Music Tonight: Fantastic local Indie Rock duo Pop Empire has become fantastic local Indie Rock trio Pop Empire, recently adding new member Andy Jody, local super-drummer who has performed with seemingly dozens of acts over the past decade (Thee Shams, Pearlene, Oxford Cotton, Barrence Whitfield and the Savages, etc.). Pop Empire performs a free show tonight at MOTR Pub as the Over-the-Rhine's venue's "House Band" for January (meaning they'll play every Monday this month at the club). The group showcases the new-look Empire in a recently released music video for the song "Ain't Got a Cent (In the Land of the Free)." The cool clip (done all in one continuous shot) was created by amazing local photographer Michael Wilson (along with Beth Reed) at his Daylight Studio. Check it out below then get thee to MOTR around 10 p.m. for the group's performance. (Previous releases by the band are available through The Recording Label, the all-free digital imprint founded by Pop Empire's Cameron Cochran. Click here to get some.)—-
• Rap fans are likely psyched for the return of Olubowale Victor Akintimehin to the Bogart's stage tonight, although they're likely using his stage name Wale (pronounced "wah-lay") when texting friends about it (Olubowale Victor Akintimehin gets spell-checked to "Olive-branch Victory Aching Mine," at least on my phone). Born in D.C. to Nigerian parents, Wale made some noise in his hometown scene starting in 2006 before being spotted by super-producer Mark Ronson, who signed him to his label in 2007. Wale moved to Interscope in 2008 (reportedly signing a deal worth over a million bucks), releasing one album the following year to positive acclaim. Wale's career got a major boost from Rick Ross last year when the Hip Hop honcho inked him to a new deal with his Maybach Music Group imprint. His debut album for Ross' label, Ambition, was an instant success, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard album charts. Opening tonight's show at Bogart's are two MCs with perhaps the best names in Hip Hop right now — Black Cobain (a Virginian who mixes Rock and Rap) and Casey Veggies, reportedly an early member of the Odd Future crew. Tonight's show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $29.27. Check out Cobain (joined by Wale) and Veggies clips below.
Momentous Happenings in Music History for January 9
On this day in 1973, as The Velvet Underground was crumbling and Lou Reed was just a month removed from the release of his stunning sophomore solo album Transformer, the stoic singer/songwriter married a cocktail waitress named Bettye Kronstadt. It was by all accounts a difficult relationship (Reed was allegedly in peak form in terms of drug use), but it seemed to bring out the best in Reed creatively. He was recording another masterpiece, Berlin, as the relationship was ending. Many say one of Reed's greatest songs, Transformer's "Perfect Day," was inspired by his first wife, which seems fitting for such a sweet yet ominous song.
Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers born Jan. 9 include: Rockabilly/Country star ("Mr. Jones") Big Al Downing (1940); Folk music icon Joan Baez (1941); legendary Rock & Roll guitarist Jimmy Page (1944); and Hamilton, Ohio native Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker (1943).
Walker and the band to bring him fame, The Walker Brothers, relocated to London in 1965 and had their biggest hit that same year with "Make It Easy on Yourself," a Bacharach/David composition that went to No. 1. The band only lasted a couple of years, but its influence is still felt in the work of many British artists, including Radiohead, The Arctic Monkeys and The Divine Comedy. By the end of the ’60s, Walker had become a solo star in England with more progressive and adventurous material (also a big part of his influence). Walker is still living in the U.K. and he continues to release solo material, teaming up with labels like 4AD and Drag City over the past several decades.
In honor of Walker's 69th birthday, here are two covers of "Duchess" from his 1969 solo release, Scott 4, by Neko Case and The Gutter Twins, featuring another Hamilton area native, former Afghan Whigs/current Twilight Singers frontman Greg Dulli.