Archive for the ‘Arts & Music’ category
If your are heading to the Cincinnati Zoo tomorrow (Thursday) for the free, brilliant double-bill of World Cafe faves Kim Taylor and The Hiders (which we highly recommend doing), the concert has been moved indoors to the “Safari Gallery,” near the Nocturnal House and Manatee Springs exhibits (presumably because of the chance for rain).
The show is the last of a pretty cool “Tunes and Blooms” local music concert series that has so far featured psychodots, Faux Frenchmen, Jake Speed and the Freddies and the Comet Bluegrass AllStars. The music starts at 6 p.m. and admission is free after 5 p.m. Parking is not free (it’ll run ya $6.50, but if you’re lucky, you can often find parking on the streets surrounding the Zoo).
After the Zoo show (at which she will be joined by Pearlene‘s Andrew Higley on keyboards, french horn and saw — you have to see the saw bit to fully understand), Taylor is off for another road-trek, this time opening for acclaimed singer/songwriter Grant Lee Phillips. If you have XM satellite radio, be sure to tune in for a Kim Taylor live session on XM Cafe soon; selected cuts from the session will air on The Loft channel as well.
Taylor hopes to return to the studio this fall, but she recently posted a great, unreleased version of Tom Waits’ “Chocolate Jesus” (from Waits’ Mule Variations album) on her MySpace page. The site also has a video clip of a live rendition of the song .
Meanwhile, Hiders head honcho Billy Alletzhauser has been posting various demos and home recordings (some of which sound better than many local real CDs I’ve heard) on his personal MySpace page. Alletzhauser says the roughs may be fleshed out for songs by either The Hiders or Ruby Vileos, the other successful local band he has a huge role in.
— Mike Breen
Billboard.com reports that White has begun work in Nashville on a new Raconteurs album with singer/songwriter Brendan Benson and the powerhouse rhythm section of Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler of Cincinnati’s Greenhornes. This comes not long after finishing up the new White Stripes album, Icky Thump, which is due out June 19 under a new deal with White’s Third Man Records and Warner Brothers Records. That deal is said to only be for the Stripes album, meaning The Racs are in need of a distributor after their previous label, V2, restructured dramatically.
That’s all well and good for Mr. White, but it never seems that the other members’ main projects get much consideration when it comes to the manic scheduling. Benson’s solo career is on hold (though he did post some new demos on his MySpace page), but the real issue is — we’re dying for a new Greenhornes album here! It’s coming up on a year since the ’Hornes have even played a live show. Give us our band back, Jack!
(photo: V2 Records)
— Mike Breen
Every now and then, I like to take a peak at Pollstar.com, the Web site for the biggest publication for concert industry news. If you put “Cincinnati” into the search, dates by touring artists coming to town are listed. And often these dates can precede the official announcement from local promoters. The premature listings are usually the result of managers or booking agents posting as they figure out an artist’s tour route. Here’s a few things I gleaned from a quick look at the site today (NOTE: These dates are subject to change … or not happen at all, so curb your enthusiasm slightly):
• Def Leppard? And Styx! And Foreigner?! Pinch me, I’m dreaming. The triple-threat (of crap) lineup stops at Riverbend on June 27. I’ve been waiting … for a bill like this. I don’t need no photograph, I’m going to be there. It will be the best of times. I’m so going to pour some sugar on … okay, stop me now.
• For the kiddies: Popular children’s music dude, Ralph’s World, comes back to the Zoo May 26 and 27. And, you knew it was inevitable — Disney’s incredulously popular High School Musical is going the Ice Capades route. “Disney’s High School Musical: The Ice Tour” is slated to play U.S. Bank Arena on Jan. 9 of next year (Santa, you’ve been warned).
Billboard.com is reporting that Russell Simmons, the founder of the Def Jam Rap/Hip Hop label, is on the “Rap is ruining society” bandwagon officially. Simmons and others from the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network released a statement about their recommendations for record companies and broadcasters. In part, the statement said, “HSAN is concerned about the growing public outrage concerning the use of the words ‘bitch,’ ‘ho,’ and ‘nigger.’ We recommend that the recording and broadcast industries voluntarily remove/bleep/delete the misogynistic words ‘bitch’ and ‘ho’ and the racially offensive word ‘nigger.’”
The HSAN’s full statement is reprinted below the fold.
Though the word “voluntarily” is cleverly worked into the statement, do you think this is advocating censorship? Regardless, do you think it’s proper for a man who has made his fortune from Hip Hop, including the more “offensive” artists, to call for such action?
By targeting the companies they work for, the group avoids looking like they are trying to censor what artists are saying. Companies have the right to produce whatever they want and expect employees to behave by the standards they set. But with the prominence of independent labels in Hip Hop, and the rise of indies overall in the face of the restrictive major-label system, it seems like this is merely pushing the problem away from companies with stockholders to appease.
How about a little music this morning? Die-hard Indie fans worldwide likely already know about The National, a group of friends from Cincinnati who moved to Brooklyn to start the band in 1999. If the past few albums are any indication, the May 22 release of their new one, The Boxer (again on Beggars Banquet Records), should up their ever-growing profile even more (their last album, Alligator, was on many critic’s Top 10 lists for 2005). The band’s guitarist Bryce Dessner was recently in town curating the MusicNOW festival at Memorial Hall; he’ll be back in the area with his Nationalmates on June 15, performing at Oakley’s 20th Century Theater.
The following track is “Fake Empire,” the lead-off cut from The Boxer. It starts in trademark smoky, Leonard Cohen territory, but expands into a weird, slanted Art Rock freak-out as it progresses. Great stuff.
— Mike Breen
Cincinnati Indie Folk duo The Sheds have released other albums before their brand new You’ve Got a Light, but don’t look for them in your favorite CD store. The band simply put the releases (and this one) up on their Web site for free download. While that can be seen as smart promotional acumen, with The Sheds, it almost feels like an anti-materialistic statement against the music industry’s increasingly apparent greed. Still, if you simply download You’ve Got a Light without paying for it, you are most certainly getting way more than you paid for.
The Sheds — who have been earning a lot of praise from various music blogs — are singer/songwriters Paul Bunyan and Chris Haubner and their close camaraderie is apparent in their musical output. Speaking of friends, the twosome invited many of theirs to lend a hand on the new disc, adding to the communal, we’re-all-in-this-together spirit. There’s something loose and warm about this record, like it was recorded during a studio party. The Sheds are multidimensional, meaning you get a little acoustic modern Folk, a little quirky ElectroPop, some driving Indie Rock and, often, a mix of all three. All these elements combine on Light for something impossibly infectious.
Sample the track “Reflection of the Sun” from The Sheds’ You’ve Got A Light:
Mainstream rappers can sometimes be less than ideal spokespeople for Rap music. Exhibit A, Snoop Dogg’s reaction to the Don Imus controversy: “(Unlike Imus, rappers are) talking about hos that’s in the ‘hood that ain’t doing shit, that’s trying to get a nigga for his money.”Although, conversely, Snoop did recently come up with this brilliant bit of wisdom about Bill O’Reilly: “Fuck Bill O’Reilly.”
Rappers have been up in arms about Oprah Winfrey’s dismissal of most Hip Hop (many artists have complained that she never allows rappers on her show), but few have been as thorough and eloquent as Saul Williams, actor, poet and brilliant spoken-word artist with a Hip Hop slant. After a decidedly critical Oprah show about Hip Hop’s damaging role in culture (featuring good comments from Common and Russell Simmons), Williams wrote an open letter to the mega-rich talk show host. Many music blogs posted the letter in full (here’s Stereogum’s posting).
Williams echoes the critiques of “gangsterism,” but offers more than just finger-pointing. Williams says, “We cannot address the root of what plagues Hip Hop without addressing the root of what plagues today’s society and the world,” comparing the no-vulnerability front of MCs to the cowboy image of George Bush. “There is nothing more negligent than attempting to address a problem one finds on a branch by censoring the leaves.”
— Mike Breen
(NOTE: Local studio wiz and CityBeat columnist Dave Davis sent along his own musings about the late Mark Chenault. Feel free to leave your thoughts about Mark in the comments section if you knew him.)
The world just got a whole lot smaller. On Saturday at around 2 on the most beautiful day so far in 2007, Mark Chenault left this earth after a battle with cancer.
I can’t even remember the first time I met Mark. We’re roughly the same age, and honestly he’s always just been there. At every important show, event or celebration I’ve been to for over 25 years, I always saw him. And he never failed to greet me with a big toothy smile and a bone crunching hug. He was a fixture on the scene when I was just a wannabe.
Everyone knew or wanted to know Mark. And Mark made that easy. When you intro-duced yourself to him, you had a new friend. People simply liked being with him.
Even before Shag or the Nervous Pioneers, he was in demand as a player. But he was not just as a player like the rest of us. Mark was a personality, a force of nature. He was bigger than whatever band or group he was with at the moment.
Mark Chenault was too much man for one nickname. Variously known as The Colonel, Dr. Funk and even “The Mayor of Clifton,” he was all and none of these things. While he was obviously never a military or medical man, and not officially elected to anything, he drilled, healed and led many of us through some amazing times.
We’re left to carry on as best we can without him, each of us bearing Mark’s memory and values like torches banishing the darkness of hate and bigotry. We owe our best efforts to the guy who made us laugh, kept us from crying and introduced us to the best parts of being human. When the lights go up on a Cincinnati stage and great music roars from the speakers, our smiles and pounding hearts will recall our friend.
— Dave Davis
Longtime local musician Mark Chenault passed away Saturday afternoon around 2 p.m. at the Scarlet Oaks hospice facilities in Clifton. He was 53. The funeral is to be held today (Monday) at the Mosque of Cincinnati at 3668 Clifton Ave. at 2 p.m. Friends are welcome to attend (please, no flowers).
Chenault was involved as a performer in the local music scene since the late ’70s/early ’80s. He performed with The Dents, a group that featured future members of Blanco Nombre and the Babettes and played originals and covers from the then-just-blossoming Punk movement (Clash, Ramones, etc.). Among other projects, he also played percussion and sang with The Nervous Pioneers in the ’80s.
His last big role was as percussionist/hype man for the extremely popular, Bootsy Collins-produced Funk crew SHAG, which reunited two years ago to play a benefit show to help with Mark’s medical bills after he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an aggressive form of bone cancer, and had to undergo chemo treatment. Besides being one of the most successful local bands of the time, SHAG toured extensively in the ’90s. (CityBeat put the band on its cover in the mid-’90s after the group played an explosive set at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.)