Lara Kinne (also known as Larisa Aral) is a writer from Louisville, Ky. Since the launch of her independent music blog, "Huevos,” in 2007, Lara has written about the local music landscape and beyond. Her bylines include Louisville.com, LEO Weekly, Gonzo Today and Performer Magazine; additionally, Lara helped start the city’s first homeless street paper in 2014, Our Paper Louisville. She is currently a contributor at LEO Weekly and full-time proofreader with Kentuckiana Reporters. Follow her on Twitter @dangerboobs.
Since the mid-1990s, J.D. Wilkes and his group the Legendary Shack Shakers have been helping to forge the Southern gothic sound. In addition to ripping on harmonica and banjo as the band's wily frontman, the Paducah native is also a Kentucky Colonel and author of two books steeped in Kentucky folklore ("The Vine That Ate ...
Art often reflects social concerns, and that can be seen in LEO's playlist of favorite local songs from 2019. There are some happy and optimistic songs, but from others, you can certainly piece together quite a few threads of worry about climate change, gentrification, chronic poverty, mental health and how technology is making us miserable, just to name a few.
Adrian Younge, a multi-instrumentalist from Los Angeles, is a prolific composer and producer. And on his latest project, an orchestral collective called The Midnight Hour, Younge teams up with A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad to create a sound that pays homage to the Harlem Renaissance, while forging new avenues for his signature analog approach in a digital era.
Between the Motown covers and Christmas compilations that have dominated his recent studio output, Michael McDonald was compiling demos for his first album of original material since 2000's Blue Obsession. The process for that resulting record, 2017's Wide Open, was more arduous than anticipated - redefining his identity once again proved difficult, because, after all, McDonald has been many things to music.
The Los Angeles-born tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington has become a beacon for the future of jazz. He started strong with the release of his sprawling, dream-inspired 2015 debut The Epic (released on Flying Lotus's Brainfeeder label), and, that same year, he played sidekick on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, lending a hand as one of the jazz savants who performed on the Grammy-winning record.
Three days marching across the Sahara to Libya, a roughly 1,000-mile journey through the scorched desert landscape. This is just a snapshot of the life-changing trek that 31-year-old Tuareg guitarist and songwriter Mdou Moctar made two decades ago.
"Stomp the stigma" is the motto of PeteFest, an annual music festival started in Louisville three years ago to foster the mission of the Pete Foundation for Depression Prevention. Named for 23-year-old percussionist Pete Jones, who died by suicide in 2016, PeteFest combines music, art and community engagement with the ultimate vision to fight the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Always upbeat and ready to step outside of the typical rock constraints, Twenty First Century Fox returns with their third full-length album, New Energy. According to them, it's their "most diverse" record, an expanded sound adopted in the three years they spent refining this 10-track follow up to 2016's Yr Welcome.
Love songs can take a lot of shapes. Joy, grief, contemplation, lust and virtually every other emotion can be present, making the range of narratives and meanings extremely wide. And Louisville, with its always-growing music scene, has plenty. Here are five of our staff's favorites from the last five years.
Orchestra Enigmatic, a group of chamber musicians dedicated to creating concept concerts, is continuing their regular series of tributes in 2019 with perhaps their grandest yet: The Björk Ball.
Supergroup isn't far-off from describing the lineup of the new Jacob Duncan Quintet. The recently-formed jazz ensemble puts Duncan (alto saxophone) alongside JD Allen (tenor), John Goldsby (bass), Gabe Evans (piano) and Michael Hyman (drums). The group performs at Jimmy Can't Dance this Thursday, coinciding with the release of It's Alright to Dream, a compelling and risk-taking new album.
Opening day of Bourbon & Beyond on Saturday turned out to be the only day of the festival, as heavy rain forced the cancellation of Sunday's events. City officials and B&B promoters agreed to shut down Champions Park, deeming the grounds "unsafe" and even "dangerous."
Yoga Enigmatic is a new project by the local music collective, Orchestra Enigmatic, that matches an improvised orchestral performance with yoga. It's free, with a suggested donation and open to a range of skill levels, and it usually falls on the last Saturday of each month at the Art Sanctuary.
PeteFest, a three-day music festival that takes place Sept. 7-9, began three years ago to support the mission of the Pete Foundation for Depression Prevention - named for 23-year-old Pete Jones who died by suicide in 2016.
Scroll down the list of artists performing at Forecastle this year. From the top down, there are several names that make it around the festival circuit. What you don't often see at those other high-profile events around the country is the presence of a local music scene.
Brenda is a band that's trying to make it work. But retaining a healthy project isn't just about devoting time to writing, recording and performing. It's gotta involve some risk. For drummer/singer Brenda Mahler and singer/guitarist Matt Horne, that came with a change of scenery.
In a snug room above his family's carpet business, Drew Miller, the lead singer and alto saxophonist of the genre-defying Curio Key Club, workshops new material with his bandmates. Gig posters collected during Miller's tour stints with Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Houndmouth fill the room, while Brandon Bass' original illustration featured on the cover of Curio Key Club's debut album from 2016 hangs near the entrance.
Sometimes, there are people who come along, singing in such a familiar way that the spirit of a soul legend seems to have manifested within them. For Carly Johnson, that would be Etta James, as the two share the sort of voice that can rile listeners into fiery elation, or ease them into a blue velvet-lined dream.
It's become a recurring gathering on Thanksgiving eve for the last three years. An array of local players come to contribute, with new ones always bound to show up. But what happens relies on the commitment of its implementors - united, willing and diligent in the task of upholding 53 musical phrases for an hour.
Just as the musical mystique of Miles Davis still rivets today's active ears, so do the harmonies of pianist Bill Evans. The former Kind of Blue sideman was a master of melodic lines, and like Miles, began his career playing original versions of popular jazz standards.
Our coverage this last week has focused extensively on the art and music of Forecastle, so we at LEO decided to explore the festival's alternative aspects. We caught up with several groups, each unrelated to one another, but that share a desire to create a sense of community within the festival.
GonzoFest found a new home last Saturday at the Louisville Free Public Library's downtown branch. Mayor Greg Fischer, while speaking at the event, spoke of the early, fundraising stages of a three-step plan to renovate and rename the North Wing of the library in honor of Hunter S.
(Photo by Jonas Wilson)"What time is it?""You said no hard questions!" Cher Von shot back.The two of us had stepped outside of Decca for some fresh air. The jazz was too hot, and in the moment, standing above and gazing into a healthy fire was the favorable choice.
Interviews & Profiles
Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei are two string players from different, yet equally dynamic, backgrounds. Washburn, who lovingly clasps the stylings of clawhammer banjo, is a Grammy award winner and the marital partner of banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck. Fei, an accomplished composer and singer currently based in Nashville, wields her traditional Chinese zither called a guzheng.
Renowned jazz guitarist and composer Bill Frisell has a history of helping the homeless. He once did a string of shows supporting the progressive, Seattle-based, homeless advocacy newspaper Real Change. Now, Frisell is returning to Louisville for 2019's first Give-a-Jam, a benefit concert series for the Louisville Coalition for the Homeless.
Black Angels frontman Alex Maas sings everything with his eyes closed, although you wouldn't ever know it behind the ever-present amalgamation of colors and visuals during their concerts. Their live performances, highlighted by the psychedelic Mustachio Light Show, are heightened sensory experiences paying homage to the mixed medias employed by Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd and ...
For the creation of Black Lips's eighth studio album, the five-piece band from Atlanta took to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York where they recorded in the secluded "magical mountain" home of Sean Lennon and his mother, Yoko Ono.
Charlie Hunter has spent more than two decades navigating parallel ventures as a solo artist and vital contributor to many avant-jazz ensembles. But the verbose guitarist is understated when it comes to talking about himself. "It's pretty boring," he said, laughing.
"Go tell them." On the title track of Lakou Mizik's debut album, Wa Di Yo, the eight-piece weaves a positive, resilient energy into those words, reflecting the band's mission of helping Haiti heal after the 2010 earthquake. "Go tell them / Go tell them / We still there."
Adia Victoria recently took a dynamic turn. From her grimy, Delta blues-saturated debut album, Beyond The Bloodhounds, to her latest EP covering classic French pop songs, How It Feels, the 30-year-old South Carolina native, Nashville transplant has moved on without abandoning her roots. Forecastle will be her second Louisville appearance, after an electric performance at ...
A glance at the cover of Tobin Sprout's new album, The Universe and Me, will take any familiar fan back to the pop-infused, low-fi bits that framed his contributions as a significant member of Guided by Voices. And that remains within his modest solo offerings, since his songwriting is comparable to that of GBV's charismatic frontman Bob Pollard.
Through metal's ever-expanding system of veins are routes to unhinged ideas. Mac Sabbath, a Los Angeles-based McDonald's-themed Black Sabbath tribute band, comes from this place. LEO has featured Mac Sabbath in its pages before, so we reached out to supporting bands Metalachi (a mariachi-metal cover band) and Okilly Dokilly (a metal outfit based on the Simpsons character Ned Flanders) for further input on these concepts.
Trombone takes the lead this Saturday at the University of Louisville Jazz Fest, with a performance from Wycliffe Gordon (he'll also teach a master class). A son of the classical jazz era, Gordon enjoyed an extensive run with Wynton Marsalis before going on to become a bandleader.
"I really thought Superjoint was just over with. And honestly in my heart, I had moved on," former Pantera frontman and vocalist Philip Anselmo said. It's just days before the first leg of Superjoint's 2017 tour promoting the November release of their first album in 13 years, Caught Up in the Gears of Application.
From Brasilia, Funqquestra - an eight-piece ensemble (including two drummers) - unpacks sophisticated jams, intersecting funk, jazz and Brazilian pop rhythms. Their lively performances spread the message of instrumental music across borders, genre, and, on Friday, Nov. 4, to the Clifton Center for a performance hosted by the International Jazz Series.
Hardcore wrestling legend and WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley is retired from the ring, but he hasn't quit on wrestling or his fans. He's still on the road, appearing on TV every Monday night as general manager of "Raw," in addition with his new reality show, "Holy Foley."
"Was I born to be my father?" Femi Kuti posed this question in the middle of piecing together what happened to his life between 1983 and 1986. His dad, the saxophone-playing, Nigerian government-damning father of Afrobeat and international star, Fela Ransome-Kuti, was imprisoned at one of the nation's toughest, Kirikiri.
Living like a refugee isn't easy, but it's gotten easier for Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars. The music was passed around refugee camps during the country's brutal civil war from 1991 to 2002. Today, it has reached international stages. And this Sunday, May 22, the All-Stars will bring their uplifting spiritual jams to Louisville's Haymarket Whiskey ...
Twenty-five minutes into the documentary film "Dig!", Dandy Warhols lead singer/guitarist Courtney Taylor-Taylor is eating a sandwich. You can deduce that they've stopped to refuel at a fast food joint because of the plastic straw and cup in his hand, and by bandmates Zia McCabe and Peter Holmstrom (off-camera) behind him chatting over french fries.
Her mother always said: "If you're going to be a janitor, you have to be the damn best janitor." These words hold true for Teri Gender Bender, the guitarist and leader of Guadalajara rock band Le Butcherettes. Born Teresa Suárez, Teri was destined to be badass. She formed Le Butcherettes in her late teens.
Photo: (from left) Amber Nicole, C.B. Mauldin , Nick Beach, Matt Thomasson, Derrick ManleyIf you haven't heard about Bottom Sop, or seen them live, you've likely never been to GonzoFest, or gone out at all for the last six years. Since forming in 2010, the band released two full-length albums and have performed relentlessly in...
Jenni Cochran is an ESL classroom assistant/tutor by day, and wicked singer/keyboardist for Frederick the Younger by night (unless otherwise asked to perform during the day, such as last week at the mayor's music & arts series). In such a short time, the band managed to catch the attention and ears of the anyone close...
Joe Henderson, Stevie Wonder and now Michael Jackson. Since its launch in 2004, the SFJAZZ Collective has used the music of modern masters to yield new arrangements and compositions within the jazz realm. Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter, among other greats, had a turn. But, in recent seasons, the collective has switched focus to artists ...
Carolyn "Honeychild" Coleman is a musician of many phases. Kentucky-born and Brooklyn-bound, Coleman started her music career playing underground in the subways of New York City. During this time - the mid-'90s - NYC was exactly where she wanted to be. These acoustic shows would attract the right crowd, but the truth was her scene ...
What entails an evening with Terry Bozzio? A multiplicity of beats, rhythms and time, for one. The famed drummer has done it all, performing with names like Jeff Beck, Mike Patton and Korn. He's most noted for playing on a number of albums with Frank Zappa and being a creative force in the new wave ...
Michael McDonald is credited for some of the best songs in the world ("What a Fool Believes," "Takin it to the Streets," Sweet Freedom"), incredible tunes that resonated for decades not only through the depth of the lyrics, but by the strength of his voice.
Photos by Nik Vechery] "Do you wanna go faster?!" The illustrious performer known as St. Vincent (real name: Annie Clark), was deep into the second set of her show at The Kentucky Center's Whitney Hall last night. Nobody was looking at their phones.
"I go and I consume other people's art, because you can't become too saturated in your own thoughts - it just all starts sounding the same," poet Chelsea Tadeyeske said at last Saturday's seventh Writer's Block Festival.
Lara: On the third and final day of Forecastle, I started the day correct by visiting with Charles Bradley & his Extraordinaires at the main stage. A scorching afternoon never felt so cool with that guy and his sassy band on stage - a brief sound blunder easily smoothed over by their slick momentum.
Scott: "These songs are being remixed by the heat of nature," Mary Liz Bender, drummer/singer of Twin Limb said from the main stage, during their 3 p.m. opening set of Forecastle, talking about the couple of technical difficulties they had at the beginning. But, the thing is, despite the few hiccups, Twin Limb showed how ...
Lara: I was just trying to get out the door yesterday, when my neighbor showed up at the same threshold, asking about my lawn. He cradled a dirty weedwacker. A piece of grass stuck to his upper lip. I said, "OK, I'll give you the money up front." He perked up.
Scott: My three favorite sets from Day Two: 1) I'm glad Forecastle brought back the *insert-local-musical-mastermind-who-can-organize-a-full-hour-of-an-ever-changing-supergroup* portion of the festival. Last year, it was Dr. Dundiff & Friends, which paired the hip-hop producer with 1200, JaLin Roze, Jim James, Shadowpact and a bunch of other great rappers.
Michael: The good: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Femi Kuti, Speedy Ortiz The bad: Ryan Adams The ugly: My hangover Pokemons caught: Like five rats, a Tangela with 210 CP As Sir Rob Thomas once sagely, pithily professed in "Smooth" by Santana, featuring Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, "Man, it's a hot one."
Who is this guy? Standing on the side front lawn of his cozy Germantown home. Where is his family? Do they know their loved one is struck, standing outside like a turkey in the rain? Not quite there. This was probably just a spasm that happens every once in a while.
Contributions & Lists
It was once again a high-output, diverse year in Louisville music. And the annual LEO Playlist - our 20 favorite local songs of the year - reflects that through its range: oddball alt-country to silky smooth R&B to experimental jazz and to sharp hip-hop.
There's never a shortage of new, local music coming from this city, and we're going pause to remember some of our favorite records of the year so far. We're roughly six months into 2018, so, below, our staff takes a look at new albums from scene staples (Joan Shelly, Touch AC x Dr. Dundiff) and new favorites (Rob Lee, Baby Bones).
Once again, it was tough to whittle this list down to 20 songs, but what we ended up with is a pretty solid reflection of the vast spectrum of the Louisville music scene, from conceptual hip-hop to melancholy folk to unhinged punk and everything in between.
For the seventh consecutive year, GonzoFest Louiville pays tribute to the iconic author and inventor of gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Thompson. In addition to a day-long showcase of fantastic local acts, at its core Gonzo Fest is about keeping gonzo alive, using music, art and poetry.
Louisville-based My Morning Jacket returns to their hometown for two epic performances at Iroquois Amphitheater on May 12 & 13 with openers Twin Limb. It was is the echo chamber of MMJ's salad days, retaining all of the unrefined, crisp guitar and crooning James charm that further pushed them to international success.
While contributing to this list and editing it, I noticed a few things: 1) There are a lot of different bands playing a lot of different styles of music in this town that are really well-versed at mixing experimental and catchy elements - individualistic and strange sounds, mixed with melodies, hooks and riffs that stick.
Maximon - "Flame" Hearing Maximon's "Flame" for the first time feels like discovering something, like the feeling you get when you're 15 and it all sounds brand new and endlessly exciting. The fact that I've played it countless times on repeat only lends to that old realization.