Tim Easton at Rockwood Music Hall tonight

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Tim Easton may live in Nashville now, but he’s still an Ohio boy at heart. The Akron-raised singer-songwriter first made a name for himself as the frontman for Columbus’ Haynes Boys, who recently reissued their lone full-length, but has been going it alone since that band broke-up around the turn of the century. He’s just released a new record, American Fork, and as he’s long been wont to do, has hit the road in support of it. He will be in New York tonight, playing an early show at the Rockwood Music Hall. Check out the first video from the album, “Right Before Your Own Eyes,” below.

Celebrate National Sliders Day

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There was a time before sliders became a ubiquitous menu item that the term was a somewhat derogatory way of referring to White Castle’s burgers. It was said that the chain’s burgers were so greasy that they just slid down your throat.

But why am I bringing this up now and in this forum? Well, today is National Sliders Day, and to celebrate, White Castle is giving away two free burgers per person via this coupon. (They now have other options besides the traditional slider, including a veggie version.) And though the franchise was founded in Wichita, Kansas, the company has been based in Columbus, Ohio since moving their corporate headquarters there in 1936. While several Brooklyn locations have closed, most notably those in Williamsburg and Bed Stuy, there are still a few White Castles left in New York City, including one on Eighth Avenue and 36th Street in Manhattan. Just be sure when you enjoy those little bundles of greasy goodness today that you spare a thought for the state from which they came.

Jack Hanna on Letterman for last time tonight

hannaGrowing up in Dublin, Ohio, I went to school with a girl named Suzanne who would always outshine everyone else when it came to Show and Tell. While most kids would bring in pet rocks, special selections from their baseball card collections, or perhaps a newly acquired Rubik’s Cube, Suzanne would bring in snow leopard cubs or a baby chimpanzee. Sure, I’m exaggerating to some extent, but going to school with the daughter of Jack Hanna ensured that at least a few times each year our classroom would feature some exotic animals.

Hanna made his reputation professionally as the Director of the Columbus Zoo, but it was his appearances on Late Night with David Letterman throughout the ’80s that garnered him fame and led to his own television shows. Hanna now lives in Montana, but he is still employed by the Columbus Zoo as the Director Emeritus. He’s in town today to make his last appearance on the Late Show, as Letterman is retiring next month.

Columbus’ Connections at Cake Shop tonight

connectionsThough Cleveland and Columbus may have lengthier histories when it comes to their rock scenes, for a period in the mid-90s, Dayton was every bit the hotspot as those bigger metropolises. With bands like Guided By Voices, The Breeders, Brainiac, and more calling the city home, the burg was perhaps producing more great bands per capita than anywhere else in the state. It was this self-made scene that inspired Kevin Elliott and Andy Hampel to first start making music as teenagers in Dayton’s suburbs. The first result of that initial inspiration was 84 Nash, a band that eventually moved to Columbus and released three superb records—including one on GBV frontman Robert Pollard’s short-lived Rockathon label—before calling it a day.

No doubt some of this influence also rubbed off on Kevin’s younger brother Adam, who until a few years ago drummed and sang with Times New Viking. The two siblings and guitarist Hampel have teamed up in Connections, a band rounded out by guitarist Dave Capaldi, formerly of El Jesus de Magico, and bass player Philip Kim. The five-piece has released three albums in quick succession, not to mention a slew of 7-inches. That the band has been able to convey a spastic zeal and deliver consistently great pop hooks over so much material says something about their upbringing. They’ll be in town tonight playing with their Anyway Records labelmate St. Lenox, as well as Brooklyn band EZTV, at Cake Shop. Check out their video for “Scanners” below. Continue Reading →

Lydia Loveless at The Studio at Webster Hall tomorrow night

lydialovelessIn the two years since I last wrote about Lydia Loveless, the Coshocton native, Columbus resident has been making people take notice. She’s won accolades for her third album, Somewhere Else, from everyone from Pitchfork to Rolling Stone to The Wall Street Journal—and with good reason. The record transcends her alt-country leanings for songs that lace rock raucous with simmering emotion. Tomorrow, she’ll display such chops at The Studio at Webster Hall. For a taste, watch the video below of Loveless performing “Hurts So Bad” from Somewhere Else at The Mug & Brush, a.k.a. the best barbershop in Columbus.

Unholy Two at Union Pool tonight

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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.

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.