Live Picks: 12.15.2011 – 12.21.2011

12.15: False + Heartless + Full of Hell + Thou + Solid Giant – Mudlark Theater

12.16: Vapo-Rats + The Lollies + The Riffs + Big Fat & Delicious – Banks Street Bar

12.17: Giant Cloud + Empress Hotel + The Hawks (of Holy Rosary) – One Eyed Jacks

When Giant Cloud disbanded early this summer, a fitting end to the mystic narrative of the rise and fall of one of the last decade’s most enjoyable bands could have involved the Rustin, Louisiana natives vanishing into the ether just as suddenly as they appeared in late 2008 to take the New Orleans independent music scene by storm. With the release of their debut Old Books EP and the numerous live gigs that followed, the humble quintet engulfed listeners with a rare breed of ethereal space-pop, a relentless onslaught of baroque musical suites that bounded freely between dark spots and bright patches with untamed ease.  The modest catalog they leave behind – buoyed by last month’s digital release of their full-length debut/final album Bloom and Decay – is so singularly unique, so beautifully devoid of distracting geographic or chronological underpinnings, a wholesale disappearing act would not have seemed too far-fetched for this gang of preternaturally talented and compatible musicians.

But Giant Cloud’s lineup has done nothing of the sort, instead pressing on in the face of one of the most disappointing announcements local music fans have been forced to oblige this year.  Lead singers and songwriters Julie Odell and Ben Jones have popped up dozens of times since, each penning a string of exquisite solo compositions and performing them to the delight of intimate crowds all over the city with Jones also lending his chops to Nashville by way of Brooklyn by way of Chicago by way of Grand Rapids rocker David Vandervelde‘s touring band.  Similarly, guitarist Preston Wittenburg now hits the road with the Generationals, manhandling a bass in the same intricate fashion he finger-picked a six-string with Giant Cloud.  Their continued ubiquitousness somehow both fills the void left by Giant Cloud’s absence and serves as a constant reminder of how magical a combination the group truly was, a dichotomy that will be momentarily subdued as they reunite for the 6th Annual Park The Van Holiday Soiree, giving all comers a chance to see one of the most dependably awesome local bands perform for maybe the last time.

Winners of the “First Local Band To Cover Steely Dan” derby Empress Hotel and San Antonio punk rockers Hawks (of Holy Rosary) round out the lineup.

MP3: Giant Cloud: “Animal Inside”

12.18: 2nd Annual Fess Fest featuring The Tipitina’s All-Star Band – Tipitina’s

12.20: Ramming Speed + Classhole – The Mushroom

Check out our New Orleans Music Calendar for a full slate of constantly updated live picks

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