2006 Midwest Music Summit

yarl free since '03

Friday, July 28, 2006

A whole slew of songs from Chicago based artist Cameron McGill

In the last year or so I've written as much about Chicagoan Cameron Mcgill as I have any other artist on Songs:Illinois. Cameron plays MMS on Thursday August 10th at the Upper Room. Here's what I said over the last 12 months edited so it makes some sense in this context:

Thanks to Cameron McGill and his press agent at McClusky and Associates I've had his new record Street Ballads And Murderesques for close to a year. I've been sitting on it (don't worry it's not bent) waiting for there to be a link to purchase it. It's now available so here are my thoughts.

His live show (which impressed the unwashed hordes at CMJ) now features a full band with cello. While Cameron is safely within the walls of the singer-songwriter encampment, his songs, which range from 5-7 minutes, are not your usual folky fare. Verse chorus verse structure apparently doesn't do it for Cameron, so instead he's delved deep into his personal history as well as his own mythology to come up with a sound that of course will continue to be compared to Jeff Buckely and Bob Dylan but rightly should just be his own. Here's a couple from Street Ballads... Which came out in February of `06 and is available now online here and here.

What You Wanted
Worry About A Thing
We've Been Trying

Here's my first post about Cameron originally posted to Songs:Illinois in January of 2005:

I tried and I tried but I just don't get it. The vocal theatrics, hipster chic, and caberet music. It's not my style. Strange then that I like these live songs from Cameron McGill. These were taken from the seventh annual Jeff Buckley tribute show held at Uncommon Ground in Chicago last month.

Lover You Should Have Come Over
Lilac Wine

Cameron McGill Stories Of The Knife And Back
Long Way Back To California
What The Hell

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Posters Are Rolling In

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Stephen Yerkey's oddball americana roots music (Amazon called this record one of the most unique of 2006)

I'm increasingly on the receiving end of an email that starts out something like this "such and such artist has a new record coming out and Songs:Illinois is the perfect place to expose him/her to a new audience". Sometimes there's flattery and praise of me and Songs:Illinois which is always very effective btw. Meanwhile I know that somehow the label/pr group/marketing agency has probably used some clever bit of software to make it appear as if I'm being singled out when really the email went out to the rest of the 2500 othe mp3 bloggers.

However the most recent case was really effective because I'm sure I'm the only one on their blogger list to have the debut record by the artist being promoted. The artist is Stephen Yerkey and I remember buying his last disc, confidence, man, 12 years ago and listening to it for awhile and thinking how stangely interesting the music was.

He could be easily compared to Tom Waits, Leon Redbone, Bob Dylan, or even Tom Petty and that's not because he necessarily sounds like any of those artists but just that his eclectism is umatched except for by the very few established artists that can say fuck you to the establishment and it's rules. So twelve years later and a lot of water under the bridge on March 7 his followup to confidence, man came out and of course it's got the creatively challenging title MetaNeoNatureBoy (it's on the English label Echo - home to BRMC, Feeder and Roisin Murphy). Buy it here through Amazon.

Stephen Yerkey (ryhmes with Jerky) will be playing what to me is the best show of the festival when he appears at Connor's Pub with Apollo Sunshine and Rev. Peytons Big Damn Band on August 10. Listen to the two songs below and tell me that won't be a cool live show.

Cadillacs Of That Color
Songs Put Things

Monday, July 24, 2006

Martha Berner

Ok I have a new object of my affection, musically speaking of course (although she is a fox). Martha Berner released her proper solo debut record on October 15 last year. The record is called This Side of Yesterday. Her labels got a press quote saying this is "a joyous marriage of American folk, alt-country and indie rock". But I hear more the well-produced sound of singer songwriters like the European artists Emiliani Torrini and Martha Tilston or American artists like Dar Williams and Shawn Colvin.

The three songs given away free on her labels' website leave you wanting only more, you won't be satiated by these three gems. Luckily you can order This Side Of Yesterday at Machine Records here. Catch her at the Midwest Music Summit on Saturday August 12 at The Upper Room around 11pm.

Lady Of Plenty
Mary Lately
Good Company

Martha Berner was in a band called Friends of Howard here's two bonus songs from that 2004 release also available through Machine Records at the links above.

Fantastic Ordinary
Dear Franklin

The Kentucky Struts

Kentucky Struts
Being in Cincinnati, there are times I trumpet the Midwest and all its greatness. Our indie rock scene is flourishing in recent years so its hard not to. However there are plenty of opportunities to also boast about the southern influence just across the river in Kentucky. Now, im not a country music fan, more of an appreciator from afar I guess, but occasionally a band comes across my radar with a little extra twang that I really enjoy.

The Kentucky Struts
probably wouldnt describe themselves as a country band anyway. Id say they
fit the Americana tag well though. They seem to be able to transition from a hot dusty tune to a revved up rocker seamlessly. Todd Lipscomb sets the tone with lead vocals and songwriting while The Ass Ponys' Dave Morrison and former Over The Rhine drummer Brian Kelly keep up the pace.

Gotta love this quote from Lipscomb, describing the Cincy scene.....

"Original music is basically underground here. This city is built around P&G and the Reds and Bengals. People go out to hear their favorite songs and drink a shit-ton of beer, and we don't play 'Brown-Eyed Girl.' "
The Kentucky Struts are playing MMS on Thursday August 10th at around 10pm @ Stone Mug Cafe. Be sure to check em out.....

  • The Kentucky Struts- Lucid

    Purchase the Kentucky Struts debut album

    The Kentucky Struts on MySpace

  • Sunday, July 23, 2006

    AutoVaughn @ MMS

    The burgeoning indie rock scene in Nashville is doing a damn fine job of altering music fans opinions that Nashville is only for country music. One of the bands leading that charge is AutoVaughn and they will be playing the Midwest Music Summit here in Indianapolis this August. I recently received their album Space. Knowing they were playing the Summit, I popped it in immediately.


    They play clean, smooth indie rock that has an 80's new wave flair and a dash of brit-rock. It's polished, but not over-polished. Musically and vocally, the album starts out a little too much like The Killers' Hot Fuss, but that's not really a bad thing. That was a very good album, whether you agree at this point in time or not. They seem to find their stride and their own sound though as it goes on. They are influenced heavily by bands like Duran Duran, Tears For Fears, The Pet Shop Boys, Billy Idol and David Bowie. There are slight signs, however, that this is a midwest band, especially in some of the guitar work, might be unintentionally influenced by it's country music surroundings, but there is also some 90's style grunge rock guitar work crossed with it too. Rifts and hints here and there. Anyway, describing the sounds is not always my fortay, but what I do know is they are really good and I can't wait to see them.

    As far as their live show goes, looks like these guys will dress up like spacemen and Karate Kid characters in order to rock out. Can't wait to see what they'll pull here Indy.

    AutoVaughn's MySpace.

    AutoVaughn - One More Time
    AutoVaughn - On The Radio

    For fans of The Killers' Hot Fuss and 80's new wave crossed with brit-rock and 90's American style rock.

    Saturday, July 22, 2006

    Steve Dawson's Sweet Blue Eyed Soul

    I admit to not being a big Dolly Varden fan but it's not becasue of a dislike of their music. Mostly it's just been laziness. While living in Chicago for the past decade I've had a multitude of opportunities to see them or Steve Dawson's prior band Stump The Host. It's inexplicable that I've never sought them out. Now that I hear Steve Dawson's (of Dolly Varden) solo record I see at least part of what I've been missing out on.

    Steve Dawson recorded this album in just about every room of his house, he enlisted wife and Dolly Varden member Diane Christiansen to sing along. With multitracking and a host of excellent musicians Steve Dawson has made an exquisite blue-eyed soul record. It's not the copycat soul of Jamie Lidell (although there's nothing wrong with that) or the authentic soul of Soloman Burke. But it works nonetheless; think Van Morrison or the Finn Brothers.

    Here's a couple of standout tracks from Steve Dawson's solo debut Sweet Is The Anchor which came out in August of 2005 on Undertow. Don't miss Steve playing Saturday August 12 at Oasys Mobile Stage around 7pm.

    Sweet Is The Anchor
    Love Is A Blessing

    Explore the roots to the songs:

    Solomon Burke - None Of Us Are Free
    Dolly Varden - Forgiven Now
    Jamie Lidell - Multiply
    Finn Brothers - Won't Give In

    Friday, July 21, 2006

    Kim Taylor

    Kim taylor
    A true talent right here in the great city of Cincinnati is Kim Taylor. Kim is a singer songwriter that makes what has been termed "narcotic dream pop" but to me its just heartfelt and memorable. If Janis Joplin and Cat Power had a love-child, it might sound like Kim. Have a listen and tell me what you think.

    Tunes are on Kim's Myspace page.

    You can catch Kim Thursday August 10th at Monon Coffee as part of MMS....

    Catfish Haven @ MMS

    Catfish Haven

    Some of the nicest guys I've ever met, always up for playing a show whether it's in front of a few hundred or just a few. They'll bring the same rockin' effort either way. Catfish Haven are a band on the Secretly Canadian label. The three-piece calls Chicago home but take their name from the Missouri trailer park guitarist and vocalist George Hunter was raised. They will be playing this year's Midwest Music Summit. Catfish Haven's MySpace

    Catfish Haven - Crazy For Leaving

    Older Works:

    Catfish Haven - Madaline
    Catfish Haven - Please Come Back
    Catfish Haven - Too Hungover To Headbang
    Catfish Haven - Paper Thin


    Nice article on Tapes 'n Tapes in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune yesterday. The band will be on The Late Show with David Letterman next Tuesday.

    Tapes 'n Tapes @ Cowbell video shoot

    Josh Grier, left, gets ready for his closeup at Tapes 'N Tapes shoots its second music video in Minneapolis' Prospect Park neighborhood. The other band members, from right: Erik Appelwick, Jeremy Hanson and Matt Kretzmann. (Photo cred: Jerry Holt)

    Last Night:

    Went to a great show last night at The Vogue. Went and jammed out with The Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band and the front porch soul of Mofro.

    The Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band - Never Seem To Mind
    The Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band - Train Song

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    The Turnbull ACs

    As the Cincinnati contingent on this blogging "dream team" as I like to call it, Im left with the responsibility to write a bit about The Turnbull ACs.

    Dan Mecher and his friends are the hardest working band in Cincinnati these days, playing everywhere they can to get the much needed exposure a new band needs. Turnbull has been touring in support of their first album which is self titled. However, before they even put out an album, the band was nominated for the 2005 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for New Artist of the Year, as well as a nomination for Dan in the category of Singer/Songwriter of the Year.

    The Turnbull ACs- Pretty Girls Dont Go to Heaven

    Midwest Music Summit : Hot IQs - Firecracker

    Hot IQs

    The Hot IQs are a band I didn't know much about until I saw this video and heard this song. Now, I am pretty excited to see them play Midwest Music Summit. This Denver trio makes a brand of pop that has cleverly been dubbed Wit-Pop. Their new video for their single Firecracker is pure fun. Cross-dressing librarians and hot asian girls. (You know I like that!)

    The Hot IQs are on SpinART Records and released An Arguement Between Brain and Feet this past April.

    Hot IQs - Firecracker (Highly Rec'd!)

    Hot IQs - Firecracker (Video)


    Hot IQs - The New One

    "Sound: Blend classic pop, fuzzed-out rock, and hints of edgy lounge and you have Denver's premier rockers, Hot IQs. With a sound that cites influences from the Pixies, the Kinks, to Archers of Loaf, and possibly the Holiday Inn Lounge Singers' Association of America, Hot IQs put the indie-rock chocolate in your disco peanut butter."

    Page France at MMS

    If you read blogs then you've probably read all the praise for Page France. They've recently signed with Suicide Squeeze and will be re-releasing their acclaimed record Hello, Dear Wind this coming September. It offers "a spirited mix of campfire sing-a-longs, whimsical pop classics, and a delicate dash of folk innocence."

    Page France

    Page France : Hello, Dear WindOK, so...if you haven't heard (where have you been? Under a rock?) Baltimore's Page France is heartfelt indie folk-pop goodness. Lead singer Michael Nau has that "earnest" thing going for him in spades. Page France's MySpace.

    YANP interviews Michael Nau of Page France. Page France on Pitchfork.

    Page France - I'll Keep It With Mine (Dylan Cover) (Highly Rec'd!)
    Page France - Chariot

    Friday, July 07, 2006

    Mickey Avalon at MMS!

    Mickey Avalon is selling out shows all over. The kids love him, the ladies are clawing to dance on stage with him. He brings a brand of hip-hop/hip-pop that will have you rolling and moving your ass. He's raunchy, a former junkie and prostitute. He'll boast about, he'll tell you about his "freaky hooker mojo". He's out of control and everyone loves it.

    In one of his stage shows in LA, Mickey blasted out raps like “I used to work nights at HotCock.com/but then I got fired/when my mom logged on” amid onstage mayhem that included lap dances and the pouring of Patrón straight from the bottle into the gaping gullets of questionably legal blondes.

    This year's Midwest Music Summit has him, and it's gonna be huge. Trust. Wristbands are going fast, we only have 2000 total. It gets you in to every showcase you want to see, it's a bargin you can't pass up. Buy them now for only $20!

    Mickey Avalon

    Mickey Avalon is a troubled addict and an unquestionable skank, but a shockingly gifted rap humorist. - LA Weekly

    Mickey Avalon - Waiting To Die
    Mickey Avalon - So Rich So Pretty
    Mickey Avalon - Jane Fonda

    He's also buds with Simon Rex aka Dirt Nasty and Andre Legacy. You might wanna check into them too.

    Remember the boy next door that played records all day, and at night kept you up with songs of his own? He left home one day and was never heard from again. He moved to the big city, living in cheap motels, eating dollar hamburgers, working the boulevard with ex-models, thorazine freaks, transvestites, mothers, fathers, drunks, junkies and punk rockers alike. He struggled during many long lonely desperate nights under the dizzying city lights but made a vow that he would never forget the magic in this worldthe things he loved the most: his first fix, his first girl and most importantly the first time he rocked a mic. Mickey Avalon has done whatever it took to get him to and off Hollywood Blvd., to invite you into his world. And I guess thats what it is, his world. - Micky Avalon's MySpace.

    Sunday, July 02, 2006

    There's A Horse In The Hospital

    Video: Aliens ( The Return of Dr. Octagon)
    Seeing as how I grew up listening to Sex Styles and Dr. Octagonecologyst, it brings good vibes to my bones as I announce that Dr. Octagon will perform at the 2006 Midwest Music Summit.

    Dr. Octagon - August 12, 2006 @ The Vogue

    From World's Fair:

    Kool Keith AKA Dr. Octagon, is most renowned for being in the seminal, old school NYC hip hop trio, Ultramagnetic MCs. Hailing straight out of the mean side of the Bronx, Kool Keith has redefined the conventional hip hop styles and introduced a warped, bizarre take on the genre. Always one to court controversy, Kool Keith records under many guises, often confusing and surprising his audience. Finally, back again to shock and thrill us after years out in the wilderness, Dr. Octagon, goes straight for the jugular with the release of his highly anticipated new album, 'The Return of Dr. Octagon'. Spliced and diced together by the man, Kool Keith, himself and slickly produced by clued up production trio, One Watt Sun, this looks set for some playlist domination.