15 Cincinnati Artists That You Need To Listen To Right Now


We’re not going to try to cover every awesome local act, but a few that have caught our attention lately. Let us know what you’re into and we’ll give it a listen & maybe a shout out. This list in still in progress.

1. The Tillers

A little bit of banjo strummin’ here, a little bit of Southern roots there, and plenty of love for their hometown will give you more than enough reasons to check out The Tillers. Featuring their own mix of Appalachian crooning and Bluegrass lyricism, they’ve gained plenty of recognition as one of the best Midwestern acts across the region. They were recently enlisted by Pokey Lafarge to play on the Central Time Tour, which will come to Middletown’s Finkleman Auditorium in September.


If you don’t want to wait all the way until September, though, you can will have plenty of opportunities to catch them even closer. They’ll be coming down to the Bluegrass Bandstand in Washington Park on August 7th to bring their folkin’ music right to our front doorsteps. You’ll also be able to see them at the Buckle Up Festival this upcoming weekend. Regardless of where you catch them, you’re going to find out that you love Folk music even more. Check out one of their more popular hits, “The Road Neverending,” here:

2. The Cliftones

Reggae is alive and well in Cincinnati, and a lot of it has something to do with the continued efforts of The Cliftones. Staying true to their reggae roots, they’ve written music about everything from the importance of peace and love to issues such as sustainability. All you have to do is watch them perform one time to capture the image that they’re trying to display for you. It was recently announced that they’ll be playing in the Midwest Reggae Fest in North Lawrence, Ohio. This is a huge step for one of Cincinnati’s own, as they attempt to spread positive vibes with their soul-filled melodies.


If you don’t want to drive all the way across the state to see them, you’ll be able to catch them at the Taste of OTR on July 26th. While reggae may no longer be at its pinnacle, there’s no way around the fact that the Cliftones are the best that Cincinnati has to offer, and will continue doing an excellent job in creating a revival of reggae as we know it. We can’t wait to see what’s to come of them. You can check out one of their live performances from earlier this year, here:

3. Over The Rhine

No, not the neighborhood. A local duo has teamed up to create music that seems to, at times, lack a genre at all. Some of the melodies are haunting, while others seem to have a light-hearted nature to them, but their unique style and stage presence has given them a trip to popularity among Cincinnatians and outsiders alike over the years. Their Facebook is always lined with artistic pictures, and people are always stoked to see where they’ll be performing next.


Unfortunately, they’re out doing their thing for the next few months, but something tells us it’s because they’re hard at work, getting ready to unveil their next big hit to everyone in Cincinnati at a local show. If you’re looking for a local, re-trending group that is about to blow up again, you definitely need to give them a listen. Check out one of their bigger hits, “All I Need Is Everything,” here:

4. Archer’s Paradox

Archer’s Paradox creates an interesting blend. That’s for sure. It’s easy to fall in love with, though. If we had to describe it, we’d say it’s kind of like synth-pop meets a little bit of soft rock at times. Their debut album, Pyramid Lake, has already seen a spike of successful sales in the Cincinnati area due to a loyal following.


They recently performed at the Launch Party for Bunbury just last weekend, but chances are that they’ll be popping up again pretty soon. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Pyramid Lake yet, you’re missing out on one of the best, most balanced albums that Cincinnati has seen for quite awhile. You can check out the song that follows the album’s name below. You’ll be glad you did!

5. The DAAP Girls

Easily one of the favorites among the college crowd, the DAAP girls feature plenty of artistic talent alongside plenty of chill, relaxing beats that appeal to those who are already familiar with with similar artists. With a sound that’s similar to the upbeat melodies of Walk The Moon, it’s no wonder why they’re already achieving success. Their first album, Tape Songs, can be heard blaring from many UC apartments late into the night for good reason.


They’re always playing at some eccentric venue around the city, and never miss a chance to do something a little over-the-top. They recently played a Bunbury after-party, and will be down at Fountain Square this Friday, where they plan on debuting another song from their upcoming album. We can’t wait to hear it! In the mean time, you can check out an old favorite, “Molly,” here:


6. Electric Citizen

Hard-rockers, Electric Citizen, recently signed their a deal, but that doesn’t mean that they’re planning to abandon their hometown any time soon. While they’re getting ready to go on tour right now, heading to the likes of L.A. and Seattle, they’re coming right back home to release their new album on August 8th at Northside Tavern, a place that they have frequented in the recent past.


Their heavy-hitting guitar riffs and Heart-esque lead singer reminded us a little bit of 80’s rock, but they have a unique sounds that pulls it forward to a more modern sound. Imagine something kind of like Wolfmother, oh, wait, they’ll be opening up for them in Hollywood later this month. Now that’s pretty legit, and even more the reason to give them a look.

7. Firecat 451

Okay, enough with the instruments. We have a dope electronic artist from right here in Cincinnati that most haven’t heard of yet, but he’s about to blow up. Some have compared his music to dubtep, others to chillstep, but whatever it is, it’s easy to get lost to. You have to fully embrace the musical experience when you go to his concerts. He’s been a repeat at multiple Self-Diploma events, and he currently released a mix that is sure to please any of the dubheads out there. You can check it out below.

To catch him live, you’ll have to check him out at Madfrog, where he frequents quite often. He’ll be there on August 24th, and will also be performing on Fountain Square on August 30th along with some other local acts that you won’t want to miss. You definitely don’t have to go far away to catch good EDM. It’s right here in the city.


8. Close To Home

Sometimes you just have to listen to something a little harder to let some stress out. Featuring some of the hardest vocals and one of the best drummers in the area, Close To Home has already hit the airwaves around the country, but few realize that they’re from right in our backyards. They’re getting ready to take off across the country on tour, but not before they play a dope show for everyone at the Thompson House on August 8th.


In other words, if you’re looking to be apart of a solid circle pit or mosh your face off, your chance is coming. They’ve been playing live shows all over the place, and they’ve definitely been killing it. If you can’t wait until the 8th, you can check out “Don’t Waste Your Breath,” below.

9. The Yugos

A favorite among the OTR and Northside scenes, the Yugos have picked up some major popularity because of their light-hearted ways. You literally can’t be in a bad mood when they’re on stage, as they seem to capture your mood and won’t let go. Playing in bars all over the city has become a regular deal for these guys because their consistent fan base seems to follow them all over, bring plenty of energy and spunk with them. We’d definitely want to party with these guys.


While they’re going to be out of town for the next few days, they have been known to randomly pop up at local venues, so definitely keep an eye out, or you could just venture up to their show in Columbus on July 19th. After seeing them at Bunbury, we can guarantee that it’s definitely worth the trip.

10. The Young Heirlooms

Many have caught the Young Heirlooms playing downtown over the past few years. Their style features harmonies that seem haunting at times, but it can quickly turns upbeat as well. Featuring a duo that includes one hell of a banjo player, The Young Heirlooms seem like a band that may well have time-traveled to the future.


After recently performing to adoring crowd at Bunbury, we know that they’re about to take things to the next level. They’ve toured all over the Midwest, and they’ll be coming back to the Southgate House again on Sept. 4th to appease their growing number of fans in the Tristate area. Their music will take you back to another era.


11. The Ridges

What makes music that’s already awesome sound even better? How about throwing in a few horn licks here and there. Featuring easily one of the most balanced sounds that Athens has to offer, the Ridges are bringing a sound that few can muster, but they have well beyond mastered.


They’ll be down at the Taste of OTR on July 26th, and you can guarantee they’ll be making waves at Midpoint Music Festival in September. In the meantime you should buy their self-titled album (The Ridges), and check out one of their live performances from last year’s Midpoint Festival:

12. Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle

So, you loved old-timey Americana, big-band sounds, but think that there aren’t many bands around who can deliver? Well, you’ve been misled. Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle have just that and more. Their soul-filled hollers have been heard in various music and folk art festivals around the region. What else could you want?


These Cincinnati locals can be spotted all over town, but most recently performed at Arnold’s. They’re known to frequent Washington Park, and pretty much anywhere else where Bluegrass, Folk, or American is being played. You’ll be able to see them at Buckle Up this weekend, but until then…

13. One Day Steady

From the moment we heard “Break Down,” we were in love with this band. Slap Bass and plenty of 90’s-esque guitar melodies seem to bring out a sense of nostalgia in us, and we love it, but they have plenty of contemporary appeal for their listeners. They’ve packed the house at Northside Tavern and other venues recently, and they’re about to announce a whole lot of new shows, too.


They recently opened for a band on Fountain Square, and their last album, “We Might Be Crazy,” was epic. You’ll just have to stay tuned to their Facebook page to see where they’ll be popping up next. Enough talking, though. Check out this song!

14. The High Definitions

These three guys have seemed to develop a style of their own, as it seems to have too many influences to mention as you listen to them. We know one thing, though: We’re impressed. You’ll catch plenty of hard-hitting guitar solos on everything from wah pedals to maxing it out with distortion. Through in some catch lyrics, and you’ll start to see what the High Definitions are all about.

Even though they’re just now getting their name out there, they have plenty of shows coming up for you to support them at. They’ll be playing at Mainstay on August 15th and Victory’s on the following night. So you pretty much don’t have an excuse not to check them out. You’ll be happy that you did.


15. Ghost Man On First

Can someone explain to us why they haven’t taken the stage at Warped Tour yet? Seriously, this is music that you have to mosh to. Those breakdowns, too… they made us want to punch a bratty teenager in the face. Essentially, if you’re looking for homegrown metal/hardcore, you need to look no further.

You’ll have to check them out on Facebook to see where they’ll be playing next, but after opening up for Oceano, we know they’re making moves.