys as a primary influence, Nick D’ and the Believers have churned out three excellent EPs to date, including their latest, the recently released Wanted. The Believers play with a primal simplicity that perfectly counterpoints their intelligent lyrical wordplay and their insistent ass-shaking beat. Wouldn’t you like to be a Believer too?
YDIIYD: The Violent Femmes and Iggy Pop collaborate on an Indie Dance project with the Buggles. (BB)
8:30 p.m. Cole DeGenova (Chicago/Los Angeles)
Cole DeGenova grew up in a Chicago family packed with musicians and artists. In self-defense, he began playing piano at age four. After a childhood spent studying Classical, Pop, Jazz and Blues, DeGenova began his professional career at 15, which ultimately led to studies at Boston’s renowned Berklee School of Music. DeGenova founded the Peoples Republic, an AltSoul collective, and released a pair of well-received albums, 2009’s Just People Again and 2012’s Another Country. DeGenova’s latest release, The Radio Hero Mixtape, dropped earlier this year and featured the song “Hollywood Girl,” which was a finalist for this year’s American Songwriting Awards.
YDIIYD: Michael Penn with even more Beatles and Soul in his soul. (BB)
LIGHTBORNE LOT (ALL AGES)
10 p.m. The Ridges (Athens, Ohio)
Indie/Orchestral Folk Rock
The Ridges’ entertaining live show and engaging sound — which mixes Indie Rock, Chamber and Folk music, among other styles — has made them MidPoint favorites. And the rest of the country has been digging what the band is doing as well; the group has played numerous showcases at South By Southwest, done a session for the popular Daytrotter series and participated in NYC’s CBGB Festival, among other tour dates across the eastern side of the Mississippi. The band has only one official recording available so far (a self-titled EP from four years ago), but hopefully the full-length teased for a 2014 release will see the light of day soon. In the meantime, see the band where its diverse, infectious sound really shines — live and on stage.
YDIIYD: Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens, Beirut. (MB)
8:45 p.m. The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers (Los Angeles)
It’s not particularly easy to wedge a religious message into a secular artform, and music is among the trickier wires to walk in that regard. The music is tempered to appease one audience and the message is softened to attract another fan base, and all that compromise kills the mood. The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers don’t know compromise; their beliefs are front and center on their two EPs and just-released full-length, Heavenly Fire. The group presents itself within a musical context that bristles with the visceral energy of Indie Rock, Soul, Blues, Folk and Bluegrass, with a Gospel hosanna to bring it home. Hozier might take you to church, but The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers will build you one out of every stage they appear on.
YDIIYD: Mumford and Fathers, Sons and Holy Ghosts. (BB)
7:30 p.m. Howard (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Singer/songwriter Howard Feibusch refers to his chosen mode of musical expression as “Folktronica,” but that’s only because it’s as close of a description as you can come in one word. The acoustic guitar and Electronic beats justify Feibusch’s designation for the band he’s christened with his own given name, but there are clearly elements of Pop, Rock (of the Indie and Math varieties), Prog, Jazz and maybe even some Classical and Middle Eastern leanings on the band’s debut album, Religion. And you know you’re in for an interesting ride with Howard when you notice member Alex Chakour is credited with “Synth, Guitar & Magic.”
YDIIYD: Chris Martin and Owl City learn Ambient Kung Fu from Brian Eno. (BB)
MAUDIE'S (AGES 18 AND UP)
12 a.m. VARSITY (Chicago)
VARSITY is one of the rare bands that can authentically inhabit the creative airspace of a bygone era while remaining firmly ensconced in the present tense. Take a spin through the Chicago quintet’s 2013 debut 7-inch, last year’s Thanks for Nothing EP, and its recent eponymous mini-album and you’ll swear you’re listening to the lost tracks from some Manchester or Stockholm Garage Pop band from the ’80s. At the same time, VARSITY toys with the ideas of melody and dissonance or, in the case of “Hairpool” from its latest album, even switches genres in the middle of the song. Anachronistic and contemporary, VARSITY is compelling and brilliantly enigmatic.
YDIIYD: Best Coast covers the imaginary songs of a Garage Pop band that existed only in the dreams of The Free Design. (BB)
10:45 p.m. Mad Anthony (Cincinnati)
Mad Anthony walks into a bar, starts to play its 2014 album, Sank For Days, and then: a) magnetic frontman Ringo Jones’s growling, seductive voice leaves everyone swooning; b) every window is blown out by the sheer force of their multi-genre-influenced Rock & Roll sound; c) everyone inside is mesmerized by the sonic diversity and musical mastery this Cincinnati band — and multiple Cincinnati Entertainment Awards nominee — demonstrates; or d) all of the above and more. We don’t need to tell you the answer. We will tell you, however, that Sank For Days is a powerful representation of the hard-touring trio, which takes a cue from its lyrics on the driving “Turn It On” and pushes itself into the next level of serious Rock with each of the six songs on the recording. Thematically, the lead single, “Sank For Days,” speaks to the group members’ resilience, having experienced a serious van accident while on tour in 2013.
YDIIYD: Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal, The Afghan Whigs, Crash Test Dummies. (LS)
9:30 p.m. Jackson Scott (Asheville, N.C.)
Jackson Scott’s oeuvre has been described as “apocalyptic Pop,” and it seems as good a tag as any. Scott has a facility for translating ennui, dread, resignation and any number of other dark emotional states into intriguing lo-fi Pop music that is long on experimentalism and exploration and brutally short on fidelity and giving a shit what anyone else thinks. Scott’s debut album, 2013’s Melbourne, was a bracing set of raw and rapturous Pop melodicism with enough quirk to make Emo Phillips jealous. His latest, the recently released Sunshine Redux, has been dinged for going further in that direction, but pay no mind to such talk. Jackson Scott knows you don’t blaze trails by going where other artists have already gone.
YDIIYD: Syd Barrett and Rick Wright haunting Mitch Easter’s studio to make the Ghost Floyd album. (BB)
8:15 p.m. Left & Right (Philadelphia)
Left & Right began as a half-assed college band in Charlottesville, Va. Guitarists/vocalists Phil Dameron and Daniel Merchant formed L&R in the wake of their previous band’s demise, adding Andrew Abbott because of his renowned bass skills. Zak Krone grossly misrepresented his drumming ability (he had none to speak of) to gain band membership. The quartet relocated to Philadelphia, scored coffee/ice cream parlour dayjobs and got serious about the music, recording a pair of cool releases — 2013’s 93 EP and 2014’s “Work for Free” single — before signing with Infinity Cat for a full-length debut, the gloriously racketed Five Year Plan. Left & Right deftly combines cleverly disenfranchised lyrics and a soundtrack that veers between pogo Punk energy and melodic Pop melancholy, all while making you feel good about feeling bad.
YDIIYD: Weezer, Superchunk and Archers of Loaf arm-wrestle for first pick of songs on a Nirvana tribute. (BB)
MIDPOINT INDIE CRAFT VILLAGE IN WASHINGTON PARK PRESENTED BY P&G (ALL AGES)
6 p.m. Dale Earnhardt JR. JR. (AKA JR JR) (Detroit)
Indie Rock/Electro Pop
Six years ago, Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott formed the highly regarded Electronic Pop duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and embarked on a moderately successful run. After a trio of acclaimed EPs and a pair of excellent albums — 2011’s It’s a Corporate World and 2013’s The Speed of Things, both released through Warner Brothers — Epstein and Zott decided to change the band’s name to JR JR. The change had nothing to do with the NASCAR driver with (sort of) the same name; he gave his blessing years ago and is reportedly a fan of the band. The thoughtful and sympathetic reasons are detailed on the band’s website (well worth the read), but the bottom line is the duo’s shift to JR JR comes just in time for its self-titled new album, which will be released the day of its MidPoint-opening show. If the album’s first single, “Gone,” is any indication, this could be the duo’s best batch yet. Detroit, and thus the world, wins again.
YDIIYD: The Shins go Disco Wave with Todd Rundgren at the board. (BB)
MOTR PUB PRESENTED BY MUSICLI (AGES 21 AND UP)
12 a.m. Bully (Nashville, Tenn.)
Bully taps into a time in the ’90s when female-fronted bands had become less of a novelty and more of a fixture on the musical landscape, and the phrase “for a girl” was edited from the end of a sentence that began “She’s a great guitarist/vocalist/whatever.” Alicia Bognanno plays and sings with the dissonant ferocity of that time and the immediacy of her own era, channeling the visceral likes of Liz Phair, Joan Jett and the Deal sisters, while funneling it through her own unique perspective and the white-hot core of her creative nuclear reactor. Bully is aptly named; the band will take your lunch money and make you love them.
YDIIYD: Juliana Hatfield with a pinch of Veruca Salt and a garnish of Zuzu’s Petals. (BB)
10:45 p.m. Heat (Montreal, Quebec)
Montreal isn’t impossibly far from New York, so it isn’t too surprising that even a cursory listen to Heat’s recently released 7-song EP, Rooms, reveals strains of The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed’s solo output, The Voidoids’ strident downtown-Punk energy and The Strokes’ update on the whole shooting match. Of course, that would just be emulation and hero worship without original ideas, and Heat has those in abundance, not to mention attitude for days (vocalist/guitarist Susil Sharma laces five of Rooms’ seven tracks with completely appropriate and non-gratuitous f-bombs). Between familiar influences and unique translation, Heat is cool as fuck.
YDIIYD: Richard Hell and Lloyd Cole organize an Indie Rock tribute to Lou Reed, who haunts it until being invited to join on ghost guitar. (BB)
9:30 p.m. Leggy (Cincinnati)
Indie Rock/Garage Pop
When Veronique Allaer didn’t die from a fall off a three-story building two years ago, she picked up her long-neglected guitar and started Leggy. Seems like a logical choice, particularly when she included best friend/bass master Kirstin Bladh and hammer-to-anvil drum-killer Chris Campbell. For its fresh efforts, Leggy was nominated for a Best New Artist Cincinnati Entertainment Award earlier this year. Not long after, the trio dropped a new six-song EP, the stellar Nice Try, a fittingly effervescent companion piece to Leggy’s infectious 2014 debut, Cavity Castle, both recorded and mixed by John Hoffman and Jerri Queen (of Tweens and Vacation). Flush the Xanax and skip the daddy-didn’t-love-me-enough therapy session; if you want to feel good/better/best, get yourself some Leggy.
YDIIYD: Lana Del Ray fronts The Vines for St. Vincent’s garage-warming party. (BB)
8:15 p.m. What Moon Things (New Paltz, N.Y.)
Indie Psych Rock
There is an undercurrent of excitement and vibrancy in the rampant darkness of What Moon Things, a howling well-of-souls desperation that is balanced by a tumultuous melodicism. WMT’s eponymous full-length debut from last year is a droning, buzzing, shimmery delight, a careening blend of Joy Division’s downcast theater of despair to Modest Mouse’s adrenalized carnival of the blissfully damned. The truly exciting thing about What Moon Things is the realization that, if the band can sound this controllably unhinged in the studio, its live sets must shriek like the air-raid sirens for hell’s bomb shelters. And yet there is nuance and artistry within What Moon Things’ volume and shadows, and the tension that crackles and sparks between those two extremes is the band’s power source.
YDIIYD: Isaac Brock starts a fan club for Ians Curtis and McCullouch, Robert Smith and Paul Westerberg. (BB)
MR. PITIFUL'S (AGES 21 AND UP)
11:45 p.m. Sarah Jaffe (Denton, Tex.)
For someone with a career approaching its eighth anniversary, Sarah Jaffe has accomplished a great deal in a relatively short time. With her self-released EP, 2008’s Even Born Again, Jaffe established her credentials as a powerful acoustic Folk artist, which were reinforced after her signing to Kirtland and her debut full-length, Suburban Nature. But her 2011 EP, The Way Sound Leaves a Room, found Jaffe moving to a more eclectic orchestral/Electronic direction — an exploration that continued on 2012’s The Body Wins and last year’s Don’t Disconnect (she even provided vocals for a track on Eminem’s Marshall Mathers 2 album, as well as Jon Brion’s musical bed for the Monsters University short, The Blue Umbrella). If you’re looking for something new, Sarah Jaffe has that amazement you ordered.
YDIIYD: Sarah McLachlan, Sinead O’Connor and Tracey Thorn form the 21st-century Electro Pop Roches. (BB)
10:30 p.m. Roadkill Ghost Choir (DeLand, Fla.)
Southern bands seem to have a special affinity for assimilating disparate styles and hammering them into their own unique sonic sculptures. Roadkill Ghost Choir is a case in point; the band most often garners fair comparisons to Tom Petty and Radiohead, due to its heartland Rock stance and tendency toward ephemeral atmospherics. There are clear (and less cryptic) Bob Dylan reference points on RGC’s debut album, 2014’s In Tongues, and My Morning Jacket gets a nod because of frontman Andrew Shepard’s vocal similarity to Jim James. But there is also an amazing sophistication and understanding at work in RGC’s approach. “A Blow to the Head” shreds like Ryan Adams or Jeff Tweedy at their uneasiest and most emotional, all of it layered with the glittery intensity of OK Computer.
YDIIYD: Tom Petty and Jim James call OK Computer’s tech support line and ask if their refrigerator is running. (BB)
9:15 p.m. Good Graeff (Sarasota, Fla.)
If you like good backstories, Brooke and Brit Graeff have quite a saga. The twin sisters from Sarasota, Fla., formed Good Graeff in 2004, winning their high school talent competition. The pair made college money busking on the barrier islands; guitarist Brooke studied film arts in Toronto, while cellist Brit majored in international business/marketing in Florida. Five years ago, Brit was teaching English in Vietnam and invited Brooke to join her; they restarted their musical pursuits and acquired an enthusiastic fan base. Back home, the twins launched a Kickstarter campaign that funded their debut EP, which led to opening slots for the likes of Plain White T’s and Mates of State, countless festivals and incessant touring. Good Graeff’s new EP, Good Job Go, spawned its latest single, “I Want That,” which inspired MTV to comment, “Think we may have found our new favorite act of 2015.” Beyond the headline that MTV still cares about music, Good Graeff has great Pop hooks to accompany its great tale.
YDIIYD: An edgier take on the whole Sara Bareilles/Colbie Caillat/Ingrid Michaelson triptych. (BB)
8 p.m. Dawg Yawp (Newport, Ky.)
When George Harrison returned from India, he had Ravi Shankar’s sitar ringing in his head. American singer/songwriter Shawn Phillips taught Harrison how to play, and Western music was forever changed. Skipping ahead a half a century brings us to Dawg Yawp, an astonishing duo that makes an impressive Pop/Rock racket with just guitars, sitar, synthesizers, mandolin and voices. The pair, Tyler Randall and Rob Keenan, exude a familiar melodicism, harmonic gift and flair on their debut EP, Two Hearted, released back in May on Bandcamp. But don’t point fingers at producer Rob Fetters (raisins/psychodots) — he says he just pressed “record” and let them fly. We suspect there was more to it than that, but whoever did what to who, Dawg Yawp has unleashed a stellar first release with the single flaw of being half as long as it needs to be. More to come soon, we bloody well hope.
YDIIYD: Richard Thompson and Robert Plant form Fairport Zeppelin. (BB)
TAFT BALLROOM (ALL AGES)
12:15 a.m. Pop Goes the Evil (Cincinnati)
When The Dukes are Dead dissolved in 2012, singer/guitarist Lucas Frazier wasted no time constructing a new Rock & Roll machine. Christening it Pop Goes the Evil, Frazier, bassist Evan Roberts and drummer Jake Grove have been concocting dynamic and melodic Rock over the past three years, taking their awesome live show on the road, getting nominated for Cincinnati Entertainment Awards at home and releasing two albums (2013’s White Cream Soda and last year’s Love Stained Heart) to the world. PGTE’s music explodes with sex, darkness, humor and swagger, emitting a vibe that is sometimes theatrical like Rocky Horror, sometimes smoldering like a noir flick and sometimes blissfully confounding like a perfect David Lynch scene.
YDIIYD: Elvis comes back to life and enlists Queens of the Stone Age to write his comeback vehicle — a sequel to Jesus Christ Superstar set in a Berlin sex club. (MB)
10:45 p.m. The Yugos (Cincinnati)
The Yugos use ’70s Punk and New Wave as a springboard to launch into the mosh pit of its own unique creative process. From 2011’s self-titled debut to 2013’s extraordinary Life is Awesome and Then You Live Forever to last year’s single track tease “Follow You,” The Yugos deftly weave the stuttering time signatures of early XTC and Talking Heads into the dark Pop ruminations of The Cure and Psychedelic Furs, and then filter it all through the band’s own contemporary musical/cultural perspectives until it is recognizable only as The Yugos. Onstage, the band members careen off the walls and each other like pinballs that have been shot at the flippers from a pistol while maintaining some semblance of control. And that’s really all The Yugos require to get the job done.
YDIIYD: The best Punk/New Wave band of today hot-tub-time-machines back to 1977 and kicks everyone’s ass, then invites them over for pizza. (BB)
9:30 p.m. In Tall Buildings (Chicago)
Talk about having it all; multi-instrumentalist Erik Hall dabbled in dark experimentalism with His Name is Alive and cranked out World-flecked Dance Pop with NOMO and Wild Belle, but in his solo persona as In Tall Buildings, he works in mid-tempo Pop the way a painter works in oils — with methodical deliberation. Hall’s latest ITB release, Driver, was crafted in the isolation of his Chicago home studio and his wife’s farmhouse in northern Michigan, and critiqued in solitude on the long car drives between the two locales. As a result, Driver, the follow-up to Hall’s eponymous debut as ITB in 2010, is contemplative and expansive even at its most playful, and unexpectedly compelling in its simplicity.
YDIIYD: James Mercer, Beck, Jud Ehrbar and Karl Wallinger play Battleship with Brian Eno. (BB)
WASHINGTON PARK (ALL AGES)
9:15 p.m. Purity Ring (Edmonton, Canada)
Canadian duo Purity Ring’s ever-unfolding EDM/Indie Pop is the aural equivalent of a stream, trickling delicately to and from before pushed down the river by a tidal wave and crashing over an edge into a torrential waterfall. For every coy enunciation by vocalist Megan James (whose lyrics hover in a strange, surrealistic, David Lynchian universe), there’s a deadening depth provided by her lyrics and underscored by musical partner Corin Roddick’s impeccably delivered beats and diverse samples. Purity Ring consistently unearths new and fresh pockets of its own sonic soundscape on its latest release, another eternity, the twosome’s second album for the esteemed 4AD label. Simultaneously digging deeper into creative, atmospheric Trip Hop and the duo’s more grounded, formalized Pop influence, it’s worth every minute to plumb Purity Ring’s depths and ride its highs.
YDIIYD: Grimes, Phantogram, Baths, Ellie Goulding. (LS)
8:15 p.m. HANA (Los Angeles)
Singer/songwriter Hana Pestle spent several years making a go at music as an acoustic artist, and her strong writing and vocal skills did draw industry attention, landing her on tours with artists like Collective Soul and Joshua Radin. But a couple of years ago she started to explore the studio more and met producer Blood Diamonds, leading her to reinvent herself as HANA and take her songs in a more Electronic Pop direction. That new direction got tested on a large scale immediately. Lorde tweeted about her first release, the single “Clay,” to her 3 million-plus followers. And when she went on tour singing back-up for Grimes (who was playing large venues opening for Lana Del Rey), HANA performed “Clay” to a huge and appreciative audience during Grimes’ set. Earlier this summer, HANA released her second single, “Avalanche,” another sparse, ethereal track that’s richly melodic and layered with vocals.
YDIIYD: Foxes, Jessie Ware, Sky Ferreira, Grimes. (MB)
7:15 p.m. Nick Diamonds (Los Angeles)
Indie music fans are likely familiar with Nick Diamonds (aka Nicholas Thorburn) as a guiding force behind two popular and acclaimed Canadian bands: The Unicorns (which reunited last year to open for Arcade Fire) and (the still-active) Islands. The prolific Diamonds is also part of the supergroup Mister Heavenly, and he created the score for the Peabody Award-winning podcast, Serial. Earlier this year, Diamonds released his second solo album, the compelling and dynamic City of Quartz. Though dominated by Electronic sounds and beats, fans who can’t get enough of Thorburn are undoubtedly thrilled with the solo material, which mixes upbeat Synth Pop with a healthy dose of melancholic introspection and zigzagging idiosyncrasy, plus occasional bursts of experimentalism and offbeat samples (like a creepy Charles Manson quote). Some have criticized the album for a lack of focus, but that’s exactly what makes the album such a captivating listen.
YDIIYD: Islands, Neon Indian, Toro y Moi, The Postal Service. (MB)
WOODWARD THEATER PRESENTED BY FREEOSK (AGES 21 AND UP)
12:15 a.m. All Them Witches (Nashville, Tenn.)
If you were among the lucky multitude that witnessed All Them Witches at The Drinkery last fall, you know why the band was invited back to MidPoint this year. Although the quartet inhabits any number of genres during the course of its albums and live sets, from Doom to Sludge to plain old ass-kick Hard Rock, it all coalesces under ATW’s banner of concussive volume, sheets of crystalline guitar, steamroller bass, Space Rock keys and drum fills that sound like a wrestling match between John Bonham and Buddy Rich, knitted together with hypnotic melodic threads that traditional Pop/Rock bands would kill to achieve. After a pair of excellent indie albums, ATW is ready for its close-up with its imminent major label debut, Dying Surfer Meets His Maker, a dizzying, dazzling example of the band’s stratospheric craft at its finest. For fans of volume and nuance, All Them Witches’ return is at the top of the must-see list.
YDIIYD: Black Sabbath, Mastodon and Dead Meadow play a needle-burying tribute to Pink Floyd and Sun Ra. (BB)
11 p.m. Chrome Pony (Nashville, Tenn.)
Indie Roots Rock
News flash: Nashville ain’t all big-hat Country and sensitive singer/songwriters. Just as All Them Witches has transformed Doom/Stoner Metal, Chrome Pony has taken the basic tenets of Rock both Indie and Roots and stuck them in the chest with a heart needle full of adrenaline. At its most laconic and pensive, Chrome Pony vibrates with an irresistible intensity and a rootsy, garage-stained melodicism. On its two EPs (2011’s Illegal Smiles, 2014’s You Are the Pisces) and one full-length (2013’s Lazy Bones), brothers Tyler and Kyle Davis (guitar and drums, respectively) and a rotating cast have created a howling hybrid of bratty Punk and heartland Rock.
YDIIYD: The Black Crowes if they’d been steered by The Replacements and The Standells. (BB)
9:45 p.m. Truly (Seattle)
Two decades ago, Seattle trio Truly released its debut album, Fast Stories... From Kid Coma, at the tail-end of the Grunge mini-epoch, and while it was relatively obscure, tastemakers at the time — The Rocket, Kerrang!, NME, MTV — cited it as one of the year’s best releases. Vocalist/guitarist Robert Roth, bassist Hiro Yamamoto and drummer Mark Pickerel (the latter two from Soundgarden and Screaming Trees, respectively) released the Heart and Lungs EP on Sub Pop before signing to Capitol for 1995’s Fast Stories and 1997’s Feeling You Up, both garnering great press but little sales. Truly disbanded in 1998. Roth released a 2004 solo album, and the band reunited for tours four years later. Two years ago, Truly released a new 7-inch, “Wheels on Fire” /”No One Remembers the Game,” and now the trio is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Fast Stories. Can a new album be in the offing? Tattooed fingers crossed.
YDIIYD: Lloyd Cole fronting Crazy Horse in the great Northwest. (BB)
8:30 p.m. Bailiff (Chicago)
Indie Blues Rock
Bailiff’s Blues Rock prowess makes the band a welcome next-in-line successor to the likes of The White Stripes and The Black Keys, minus the posturing both those bands employ from time to time. Vocalist Josh Siegel is the glue of this Chicago three-piece, tying together mesmerizing bass lines and wonderfully precise drumming with his plaintive and heartfelt, guiding vocals. Remise, Bailiff’s 2014 full-length release, runs the gamut of emotional depth, from the melancholy “Head in the Clouds” to the magically arresting “Shake My Heart Awake.” The band’s live show is the absolute best way to experience the sheer magnitude of its sound.
YDIIYD: The White Stripes, The Black Keys, My Morning Jacket, Mutts. (LS)