Benefit: NKY Hates Heroin

Sponsored by Phratry Records; curated by Knife the Symphony and Ampline.

Common Center is a group of individuals from Covington, Kentucky that gather to form a collection of sonic exploration. Their all-original material arises from a vast array of influences morphing together to create a unique sound previously unheard, but longed for, by the ear. They combine powerfully upbeat as well as tranquil themes with mystic, other-world intertwining melodic elements from instrumental and vocal harmonies.

They value the power of lyrically-driven song writing just as much as the importance of well-crafted, unique live performances, opening for national acts such as Toubab Krewe, The Revivalists, and Twiddle. Common Center is more than just a band; it is an ever-open, vibrant community of positive energy that reverberates from its fans just as much as it does from the musicians.

On November 21st, 2015, they released their debut album, Gypsy River. Since then, they have written more further evolving material, some of which have seen live debuts, and should be released sometime in 2017.

Decompression nosebleeds are a persistent nuisance, a familiar sanity and a familiar start to a Sunday Morning. Im disturbed to enjoy a calmness in their regularity. A calmness amongst the confines of this metal prison. Survival is so cold from the depths of space. The shattered remains of a fairytale life display on the station viewing screen. Earth, I mustve lived there in a dream. I remember the sun on the surface, before the earth was covered in ash. I remember the brightness and the warmth and the look on my mother's face... she was so proud. That is the way I will always remember her It is so cold in space.

Black Signal makes music for caustic nights of seclusion and terrifying journeys through the abandoned, crumbling cityscapes of a disturbing future dystopia. Each Note Secure

Blue LED Helmets and Live Visual Projection help create an otherworldly feel as Black Signal navigates the stage from their cockpit of sequencers and synthesizers. "Its hard to pigeonhole a genre; we're not setting out to write dance music although there is a definite groove. We pull just as much influence from metal as we do from traditional EDM.

In their so far short lifespan as this electronic incarnation, Black Signal has managed to play festivals and shows across Ohio and surrounding areas including: Midpoint Music Festival (with: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Breeders) and Ubahn Festival (with: A-TRAK and Mike Posner). Black Signal was also awarded the 2014 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Electronic Act.

The name refers to a sound signal shooting endlessly through space. Black Signal started life as a three-piece prog rock band in 2008. The band grew to a five-piece and created the album Snow Mountain Sun Acceptance of Death. In 2010, 4 members reunited to release the industrial studio EP: Anoura before going into hiatus.
Reuniting in 2012, the current incarnation contains the two surviving members: Matt Ogden and Sean Garner along with the sometimes musical companion and live video engineer: Kevin Poole. The progressive element still remains in the scaled down, completely electronic version the band has become today.

Black Signal creates a collage of varying electronic sounds and structures, providing danceable beatscapes that morph into dark, nightmarish atmospherics without advance warning. Black Signals sonic puzzle is made up of shape-shifting electronica turned inside out, tearing down any boundaries conceivable. - CityBeat

The Ready Stance

In rock ’n’ roll some tales are just too perfect to make up. And the back story of The Ready Stance is definitely one of them. A truly perfect storm that unfolded within one square block of the historic district in Newport, Kentucky, just across the Ohio from Cincinnati.

“I hadn’t been in a band in years but was still writing songs and jamming with friends on weekends; really just a therapeutic thing after running a manufacturing business and having a family,” recalls guitarist Wes Pence, the creative force of 1990s outfit Middlemarch. “I was walking home one night and happened to glance in the open window of a house on my block. Inside were a couple guitars and fliers for shows by the Replacements and other bands I loved—really out of place for the neighborhood. Then this guy walked out on the porch…”
That guy was lead vocalist and guitarist Chase Johnston, an Ohio native and alumni of the Athens, Georgia, music scene who’d recently moved back to the area. An animated conversation between the two revealed an uncannily simpatico musical vision and still more shared touchstones: Big Star, Television, VU, The Band. They recruited a bassist and old Middlemarch bandmate, drummer Eric Moreton and started working up Pence’s backlog of tunes. Before even playing a show, they began recording Damndest, The Ready Stance’s astonishingly solid debut, in the basement of Pence’s 1880s house. Mixing was completed on the same block, at Audiogrotto, a newly converted church housing a world-class studio.

Much like the saga of the band’s formation, the yarns in the album’s 11 tracks—all set to sweeping, melody-rich hooks, raw, ringing guitars, and driving rhythms—are rooted in fact and stranger than fiction; literate, image-laden observations with a penchant for classic, bent Midwestern arcana. There’s “Steamship Moselle,” the calliope-infused account of an 1838 maritime explosion catapulting an ill-fated minister to the riverbank; and “Marathon,” an amusing local legend of a confused fistfight between a speech-impaired gas station attendant and a customer with a similar affliction. More timely themes include “Real America,” a chord-crunching, poetic look at divisive political punditry, or “Longarm”, a poignant reproach of U.S. foreign policy leading to the Iraq War.

Soon after recording, the group added bassist Randy Cheek, an old friend and veteran of seminal Ohio bands the Ass Ponys and the Libertines, whose famously solid bass work melds perfectly into their sound and feel. With Damndest hitting the shelves this spring, the new lineup is already at work on their more collaborative follow-up release, which thus far promises to be a masterwork.

In these days of gimmicky indie projects, the Ready Stance’s time-honored sound is rare: just four guys in a room knocking out earnest, urgent rock, much as it could’ve been done in any decade. “We all can tell after one take if it’s any good—we don’t even really talk about it,” says Johnston. Such timeless stuff has already drawn praise from some legendary names.“When I was a kid growing up in Kentucky,” recalls Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club drummer Chris Frantz, “my cousin would pick me up in his Chevy Super Sport and drive me down along the Ohio River to Cincinnati to hear some rock ’n’ roll. Those were exciting times, and the bands would play late into the night, rocking soaked in sweat. When I hear the Ready Stance, these memories come back to me and I remember that Cincinnati has produced so many wonderful musicians. The Ready Stance is among that number. You will be hearing a lot about them in the future.” And with Damndest, that future is already here. Waiting to be heard. Now
Praise for The Ready Stance

“When I was a kid growing up in Kentucky, on lucky summer nights, my cousin would pick me up in his Chevy Super Sport and drive me down along the Ohio River to Cincinnati to hear some rock ’n’ roll. Those were exciting times, and the bands would play late into the night, rocking soaked in sweat. When I hear the Ready Stance, these memories come back to me and I remember that Cincinnati has produced so many wonderful musicians. The Ready Stance is among that number. You will be hearing a lot about them in the future.”

-Chris Frantz, Talking Heads / TomTom Club

“It’s hard to evoke a certain classic style without being overly derivative, but the Ready Stance really pulls it off—plus they write great songs. To me, that’s triumph.”

-Chuck Cleaver, Wussy/Ass Ponys

We're a beautiful mess. We've been through a lot. Our music is our experience. Sharing this experience with you is a two way street. Don't be afraid to show us who you are and we'll do the same.

of 500 Miles to Memphis

The Angel Shale

Music that's grown from sitting at the dining room table my dad built, fleshed out by friends who are awesome musicians.

Spastic Noisy Punk band from CINCINNATI

Punk post rock 3 piece or indie acoustic solo from Cincinnati.

SS-20 grew out of the burgeoning Cincinnati punk rock scene of the late 70’s/early 80’s, as the brainchild of brothers Pete and Robert “Jughead” Sturdevant. The band quickly became the de-facto house band of the epicenter of that scene, the Newport Jockey Club.

The band has been featured on local, national, and international radio stations such as WOXY, WEBN, WLWT, as well as stations in Japan, Great Britain, Ireland and Germany. In 1986, they appeared in an MTV commercial for Little Kings Cream Ale, featuring their song “Radioactive Waste”. In 1987, the song “Pope On Tour” was featured on ABC Primetime during their coverage of Pope John Paul II’s American tour, and a copy of the single is stored in the Vatican Archives. In 2002, on the band’s 30th anniversary, SS-20 were nominated for “Best Punk Band” by the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.

SS-20 has shared the stage with many the most well-known and respected punk bands of the era, such as the Ramones, the Dead Kennedys, M.D.C., D.R.I., Subhumans, the Business, the Vibrators, D.O.A., Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, Social Distortion, Fear, T.S.O.L., Husker Du, Mission to Burma, the Adolescents, Gang Green, Rocket From the Tombs, J.F.A., Bad Brains, the Dickies, U.K. Subs, the Exploited, Agent Orange, the Dicks, Discharge, Agnostic Front, LES Stitches, Murphy’s Law, the Replacements, the Drones, Infa-riot, G.B.H., Fugazi, Soul Asylum, Suicidal Tendencies, Samhain, Mephiskapheles, the Toasters, the Murder Junkies, Toxic Reasons, Naked Raygun, the Zero Boys, 7 Seconds, the Dictators and the New York Dolls… to name a few.

SS-20 has played, toured and recorded continuously since 1982 and is considered a local treasure. The line-up has evolved over the years but has stayed true to the SS-20 mission to present a progressive political agenda, and bring to bear the inconsistencies of modern life.

Husk & Skull

"The eight instrumentals that make up Ampline's debut disc The Choir have more in common with Mission Of Burma than the standard amorphous post-rock. The Cincinnati group plays passages of complex, chiming beauty, but most of its songs begin and end in a compressed rush so intense that it's easy to forget the lack of vocals..." - The Onion

"Ampline's guitar isn't droning for the sake of holding up the entire song, the way Emo bands typically do...the drums could be a band unto themselves, as the bass rolls along tactfully, never going Flea-like on the listener." - 2Walls

"Really good amped up instrumental guitar rock. The guys in Ampline never even considered having a singer...which is just as well, because they obviously don't need vocals in order to make their music work. These four gentlemen have a great big adrenaline-fueled sound that is characterized by charging rhythms and heavy guitars. These guys can rock, that's for sure...but even more impressive is the fact that they also venture into some heady progressive areas that are most appealing. These guys are doing all the right things the right way." - Babysue

Knife the Symphony

KNIFE THE SYMPHONY (Cincinnati, Ohio) owes a considerable debt to the music released by SST, Touch & Go, and Dischord Records. The band is angular and dynamically diverse, yet they don’t neglect muscular, storming punk-fire. Since 2006, the band has toured quietly, albeit steadily, throughout various portions of the U.S. and Canada and they've consistently released energetic, abrasive, rhythmic and melodic-work garnering comparisons to Hüsker Dü, Drive Like Jehu, Jawbox, and Unwound. Indie music-blog INDEPENDENT CLAUSES has stated that "[Knife The Symphony's] furious, frantic, atypical take on punk rock is pretty much what keeps me from feeling that punk is dead…" while THE BIG TAKEOVER MAGAZINE has described Knife The Symphony as "...locating their nucleus in ground between the late 80’s Dischord and Touch & Go labels...the banging, whirling, ridiculously rhythmic post-punk emo attack is a wonder...these guys are inhuman”. Bring your earplugs. RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Drive Like Jehu, Husker Du, Fugazi, Jawbox.

The Newport Secret Six

The Newport Secret Six stay true to rocksteady roots and ska rhythms. Tough rhythms, smooth horns.

Fifteen years ago, if you heard about a new, young Ska/Reggae band, you’d be forgiven for thinking the crew played some variation of Third Wave Ska, the Reggae-tinged Punk popularized by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and others. But if you subscribe to the belief that music lovers often turn to more pure forms of music in times of societal uncertainty, The Six’s dedication to the earliest forms of Reggae and the authentic sound they come up with should be no surprise.

The horns on Licking River are top-notch, responsible for the best riffs on the release, while the bass provides deep Dub grooves, the guitarist shows off one of the best Reggae strum hands in the region, the drums are dynamic but (indeed) rock-steady and the organ trills and stabs are in line with what the pioneers had in mind when they came up with the sound.

Singer J Duckworth guides the Secret Six through the album with soulful vocals pushed forth from the bottom of his gut. He’s got the phrasing down and comes up with some great melodies throughout, but it’s the way he sells it that sets the band apart.

If you love Reggae’s originators and have a soft spot for Two Tone Ska, then meet your new favorite local band, The Newport Secret Six. (

Kate Wakefield

Dark cello lines create a skeletal foundation for haunting vocal melodies wrapped in post-operatic loops. Smudging the thin lines of genre with compositions ranging from minimalist textured pieces to full blown walls of sound, Wakefield pushes the boundaries of what is expected in solo performance.

Public Figure

Folk music for the modern world

aka JIMS & his Mandareenians
Since 1996, at the ripe age of 11, JIMS has been performing his unique blend of styles and movements that have held a profound influence through the years. Holding frontman/guitar duties with his early projects Code Red, GDS and Prick B. Mafia, once he reached his 20s he started up his longest project to date, Sweet Ray Laurel.

During the same period he was moonlighting as a drummer in Silver Bridge Disaster then as guitar and vocalist in Good Night Noises. Soon after he picked up the sticks again for Martin Luther & The Kings and then Smoke Signals… respectively.

In addition to two unnamed new secret projects, JIMS continues to play with Sweet Ray Laurel and Smoke Signals… while also performing solo.

Alone on the stage armed with just an acoustic guitar and loop station, his songs reflect a love for all styles of music ranging from punk, world, folk and everything in between. The years of influence and experimentation with various groups has helped mold a unique, concise and focused approach which, is evident in his compositions.

Always opting for the most visceral and vulnerable outlet, his solo output is every bit of raw, in-your-face, personal and delicate as you may expect as a document of such a storied sonic past.

JIMS is currently in the process of producing his debut solo album which, should see a release during Summer of 2015 on the label//collective he helps curate with his older brother, AndRecordings.



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