Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Video Day #tzachill

Perfume Genius drops the mic on us once again with a visually spectacular video for Grid.  Eternal Summers has an epic (internal?) battle going on in this new video for Never Enough (and they’re coming to the Beachland on Oct. 11th).  Finally, Estelle’s newest video for Conqueror (can’t wait for new hew album!)


Bonus: Local wonders, Herzog, have fun with their wacky new video for Theme for Boys.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tonight: Astronautalis & Sarah Jaffe @ Beachland Tavern

I’ve been following Sarah Jaffe for some time now, and I was a little suspect of her pairing (initially) with Astronautalis -  but it turns out that both artists defy simple categorization. Both artists are also worthy of seeing on their own - which means this will be a great night to have both.  See what you’re in for:
Astronautalis wide
IMG 5388

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bob Mould / Cymbals Eat Guitars (9/15/14)

I’ve said this a couple times now… “As a gay man in music, I feel like I should be seeing Bob Mould live.”  It’s a simple association I guess, but whatever.  He’s a legend - and he’s still putting out good stuff and rocking out live.  He deserves to be seen!  Cymbals Eat Guitars were opening, and felt like an appropriate match.  However, I’ll admit that this wasn’t quite my style… Loved being there, but just not my thing.  Here’s what I caught - in case it’s yours.

Cymbals Eat Guitars (9/15/14)

Bob Mould (9/15/14)

Brent Kirby & His Luck (9/13/14)

I scored some free tickets from a newsletter sign-up promotion that the Music Box carried earlier - and chose this show as the one to attend. I didn’t have much choice though, I was busy every other night, and didn’t even have much time to spend at this show either.  But despite not having a choice - I still would have picked this show anyway.  Brent’s a cool guy who’s doing cool shit in this town.

AND - this was my first show at the new Music Box venue, though we were only in the smaller of the two spaces.  Nice tables, nice chairs, nice stage… We didn’t have a chance to eat - but overall, things were very clean and nice.  But I kinda miss having some grit.

Brent Kirby & His Luck (9/13/14)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Another Bear in Heaven video for the excellent (and timely) Autumn.  Next up is some great, new Alex Metric... with a heart-warming true story, with a serious beat. alt-J is back with a great glimpse of adolescent fun in the video for Left Hand Free.


Bonus:  For this post, it’s Queen Diva, your besta believe-ah!  Big Freedia’s TV show just got picked up for two more seasons, so she’s doing something right.  Not my favorite track, but the video is slick and I’m still a big supporter.

Tomorrow: Com Truise @ Grog Shop [LATE SHOW]

Doors opening at 11:30 for the Com Truise show (ouch!).  But should be worth your wait as he puts down some great "slow-motion funk -- warped, bass-heavy tracks that are sludgy but leavened with bright synthesizer melodies.” (AMG)  How fun does that sound… Check out this bit below:

ComTruise 1

Tomorrow: Islands & TEEN @ Grog Shop [EARLY SHOW]

I won’t be hitting the whole Downtown Festival this weekend, but I will be doing the double-header at the Grog Shop tomorrow night.  Show starts at 8 for Islands (TEEN & Extra Spooky opening).  Should be an excellent show.

"Brooklyn's TEEN incorporate everything from psychedelic rock to '90s R&B into their experimental pop." (AMG).

TEENZi Brackbill 1


Islands is a Canadian band, born out of the Unicorns.  "Ski Mask, the band’s fifth album, is equal parts beauty and venom—an album that percolates with the kind of polymorphous pop and hooky, left-of-center rock songs that have long been the band’s stock and trade. This time around, however, the artful indie-pop comes with a decidedly melancholy punch."


This Weekend: Downtown Festival - FULL DETAILS

Cleveland is finally getting a major music festival!!!  …well, sorta.  Check it.


Downtown Festival was launched in 2011, commemorating Downtown Record's 5th Anniversary, and featured sold out performances from some of today’s hottest acts across multiple genres, including Santigold, Major Lazer, Miike Snow, A-Trak, White Denim and others, over 2 nights at New York’s Webster Hall and Terminal 5. In 2013 Downtown Festival returned to NYC, taking over 8 venues in downtown Manhattan with performances from Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Purity Ring, Earl Sweatshirt, Ab-Soul, Sky Ferreira, DIIV, Trash Talk among others. Billboard summed up the ethos of the 2013 festival, saying "A young, Downtown Records-owned event that dispatches emerging artists across Manhattan’s Lower East Side – playing back-to-back sets for room[s] full of incidentally intimate strangers.” 

Downtown Festival featuring…

Friday, September 19:

The War On Drugs


Com Truise



Extra Spooky


Saturday, September 20:

Justin Townes Earle

Crash of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros



Full Details



The War On Drugs

Support: Califone
Friday, September 19
Doors 7pm / Show 8pm
Venue: Scene Stage at House of Blues

The War on Drugs is an American indie rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, formed in 2005. The band consists of Adam Granduciel (vocals, guitar), David Hartley (bass, guitar), Robbie Bennett (keyboards, guitar) and Patrick Berkery (drums).

Founded by close collaborators Granduciel and Kurt Vile, The War on Drugs released their debut studio album, Wagonwheel Blues, in 2008. Vile departed shortly after its release to focus on his solo career.

The band's second studio album Slave Ambient was released in 2011 to critical acclaim and extensive touring. A third album, Lost in the Dream, was released in March 2014.

Artist Website: http://www.thewarondrugs.net


Support: Extra Spooky, Teen Friday, September 19
Doors 7:00pm / Show 8:00pm Venue: Grog Shop

In July 2013, Nick Thorburn began hinting at a new Islands album. He soon posted a link to the band's website on Facebook revealing the upcoming release of a new album called Ski Mask. The first single, Wave Forms, was released in 2013 via SoundCloud. Released last September, Islands’ latest album, Ski Mask, showcases Thorburn at his “predictably unpredictable” best. A record that is equal parts beauty and venom, Ski Mask percolates with the kind of polymorphous pop and hooky, left-of-center rock songs that have long been the band’s stock and trade.


Artist Website: www.islandsareforever.com



Friday, September 19
Doors 11:30pm / Show 11:45pm Venue: Grog Shop

Com Truise is one of the many personas of producer and designer Seth Haley, born and raised in upstate New York and operating out of a 12’-overrun apartment in Princeton, New Jersey. An admitted synth obsessive, Com Truise is the maker of an experimental and bottom heavy style he calls “mid-fi synth-wave, slow-motion funk”.

Haley’s been making music on the side for roughly a decade—going through pseudonyms like toothbrushes (Sarin Sunday, SYSTM, Airliner)first as a DJ, and currently, as an excavator of softer, window-fogging synth-wave.

While subliminally informed by both parental record collections and hints of faded electronics product design, Haley’s Com Truise project isn’t just nostalgia capitalization. There are fragments (read: DNA strands) of Joy Division, New Order, and the Cocteau Twins, but it’s like you’re hearing them through the motherboard of a waterlogged Xbox—demented and modern. He’s got a way of making familiar things sound beautifully hand-smeared.

The first Com Truise release was the Cyanide Sisters EPdistributed for free on the AMdiscs labelwhere mellow stone-outs like “Sundriped” and “Slow Peels” sat next to harder IDM bangers (“BASF Ace” and “IWYWAW”) and bumpy alt-funk trips (“Norkuy” and “Komputer”). After that came a single “Pyragony/Trypyra,” and a series of eclectic podcast mixes titled “Komputer Cast.” Now comfortably situated amidst the Ghostly roster, he’s prepping his next warped pillage, and hopefully not changing that name again.

Artist Website: http://comtruise.com


Friday, September 19
Doors 7:30pm / Show 8:30pm Venue: Beachland Ballroom

Pomplamoose is an American musical duo which feature Californian multi-instrumentalists, real life couple Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn. The duo formed in the summer of 2008 and sold approximately 100,000 songs online in 2009. They are known for their diverse music style which the band themselves refuses to put a label towards.

In 2011, Pomplamoose began a weekly, interactive, half-hour webcast called “Hey, It's Pomplamoose: A Show about Pomplamoose and Other Things” that airs every Tuesday. After the March 29th show, the webcast was put on hiatus until their East Coast tour was completed. The tour included Ryan Lerman, Carlos Cabrera, and Lauren O'Connell as backing band and opening act. For the Washington, DC show, Pomplamoose opened for OK Go, also known for their YouTube videos.

On November 5, 2013, Pomplamoose launched its second season a three-part sequel to the band’s early years, including but not limited to: videos, a tour and an album (to be released July 29th).

Artist Website: http://www.pomplamoose.com



Justin Townes Earle

Support: Crash of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Saturday, September 20
Doors 7pm / Show 8pm
Venue: Scene Stage at House of Blues

After two and a half years since his last release, Justin Townes Earle is back and pleased to announce his fifth studio album (and first ever on Vagrant Records!). Entitled Single Mothers, the record will be released nationwide on September 9th, 2014 and Justin will be on the road in the US throughout September and early October to support

Single Mothers is comprised of ten tracks that showcase exactly why Justin Townes Earle is considered a forefather of Contemporary Americana. As a recently married, sober man JTE writes from a point of maturity and content we’ve not seen before on past records. “One day I just realized it’s not cool to die young, and it’s even less cool to die after 30,” Justin laughs as he reflects on a life past and his new found clarity. What he’s created is an album that’s raw, honest and personal in a way he hasn’t touched upon since his debut EP, Yuma.

Once compared to a man who wears many suits JTE has experienced more than most, both personally and professionally, in thirty-two short years. Between releasing four full-length-critically-acclaimed albums, constant touring, multiple stints in rehab, being born Steve Earle’s son, amicable and not-so-amicable break-ups with record labels, and facing the trials and tribulations of everyday life, it’s safe to say JTE has quite the story to tell. Single Mothers serves as the perfect platform for such narrations.

Artist Website: http://www.justintownesearle.com


- Continued -


Saturday, September 20
Doors 9:00pm / Show 10:00pm Venue: Grog Shop

rjd2 originally began his career in Columbus, Ohio, DJing in 1993 with a pair of turntables bought from a friend. He claims his name originates from another friend who referenced him as "rjd2" in his raps, and the name stuck.

Originally working the role of DJ in the Columbus rap group MHz, he later signed to Bobbito Garcia's Fondle 'Em label, releasing the self-proclaimed "mix CD" Your Face Or Your Kneecaps. A year later he signed to El-P's record label Definitive Jux and released his solo debut album Deadringer to much acclaim. rjd2 later collaborated with Columbus rapper Blueprint under the name Soul Position, releasing Unlimited EP in 2002 and 8 Million Stories in 2003. He released his second solo album Since We Last Spoke on Definitive Jux in 2004, which blended hip-hop with elements of pop and was lauded as one of the year's Top 40 Albums by SPIN.

He later contributed a cover of "Airbag" by Radiohead for the 2006 album Exit Music - the same year that saw the release of the collaborative record, Magnificent City, with Aceyalone. Fully indulging his passion for pop, rjd2 released another solo album, The Third Hand, on XL Recordings and toured extensively through 2008.

The innovative producer’s 10-year career reached a marked turning point in 2009 after he scored “A Beautiful Mine,” the popular theme to the hit AMC television series, Mad Men. In early 2010, he dropped The Colossus - the first album to be released on his own label, RJ’s Electrical Connections. He has since reissued Your Face Or Your Knee Caps, The Horror, and Since We Last Spoke as well as a vinyl LP deluxe box set entitled 2002-2010 via his label.

Artist Website: http://rjd2.net


Saturday, September 20 Doors 7:30pm/ Show 8:30pm Venue: Beachland Ballroom

Listening to Marvelous Clouds, Aaron Freeman’s 2012 debut under his own name, fans might have felt that he was ignoring an elephant in his rooma drug-and-alcohol-related onstage flame-out that made viral headlines the year before. But Clouds, a deceptively chill Rod McKuen covers record, was just a warm-up for the artist once known as Gene Ween. In the opening minutes of FREEMAN, the self-titled debut from his new band, Freeman addresses addiction and its aftermath with the combination of merciless self-inventory and artful songcraft that earned Ween one of the most devoted fan bases in contemporary pop. This song, the unmistakably autobiographical “Covert Discretion,” is a quiet shocker. “Save your judgments for someone else,” Freeman sings. “Be grateful I saved me from myself.”

As bitter as it sounds, the track clears the air. FREEMAN represents a new beginning— Aaron Freeman’s first album of original material since disbanding Ween and getting sober—but it isn’t a record mired in its maker’s private struggles. It’s simply a collection of gorgeous, subtly offbeat songs—in other words, a continuation of the thread that runs through the entire Ween catalog. The lush psychedelic pop of “The English and Western Stallion”; the melancholy plea of “More Than the World”; the unflappable, Plastic Ono Bandesque blues-rock of “Gimmie One More”—these are songs that bear the unmistakable Aaron Freeman stamp.


Artist Website: http://www.partisanrecords.com/artists/freeman


HOUSE OF BLUES: 308 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114
Two Day Festival Pass $59 (General Admission Access at House of Blues & Grog Shop Downtown Festival concerts, Front of Line Access to ALL shows at House of Blues for Downtown Festival, Downtown Festival T-Shirt & Laminate.)

VIP Two Day Festival Pass $79 (VIP access for House of Blues Downtown Festival concerts, General Admission Access for the Grog Shop Downtown Festival Concerts, Foundation Room Access (Ages 21+) for both Friday and Saturday, Downtown Festival T-Shirt & laminate, Signed Vinyl from one of the headliners at Downtown Festival, Sound-check pre-party OR a meet and greet with Califone, Crash, RJD2 and Islands.)

Tickets are available for purchase at the following locations: www.houseofblues.com, House of Blues Box Office, www.ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets and Charge by Phone: 800.745.3000.
The House of Blues Box Office (308 Euclid Ave.) is open daily at 10 AM Monday thru Saturday.
For more information call 216.523.BLUE (2583).

GROG SHOP: 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44106 Islands: $12 advance / $14 day of show General Admission
Com Truise: $12 advance / $15 day of show General Admission
RJD2: $22 advance / $25 day of show General Admission

Tickets are available for purchase at the following locations: http://www.grogshop.gs , Grog Shop club, www.ticketweb.com, by phone 216.321.5588 for a $1.00 surcharge and various local retail outlets (see venue website for more information).

BEACHLAND BALLROOM: 15711 Waterloo Road, Cleveland, OH 44110 Pomplamoose: $13 advance / $15 day of show General Admission Freeman: $15 General Admission

Tickets are available for purchase at the following locations: http://www.beachlandballroom.com , Beachland Ballroom club, www.ticketweb.com, by phone 216-383-1124 for a $1.00 surcharge and various local retail outlets (see venue website for more information). 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tomorrow: Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers AND She Keeps Bees @ Beachland Tavern

Shilpa won me over back in 2010 at the Beachland (she kept it up in 2011) and is coming back to the Beachland Tavern ($8/$10).  This time she’s co-headling with She Keeps Bees who "may be a bassless guitar-and-drums duo playing indie rock with blues and country inflections, but their sound is less indebted to White Stripes or Black Keys and more aligned with Cat Power… "

Sounds like it’s going to be a perfect pairing.

Screen Shot 2014 09 16 at 10 20 37 PM

I’ve already posted Shilpa’s one recent video - so here’s a live session:

She Keeps Bees recent video for Is What It Is.

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Go is the first video off Grimes upcoming album (which is now being scrapped?). ODESZA’s new album is out and here’s the new video for Say My Name. Next up is Zola Jesus who also has a new album out in Oct.

Bonus:  I missed (and missed promoting) the Rubblebucket show at the Grog Shop, but still wanted to share their flashy new video

Tonight! Laura Stevenson @ Grog Shop

Last time I caught Laura was back in 2011.  It was a great show and I’d love to do this one, but I’m still on the fence (3 openers!).  But if you go, go early for the openers - there are some good ones there.

Laura stevenson and the cans 6 hi res 640x426

Sunday, September 14, 2014

twenty one pilots (9/11/14)

I ended up missing the Tokyo Police Club show, breaking up a run of 4 nights of shows in a row.  Only for a night though, because the next night was an excellent show by twenty one pilots!  As I mentioned, they first charmed me at the AP Music Awards, and I’ve since fallen in love with them - particularly through their videos.  But first - Misterwives.  From what we saw, a decent band with some nice albums.  I’d like to see these guys again in a smaller venue.

Misterwives (9/11/14)

Misterwives (9/11/14)

However, twenty one pilots had no problems filling that space - despite only being two guys on stage.  A raised drum kit and a multi-talented lead singer - your eyes were glued to the stage.  Their music really resonates with the kids - but it doesn’t have to stop there.  People call these guys sincere, for a reason.  LOTS of great video moments - dig through them.  I think these guys have some serious potential.

twenty one pilots (9/11/14)

twenty one pilots (9/11/14)

twenty one pilots (9/11/14)

Taj Weekes & Adowa (9/9/14)

Not often does Reggae cross my path, but it's so welcomed when it does.  I couldn’t have imagined a better experience than seeing Taj Weekes & Adowa at Wilbert’s on this Tuesday night.  We loved the laid back vibe these seasoned performers from St. Lucia, and really of the crowd on this night as well.  A bizarre blend of true fans of the band and fans trickling in from the Indians game.  A great time was had by everyone.

Taj Weekes & Adowa (9/9/14)

Taj Weekes & Adowa (9/9/14)

Bishop Allen (9/8/14)

I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since I’d seen these guys.  It’s been a little while since they had an album as well (2009).  Those things combined, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect for this Musica show in Akron - other than to get there on time.  It was a Monday night, so the crowd was light, but that left some great positioning for this show.

Catching Jesse Marchant was a treat.  I’m looking forward to his new album… Check out this song.

Jesse Marchant (9/8/14)

Bishop Allen took the stage in stride and played a great set. These guys had so many good songs, there was no way I was going to do individual videos for the songs.  Just sit back and relax, and watch you what you missed.

Bishop Allen (9/8/14)

Bleached @ WRUW's Studio-A-Rama (9/6/14)

I didn’t get to spend much time at Studio-A-Rama, but was glad to catch Bleached.  Their grungy, pop-punk sound was a real treat, especially for free on the campus of Case Western Reserve University.

Bleached (9/6/14)

Bleached (9/6/14)

Great Lakes Brewery Block Party / Modern Electric (9/5/14)

Not much of a concert review, but got to catch a bit of Modern Electric, while spending a gorgeous night out at the Great Lakes Brewery Block Party - enjoying the tail end of what’s been a great Summer.

Great Lakes Brewery Block Party (9/5/14)

The Modern Electric (9/5/14)

Great Lakes Brewery Block Party (9/5/14)

Retro Futura Tour: Howard Jones / Midge Ure (8/25/14)

Sometimes I enjoy when other people take the lead on shows, and I get to just tag along.  That was the case for this 80’s showcase, which included Howard Jones and Midge Ure, as well as one of the Thompson Twins and some other bands.  Being this was the same day that we drove back from Chicago, so it would only be a couple bands for me on this night.  While I can attest to being tired and not having high expectations for this show, other than to accompany friends - I can now see why people get excited about seeing Howard Jones live.  High energy and even doing some fun new EDM takes on his 80’s classics.  Midge Ure was spot on with quality as well.  Now if only the show had been better promoted and attended...

Howard Jones (8/25/14)

Howard Jones (8/25/14)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Robyn & Royksopp (8/24/14)

The last night in Chicago, we were fortunate enough to get 3rd row seats for the few (and oft-sold-out) shows for the Royksopp & Robyn tour.  This was a the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park in Chicago.  This show was presented in 3 parts… part Royksopp, party Robyn, and then they played together.  Royksopp knows how to delight a crowd, with both sounds and lights.  Stunning & clean performance.

Royksopp (8/24/14)

Royksopp (8/24/14)

Robyn was also great - as expected.  Besides, I think she was the biggest draw of the night, based on the crowd.

Robyn (8/24/14)

Put them together and  you get greatness…  If I had one complaint - its that her vocals were too low.  You can tell in the videos.

Robyn & Royksopp (8/24/14)

Robyn & Royksopp (8/24/14)

Robyn & Royksopp (8/24/14)

Deer Tick (8/23/14)

Hot on the heels of the Gay Games, we were off to Wizard World’s ComicCon in Chicago.  While we were there, we caught up with Deer Tick at Metro.  I finally got to see this venue - and it was amazing!  Not great sight lines, but the charm was through the roof.  Deer Tick had total command of this audience, played their typical raucous country-tinged rock.  We even got a surprise when John McCauley’s pregnant wife - Vanessa Carleton - took the stage.

Deer Tick (8/23/14)

Deer Tick (8/23/14)

Deer Tick (8/23/14)

Deer Tick (8/23/14)

Gay Games 2014

So while I posted all my videos & photos from the Gay Games, I never did an official blog ost about it.  But, since August was one of the busiest months of my life, and i have a lot of shows to catch up on - I’m gonna be quick.  I’ll just say that it was an honor to be involved and I had one of the best weeks of my life.  I thoroughly enjoyed helping to pick and organize bands, and to work the festival that week.  We had amazing volunteer staff - amazing volunteers - and some amazing music.  While the early nights were not the best weather-wise, I think Cleveland put in a hell of a show every night for the games.

Here are a couple of my favorite photos & videos.  You can catch all my videos on my YouTube channel, and see all my photos over at Flickr.

Eric Himan (8/14/14)

Gay Games Festival Village (8/13/14)

Rollergirl (8/12/14)

DJ Yoav Arnon (8/13/14)

LE1F (8/14/14)

Pandora Boxx (8/15/14)

Ana Matronic (8/15/14)

and some videos: