Cleveland's Filmstrip are featured in Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam, a documentary about Islamic bands that's received heavy exposure on the festival circuit over the past several months (it showed at the Cleveland International Film Festival earlier this year). The group recently released its debut album, the hard-hitting and melodic Everything Can Change. Find more info at myspace.com/filmstripohio.
Heady Oberlin-based post-rockers Like Bells just released Palma, the follow-up to last year's self-titled debut. A limited pressing of 300 copies is now out on colored vinyl and includes a hand-stamped cover and inner sleeve. The album is also available as a digital download. Palma marks the first time the band has featured any significant vocals. The hushed voices in songs like "Follow the Birds" add a new dimension to the group's music. Go to myspace.com/likebells to hear more.
Singer-songwriter Westside Steve Simmons — a former member of popular '70s and '80s rockers Easy Street — has released his second album, Limestone Cowboy. It's a collection of covers and originals about the pleasures of island life. Simmons is sorta like Northeast Ohio's answer to Jimmy Buffett — he's held down a Put-in-Bay gig for the past 22 years. There's more information at westsidesteve.com.
The Missing, the hard-rock band headed up by Who Killed Marilyn and Dead Even's Christopher Marinin, originally started three years ago as an acoustic project. But Marinin eventually recruited a full group to beef up the sound on 2009's From Ohio to the Grave. The Missing's new EP, At Midnight, just came out, and it includes a cool cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues." Go to myspace.com/themissingmusic for more info.
Drummer Joe Goretti (who's played with Moby, Regina Spektor, and the Temptations) is leading the Drum Fantasy Camp taking place Wednesday through Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. All of the instructors will jam at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 11, at House of Blues for a clinic/concert that's open to the public. Tickets are $38.50. You can find more information at drumfantasycamnp.com.
Now in its 19th year, the Midwest Reggae Fest returns to Nelson Ledges Park this weekend. Headliners include Third World, Michael Rose, Luciano, Pato Banton, and the Skatalites. "I'm excited about all three days," says organizer Packy Malley. "It's an amazing lineup, and I'm proud of the fact that this is now one of the three biggest reggae festivals in the United States. They even know about it in Jamaica." Carlo Jones and the P.L.U.S. Band and Jah Messengers provide some local rasta flavor. Tickets range from $30 to $95. Go to midwestreggaefest.com to learn more.
Indie folk-rockers Tinamou celebrate the release of The Providence EP with a show at 8 p.m. on Friday at the Grog Shop. State Fair, Humble Home, and Bryan Karas open. Tickets are $10 and include a copy of the new EP. Myspace.com/tinamoumusic has more info.
Two years ago, Oliver Buck & the New Madrids were going strong when frontman Buck moved out of town. He's back in Cleveland for a week and will regroup his alt-country band for a reunion show at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Beachland Tavern. They'll play songs from their two terrific albums — 2008's Prodigal Son and 2009's Prairie Girl — as well as cuts from Buck's solo record, Rust Belt Blues. Jane Dough and Keith Jenkins & the Moving Parts open the show. Tickets are $7. Go to lovemuffinrecords.com for more information.
Alt-country band the Vig celebrate the release of their self-titled debut at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Beachland Ballroom. Songs like "O Colorado" and "Gonna Be Alright" are beer-in-the-air power ballads that recall early Old 97's. Tickets are $8. You can find more info at myspace.com/digthevig.
Led by singer-guitarist Lucian (real name: Sean Kratz), Benighten Empire play black metal fueled by — what else? — Norse mythology. "We're a band with lyrics about war, Vikings, and Odin [with] epic-to-destroying guitar riffs, snarls of the depths of war, and blasting-to-epic drum signatures," says the group's MySpace bio. The band celebrates the release of its new album, Awakening of the Old Gods, at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Outpost in Kent. Eviscerated, the metal band Kratz fronted before starting Benighten Empire, will also play a reunion show that night. Go to myspace.com/benightenempire.
After recently premiering several new songs at the Rock on the Range music fest, metal icons Mushroomhead are prepping their new album, Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, which comes out on September 28. Myspace.com/mushroomhead can fill you in.
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