Tim Easton at Rockwood Music Hall tonight


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.

Craw at Saint Vitus tonight


Although Cleveland has a long lineage of groundbreaking music, the city experienced something of a lull in the ’90s. It was on this barren landscape that Craw was born. After first forming at Case Western Reserve University in 1988 and recording a series of demo tapes at the start of the next decade, the band released its self-titled debut on the Chicago-based Choke label in 1994. The record revealed a sharply honed mix of noisy aggression, atmospheric dirge, and heady lyrical content. The viscerally charged racket Craw was making was not unlike that being released by Amphetamine Reptile and Touch and Go, and Craw would host those labels’ touring acts at the Euclid Tavern when not on the road themselves with the likes of the Jesus Lizard and Melvins. Several line-up changes and three more full-length releases would transpire before the band called it quits in 2002, leaving a lasting impression on all that heard its music.

In conjunction with an elaborate boxset released by Northern Spy Records, the seven members who played in Craw at various times have reformed for a handful of shows, including one at Saint Vitus tonight. This is very unlikely to ever happen again, so don’t miss it!

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 →

Mark Mothersbaugh at The Strand tonight

Though most people are probably familiar with Mark Mothersbaugh for being a member of  musical provocateurs Devo or perhaps for his soundtrack work, which has ranged from The Royal Tenenbaums to The LEGO Movie, this Renaissance man and Akron native has also worked in various visual mediums throughout his career in those other fields. A selection of that work has recently been collected under the title “Myopia” and is currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Concurrently, Princeton Architectural Press has published a book of the same title that also places the art in the context of Mothersbaugh’s work with Devo.

Tonight at The Strand, Mothersbaugh will be discussing the book with its editor and MCA Denver’s director, Adam Lerner, as well as signing copies for those in attendance afterwards. One must purchase a copy of the book to attend, and other memorabilia will not be signed, so leave those energy domes at home spud boys!

X__X returns to New York City

Given their Big Apple-centric view of the world, New Yorkers like to believe that punk rock began on the Bowery with the Ramones, et. al. History is never so clearly defined, however, and one could easily make the argument that such noise was being made in Cleveland years earlier, even if few heard such rumblings. One of those of primordial punks was John Morton, whose electric eels (all lower case after e e cummings) were in operation as early as 1972. He subsequently formed the short-lived X__X with guitarist Andew Klimeyk and drummer Anton Fier, better known for his work with The Feelies and The Golden Palominos. Though the band existed for barely six months before Morton moved to New York, their live performances and two singles were remarkable enough to be remembered all these years later. Finnish label Ektro Records recently released a compilation, and to mark the occasion, Morton has assembled an altered line-up of Klimeyk, bassist Craig Bell (of Rocket from the Tombs), and drummer Matthew Harris to play a handful of shows, including one tonight at Cake Shop and another on Sunday at WFMU’s Monty Hall. I got in touch with Morton, who is also a visual artist, via email to ask him some questions and he was kind enough to answer them.

Continue Reading →

OhioNYC CMJ Showcase on Friday

anywayrecords_CMJ_facebookAs anyone who’s read this blog should be able to tell, I have a thing for Ohio-born music. So it seems only natural that we are co-sponsoring a showcase at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon. We’ve partnered with Anyway Records to present a bill of six artists who either have ties to the label or Ohio or both. It will all go down this Friday, October 24 (a.k.a. tomorrow), at Passenger Bar. And did I mention it’s free? Yes, no cover and no badge necessary! Music starts at 8pm, but get there early so you can get at least one happy hour drink. You can also get a taste of what to expect with this audio sampler. Hope to see you there!

The Line-Up (in order of appearance)

Jon Chinn: Before moving to Brooklyn a few years ago, Jon was a fixture in Columbus’ music community. He played with Pretty Mighty Mighty before subsequently going solo, ran Workbook Studios, and worked as a touring soundman for such notable acts as the New Bomb Turks.

The Receiver: The project of brothers Jesse and Casey Cooper, The Receiver has been making music in Columbus for nearly a decade. They’ve got two full-length albums under their collective belt and a third one on the way and have logged countless miles plying their trade.

St. Lenox: While this project has taken several forms, it is primarily the musical endeavor of Andrew Choi. Choi’s got a voice that is reminiscent of Stevie Wonder while musically he at times can recall everyone from Magnetic Fields to Dean Martin. He has an album due on Anyway in January.

The Human Hearts: This band is the latest project of Franklin Bruno, the thinking man’s singer-songwriter who previously has worked as a solo artist and as a member of Nothing Painted Blue.

Doug Gillard: Gillard has a CV that reads like a who’s who of Ohio indie rock. He’s been a member of Guided By Voices, Cobra Verde, and Death of Samantha. And in addition to his own solo work, which includes an excellent album that came out this year, he’s now a member of Nada Surf and Bambi Kino.

WV White: These kids from Columbus are sure to end the night on a raucous note. They released their self-titled album on Anyway this past year and it’s a gem of rough-edged melody and rambunctious energy.



Afghan Whigs in town this weekend

afghanwhigsTonight, the Afghan Whigs play the first of two shows in New York this weekend. The Cincinnati-born band will be at Manhattan’s majestic Beacon Theatre this evening, while tomorrow night they’ll play a slightly more intimate show in Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. The band, which reformed with three of its four original members a couple years ago, now includes only frontman Greg Dulli and bassist John Curley from their original line-up. Included in the new group is drummer Patrick Keeler, also of The Greenhornes, another Cincy-based band. The Whigs have been touring most of this past year in support of Do to the Beast, which they released in April. But they’ll no doubt play plenty of cuts off of their breakthrough Gentlemen album, which is being reissued in a deluxe edition later this month by Rhino Records. Tickets for tonight’s show are still available via Ticketmaster (and dirt cheap via Stubhub), but tomorrow’s night show is sold out. Below is the band’s recent performance of “Matamoros” from their latest on the Late Show with David Letterman.