Photo: Dawg Yawp

In last month’s column, gentlemen, I pointed out that a local outdoor music festival has gotten away from a balance of local and national music acts since it was sold. I also pointed out that has been a continual complaint since the sell.

Allow me to expound on that: It’s a shame that the local acts have been pushed aside. It’s a shame because of the extremely rich musical history -both past and present -that our fair city has always offered.

This column is not a Cincinnati music history lesson. So, I’ll make this brief.

Herzog records helped launch the careers of Hank Williams (“Lovesick Blues” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”), Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (“Foggy Mountain Breakdown”), and Bullmoose Jackson (“Big Ten Inch”).

King records provided us with the likes of James Brown (“Please, Please, Please”), Hand Ballard and the Midnighters (original version of “The Twist”, later covered by Chubby Checker), and Billy Ward and the Dominoes (“Sixty Minute Man” which was the first R&B song to cross over onto white music stations).

In more recent history, our city’s music scene has produced Blessid Union of Souls, The National, Over the Rhine, Wussy, Walk the Moon, and Heartless Bastards (we’ll forgive them for now making their home base in Austin) just to name a few.

But if this column isn’t about the history of our city’s music scene, what is it about?

The scene that is happening in the here-and-now!

You can find music in almost any nook-and-cranny of this city, on any given night. It’s one of the truly hidden gems in my opinion, as it doesn’t seem to get the notoriety that it deserves.

I have stopped long ago trying to predict the next breakout act from here. I learned my lesson after touting the great Foxy Shazam for almost two years running, only to have them not breakout but breakup altogether.

What I will do though is highlight several bands/acts that are getting traction on independent radio like the streaming station Inhailer radio and WFPK out of Louisville. Who knows? Maybe one of these will be the next Cincinnati breakout act?

I have seen most of these acts several times. Obviously, they are well-worth your time to check out. You’ll not only be supporting your local music scene, gentlemen, but there’s the exceptional cool factor in saying you were a fan of a particular band “before they were big,” right?

Modern Aquatic: Indie rock with a laid back vibe, almost surfer/beach rock in a way.
Definite listen: “Blondie”.
Local appearances: None Upcoming

Jeremy Pinnell: Formerly Jeremy Pinnell and the 55’s, Mr. Pinnell has struck out on his own. And he’s sounding better than ever.
Definite Listen: “The Way Country Sounds”.
Local appearances: None scheduled as he’s on a west coast leg of his tour.

Daniel in Stereo: Indie rock with a definitive pop influence. The hooks are ridiculously catchy. It’s impossible to stay completely still when listening.
Definite Listen: “Yours”.
Local appearances: June 30 at Fountain Square.

Leggy: All punk, no frills. This band doesn’t f**k around. They come right at you, hard.
Definite listen: “Bruises”.
Local appearances: July 30 at Urban Artifact.

500 Miles To Memphis: An alt-country band in Nashville is perfectly normal. But one here in Cincinnati? Not exactly normal. But it definitely makes these guys stand out. If you go to a show, just be prepared they play loud and proud.
Definite Listen: “All My Friends Are Crazy”.
Local appearances: July 3, Sparks in the Park, Milford.

The Cliftones: If an alt-country band in this city didn’t seem out of place enough for you, how about a reggae band? Sometimes you have to get your island groove on man.
Definite Listen: “Hypocritical”.
Local appearances: August 22 at Fountain Square.

The Harlequins: Experimental rock with a complete laser-light show. Listening to their music on albums is great. But that doesn’t do them justice. This is a band you HAVE to see live to get the full experience.
Definite Listen: “Not Dead Yet”.
Local appearances: July 5 at The Southgate Revival House.

The Yugos: Rock with a definite ‘New Wave’ feel. These guys have been playing the local circuit since 2009 in some form. If you haven’t checked them out yet, you can’t call yourself a local music supporter.
Definite Listen: “Andopolis”
Local appearances: None scheduled.

Dawg Yawp: Pop and rock with a unique sound, due to the fact that one of this amazing duo plays sitar. Yep, think Ravi Shankar if he was influenced by rock ‘n roll.
Definite Listen: “I Wanna Be a Dawg”.
Local appearances: August 10, Bellweather Music Festival, Renaissance Park, OH.

P.S. If I were to tab the next breakout band from our city, these guys would be it. But I won’t. Because that apparently would put the ‘kiss of death’ upon them. Check out their NPR Tiny Desk concert nonetheless.

Young Heirlooms: Folk and roots rock. Tight harmonies and even tighter song writing. I honestly don’t know how this band hasn’t blown up by now. So…you might want to see them before it happens!
Definite Listen: “Bury Me With My Hammer”.
Local appearances: July 19, RiversEdge, Hamilton, OH.

There you have it gentlemen. Plenty of opportunity to get out and support the longtime, high producing local music scene. And remember, with local bands just because they may not have any local appearance scheduled doesn’t mean you won’t run into them playing unscheduled gigs around town.

Until next time, gentlemen…