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Around Hear: Vitium's Debut 

And more local music news

Vitium's full-length debut, Oxygen Planet, is available now on Japan's Goon Trax Records. The label is a subsidiary of Media Factory, the entertainment giant whose properties include Pokémon.

Nick Smalc, the jazzy rap-rock band's frontman, is a fan of the label. He contacted Goon Trax via its MySpace page. The label liked the band and released the CD in a one-album, non-exclusive deal.

"Our style fits their niche audience," says Smalc. "And now [Tokyo's] Tower Records, the largest record store in the world, has [promotional] posters of us up."

The album combines four tracks from Vitium's self-titled 2008 EP, new songs recorded at producer Michael Seifert's Ante Up studios and a remix of the soft-rocking "Never Looking Back" by producer re:plus. The new "My Life Is Cleveland" takes a look and the pros and cons of life in their hometown.

Vitium doesn't have any Japanese tour dates booked, but they're playing local gigs. They'll open for Oldboy, Tasty Cakes and Early Girl on Friday, December 4, at the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Rd.). Doors 8 p.m., tickets $10. Proceeds benefit Greater Cleveland Community Shares.

Wicked cast members will perform at 5 p.m. Friday, December 4, at Eton Barnes & Noble (28801 Chagrin Blvd, Woodmere). They'll be plugging the new book Wicked the Musical: A Pop-Up Compendium of Splendiferous Delight and Thrillifying Intrigue. Understudies Stephanie Torns (Elphaba) and Stefanie Brown (Glinda) will sing and sign copies afterward.

The Winchester (12112 Madison Ave) celebrates its seventh anniversary with a free mystery-show concert on Wednesday, December 9. The venue promises "a secret guest musician and his band." Admission is free, show at 9 p.m.

Eighties veteran Snake Rock is playing a homecoming set on Saturday, December 5, at Cleveland's Breakfast Club (formerly the Hi-Fi, 11729 Detroit Ave.). He's been living and playing in Las Vegas. The singer-guitarist says his newer material won't disappoint old fans. "I'm doing the exact same thing," says Rock. "Only [I'm] a little older, hopefully a little bit better."


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