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Prince PORTRAIT

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

An assortment of some of the area’s most well-known and eclectic talent will join forces this Friday at Suzie’s Dogs and Drafts for a career-spanning tribute to Prince. Since his passing on April 21 of this year, there has been a far-reaching cry across the musical landscape for the iconic multi-instrumental songwriter. A fact no different here in the Valley, as musicians from acts such as The Zou, The Vindys and Jude Benedict and The Last Drop, among many more, will take the stage to express their love, admiration and gratitude for the works of The Purple One.

The event was spear-headed by Kyle O’Donnell and John Anthony, both of whom will be taking part in the performance. O’Donnell said musicians from Youngstown, Warren, and Pittsburgh, as well other parts of Pennsylvania will be taking part, for a diverse representation of the region.

“I actually didn’t even meet some of the guys in the band, who are from PA, until 2 days before our first rehearsal, but I’m excited that they’re willing to bring their talents to Youngstown for a night,” said O’Donnell.

The initial bond that unites these musicians is, of course, the music of Prince. Anthony said that following his death, he decided to analyze himself as a musician and just how important of a role Prince played.

“With the passing of Prince, I felt as a guitar player I always wanted to dive more into his musical vocabulary but always pushed it aside because my focus was always working on different music. Myself and our drummer, Kelvin Newell, had spoke about doing a Prince tribute show for years however we were never able to make a particular date work with our schedules. Once Prince passed, I like everyone else, began to revisit a lot of the music and felt that it was time to really study his guitar playing,” explained Anthony.

There’s no denying the impact Prince made on the musical landscape. Khaled Tabbara of The Zou explained the significance of Prince’s discography and how it influenced the sound of artists to follow.

“Prince’s is one of the greatest artists and performers in the history of modern music. His impact on rock and popular music is unsurpassed. Equal (or greater than in some ways) to the Beatles or Dylan. Even if you think you don’t like Prince, he is probably your favorite artist’s favorite artist. If you like, Beyonce, Beck, Dave Grohl, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, Rhianna, Trent Reznor, or most things you hear on the radio, you are listening to music made by Prince fans,” said Tabbara.

O’Donnell said that his legacy is on par with that of greats like Michael Jackson.

“Some people might not believe it, but Prince was once talked about in the same breath as musicians such as Michael Jackson. Actually, the story goes that Michael Jackson asked Prince to sing on his song “Bad,” but Prince turned it down. Jackson is responsible for the best selling album of all time, so being considered to be on his level speaks to Prince’s talent,” said O’Donnell.

“He put out 1999, which is a totally cool, electronic synth-pop record, and about a year later, dropped Purple Rain, what many consider one of the greatest rock records ever made,” added Tabbara.

Anthony said that although he discovered Prince slightly later in the game, the impact was felt no less.

“Prince was an artist that I did not discover until high school. My parents did not play him in our house and it wasn’t until his performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction in 2004 that I found out who he was,” said Anthony.

O’Donnell, Tabbara and Anthony all agree that this tribute will give justice to Prince’s musical and cultural impact and turn casual or non-fans into believers.

“This show will obviously showcase the classics, but it will also showcase some of the lesser known tunes. I bet that we will have some audience members say to themselves, ‘Oh, I know this song,’ but they might never have realized that it was Prince. I think that this will really outline how even the non-fan was impacted by Prince’s music,” said O’Donnell.

“This show is full of musicians from across the musical spectrum; rock guys, pop girls, jazz and classical cats, funk and R&B fans. We all come from different musical influences, but we are all huge Prince fans,” added Tabbara.

All three musicians share an excitement and enthusiasm upon performing with one another, bringing out the best in one another and doing so in such an unconventional fashion.

“Many of the musicians who are playing this group were picked because of their love of his music. These individuals are some of the best musicians in the area who look at taking an artist’s work and playing it at the highest level of musicianship possible,” said Anthony.

“This is perhaps the most interesting part of this gig. I feel like the story behind the story is the band. In the past, myself and John Anthony have done a number of tribute shows with multiple groups of musicians,” added O’Donnell.

“I’ve known a lot of these musicians for a while, but I’m really excited to have a chance to finally play with them. It’s going to be a really dynamite show,” finished Tabbara.

O’Donnell said that although he doesn’t want to reveal too much, this tribute will be one to remember, with plenty of surprises in store.

“Well, I’m not going to give away too much about the set list, but Prince was very unique and eclectic, so the audience will experience a wide range of styles and themes. We will play music from four different decades, so we plan to cater to both the casual fan and the diehard one.

“Performance wise, we’re going to have a pretty good balance of group playing and solo jams. We have a huge amount of talent in the band and we want to showcase that as much as possible,” O’Donnell said.

“Like many of the other tribute shows that we have done, it’s always exciting to see the people who come to these shows because typically you see the excitement and nostalgia that a lot of this music is going to bring them,” added Anthony.

Lastly, O’Donnell commented that all of the greats to come before and after Prince, the timeless music will continue to inspire and intrigue generations to come.

“I think that Prince’s lasting influence was already being felt, even before his death. When you think about artists like Prince, David Bowie, Elton John, etc., it’s easy to go straight to the crazy outfits and the odd behavior. Beneath all of that, they are all incredible musicians who are very proficient at their craft. Moving forward, I think that future generations will have more awareness of who Prince was, the level of talent that he possessed, and just how prolific of a career he had,” O’Donnell said.

The Tribute will take place at Suzie’s Dogs and Drafts in downtown Youngstown on Friday, June 10. Here is the complete lineup of musicians involved:

Vocals: Khaled Tabbara – Youngstown, OH (Band leader for The Zou)

Guitar: John Anthony – Youngstown, OH (Guitarist for The Vindys)

Keyboard: Doug Finley – Pittsburgh, PA (Guitarist for Jude Benedict and The Last Drop)

Bass: Dave Traugh – Kiski Area, PA (Bassist for Jude Benedict and The Last Drop)

Drums: Kelvin Newell – Warren, OH

Backing Vocals: Katianne Timko – Youngstown, OH (K808)

Aux. Percussion: Jon Pincek – Pittsburgh, PA

Trumpet 1: Tim Tuite – Youngstown, OH

Trumpet 2: Kyle O’Donnell – Youngstown, OH

Trombone 1: Brian Mayle – Youngstown, OH

Trombone 2: Sean Durkin – Youngstown, OH

Saxophones: Stephen Harvey – Rochester, PA

Artist Katlyn Jackson displaying her original artwork.

Artist Katlyn Jackson displaying her original artwork.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

Down time is a strange concept to Katlyn Jackson. At just 18, she runs both a successful photography and custom jewelry business, holds a steady day job and manages to trip out in her own unique artistic vision. And she’s quite the accomplished artist, having gained a good amount of notoriety locally.

“I love everything I do and it’s hard to do all those things with having your daily job to support yourself and hobbies you absolutely love. I plan on my projects throughout the year due to seasons and when I’d have the most free time to work on certain projects,” said Jackson.

Although she doesn’t have the ample abundance of free time to spend on her art that most her age would, it doesn’t stop her from taking advantage of any and every moment to find that spark.

“The hardest part is finding inspiration with having so much to do and only so many hours in a day. I’m always scrolling Instagram, Etsy, Facebook or Pinterest to find my own ideas to put on paper when I have 10-15 minutes. It’s best to make a list and come back to it when you’re ready,” Jackson said.

Artwork by Katlyn Jackson.

Artwork by Katlyn Jackson.

The Raw Alternative recently spoke with Jackson at length on how she began her artistic journey.

The Raw Alternative: How long have you been at this?

Katlyn Jackson: Honestly, since I can remember. In high school I took it more seriously and put a lot more focused time into my pieces when contests and scholarships were important.

RA: How did you discover your love for art?

KJ: Just growing up I liked to draw similar things in different positions and sceneries. Of course they were kids drawings still, then I learned how to really apply my skills in school.

RA: What does art mean for you?

KJ: Art is very expressive. Looking back at it now, I never played sports and kept to myself mostly in school. I was always spending extra time in the art room. It was my escape, I guess you could say. Something I put effort into and felt proud of.

RA: What inspires you? Do you pull from certain emotions?

KJ: Honestly, being in a positive mindset. I get so many ideas and eventually spin off those ideas from there. Personally, I have a lot of anxiety, so it helps keeps my mind occupied to work on something and when I’m done, feel accomplished.

Original Artwork by Katlyn Jackson.

Original Artwork by Katlyn Jackson.

RA: Are there any other kinds of art/artists specifically that inspire your art? Or perhaps any music? And have any one piece of art directly inspired one of your works?

KJ: I have a couple pieces that are inspired from other works. For example, the really intricate works are recreated in my own form. I love watercolor paintings, city photos, abstract graphics. I’m drawn to many different pieces of art not specifically by any artists but I’m very supportive of all forms of artists out there. My favorite is recreating a piece of art as another art form. For example, taking a photograph and sketching and shading it out or recreating it as a stipple photo.

RA: What are some of your achievements so far? What are YOU most proud of?

KJ: Looking back now, I’m pretty proud of how far my photography has gone. There’s no going backwards so in free time I’ll look for contests, other local photographers to collaborate with and my freelance. Today, all the work I did starting at 14 landed me a studio job for Robert Senn, now at 18, making a decent wage. Sometimes I get blind-sided and forget how hard I worked to get where I am with opportunities still awaiting. It just amazes and also frustrates me all the different directions I’m pulled in with photography and art. There’s just so much I want to do!

RA: You’re also a photographer. How would you say those talents inspire your art? Is there any crossover?

KJ: Most definitely. I started off with photography first and got more interested in trying out new art forms and got hooked on seeing what I could do next. There’s so many different art forms, I wanted to see what I was good at and some things, I learned on my first try. Every piece amazes me, “Wow, I made that?” It’s always a surprise to see your own ending result starting from scratch and what things can turn into. I’m more visual, like a see-it first kind of person and go from there and spiral into something of my own. Soon I’d like to create new art from my own photographs.

Katlyn Jackson at work.

Katlyn Jackson at work.

RA: Tell us what you’re working on now? What are some of your short-term and possibly long-term goals?

KJ: I have some ideas and photos stored away when I have a fair amount of free time at once from my jobs. Right now I’d like to experiment with modeling with the help of a few close people and take the photos in my own hands. Not exactly a main focus for now but something to have on hand when I decide it’s something I might want to pursue. After that, I plan on picking up the pencil again and work on booking a month long gallery at Branch Street Roasters in Boardman. I’m very excited to work towards that and hopefully something exciting comes from that. I love selling art and having a variety of forms to show.

RA: What advice can you give to aspiring artists like yourself?

KJ: Just. Keep. Trying. Always have fun with what you’re trying to do, otherwise it feels like a chore and it’s not as fun. Don’t forget where you come from and what you really want deep down. I tried putting things I enjoyed aside and always came right back to doing it again. There are always different routes to take and try so never be afraid to experiment and fail because it will happen sometime and you’ll also succeed from those attempts.

 

Model/Actress Colleen Hagerty, AKA Miss Kittee, on set of her upcoming film, Muck: The Feast of St. Patrick.

Model/Actress Colleen Hagerty, AKA Miss Kittee, on set of her upcoming film, Muck: The Feast of St. Patrick.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

2015 has certainly been a busy year for model and upcoming actress Colleen Hagerty. The young starlet has not only landed roles in two feature horror films, but her modeling talents have been published in several major publications including a long-running stint in the Horror/Erotica magazine, GOREgous Girls. She has visited the Playboy mansion, performed at the Gathering of the Juggalos and has appeared at a number of horror cons.

Hagerty, whose modeling alias in Miss Kittee, is looking to take her career to the next level. The Raw Alternative recently sat down with Miss Kittee to discuss showbiz, breaking out of a small town and all things horror!

THE RAW ALTERNATIVE: Tell us a little about yourself: How long have you been modeling/acting?

MISS KITTEE: I’ve been modeling for a little over two years now and I actually just got into acting maybe eight months ago.

RA: How about some of the films you’ve been featured in previously?

MK: I’ve done a lot of background work in some Indie films mostly in the Cleveland area. One of them is called Contract: Redemption, and it’s based off of the Hitman games. I would say about five months ago I decided to start going for speaking roles and I’ve actually been nailing the auditions.

RA: Tell us about your current film: What is it? Who will you be playing? Who’s directing?

MK: I’m currently involved in two, possibly three films, right now. One of them is called Muck: The Feast of St. Patrick. It’s a horror film and right now I don’t know my character’s name for it. The director of that one is Steve Wolsh. The second film is currently being called The Director’s Cut, until he decides on a more fitting name. It is also a horror film and my character for this one is named Raven. The director of if is Col. Richard Hunter. Then there is the third film that I just recently auditioned for and am waiting to hear back about. It’s called Gretchen’s Lock and its a horror film based off of Gretchen’s Lock out in Salem, Ohio. I auditioned to be Esther Hale, but they also had me read for two other characters, Amy and Jenn. This one is also a horror film and is being directed by Josh Menning.

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RA: How did you get involved with these projects?

MK: The first and third film I got involved with because of my one modeling group, GOREgous Girls. My photographer Eric “eRock” Littlefield was promoting the Muck movie and I asked if he could talk to the director about me and see if I could get even just a walk on role, and then it turned into going to the PlayBoy Mansion with him, meeting the director, and getting a bigger part. For The Lock film, one of the models found it and sent the link to eRock to post of all the models to see and I submitted and landed and audition for it. The Director’s Cut movie the director actually found me on Facebook though my modeling things and asked me to audition and that got me the role of Raven, a victim, for his film.

RA: You’ve had a very success career model thus far. Tell us a little about that world. Did your modeling work lead to your acting work?

MK: My modeling definitely did lead to my acting. If it wasn’t for my modeling I would have never gotten into GOREgous Girls or worked with other photographers and I probably never would have gotten half the opportunities that I have now. Modeling can be pretty crazy. You use a lot of muscles you didn’t think you would and sometimes you have to stand in the most uncomfortable position for what feels like forever, but in the end its honestly so worth it. I love every minute of it and wouldn’t trade it, or the people I’ve met, for the world.

RA: What do you enjoy most about what you do?

MK: The amazing people I’ve met and the crazy things I’ve gotten to do. I got to go to the PlayBoy Mansion with eRock and Jessy, who is our MUA (she does our crazy blood and makeup and our hair). I got to go to Vegas, I’m going to be going to Cape Cod for filming in early October. Jessy and her family have become like a second family to me. Along with the GOREgous Girls group in general. We are like one big family and I love that so much.

RA: What are some of your favorite horror movies, or favorite types of horror movies?

MK: It would have to be the oldies like Halloween and Friday the 13th. I really like the campy horror films too though. They aren’t scary, but still fun to watch, like Sharknado or Zombeaver.

Miss Kittee on the set of the music video for "Loose Cannon" by Restriktid.

Miss Kittee on the set of the music video for “Loose Cannon” by Restriktid.

RA: You recently starred in a music video. Tell us a little bit about that. Did you volunteer or were you asked to take part?

MK: The music video was awesome! It was for this Horrorcore/Muder Rap artist, Restriktid, from the Toledo area. I actually met him a few month prior at The Gathering of the Juggalos where I was at with my GOREgous Girls modeling group. Restriktid’s wife actually got a hold of eRock and asked him to ask his girls to get bloodied up and play victims or bodies in his new music video for his song “Loose Cannon.” That was a blast. I got to get prettied up and then bloodied up to jump around in a grave, a cage, even a well like area, just crazy things like that.

RA: What’s next for you? Is this the humble beginnings of a bright career?

MK: I truly am hoping this is a beginning to an awesome career! A lot of the people I’ve been in contact with are really interested in working more with me and some of the other girls. I’m just going to keep trying my best with my modeling and my now acting careers and see how far they can take me.

Hagerty has been featured in every issue of GOREgous Girls magazine since its inception. You can check out here appearance in “Loose Cannon” by Restriktid here, as well as some exclusive stills from the video shoot and more by clicking the links below.

Behind-the-Scenes: ‘Loose Cannon’ Video Shoot

Behind-the-Scenes: Muck: The Feast of St. Patrick

 

 

By Rick Polo and Jennifer Elizabeth Rose (Editor-in-Chief and Social/Cultural Writer and Music/Arts Historian)

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Artist: The Zou

Album: Love Kills Part Two

Release Date: 8/22/15

Rating: 9.7/10

Two long years have passed since The Zou released Kills Part One. The album was a real emotional rollercoaster of well-crafted pop love songs, dragged through barbed wire of sonic experimentation; a notable trademark of the band. The album literally left fans hanging on the edge of their seats, waiting for the follow-up. Now, with the release of Kills Part Two, fans can finally breathe as the Northeast Ohio Indie Rock staples have unleashed the masterpiece that was years in the making.

After a slew of lineup changes and delays, Zou mastermind Khaled Tabbara has teamed up with a plethora of noteworthy musicians to craft what could easily be his finest effort to date. Featuring the talents of Bernadette Lim, Katianne Timko, Billy LaGuardia and Tabbara’s brother Rached to name a few, the eclectic sound each musician brings to the table only adds more color to canvas. Producer Pete Drivere lends his signature polished-yet-somehow-gritty-rock-and-roll sound, for a record that transcends nearly every era of rock, yet still sounds vitally fresh.

Kicking off Kills Part Two is the simply-titled “Love.” A Baroque Pop tune with vocal harmonies reminiscent of Rubber Soul-era Beatles or Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys. The opening track is airy and tense, perfecting leading into “Drop A Dime,” a Ben Gibbard-esque sounding number, that could fall somewhere between his work with either Death Cab For Cutie or The Postal Service.

“I Was A Tyrant” follows with a more Americana-meets-Baroque Pop vibe, and painful lyrics hinting at a one-sided relationship. From there, the hard-rocking “Ooglie Booglie” takes flight, giving a post-punk angst, both sonically and lyrically, not unlike that of The Pixies or perhaps some of Black Francis’ solo endeavors. The track features a standout riff that takes the record off into a whole other direction before taking another left turn with the following tracks.

The Katianne Timko-produced “Holy Moses” can best be described as “holy drums!” The electronic drums pound underneath a well-crafted pop song. The modern, but certainly not gimmicky, production feels more like The Zou taking a sonic step forward rather than a trendy cash grab.

Finally, Kills Part Two concludes with the Doo-Wop vocal harmonies of “Mon Dieu” (an early acoustic version performed on The Raw Alternative can be viewed here) and the climatic rocker, “Gun Moll.” With a collage of sound that evokes Animal Collective, “Gun Moll” featuring soaring guitars and some of the album’s most intense lyrics, leaving the listener again, at the edge of their seat craving more.

All in all, Kills Part Two features, some of, if not the finest music The Zou has produced to date! Standout tracks include “Ooglie Booglie,” “Holy Moses,” “I Was A Tyrant” and “Gun Moll.” With various nods to his influences, Tabbara takes his band to new heights, while still retaining enough of the classic sound fans have come to know and love. Lyrically, the album examines all the various angles of love and the multiple feelings it can provoke, much in the way of Paul McCartney, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James or even Martin Gore. Sonically, Love Kills Part Two is widely spread, much in the way of Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper’s or even Dark Side of the Moon. It’s indicative of a band reaching a creative high, but certainly not peaking just yet.

The Zou will be giving a performing at Suzie’s Dogs and Drafts in downtown Youngstown on Saturday, Aug. 22 as band of the official release of Kills Part Two.

Cvtvnmvvth performing at Cedars in Youngstown, OH. Left to right: Sam Bowlin, Kenny Halbert and Eric Thrap.

Cvtvnmvvth performing at Cedars in Youngstown, OH. Left to right: Sam Bowlin, Kenny Halbert and Eric Thrap.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

It’s been quite a busy 12 months for Youngstown-based Doom Metal juggernauts, Cvttcnmvvth. Following the release of their debut EP, Toughsnake, in 2013, the band have been hard at work solidifying their lineup and making a splash on the local scene. With explosive performances across the area alongside top-notch acts like Album and Resinaut, as well as a handful of high-profile performances lined up, Cvttvnmvvth have firmly established themselves as the must-see ticket in the area in 2015.

The Raw Alternative recently spoke to the band’s founding members, guitarist Sam (Javier) Bowlin and drummer Kenny Halbert to discuss a number of topics including the band’s creative influences, their thoughts on the local scene, dividing their time between side-project Wild Wings and their upcoming performance opening for Columbus, Ohio Sludge legends Lo-Pan on Jan. 17.

Give us a brief history of the band from it’s formation up to now. Have you been involved with any past projects or worked with anyone previously which led to Cvttvnmvvth? How did the current lineup come together?

Sam: Kenny and I had originally began our musical collaboration when we met in high school, some 20-plus years ago. Ken had rented a practice space out in the middle of a crumbling junkyard on the outskirts of New Springfield, (Ohio) and it was there that we started version 1.0 of Cvttvnmvvth (then spelled Cottonmouth, without all the V’s, those came later). We strived to create unpleasant, virulent music that reflected our grim surroundings. Things eventually fell apart, as things often do, and after high school we went our separate ways for nearly two decades; I headed out east, while Kenny continued his adventures, musical and otherwise, between here and the west coast.  I moved back to Youngstown in 2012 and reconnected with my old friend. It didn’t take long before we found ourselves in a new musical collaboration, the band Railings. Things ran their course with that act, and with some downtime on our hands we had the urge to resurrect our first band, a new version where Ken switched from bass to drums, but with all of the original intentions in place: To create something ugly. We recorded our debut, Toughsnake, in mid 2013.  We tried a few select heads out on bass before Eric Tharp joined up with us in early 2014.

You made a pretty big splash on the scene last year. What are your plans for 2015?

Sam: We plan on recording material for our follow-up, working title Total Possession (Soundtrack to the Blackest of Masses), but Kenny’s not crazy about parentheses in album titles, so we’ll see how that one flies. Also, we will play cool shows and weird out squares.

Kenny: What do you think about the title? When you set a precedent like that it brings a lot of crazies out of the woodwork…plus, with the clandestine nature of these affairs, it’s hard to know for sure if it’s really the “blackest.” Someone will have to come up with a Scoville Unit-type ranking system, or something.

What’s your take on the current local scene right now? What do you like most about it? How can it improve?

Sam: I see both good and bad in the local scene. There’s a seeming trend of “acoustic” nights, which doesn’t do much for me personally, but it must be popular because you get so much of it around here. I like a bit of a spectacle if I’m going to see a band, I want something loud and different and if it can catch me off my guard then I’m into it. If I wanted to be bored and content I’d sit at home watching Criminal Minds reruns. If I know I’m going to have my mind blown, I’m much more likely to leave the house.

Kenny: It’s reflective of itself. If people start more relevant bands, there will be a scene with more bands that are relevant. If people want to go to art shows they can go support those things, and then there will be a boon there. Organic food stuff trading will be on the rise.

How can fans, and other musicians perhaps, benefit from getting out and diving into the local scene?

Sam: Well, it’s certainly something to do in a city where you don’t always have a ton of options for entertainment that doesn’t involve something illegal or immoral. Sometimes seeing a terrible band can be just a fulfilling as seeing one that rages, depending on your mood. Apathy tends to be the general consensus about town, which pairs well with the blight and despair, and while you might not have the ability to make someone care, at the very least you can try and make them uncomfortable.

Kenny: While watching a band, if you’re thinking, “This band is shit,” start a band. It might sound like a pile of shit, but it will be yours.

What’s your opinion of the current state of the music industry? Do you think it’s easier or more difficult to reach a mass audience? Are tactics like U2 giving away their entire album for free a good thing, or a sign of the end of old business model? How do you distribute your music?

Sam: There might as well not even be a music industry. There’s no money in putting out challenging or innovative music on a grand scale like it may have been in days past. Everything is subject to entropy, and when dinosaurs like U2 attempt such marketing schemes, one realizes the whole business model is dead on the table. Bono can afford to give his work away for free because he’s already made millions from the machine. It’s become a prerequisite that one distributes music in some digital format; there’s no escaping it. But it sure helps to get your work out there to a growing populace who may not own a CD player or tape deck or turntable.

Kenny: The music industry is a pile of shit. And Bono got paid for that. So did Thom Yorke. And don’t get me started on this new $1,000 Neil Young Walkman—what shit. We distribute at shows, online, and through physical distributors.

There seems to be a strong resurgence in the Doom/Stoner/Sludge scene. How does Cvttvnmvvth fit into that? What sets you apart?

Sam: Doom Metal has always seemed to work in odd cycles of obscurity and relevance. It’s a genre I have been a fan of since childhood, whether it was coveting my older brother’s Black Sabbath records, or going out and discovering bands like Saint Vitus and Candlemass as a teenager. For me, the best doom has a deep emotional resonance, which I hope translates in Cvttvnmvvth, whether it be abject desolation or world-weary pessimism. What sets us apart, I think, is approaching the material with a wider palate of ideas and approximations in regards to sounding the way we want, rather than a pastiche of our influences, which is hardly interesting.

Kenny: I don’t necessarily agree. It’s always around. If there was a recent peak, the peak happened a while back when Josh Homme was hanging out with Anthony Bourdain, nationally anyway. Metal itself is always there, but the various sub-genre flavors that are in vogue at the time change. But if any bands are into tube amplification and fuzz and a “give ‘em hell” attitude, we can fit in. No wimps. What sets us aside is that we have never set out to sound like _____________, nor set any rules governing the shaping of our sound. Although it should be noted Javier would probably play every song solo on the organ if left to his own devices. We try to encourage him away from “the Devil’s Showtunes”.

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Songs like “Hideous Witness,” although heavy, seem to maintain a strange balance between Goth and psychedelic rock. Elaborate on your sound as much as you can (or are willing to). Why do you think it is important to show diversity and stand out?

Sam: Gothic and psychedelic music are a definite influence on our work, almost as much as punk or metal in the mix. I like thick, lumbering sounds; anything that comes across as suffocating or oppressive pleases me. At the end of the day, standing out or seeming diverse isn’t as important as it is to tweak some sort of emotional reaction out of the listener, even if its discomfort or disgust.

Kenny: The “psychedelic” part must come from Stoner Rock. The “Goth” part comes to Javier late at night after teasing his hair, while drinking iced tea and playing Bananagrams by the glow of a space heater.

What kinds of artists are you listening to currently? Have they or will they influence your sound? Any influences that fans may not expect?

Sam: I listen to a lot of older metal, stuff like Hellhammer, Bathory, and Beherit, 70’s hard rock, a lot of contemporary black metal; I’m pretty obsessive over certain region and era specific styles and genres of metal, but I fancy quite a bit of the 80’s gothic and post-punk racket as well. I think everything one likes ends up an influence, whether or not the influence is immediately apparent.

Kenny: Mainliner, Rakta, Coneheads, EYEHATEGOD, Greenleaf, Horn Of The Rhino. Absolutely. I love Steely Dan.

You have a pretty high-profile gig with Lo-Pan coming up; are you guys excited to be opening for them? Do you think having them perform in Youngstown is good for the local scene? 

Sam: We are very delighted to be opening for Lo-Pan. It’s a great opportunity to expose our work to music fans who may have not had the pleasure to see our live show or hear our music before. I left Ohio in the mid-90’s so I missed the halcyon days of the Nyabinghi when heavier bands made Youngstown a regular stop on their touring circuits, but if the stories are to be believed, there are people who reside in our fair city who enjoy aggressive music but might not be aware that there are still bands who play in that style. We’ll see how the 17th goes. At the very minimum, we’ll have a good time and get to watch those guys devastate.

Kenny: Yes, I hope people come to the show. If not, that can become a bummer, and then what’s the point? A lot of those “glory dayz” memories people have about Nya, Cedar’s, Penguin Pub, etc., were often shows attended by eight people. The numbers in attendance swell as time passes. But that’s all gone now, so why not come out now and make some fantastic memories you can embellish later? And create something new instead of trying to become what things were. And you’ll be able to say you saw us “back in the day” when we were young; like, in our 30’s.

What’s in store for future recordings/releases? How can fans get a hold of your music?

Sam: We plan on doing some recording at some point this year. Ken and I split our time between Cvttvnmvvth and our other band, Wild Wings, so amidst playing out with both bands we’ll eventually get some work done in the Animal Dojo and have something new to offer before the year’s over. Expect more songs about sex and death. We have work by both bands available on our website www.lionscarerecordings.com as well as our Bandcamp page, cvttvnmvvth.bandcamp.com.

Resinaut. Left to right, drummer C.J. Haden, guitarist Matt Servenack, singer Joe Sinkovich and bassist Lucas Goleb.

Resinaut. Left to right, drummer C.J. Haden, guitarist Matt Servenack, singer Joe Sinkovich and bassist Lucas Goleb.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

As so goes the story of the Northeast Ohio music scene, as one musical titan falls, another rises in its place. Tighter. Meaner. And ready to take the scene into the next level. That is exactly the case Resinaut; Youngstown’s newest and grittiest arrival.

Resinaut brings a familiar sound with an added dynamic. Their unique blend of Sludge, Stoner and Acid Rock are capped off with a hint of the blues and a refreshing catchiness that is no easy feat in the said genres. Reminiscent of the Desert Rock scene of the early 90’s (including acts like Sleep and Kyuss), and with a nod to local sludge legends like Rebreather and Centrifuge, the band is quickly and proudly leading the pack of one of the area’s many most beloved sub-scenes.

The summer of 2014 saw several changes to staples along the area’s scene, with the unfortunate demise of Full Moon Canoe and Chapless Larry. However, from chaos bred creation, and the seeds were immediately planted for the birth of Resinaut.

“Matt (Servenack, guitar) actually brought us all together. Chapless Larry and Full Moon Canoe broke up on the same day, and then he called me,” said lead vocalist Joe “Joebob” Sinkovich.

“I put an ad up on Facebook, which rarely works, but Lucas responded within hours. We jammed once back in March with all of these same riffs. So when we all got together, he knew most of these riffs alreay,” added guitarist Matt Servenack.

The result was something hardly anyone could have expected. Resinaut formed, comprised of Sinkovich (ex-Chapless Larry) and Servenack (ex-Full Moon Canoe, Centrifuge) with bassist Lucas Goleb (ex-Mountains of Mars) and drummer C.J. Haden (Mississippi Gun Club).

The musical chemistry is not only present, but at the very forefront of the music itself. Songs like “Sleepwalker” and “Halt” perfectly showcase a band that is not only into their art, but having fun at the same time.

“It all really fell together real fast and real easy. Seven songs in two months,” said Sinkovich.

Goleb explained that despite close proximity and frequently crossing paths, this is the first time he has actually gotten to play with these musicians.

“C.J. and I are actually from the same general area, a few miles from one another. And we’ve always almost played in bands together. I’d go see his band or they would play with our band,” said Goleb.

Resinaut Shows

On Sept. 20, Resinaut exploded onto the scene, playing for a packed house on Supporting Your Local Music‘s one year anniversary party. Their high-energy assault of droning heavy metal and post-rock atmospheres hit right-to-the-point with instant crowd favorites “Oh Captain” and “Sleepwalker.” Other songs like “Halt” and “Through His Eyes” indicated the band’s unique chemistry, making the debut just as excited for the fans as it was for the band. The following week, they land a high-profile second gig opening for national touring act and Sludge legends Jucifer at the famous Now That’s Class in Cleveland.

Resinaut will mark their return to the area this Saturday, Oct. 18, at Cedars West End. From there, they will hit Chipper’s on Nov. 1 and perform in Erie, Peensylvania and Canton, Ohio by year’s end.

They are optimistic and indicated that they’re looking forward to reaching new audiences everywhere they play.

“People are still searching for something,” said Haden. “There’s a lot of good heavy music out there, it’s just nobody’s caught it yet.”

Lastly, they explained that they are big supporters of the local scene and are encouraging their peers to keep on writing, pushing and performing.

“It’s a good time for local music. We like to see diversity one these shows. No one wants to sit through four bands of the same kind of music, we like to see different bands helping each other out and hope to continue to see the scene grow,” said Sinkovich.

Resinaut will be performing at Cedars West End in Youngstown on Oct. 18 with The Days Before Empires, Baroque Monody and Cvttvnmvvth.

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By Frank Myers (Opinion Nation)

Another month in the books and a few of the shows that rocked my May to tell you about. So, I caught a few shows this past month, not quite as many as I’d of like to have made it out to, but the ones I did see I am very glad I caught. The music scene is pushing right along and taking no prisoners on it’s path . I am glad to see so many of the local bands putting in so much effort and time to keep the scene moving forward. A huge shoutout as well to all the touring bands that grace our stages throughout the year, greatly appreciated.

So, I kicked my month of music off one hell of a rock and roll party people!!! May started for me with The Spastic Hearts, The Idle Shades, and Voice of Addiction from Chicago. This show was a masterpiece of rock at its finest. The bands all pulled in a great turn out and Cedars provided the perfect venue for the show. The sound was on the money, the beers were cold and so was the bottle of Champagne I drank. The Turbo Lovers were billed to play but due to last minute circumstances were forced to back out, and they were missed on stage, but the Idle Shades stepped up and did their thing.

Big thank you to those guys, always willing to step up and lend a helping bass riff, drum beat, and kick ass song when needed. Voice of Addiction had an amazing set as well and had the crowd enjoying themselves. Also, a great group of guys off stage as well, would love to see them back in Youngstown in the future.

Then the Spastic Hearts owned the crowd and the stage as always, drawing everyone in with eyes I tell you!! But, seriously the music definitely speaks for itself with that band.

Cedars strikes yet again in May with another great show for everybody. This time it was Baroque Monody, Harnessing the Sun, and Pilot the Mind. Another great crowd, and just an all around good time. Harnessing the Sun started things off and rocked the stage with their own brand of rock and roll. Always looking so intent on mastering their set, while at the same time just having a great time up their performing for the fans. They were great as always.

Then Pilot the Mind played and drew a nice size crowd. The gave their version of a rock show and killed it. Keeping the momentum that Harnessing The Sun started going throughout their set.

Last that night was Baroque Monody, who just keeps getting better with every set. They played their hearts out and showed no problem taking the crowd for a journey with lyrics that give the feeling of personal situations and struggles in life. It is dark but at the same time just helps take your mind on a great rock and roll rollercoaster. The set was great, the whole night was amazing.

Chippers jumped into the ring with a great show of their own, featuring Deaf Eyes, New Diaries, Amnesty for Astronauts, Baroque Monody, and Token. I caught Deaf Eyes from about the middle to end of their set and thought they were pretty good. Didn’t get enough of it to give it a fair review unfortunately. Hopefully catch them in the near future though. Next up was New Diaries, whom did not exactly appeal to my taste in music. They did have a nice crowd of fans who were very much into what they were doing. They put on a strong set and stayed pretty steady in their style and performance. Kudos to them on that!! Keep up the hard work. Then Baroque Monody took stage. They did not let minor sound issues prevent them from giving 100% and doing what they needed to do to keep the crowd into the music.

Next was Amnesty for Astronauts, who bring an energy all their own to the stage and have a very care free, lets have a good time attitude. They too experienced some technical difficulties with the sound, but they kept the momentum, belting out the lyrics and keeping the energy thriving in that bar!! Unfortunately do to a prior engagement I did not get to catch any of Token’s set, I hope to also catch them very soon at another show.

All in all, despite the police presence on the roads due to it being a holiday weekend and the heat in the bar the crowd showed up and the bands rocked! The end of May I caught a bit of the Guilty Pleasures set at the boxcar lounge. My first time in the Boxcar Lounge located at the B&O station, nice little place I must say. The Guilty Pleasures were very entertaining as always and the crowd was into it. Never a bad night with these guys and gal playing. Definitely have to check them out some time. Well, just like May this is the end of this months recap. Hope you all enjoy and I hope to see you all out at future shows supporting the local scene !! Bands and venues included.

New Diaries live at Chipper's in Austintow, Ohio. Left to right: Jeremy Babel, Aedan Martinez, Eric Pigg and Joh Piscitelli Jr. Phot courtesy of Firestorm Images.

New Diaries live at Chipper’s in Austintow, Ohio. Left to right: Jeremy Bable, Aedan Martinez, John Piscitelli Jr. and Eric Pigg. Photo courtesy of Firestorm Images.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

For many, Youngstown is well-known for hosting a number of small sub-scenes within it’s vast music scene. From it’s early punk and post-punk to its long-standing metal and stoner rock scenes, the city reaches across the entire spectrum of rock and roll. And modern rock is certainly no stranger to the scene; from the soaring, sing-along anthems of early 00’s act Alias-X right up to modern groups like Amnesty for Astronauts and Phoenix Rising, and now to emerging act, New Diaries.

Of all the city’s crowd-pumping modern rock acts, New Diaries certainly has the heaviest edge. An undeniable Pantera-meets-Disturbed metal influence is prominent throughout the band’s riff-heavy rockers. With the twin guitar attack of Jeremy Bable and  John Piscitelli Jr., the driving low end of bassist Eric Pigg and the widely-ranged, sing-to-scream powerhouse vocals of Aedan Martinez, New Diaries are a force to be reckoned with.

Despite their raw and aggressive sonic assault, Martinez said they are looking to reach as wide of an audience as possible with New Diaries.

“What I try to do with my music is to aim for a larger audience. Not just the young generation but older generations as well. With that said, I try to put a lot of influences to show musicality rather than sound just one way,” said Martinez.

Guitarist Piscitelli added that the band is still growing as musicians and still learning from one another as they continue to move forward with their song-writing.

“I know there’s parts of me that I feel the rest of us are still absorbing. I think we still haven’t even found what our sound is. We’ve been writing more music together, seeing how it blends, and we’ve come up with some interesting stuff,” expalined Piscitelli.

Currently, New Diaries’ live set is an arena-sized face-melting explosion of heavy rock scaled down to a club setting. The band takes no prisoners slamming through hard-hitters like “Dear Jane” and “Leeches and Spiders” while coming up for air with their seminal power ballad, “For You.”

The band does not take their music lightly, especially when it comes to conveying the meanings behind the songs and their lyrics. Martinez explained that music is a gift to the individual, and the one true source of expression.

“Music is an expression of one’s soul. It’s the one thing that binds us together. It doesn’t matter what type you are playing or how you are playing it, it’s an expression of who you are and what you’ve been through as a person,” said Martinez.

As most of the area’s modern rock bands, New Diaries have a sound fit for the mainstream, but still raw, powerful and beautiful; still real. They have an undeniable passion backed by a driving heavy rock sound that has the potential for wide, crossover appeal.

New Diaries are currently working with new drummer Daniel Pearl and plan to continue their rise throughout the scene. Be sure to check back here for updates and visit their Facebook page for updated events and live performances.

Idle Shades, left to right: vocalist/bassist Angelo Scordo, drummer Anthony Rapone and guitarist Josh Wakeford.

Idle Shades, left to right: vocalist/bassist Angelo Scordo, drummer Anthony Rapone and guitarist Josh Wakeford.

By Frank Meyers (Opinion Nation)

I just got a chance to sit down and take a listen to Idle Shades recent album release Picture Perfect. and I first want to say way to go guys. The Idle Shades are one of the few bands still around that I remember from when I first started going downtown to local shows. I have plenty of memories watching them open shows for Johnie 3, who as we all know is no more. I can honestly say that over the years they have done a great job at fine tuning their material and working their way into their own little thing. Their live shows are high energy and non stop rock, so I was anxious to see how that transferred over to CD.

From the opening chord on the first track, “Leaving Me Behind,” to the final chord of the 11th track, “Tomorrow,” Idle Shades put together a very tight and great sounding record of straight up rock and roll. The music is upbeat and energy driven, the vocals are very fitting for what they are doing, and the lyrics are well written and for the most part give the feeling of real thought and a sense of sincerity to some extent. There are moments in a few songs where I can catch a slight reminder of old school Bad Religion vibes in there, which I really enjoyed. All around this album was worth the wait.

I am glad to see that another great band from Youngstown has put out some take no prisoners rock and roll and didn’t conform to anyone else’s standards but their own!! The music scene in Youngstown is looking up people, and the Idle Shades have been working their asses off for years now and are a big part of what is going right in it, and Picture Perfect is definitely an album that is right there at the top and will be in my playlist for years to come. So, I just want to say thanks to the band for their hard work they put into what they do for our listening pleasures!!

Orwellian left to right: guitarist Seth Kesinger, drummer James Shaw, vocalist Ian Pethtel, bassist Mark Moats and guitarist Rickie Palmer. Photo courtesy of facebook.com.

Orwellian left to right: guitarist Seth Kesinger, drummer James Shaw, vocalist Ian Pethtel, bassist Mark Moats and guitarist Rickie Palmer. Photo courtesy of facebook.com.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief

Imagine George Orwell’s nightmare vision of a totalitarian state. Human thought and emotion have been eradicated in order to make way for a mechanized, mundane existence. Then, suddenly, mankind’s natural individuality begins to spread like a virus. A bloody revolt ensues, and the power of the human soul, ideas and expression, are all raging against the system.

Now, imagine a soundtrack to this conquest: The brutality; the struggle; the rage. Northeast Ohio’s aptly named Orwellian comes to mind in doing so.

Orwellian is an extreme metal outfit comprised of some the of the area’s HEAVIEST hitters. Lead by Kitchen Knife Conspiracy frontman Ian Pethtel on vocals, the band features guitarists Seth Kesinger (ex-IO) and Rickie Palmer (Postpwn3d), bassist Mark Moats (ex-Dawn Abandoned) and drummer James Shaw (ex-Paradym). Their fusion of death metal, black metal and grindcore, along with the unique influence of the members’ various projects, offer a distinctive sound spanning nearly the entire spectrum of extreme heavy metal.

“We kind of take a little bit of everyone’s influences and throw them into one style,” said Moats.

Orwellian has been in the works for several years. After the demise of IO, Kesinger began writing music with a handful of others before solidifying the final lineup. With the final addition of his former bandmate, Pethtel, Orwellian had come full circle and began focusing their creative energy on something new and distinct.

“It’s really just about bringing something to the table,” said Kesinger. “Then whoever’s there or not there can really just start expanding upon it. It’s really free, anybody can bring an idea to the table. If it sucks we’ll tell you, if it’s awesome we’ll keep it.”

“We’re not trying to stick to a certain genre or sub-genre. If it works, it works. We’re very critical, but it works. We’re not afraid to tell each other if something’s not working,” added Pethtel.

The raw emotion and range of influence is certainly present in the band’s music. The chugging riffs of “Novel of Despair” and the slamming-yet-melodic “The Gift” offer a look into what Orwellian does best; the thinking man’s death metal. These tracks perfectly surmise the rage of an individual whose been stripped of their being through a hierarchy of power. Pethtel’s signature growl offers an unbridled sense of brutality, matched flawlessly by the band’s very intense, yet very musical style. Tracks like the Fear Factory-esque “Tyrant” and “Abandoned (in Flames)” also indicate the band’s socio-political quip, living fully up to their name.

Orwellian debuted live at the Crawlspace Concert Club in Girard, Ohio in March of this past year. Since then, they have brought their brand of metallic brutality to dominance with explosive performances at the Outpost in Kent, Ohio. According to the band’s official Facebook page, this is only a taste of what’s to come:

“Here the story only begins for Orwellian. Where they’re going and what they do is left in their own hands. All we know is… it won’t be pretty.”

Orwellian is set to play Wedgewood Ramps in Austintown, Ohio alongside Youngstown-based thrash outfit Chaos Reigns, Warren metalcore masters Among the Fallen and post-hardcore punks Them Bastards on May 10. They will also be returning to the Outpost on May 31 for a headlining set with support from Chaos in the Sky and Cherry Poppins.

Stream exclusive Orwellian tracks here.

Orwellian Poster