Tag Archives: Akron

Harvey Pekar (the band, not the legend)

I love Cleveland and its half-cousin-of a-city Akron.  There are a ton of reasons that have kept me here for so long.  One of them is the good people who I have surrounded myself in.  I know some of the best people in this area and feel privlidged.  The other reason I dg Northeast Ohio so music is because of the music scene.

What?  Cleveland and Akron have a music scene?  You bet your damn ass they do.  Lately it has been picking up too.

Sure, it might be a week or two between a solid show, but the local bands in Cleveland and Akron are good, scratch that, they are amazing.  Well, at least to me and that is all that should matter.  Some of my favorite releases last year were local bands.

Case and point: Harvey Pekar (the band, not the legend)

I love this Cleveland hardcore band so much that I am going to pimp them out to anyone who happened to accidentally read this.  Last December this band opened up for my pals Worship This! and killed it.  I was an instant fan.  With no material released at the time of the show, I was almost bummed all I was able to do was hear them one time.  Luckily a few weeks later they uploaded their EP to Bandcamp.

Harvey Pekar mixes up punk rock and hardcore with intelligence if that makes any sense.  The lyrics are the kind that make me want to research and the music makes me want to go nuts.  Some people might think the breakdowns are a tad excessive on a couple of tracks, but honestly, I think it works.  I dig their Thirty Ghosts EP a whole lot, especially “Confronting Flag” and “Begotten of Ian Fleming” (I do like me some James Bond you know…).  I look forward to seeing this band play out more and more in 2012 and drop a full-length.

Check them out if you want.  Keep it local folks.

Best Of 2011 According To BHP

Well it would appear that 2011 is coming to an end.  With that said, it’s time for a “Best Of…” Broken Headphones 2011 edition.

There were a ton of amazing releases throughout the year as well as live shows that I was able to attend.  Below is just a various list of bands that caught my attention, be it a recording or live show, over the past 12 months.

I should add that some of my favorite releases were from local Akron/Cleveland acts.  I am not just dropping their names because we are pals or anything, they all worked hard and put out some excellent releases.  If you have not heard of any of them, you really should check them out.

I may have missed a band here or there, but the following were the ones that stood out over the rest.

Albums of the Year:

SeahavenWinter Forever

*Hands down this is one of my favorite albums to drop this year.  They just have this indie punk rock sound that is ever so likable – trust me on this.  The first time I listened to it, I was hooked.  I see big things happening with this band in the near future.

NothingtonBorrowed Time

*This is another album I favored over the rest this year.  Catchy lyrics layered over wholesome punk rock is what this album is all about.  To make matters even better, they kick ass live.  They are coming back to Cleveland next month and I can not wait to see them again.  Listening to this band brings me band to the punk rock 90s I grew up on.

All DinosaursParanoid Indigenous

*So maybe the music was released in 2010, but the LP dropped this past Spring so I consider it a 2011 release.  This Cleveland act is beyond fun to listen to plus they put on one of the best live shows ever.  They are funny, quote 80s movies and are in it for the fun.  It helps they are also all super cool dudes.  If you are a Cleveland native, you should already know how amazing this band is.

Dave HauseResolutions

*I was a little late checking this album out as it was released in early 2011, but am glad I did not pass it up.  Hause (The Loved Ones) is an amazing musician and proves it in this killer solo release.  With help from his friends, he put together one hell of a release.  Do me a favor, if you like music, listen to this.

Living With LionsHoly Shit

*Words can not really describe how impressed I was when I heard these guys.  All I know is I will have this album playing regularly for a long long time.

Deer TickDivine Providence

*The boys in Deer Tick changed it up a bit and put forth a bitching rock album that I really dug.

DawesNothing Is Wrong

*Oh Dawes…you’ve done it again.  What a solid release.  You guys are on your way to being huge.  Keep it up.

Those DarlinsScrews Get Loose

*The girls and Lynwood dropped a impressive follow-up to their debut this year and I adore it.  Still kicking around the country-punk attitude, the foursome toyed with a more indie / garage rock sound and did a fine job doing so.

Old Man MarkleyGuts n’ Teeth

*This self-proclaimed “New Grass” band was one of the more fun releases I had have the pleasure of checking out this year.  I can not wait to see what happens next with these guys and gals.

Banner PilotHeart Beats Pacific

*Impressive release by a great punk rock band.  They need to play Cleveland soon.

White WivesHappeners

*This was the surprise release of the year for me.  Featuring members of Anti-Flag, this album is far from a pop-punk rock album.  On the lines of indie rock, White Wives needs to be heard.

A.A. BondyBelievers

*This guy really outdid himself.  You really have to check it out for yourself to realize why I appreciate it so much.  It’s a really beautiful release to listen to.

Bon IverBon Iver

*Not normally something I would listen to, but holy shit – it rules.

The Black KeysEl Camino

*Yeah yeah yeah… The former Akron, OH boys once again put out a release I admit I love.  I do not love the fact that the next time they hit Cleveland, they will be playing an arena.  It is safe to say they made it big time.  Let’s hope they don’t screw it up.

Signals MidwestLatitudes & Longitudes

*And yet another local act.  These guys are a big deal though…to me at least.  The dropped a really good record.  For serious.

EPs of the year:

LutherSiblings & Sevens

*Folk / Punk / Rock awesomeness.  I was caught off guard by this band.  They rule.  Sadly they had to cancel their Cleveland show after the band was involved in an accident in Chicago.  Luckily no one was seriously injured.  I can not wait for their full-length to drop.

Harvey PekarThirty Ghosts

*Dear Harvey Pekar (the band), thank you for existing.

Worship This! – Demo

*I normally do not mention bands that I am really good friends with the members, but I adore this band.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Two Hand FoolsBelieveland

*These guys better get signed in 2012 or else I am going to fight someone.  Another Cleveland act with plenty of talent.

Cherry Cola Champions – EP

*I remember the first time I saw these guys live.  I was not into them during their first song, and once their second song started, I was blown away.  Looking forward to seeing what this duo has up their sleeves next year.

The Awesome:

-Going to SXSW and seeing bands such as The Dead Milkmen, Flatliners, Dead To Me, Eyehategod, and tons others at various venues in Austin, TX earlier this Spring.  It was one hell of an experience to see so many bands cramped into such an amazing city.  Sadly when you have that many bands, you tend to miss out on some great sets by amazing bands.  Regardless, it was just awesome.  Plus…I saw Dale Watson play at Ginny’s.  That right there made my trip.

-Hanging out with Ninja Gun for a few days.  These guys are some of the best dudes I know.  They wanted to play shows on the East coast and I was able to lure them to Kent to play a show in September.  We all enjoyed hanging out so much that they kicked it for a couple more days where I took them up to Melt for some cheesy deliciousness.

-Getting Dave Hause to play a house show in Akron.  After seeing that Dave Hause was not playing a show in the Cleveland area just 2 weeks ago, I threw him the idea of a house show and he and tour mate Cory Branan were totally down with the idea.  The result was a show to remember with Hause and Branan trading off songs all night long.

-Hanging out with friends, new and old, at the Inner Sanctum Pier show on the E. 9th pier.  More people could have showed up, but regardless, I had a killer time that sunny day and got to watch Pat The Producer turn into a human tomato.

-Hanging out with Rise Against and doing some charity work them at the Malachi House in Cleveland.  The guys were super cool to hang with and really did not have that “rock star” attitude built from success.  Props to 92.3 for making that happen.

-Making the trip back to Austin, TX early November and attending Fun Fun Fun Fest.  I got to see some of my favorite bands all in one weekend including Murder City Devils, Hot Snakes, Hum, Slayer, Eyehategod, The Damned, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, and Russian Circles.  This was one of my favorite festivals of all time.  It was a festival I had wanted to attend for a a few years now and I decided to go for it.  I am so glad I did.

-It’s A Kling Thing House & Girley House.  Both houses put on some amazing shows in 2011 with local acts as well as touring bands.  Seeing Jeff Rowe over the summer as well as Mixtapes just a month or so ago in a basement is as good as live shows get for this guy.

-Daytrotter’s Barnstormer Tour.  What a great evening of music that was.  The show was in a freaking barn.  Yes, I do not remember much as the beers were going down like water, but I know I had a blast with some pretty special people.

The Suck:

-Ben Weasel’s SXSW blowout.  Sadly I was on the other side of town watching Cleveland’s very own Ringworm in a ghetto ass bar.  Don’t ask me why I skipped out on seeing Screeching Weasel live, I was under the influence of many ice cold Lone Star beers.  Honestly, I am kind of glad I missed Weasel acting like a little girl on stage.

-Danzig’s Fun Fun Fun hissy fit.  One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Fun Fun Fun Fest was because the Danzig Legacy was playing it.  I was stoked to finally see Danzig sing some Misfits songs with Doyle on stage.  Instead I witnessed a diva take the stage late and get their set cut as they played past curfew.  I only heard two Misfits songs and left with a bad taste in my mouth.  People can think what they want about Danzig and that night.  I was in the crowd watching heater being pulled on stage as well as the side of the stage tarped up so that little Glen would not get cold.  It was over an hour until the stage met his needs and the dude was fully aware of the curfew.  I will say that the two Mistfits songs had me feeling like a kid all over again.  Shame I could not witness the entire set that he had planned.  Lucky for me Ted Leo did a TV Casualty set the next day and made up for the Danzig drama.

-Seeing NOFX over Those Darlins.  I regret that decision a lot.  Two of my favorite bands played the same night and I had to choose one over the other.  The good news was that I got to see and meet Old Man Markley.  Sorry Darlins, I will not miss you next time you all hit up Cleveland.  Please forgive me.

-Atari Teenage Riot’s Cleveland show getting cancelled.  I was stoked to see these guys and was prepared to lose my hearing that night.  Hours before the show, their promoter cancelled the show.  Needless to say, I was pissed.

-92.3 and 107.3 changing formats.  Cleveland is a lost cause with radio now that both those stations were yanked.

Wrapping it up…

2011 ended with a bang for this music lover.  Thanks to all my friends from all over who made this year extra special for me.  You all know who you are.  From letting me crashing on couches to allowing bands to play in their basements you helped make this year what it was.  Also to everyone who attended shows with me and shared the same passion I have for music, thanks.

Happy holidays everyone and thanks for taking a part out of your day to visit this site.

Ok 2012, let’s see what you have in store.

Interview: Jeff Rowe

Singer / songwriter Jeff Rowe is one of the most DIY guys I have had the pleasure of meeting.  A few months back, he stopped and played a show in Akron at the Gurley House.  I remembered canceling plans to see another band that night just to make sure I could see Rowe play.  I’ve been a fan of his music after I reviewed his solo-debut Barstool Conversations last year.  There was just something about his sincere-ness in every song that I ate up and when I found out he was touring, I really wanted to make sure I was in attendance.

That night, I chatted with Rowe for a while and I will say this: He is hands down one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet.  His wife was pretty damn awesome too.  His stories were great and he was just so happy to be able to play for everyone at the house that night.

I finally got some time to chat with Rowe again, this time through email, as I feel more people need to know about this DIY musician.  I look forward to the next time he swings through Akron and can not wait for his next release.

BHP – First and foremost, for those who do not know you, who are you and what is it that you do?

JR – I’m a songwriter (sigh) from just north of Boston. I tour a lot and do my best to have a great time and make friends along the way. I’m more of a story collector than a story teller.

You grew up in a tough town just outside of Boston. How did you deal with the hard times as a youth?

The fair city of Gloucester, Massachusetts made for an interesting childhood. In all my travels I’ve still not yet come across a place quite like it. “The Island” is really a conundrum of sorts that is packed with characters that Hemingway would have been banging the keys for if he were writing an episode of the twilight zone. I had a mixed bag of a childhood but falling in love with music in many ways created an exit strategy for me and a way to not fall into some of the trappings that we all know too well.

What types of music were you listening to while growing up?

In the kitchen and living room my mom would be listening to Neil Diamond, Joan Baez and various Motown artists…from my brothers room i would hear Metallica, Slayer and COC… From my sisters room could be heard The Dead Kennedy’s, The Pixies and the Violent Femmes… I think all of that wound up giving me a healthy appreciation for music and shaped my listening habits as a child.

So how did you get your start as a musician? Was Boxing Water the first band you were in?

I got a guitar when I was fifteen years old and started a few local punk bands and helped start a small venue that would later play a vital role for the north shore punk scene as a whole, a life source of sorts. It was a room that held maybe 40 people but we’d pack in a hundred. It still amazes me today thinking about how many bands came through our little venue that went on to be national acts. It was all very DIY for me from the start, my feeling was that if you want something to happen you’ve got to make it happen because no one is gonna do it for you.

What happened to Boxingwater? Where can I find some of their songs at?

Boxingwater was together for 6 or 7 years, we started moving around a bit and it just got to be too hard. Two of the members of Boxingwater are now in the band Landmines and they are fantastic. I was in several bands before Boxingwater but that band was the first time i took it seriously and tried to do something that would go beyond Massachusetts. Most of our stuff is now out of print but I think we may try to get some kind of discography going one of these years, I’ll send you some songs though.

Sweet!  You left a punk band and completely shifted in musical style.  When did you decide that punk music was not your thing anymore?

I’ve never felt that punk wasn’t my thing at all, playing acoustic is something that I’ve been doing for many years now and it just sort of took over organically and went from convenient to a legit outlet. I love playing songs alone and feeling like I’m walking a wire of sorts with no band to fall back on but at the same time I really do miss playing in a band. That is something I am going to re-visit at some point for sure. Right now its so much easier to tour and write on my own.

Playing acoustic music huh? How did that transition happen?

To be honest I started playing acoustic shows years back when I couldn’t find a drummer and it forced me to take a more detailed look at my songs and how I’d be able to format them to be played acoustic. It really just kind of stuck and i got offered more shows and just went with it. My horizons have been broadened as a result and I’ve stumbled (literally) across some great music that exists beyond the bounds of the punk community.

I heard that you left Boston for Richmond, Va., to more or less perfect your musical style. Is that true? Did you have any influences there that helped you fine tune your act?

I actually moved down to RVA with a bunch of Boston friends because it was much cheaper and we thought it would be easier to tour, not to mention that Richmond is a great city as well. I made many friends down there but I’m not sure how much of an effect it had on my music or playing acoustic in general. Richmond has always had a wealth of great bands from Born Against and Inquisition up to Smoke or Fire and Landmines.

Your debut full length Barstool Conversations was dropped about a year ago, how personal were the songs on that release to you? It was not the most upbeat album, but to me hit me hard in a good way.

Barstool for me is a very personal record. There is a lot of myself and my close friends in those songs. In a way I think songs are my way of confronting some things in my life that I otherwise couldn’t find the words to articulate or convey what it was exactly that I was feeling. Those songs are all very real for me and I’m proud of that record for what it is and even though in some cases it makes my head spin that those songs had to be written, I wouldn’t change a thing.

You have toured not only the US but also overseas. What were your experiences like while traveling?

The travel is one of the absolute best parts of touring for me. Music has taken me to places that I never thought I’d get the opportunity to see and I’m real thankful for that. I’ve made some friends in far off cities and countries that I will have for the rest of my life and nothing can touch that. The experience of letting your guard down in a foreign country and just going with whatever the days and experiences bring is something that I’ll always keep close and those memories are the ones that inevitably stick when the tour is over.

You tour with your wife correct?

I always tour with my wife Alissa. She is my best friend and to be honest she’d much better with handling the rigors of the road and more adept than most folks I’ve ever traveled with. At the end of the day we both want the same things and neither one of us is willing to fracture our relationship over extensive touring so we do it together, the planning, the routing, merch etc…

You dropped an EP in the spring called New Winter, New England. I dug what I heard, but what exactly is a Tragabigzanda?

Tragabigzanda is what the city of Gloucester was called by its original inhabitants. All that seems to be left of that history is a road on the outskirts of town where wealthy folks “summer” called Tragabigzanda. I used it because I thought it was fitting because the song is really about trying to remember the innocence of teenage years and the steps that were taken to inevitably lose it. Also there is an amazing poet from Gloucester named Charles Olson that dropped it a few times in his earlier work.

Are you going to record a new full length anytime soon? Will you put that song you recorded in a hotel room in it? I forget what it was called, but I loved it when you played it live at the Gurley House.

Right now I’m writing and culling through a bunch of new songs to start piecing together the next record, not sure of any timeline, but by the end of 2012 I’d very much like to have a new record out. That song is called “simple & fair” and I’m 99.9% sure that’s going on the next one.

When we chatted the night you played Akron, you were telling me some funny stories about touring Europe. Care to entertain the readers here with one or two?

Where to begin… I’ve actually thought about compiling a bunch of road stories for a zine and giving them out at the merch table to anyone interested. I could take up pages and pages for this one. I’ll just say that I’ve got a doozy that takes place in Russia and involves a man that’s incapable of reading social queues, a potential kidnapping, wild dogs and Dostoevsky.

Potential Kidnapping?  I do not think you told me that one.  I would totally love to read that.  So, when not touring you have quite the cool job back home in Boston. Who is it that you work for again?

I have been a professional craft brewer for the last five years with Harpoon Brewery in Boston. It’s a fantastic job that couples hard work with science… perfect for a dork like me.

Two dream jobs, man you lucked out. What’s next for Jeff Rowe?

I’ve got a split 7″ with a sick pop punk band called Mayflower. We both have an original and we cover one of each others songs. I’ll be playing Fest 10 and plan on hitting the road again in Feb. It looks like I’ve got Europe, U.S., Canada and beyond on the docket.

Check out Jeff Rowe’s website, http://jeffrowemusic.com/, for more videos and updates from this one man band (and his lovely wife).  If you want to hear more of his music, head over to his MySpace page or Facebook page.  Better yet, head over to Anchorless Records and grab one of his albums!

Jeff Rowe from efi on Vimeo

This video was Jeff on a boat overseas.  I remembered him telling me he played a show on a river.  I love it when the fans sing along…

Concert Review: Daytrotter’s Barnstormer Tour 5 – Akron, OH – 08/31/2011

It was a beautiful night this past Wednesday at the Conrad Botzum Farmstead located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park just outside of Akron, Ohio.

Thanks to Sean Moeller of Daytrotter, the Barnstormer Tour 5 took over the farmstead for the night and turned it into one of the more unique venues that I have attended in quite some time.

What normally is a place for people to gather for parties and weddings showcased five unique bands including Wildlife, Princeton, Doug Paisley, White Rabbits and Hacienda within the walls of a giant barn.  Each band set up on one side of the barn throughout the evening hours turning it into their very own stage. The atmosphere was perfect for such an event.

Having been to the 100-plus year old barn at the Conrad Botzum Farmstead before, I knew it was going to act as a beautiful landscaping for a great idea. Daytrotter for the last five years has done something different in means of live music performances by creating the Barnstormer Tour with one idea in mind – live music in barns.  Sure, it may sound a little hick-ish, but it is more personable and traditional than any other type of live performance out there.

Daytrotter did the Barnstormer Tour mostly on their own and kept costs down. Tickets were sold on their website for a reasonable $20 exclusively to fans or they could be purchased at the day of the show for a few bucks more. There were no food vendors littering the grounds with $10 beers and $14 pretzels, no security telling you to bend over and spread ’em before you entered the area, and there was really only one rule: smokers please smoke by the firepit. In fact, this was a BYOB event (or BYOP for those who brought pretzels), and all who did maintained their trash and showed the utmost respect to the grounds.

Arriving much earlier than anticipated, bands were busy unloading their gear from white vans and transporting it up six steps to the large wooden porch that led into the giant barn. All who arrived for the show immediately marveled at the barn and explored the scenery. Some hung close to the stage area in the bard while others frolicked in the grass. One black and white striped pants wearing female was even seen skipping about in the fields of grain that reached beyond the fence.

The music started just before the sun began its departure into the western sky at around 6:30 pm. While in the barn, the sun actually made its way into the windows of the barn as Wildlife played their set opening up the evening. The pop-rock band from Ontario, who were all dressed in black, were actually quite impressive to watch even though the barn was just a tad too warm thanks to the sun pounding on the barn walls.  “What a great idea” said one of the band members as they told the crowd they dressed alike on purpose forgetting about the sun.  Whoops!

Princeton followed shortly after to a slowly increasing crowd. Perhaps it was the temperatures cooling down, or the fact that many of the fans, including myself, had a few beers in them, but everyone seemed very relaxed. Reminding me a lot of Phoenix, the band was heavy on the keyboards and encouraged the crowd to move a little.  After seeing them live, I am intrigued by their sound and will be checking them out a little more in-depth shortly.

Doug Paisley, also from Ontario, took a more intimate approach and played to the decent sized crowd unplugged. This could be a misconception on my end, but I was not even aware he was playing in the barn while I was sitting by the campfire. It was only until I heard a loud uproar of clapping did I realize I was missing a performance. I quickly made way back into the barn and moved up front to take in Paisley’s set.  Soft-spoken yet powerful songs came from that man and I have to say, I really enjoyed what i heard and if any artist should have played in that barn, it should have been Paisley.  Oh, I should also mention the near assault of Paisley by a resident barn bat.  No one was injured in the event.

White Rabbits stole the night as far as I am conderned.  The UK band played song newer songs at the beginning of their set and by the end returned to a more falmilular rhelm.  People were loving what they had heard and were jumping and dancing about.  Luckily for everyone crammed in the barn, the floors never gave out.  Having just gotten into White Rabbit a couple of week prior to the show, I was excited to hear a couple of the songs I remembered digging. 

Hacienda closed out the night with some wholesome and soulful Texas rock-n-roll.  The band, who recently just finished up recording at local native Dan Auerbach’s (Black Keys) Nashville studio, played a few new selections to the hyped up crowd.  I was lucky enough to catch them support Auerbach as his backing band a few years back when Auerbach went on his solo tour.  I knew well in advance that  I was going to get into their set, and that I did.

The Barnstormer Tour was simple and fitting. It was the bands, the fans, and a whole lot of scenery for all to enjoy. It was indeed one of the more unique concerts I have attended, and it was only 5 minutes away from my residence – bonus.

The Akron Barnstormer stop was the first time Daytrotter invaded northeast Ohio and proved to be a successful display of live music for all who attended. I know there was concern on poor ticket sales for the Akron stop, but from what I saw, there was a good number of folk who attended and appeared to be having a good time.  Of course it would have been nice to see thousands of people standing in and around the barn, but I suppose there is always next year.

Sean Moeller’s vision of taking live music literally to its roots in turn was a memorable experience I was happy to say I was a part of.  I was stoked years ago when Moeller found an original idea to share bands by having them record sessions at his studio also known as the Daytrotter Session.  I really feel he’s outdone himself by making the Barnstormer Tour more than a one time idea. 

Here’s hoping that next year’s Barnstormer Tour considers returning to northeastern Ohio again.  I’ll also be excited to see what bands he picks to have play out regardless if Ohio is a stop or not.  I’d even be willing to travel to attend another Barnstormer Tour, it was that enjoyable.

Daytrotter’s Barnstormer 5 Is Coming To Akron, OH!!!

Something cool is going to happen on Aug. 31st in Akron, OH…

The ever cool Daytrotter (also known as the Horseshack recording studio) is bringing Barnstormer 5 to Akron.  Daytrotter had the clever idea years ago to bring together up and coming country, folk, rock, and indie acts together and had them play in barns, hence the tour name.

The Akron stop will take place at the Conrad Botzum Farmstead Barn in the beautiful Cuyahoga County  National Valley. This place rules and I can honestly say that as one of my best buds and his lovely wife tied the knot there almost a year ago.  The barn is amazing as is the scenery that surrounds it.  This is a show not to be missed.

The Akron stop will feature White Rabbits, Doug Paisley, Wildlife, Priceton, and Hacienda.

Tickets are $20 in advance and can be purchased through the Daytrotter website.  Tickets will be $25 the day of show. 

Doors are at 5:30p and the show starts at 6:30p.  Conrad Botzum Farmstead Barn is on 3486 Riverview Rd., Akron, OH 44333.

For more info, head over to Daytrotter.  While you are there, check out all the amazing bands they work with and download some sessions!!!

Here’s a couple of videos from past performances: