It’s that time of year again. Time for music to take over in Over The Rhine. MidPoint Music Festival is back and is planning to throw a real party this year to celebrate thier 10th anniversary. It’s been a really interesting ‘Decade of Audio Addiction’ (the festivals tagline this year) and even though it wasn’t always pretty, the festival is still standing ten years later and is arguably better than it has ever been.
For my festival preview this year, I want to again highlight some of the bands I feel are flying under the radar of the average festival goer. Let’s be honest, the great bands that headline the festival like Okkervil River, Cut Copy, and Toro Y Moi are the ones that sell the tickets, and I love to see them playing at our festival in our city, but it’s the meat of the lineup that gets me the most excited. So every year, I try to make a point to highlight those bands, and usually discover a few more I wasn’t very familiar with before, in the process.
Playing Saturday afternoon at ENS Day Party at Hanke Building and Below Zero Lounge on Saturday night at 11:30pm
Nerves Junior are an excellent group of youngsters from Louisville, Kentucky. Their first album was just released, and the praise and attention that has followed makes this set a must see. Some have gone as far as to say the album reminds them of OK Computer, and others have made it their highest reviewed album of 2011. What do we think? Well, we like them so much that we went out of our way to make sure they were apart of the ENS Day party. Listen up people, these guys are on a fast ascent.
I know, UMO are already on your list of bands to see, right? Well, they might be the least ‘under the radar’ act on our list but I felt like they deserved another mention here as well. The debut from the band is a lo-fi work of art, that threw me for a loop when I first listened to it. The intentionally dirty, underproduced sound grew on me though, and I think it truly is part of the bands charm. Don’t miss this set!
Playing Friday evening at the SCPA Corbett Theatre P&G Stage at 7:30pm
From the crowded garden of bands in Brooklyn, NY rises Ava Luna, who despite their hipstery location, sound like one of the least pretentious bands around. Soulful vocals and carefully arranged instrumentation grab the listener right away on their EP starter “Clips.” Village Voice contributor Chris Weingarten said that Ava Luna are “the Post-TVOTR, Dirty Projectors-Inflected Bedroom Soul Project You’ve Been Waiting For.” And you know what, I agree. Check out the aforementioned song below and circle them on your MPMF schedule.
Playing Saturday afternoon at the ENS MPMF Day party at 12:15 & Friday night at 9pm at The Drinkery.
The Capstan Shafts are the best band playing MidPoint that you probably haven’t heard of. The criminally overlooked project of Dean Wells has been releasing material since 1999, mostly home recorded. Last year though, Wells got his band together in a studio for the first time and put together Revelation Skirts, a great power pop album in the same vein as vintage Guided By Voices. The album was a part of NPR’s “5 artists you should have known” in 2010 list. Pitchfork have also been consistent Capstan Shafts fans, and I think this review quote should intrigue you enough…
The first time I heard the Capstan Shafts, I found myself muttering a phrase that hasn’t passed my lips in a long, long time: “How can this be so good?”
Playing Thursday night at Below Zero Lounge at 10pm
Chicago’s YAWN caught the attention of the music loving web earlier this year with their debut EP, which was alot of fun, and now have lots of us in the palm of their hand again with the release of a long player. The album Open Season has a great electro-freak out element to it that calls to mind the tribal pop sounds of Yeasayer. Another young band on the rise that is flying under your radar but you should make a point to see this year during MPMF.
Playing at the Know Theatre on the BIORÉ STRIP Thursday night at 10:30pm
You already know we are fans of Tristen, we covered her show at MPMF last year and what ENS contributor Mary Kate Moran said then still rings true. “Tristen’s got a voice that’s one part Janis Joplin and one part Chrissie Hynde, with an effortless melodic sensibility tying them together.” And while last year Tristen did a solo performance, I hear that this time around we can expect a full band effort. Once again, an act to make time for during your MPMF week.