Few labels can boast both the longevity and pedigree that Topshelf Records does, while also still maintaining the “wait, what label are they on?” quality when it comes to the bands on their roster. Part of that has to do with their still relative… smallness? But, more than anything, it has to do with their ability to find bands and musicians that are consistently surprising.
So, when a Topshelf Records showcase hits the road, I suggest you pay very, very close attention.
Returning to the Cincinnati area for the first time since the summer of 2014 (which, full disclosure, was a show that I helped put together and promote), Prawn again arrives with a new record in tow, this year’s breathlessly energetic indie rocker, Run. Aiming to capture the feel of their live show and to orchestrate an album that they could play live, front to back, without too much getting in the way, Prawn deconstructed their previous albums, taking what came before and turning it into something new, yet fully and recognizably themselves.
In a live setting, this promises to be an exciting time for Prawn fans, as we can no doubt expect to hear how their back catalog - especially more intricate tracks from Kingfisher - fit in with their newer ones.
Joining them on the road are a duo whose large sound belies their small numbers, scene stalwarts and by all accounts total sweethearts, Slingshot Dakota. Combining cutting lyrics with driving rhythm and fuzzed out synths, they can stand toe-to-toe with the likes of other duos such as Matt & Kim (but, on a purely selfish level, I’d pay ridiculous amounts of money to see them play with The Gay Blades because that would be 100% epic).
Rounding out the bill are openers People Like You, an “Indie Jazz” group who vocal melodies are paired incredibly well with jangly, off-time percussion and the occasional bright horns. Us and Us Only will start out the night, with their quietly progressive take on minimalist indie, helping fans ease into a night that’s basically stacked start to finish with the best of of what Topshelf Records has to offer: musically adventurous, progressive, and interesting bands with their own point of view, who somehow maintain an accessibility that would be amusing if it wasn’t so consistent.