Local Exposure

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Local singer-songwriter Molly Sullivan is a bit of an enigma. Many of her songs have, so far, gone unrecorded, and she tends to limit her online presence. When she joined me in the studio, I had very little in front of me in terms of notes or prepared questions, so, I thought, "Let’s just start talking and see where it goes."

As it turns out, this interview ranks among one of my favorites; and as you join me as a witness to this conversation, you’ll see why; and hopefully, it will be one of your favorites as well. 

The poet Francis Duggan called Death “The Great Equalizer.” No matter who you are, where you come from or what you believe, all of us will one day leave this existence.

Mike Oberst, one of the founding members of The Tillers, has released an 11- track solo album titled Six Feet Of Earth that examines that reality.

By combining traditional American and European folk songs with two original compositions - and an extraordinary Carole King cover, Mike explores themes that transcend our differences and finds those common bonds that define us all, ultimately, as human beings.

The sound of Fickle Hellcat is best described as "Vintage Indie Rock," but the music created by Rachel Maxann, Mike Wiley and Paul Swabek comes from an enormous universe of influences.

Their self-titled debut album has just been released and I had the opportunity to sit down with lead singer Rachel Maxann to talk about where all of these songs come from; and how her travels around the globe have shapeed her and the songs she writes.

MOIRA: Demons + Daisies

Oct 4, 2019
moiraband.com

MOIRA is a 3-piece dream pop band with origins in Dayton, OH. Their new EP Demons + Daisies is a follow-up to their 2015 release entitled Asleep/Repeat/Awake.

The music of MOIRA is lovely combination of traditional and non-traditional instruments intertwined with samples and the haunting vocals of lead singer Alicia Grodecki.

I sat down with the members of the band to talk about the new EP, writing songs in the cold and bartering chicken-wrangling for rehearsal space.

Hissing Tiles: Boychoir

Sep 27, 2019

Frank Zappa once said, “You can't always write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say, so sometimes you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream.”

This sentiment applies when you’re composing an entire album that tries to navigate the male archetypes in everyday life.

From social expectations about what it means to be a “real man,” to the ever-increasing presence of fascism and hate-groups in America, Hissing Tiles seeks to shine a light on the assumptions the pervade our culture and ask why they exist in the first place. Their new album Boychoir is dissonant, challenging and extraordinarily cathartic.

Hyperstatic: Witness

Sep 20, 2019

After a 16-year waiting period, there was a good amount of buzz this Summer about the return of Hyperstatic - and rightly so. 

This old-school 3-piece indie-punk band brings everything you could want to the table and more. Sonically they connect with everything from King Crimson to Sonic Youth - and with Sammy McKee on drums, Mike Fair on bass and Brian Hoffman on guitar and vocals, they have the talent to bring it all together.

The release of their new 4-song EP Witness reminds us of why this music just sounds so good.

Melanie Davis: Allegoria

Sep 5, 2019

Melanie Davis is a wonderful singer-songwriter from Murray, KY whose writing is imbued with intense passion wrapped in beautiful harmonies.

She and her partner - Fate McAfee (Diesel Palomino) - are performing at Cincinnati’s Listing Loon on September 11 and I thought you might enjoy getting to know a bit more about her and her music.

Look for Allegoria by Melanie Davis to be released in early 2020.

Elementz, a Cincinnati-based urban arts organization - with the help of ArtsWave - is producing their first ever concert series for the community focused on music and spoken word from the local Hip Hop community. The series is called THRIVE - A Celebration of Hip Hop Music & Culture.

The first of these four events entitled HipART will take place Thursday, September 19 at the Woodward Theate. HipART performances will explore themes of personal growth, adulting and continuing to pursue dreams at every stage of life.

BeWILDerFest 2019

Aug 15, 2019

The eclectic and mesmerizing BeWILDerFest returns to Urban Artifact for its 4th year on August 23 & 24, 2019.

Hosted on three stages over two days, this years’ lineup of musicians includes many local favorites as well as great regional and nationally-know acts such as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Zach Deputy and Screaming Females.

Jack Burton Overdrive has recently released their second album, Happy To Be Here. This album, a follow-up to 2015's Tarbell Street, is a more experimental project with more collaborations, but still guided by the trusting hand of Ben Cochran of Soap Floats Recording Studios.

The members of the band stopped by the WVXU studios to play two songs from the new album and to talk about the band, the new record and some of the stories behind the songs.

I don’t know much about Mike Montgomery’s childhood, but I imagine it included a lot of people telling him that he can’t make a career out of punk rock and skateboarding - but that’s pretty much exactly what he’s done.

Cincinnati Opera

Get to know Evans Mirageas, the Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Opera since 2005.

Evans tells his own story and previews the Cincinnati Opera's 100th anniversary. He also discusses the balancing act between new and experimental and standard audience favorites, taking opera to exciting new venues, the collaboration with our CSO and student singers from CCM, and finally, what’s to come for Cincinnati Opera.

Lonesome Miles is the latest album by country-rock masters Root Cellar Xtract. The band’s mission is to continue the Laurel Canyon music tradition that gave us such artists as The Eagles, Pure Prairie League, Buffalo Springfield, Canned Heat, Jackson Browne and many more.

Lonesome Miles is a follow-up to their 2017 album Rear-View Mirror Eyes and clearly demonstrates the band’s fellowship as well as their individual virtuosity. It also provides an excellent compare-and-contrast reference for how the band has developed and grown over the past few years.

Comprador: Important

May 21, 2019

Comprador’s third album Important is a surreal adventure that balances original music with both subtle and overt musical homages. The subject matter of the album ranges from the apocalyptic to the irrational. It is simultaneously a strange amalgam of solo compositions by Charles D'Ardenne and beautifully-intertwined guest appearances.

All the while, Important is loosely based on the exploration into “the abject horror of internet dating in 2018.”

I sat down with Charles D'Ardenne in the studio to talk about Important, the challenges of performing Comprador’s music in a live setting and why this is probably the last Comprador album we’ll see in Cincinnati for a good, long time.

Not many people would trust a tarot card reading they bought with a Groupon, but for a musician like Wonky Tonk, it just seems to resonate with that special part of who she is and where she finds herself on her journey.

A tireless performer and songwriter, Wonky Tonk is preparing to release her second full-length album, Lessons Not Lovers, this summer.

It took some relentless pursuit, but after a few years of trying, I was finally able to get her to sit still long enough to spend some time with me in the studio. As we sat down together, I wasn't sure where our conversation would go, and though I resisted asking about "being a girl in a band," it just naturally went in that direction. I found myself fascinated by her stories, her view on music, life, and everything.

Softstone Hearts describe their music as "Indie Pop Rock (with Lots of Cello.)"

Longtime friends Chase Jeffries and Lisa Newell started the band, which included Abby Depp to round out the vocal harmonies and provide keys and saxophone, in 2018. With the addition of Tom Harlan on drums and John Botter on bass, they gained not only a rhythm section, but additional tools for songwriting, recording and production.

When they went into Marble Garden studio to record their EP, String Or a Bow, they met up with CCM cello student Chris Park who quickly became a permanent member of the band.

Imagine that you have years of experience behind the bar at a club that celebrates uniquely-crafted cocktails. Add to that over 60 years of rock-n-roll and rhythm & blues history, a dash of funk, a twist of serendipity, garnish with spontaneity and serve super-cool.

Now you have the recipe for Rocktails - a new compendium of concoctions by local musicians Kristen Kreft (The Perfect Children) and Mayalou Banatwala (Heavy Hinges).

NXNS - North By Northside

Apr 25, 2019

50 musical acts at 7 venues over a 2-day period.

That is exactly what you can experience at the North By Northside festival --- happening this Memorial Day weekend.

Phratry

Mar 26, 2019

15 years ago, Jerry Dirr decided to start his own record label, Phratry Records,  in the bedroom of his home in Cincinnati.

When the label celebrated its 10th anniversary, Jerry partnered with director Shane Chaney with the intention of compiling video footage of the various Phratry bands into a documentary short film.

Five years and hours of film later, the completed feature-length film is finally ready for its premiere.

To learn more about the label, the film and the celebration, I spoke with Phratry Records founder Jerry Dirr as well as producers David Cornelius Matt Gray from Argo One Productions.

Andy Gabbard, frontman for the band Buffalo Killers has a brand new solo project he’s put out, called Strawberry Tapes - in which he explores a wide array of new territory, both musically and thematically.

From beginning to end, Gabbard has taken complete control of the creation of Strawberry Tapes with the intention of having noone to answer to but himself.

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