Reds take on Yankees this weekend

Tonight, the Cincinnati Reds will be in the Bronx for the first of a three game series against the New York Yankees. For the two teams who have met three times in the World Series, this will be the first time they have met since 2012 , when the Reds took 2 of 3 games in a regular season series. This time around, both teams are contending with injuries, the Reds in their batting line-up (sluggers Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips are out) and the Yankees in their starting rotation (they’ve got four starters unavailable).

Thus far this year, it’s the Reds who have been playing better baseball. They’re only 1½ games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central division and have a record of 51–44. Meanwhile, the Yankees are 47–47 and in third place in the AL East. Tonight, both teams will start right handers, with Cincy’s Mike Leake going up against the Yanks’ David Phelps. The game starts at 7:05 and can be watched on the YES TV Network and heard on WCBS 880 AM if you can’t make it out to Yankee Stadium.

For Saturday’s game, the Reds’ Alfredo Simon will be on the mound against Brandon McCarthy. Sunday, Cincy fireballer Johnny Cueto will face Hiroki Kuroda. Both of those games are at 1:05pm.

Unholy Two at Union Pool tonight

As one listen to any of the band’s music will tell you, Columbus’ Unholy Two are not easy listening by any stretch of the imagination. The trio’s handful of records is festooned with noisy barbs of guitar and electronic distortion, which in turn is meshed with ringleader Chris Lutzko’s lyrics on an array of taboo subject matter. As such, they eschew any sort of artfulness or intellectualizing, instead going straight for the throat. It is this rabid nature that makes the band standout amongst the current sea of incipient breastfed babies making music as a hobby. Listening to the band’s recently released second album, Talk About Hardcore, it is obvious that the band’s agenda extends beyond simply having fun. Regardless, it should be a pleasure to take in the band’s live set—which usually only lasts for 20 minutes or so before self-destruction sets in—at Union Pool tonight.

Devo at Best Buy Theater tonight

devo-announces-hardcore-tour-dates-2014-L-iovarcIt’s been a rough year for Devo. Last summer, Alan Myers, who drummed with the band in its heyday from 1976 to 1985 died of stomach cancer. Then, in February this year, founding member and guitarist Bob Casale, whose brother Gerald is another of its founding principals, passed away as a result of heart failure.

Nevertheless, the spud boys have pressed on, scheduling 10 dates this summer for their Hardcore Tour. Named after the recent pair of releases on Superior Viaduct Records, the label which, as any NE Ohioan should know, gets its moniker from a massive bridge that once spanned the Cuyahoga River on Cleveland’s northside, the tour will feature songs predating the Akron-born band’s first album. One gets the sense that this tour was already in the works before Bob2′s death so there will no doubt be a bittersweet quality to seeing the band this time around. Some may be disappointed not to hear “Whip It” for the umpteenth time, but this is a rare opportunity to hear material that hasn’t been performed live in decades. Tonight that opportunity presents itself at the Best Buy Theater.

Ohio at Northside Festival

Since its inception six years ago, the Northside Festival has blossomed into an immensely enjoyable event that encompasses music, film, and the digital realm. Music has been the focus since day one, with the fest taking over the majority of Williamsburg’s clubs and McCarren Park for the weekend.

This year, Ohio is well-represented with a handful of acts either making the journey east or already transplanted to Brooklyn. Unfortunately, it seems most of them are playing Friday night so unless you possess cloning abilities, it won’t be possible to see them all. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t be too disappointed as all are worth your while. Continue Reading →

Jeni hosting ice cream party tonight in Brooklyn

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream DessertsBeing Ohio-proud and, more specifically, Columbus-proud, I’m really happy to see success stories like that of Jeni Britton Bauer, especially since her husband and I used to play basketball together on a regular basis. She is becoming something of a household name and her ice cream can be more widely found throughout New York City since I first wrote about where to find it a few years ago. With one cookbook already under her wing, Jeni has just authored a second, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, whose recipes are not confined to just ice cream, but include baked items like hot brown Bettys, berry cobblers, empanadas, and corn fritters.

To promote the new tome, Jeni is on a book tour and this evening makes a stop in Brooklyn. At 6:30pm, she’ll be hosting an ice cream party at the Brooklyn Kitchen. There will be a sundae bar, and they’ll be making boozy ice cream floats with beer and gin. And, of course, the book will be available for purchase and signing. Tickets are still available. She will also be at Seersucker tomorrow at 6pm, where they’ll be serving ginger frozen yogurt and moonshine with corn syrup custard  and pecans.

Guided By Voices at Bowery Ballroom tonight

Robert Pollard

Robert Pollard in his finest t-shirt

If ever there was a band emblematic of the Ohio aesthetic, it would be Guided By Voices. The music made by Robert Pollard and his band of merry men has been equal parts beer-fueled bombast and lo-fi intimacy and has revealed the ingenuity that surfaces when left to one’s own devices. Since reuniting the classic line-up—Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Greg Demos, and Kevin Fennell—a few years back, such ingenuity has put the band on a pace of an average of two albums a year. (And this in addition to a couple Pollard solo outings per annum too!) The latest, Cool Planet, was recorded at the Cyberteknics studio in Dayton over the winter, and features Kevin March, who played drums with GBV from 2001 to their supposed disbandment in 2004, stepping in for Fennell, who was dismissed last year after a public kerfuffle involving an eBay auction of his drums. The added fidelity of working in an actual studio is negligible, but this one has more of the aforementioned bombast, as if the band felt the need to indulge in some rock primordialism. “Psychotic Crush” works particularly well, meshing a Ziggy Stardust–ed riff into the kind of truncated song in which this line-up specialized during its heyday.

When the band played Central Park a couple years ago, Pollard and company dared to stick largely to new cuts and still didn’t disappoint. I expect much of the same tonight, when they play the soldout Bowery Ballroom. Joining them in an opening slot will be former GBV guitarist and Cleveland ex-pat Doug Gillard, who as we discussed last month, has a new solo album out. One has to imagine, though, that he will get onstage with Pollard for at least a couple nuggets from his tenure in the band. As such, this is a rare opportunity to hear all eras of GBV represented, and I for one would love to hear “Back to the Lake” alongside songs from the new album.

Cloud Nothings back in town

cloudnothingsI’ve written frequently about Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings—and with good reason. The band’s mix of invigorated rock aggression and pop smarts has amounted in the some of the raddest records to come out of the city in what seems like ages. Their third album, Here and Nowhere Else, is similarly whipsmart and aggressive. The band, who seems to spend more time on the road than in Cuyahoga County, is back in our area for not one, but two shows. The first is in Brooklyn tonight at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, and tomorrow they’ll be in Manhattan at the Bowery Ballroom. To sample the new album, check out the video below for “I’m Not Part of Me.”