Live Picks: 05.31.2012 – 06.06.2012

05.31: Japanther + Pygmy Lush + Thou – United Bakery

06.01: The Beams + Bones + Picnic – One Eyed Jacks

06.02: Rareluth + Mahayla – Circle Bar

06.03: Dummy Dumpster + Sports & Leisure + Glasgow – The Big Top

Though to the naked eye they may be nothing more like a mysterious fly-by-night pet project, Dummy Dumpster have in fact been a presence in the underground community longer than most younger music aficionados realize. Anyone who has had the pleasure of witnessing the unbridled wackiness of this trio knows that the band’s absurdist exterior (vulgar, non sequitur subject matter against a tapestry of Germs-esque hardcore punk) thinly masks a bubbling talent for authenticity and a knack for genuinely engrossing songwriting that can only come from longevity. The performance art antics of singer and guitarist Mike Schadwell, when hemmed in by Brad Lewis’ old-era minimalist drumming and Isidore Grisoli’s quick-plucked punk basslines, are not only hilarious but also endearingly out of lockstep with the vast majority of modern New Orleans punk. If anything though, a Dummy Dumpster live set would sound right at home in a vignette from The Decline of Western Civilization.

On Sunday, they meet up with two other bands from seemingly different corners of the New Orleans underground rock for the most eclectic lineup The Big Top’s Punk Rock Takeover matinee series has offered. Dummy Dumpster will be joined by newcomers Sports & Leisure, a indie rock sextet led by former MNIJM guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Richard Dubourg currently in the midst of a flurry of local performances that have seen their progressive leanings come sharply into focus, while orchestral indie rock veterans Glasgow round out the impressive bill.

MP3: Dummy Dumpster: “Time To Kiss”

06.06: Jean-Eric + Noir Fonce + Rhodes!!! + Disko Obscura – Siberia

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

Random Notes: Memorial Day Edition

With the three day weekend coming up, there is plenty of local news to sink your ear teeth into. This Memorial Day make sure to party, be safe and do something awesome like these guys.

Earl Scioneaux III, better known as The Madd Wikkid, also known as the man behind the knobs for recent recordings from Luke Winslow-King and Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns, is embarking on a bold and unique brass band tribute to French electronic impresarios Daft Punk. For the endeavor known as Brassft Punk, which will find him teaming up with a laundry list of the Crescent City’s most talented horn men for renditions of classics like “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” and “Around The World”, Scioneaux has already launched a Kickstarter campaign to meet his fundraising goal by June 15. More information on the project can be found here.

This week Caddywhompus front man Chris Rehm quietly began streaming his newest solo record, [i found an] Elephant Ring [and gave it to you]. The 8-song ambient/acoustic epic captures Rehm when he’s arguably most comfortable, molding minimalist low-fidelity recordings into vast and sweeping stereo-perfect aural experiences. Elephant Ring sees official release via digital download on May 29, but until then hear it at chrisrehm.org.

Donovan Wolfington and ArchAnimals, two sibling New Orleans rock bands currently vying for the title of “Hardest Working Musical Act Under Drinking Age”, have joined forces for a regional tour, firsts for both young groups. The two-week trek, which begins on June 4, will take D-Wolf and AA through every crevice in the state of Texas before passing back through New Orleans on their way to a wrap-up show with Caddywhompus in Lafayette on June 15.

 

Live Picks: 05.24.2012 – 05.30.2012

05.24: Caddywhompus + Each Other – Hey! Cafe

05.25: Gravity A + Pocket Tyme + Yojimbo – Tipitina’s

05.26: Quintron and Miss Pussycat + Lost Bayou Ramblers – Siberia

No band in southern Louisiana may have a more fitting name than the Lost Bayou Ramblers.  Hailing from Pillette, a tiny unincorporated community in Lafayette Parish, The Ramblers are first and foremost a traditional Cajun band, preserving a genre that long predates bounce rap as the region’s original, native dance music.  The smooth waltzes and mid-tempo two-steps have been a fixture in the Gulf South since the first Nova Scotian Acadians arrived, and Cajun music exploded in popularity as the turn of the century brought inexpensive yet durable accordions and fiddles to the masses.  But after a series of renaissances throughout the 20th century (inspired by everything from World War II to the Newport Folk Festival), by the 1980s traditional Cajun music had been all but usurped in even local circles by the bluesy edge of Creole zydeco.

The Lost Bayou Ramblers are at the head of a class of modern traditionalists ushering in the most recent Cajun revivial.  Led by brothers Louis and Andre Michot – sons/nephews of the legendary Les Freres Michot  – they’ve brought back the fiddle and almost exclusively French-sung lyrics that separated true Cajun music from it’s many fusion-based relatives and descendants. But in its performance, the Grammy-nominated Ramblers let stylistic flourishes from country/western swing, rockabilly and – increasingly – punk rock seep through, taking the genre’s historical reputation as dance-hall music to a glorious, high-energy extreme.

On Saturday night, they will be warming up the crowd for the valiant return of a man who probably needs no help whipping a group of Bywater concert-goers into an ecstatic frenzy.  After taking their swamp-tech extravaganza up and down the east coast, through the midwest and into Canada over the last month, Quintron and Miss Pussycat are making a quick stop in New Orleans before heading West for the rest of the summer.

05.27: Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship? + Noir Fonce + Hormone Imbalance – The Big Top

05.28: Yacht + Onuinu – One Eyed Jacks

05.29: Daugh Gibson + Kindest Lines – Circle Bar

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

Photoset // Hangout Music Festival, Day 3: 05.20.2012

Flaming Lips + Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros + Cage The Elephant + Michael Franti and Spearhead + Mavis Staples performing in Gulf Shores on May 20, 2012 for the Hangout Music Festival

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Hangout Music Festival, Day 3: 05.20.2012

Sunday seems to have been the lightest day of the fest for many people, and maybe that was for the best, because I saw a lot of fatigued faces in the crowd. For those with enough stamina (or maybe just sick curiosity) there was an early set by New Orleans’ own queen diva of sissy bounce, Big Freedia. To say she left the crowd (and the Gulf Shores police force) stunned would be a hilarious understatement. On a totally different note, Mavis Staples treated her unfortunately meager crowd to a little church service. Flaming Lips had a large, largely inattentive crowd present for their performance of Pink Floyd’s seminal Dark Side of the Moon. If you weren’t up front, it was sadly a bit hard to focus on anything but the jabbering going on in all directions (thanks, stoned teenagers!) Festival closer and final night headliner Dave Matthews Band was (as far as I know) the only act to come on significantly late (by about 15 minutes) and the crowd was, once again, mammoth. Unfortunately the sound wasn’t and a combination of long, quiet breaks between songs and poor amplification created a general feeling of “meh” around the whole set, which I had actually been looking forward to (my 15-year-old self has Dave to thank for introducing me to the idea of a band being more than just guitars & drums). So while things closed on a somewhat middling note, the weekend itself was quite a success (which you can read more about in the June issue of Antigravity!)

– Erin Hall, Antigravity Magazine

 

With everything that is known about her long and storied history as a singer, songwriter and civil rights activist, it should be no surprise that Mavis Staples was one of the undeniable highlights of Hangout Fest 2012; nevertheless, it’s life-affirming to actually witness a 72-year old woman in total control of her musical faculties, hitting every screeching high note and every bellowing low note on the psychoacoustic scale. Joined by Rick Holmstrom’s sparse blues band of guitar, bass and drums, as well as by a trio of veteran backup vocalists that included fellow Staples Singer Yvonne Staples, Mavis interjected a playlist of soul standards, new era originals and Pops Staples-penned classics with the kind of energy and enthusiasm that belied that of such an insultingly early set time, the extreme burn of the weekend’s hottest afternoon and the noticeably thin audience. And though the crowd was small, it was packed with devotees who were thoroughly taken by Mavis’ hilarious inter-song banter (“It’s an honor to be down here in beautiful Roll Tide, Alabama,” she quipped at one point) or her straightforward preaching about modern American life (her ability to comfortably and apolitically claw at the Tea Party’s inherent racism was a revelation).

It can also be said that Mavis Staples wins the award for best running farewell to the recently-deceased Levon Helm. Her jubilant cover of the Band’s “The Weight”, which passed off verses to singers Vicki Randle and Donny Gerrard as well as to bassist Jeff Turmes before giving Mavis free reign to burn the entire stage to the ground with an outrageous vocal solo of her own pasted a grin on everyone’s face so wide that it hurt.

Taylor Gray, Barryfest.com

 

In both the years we’ve covered the Hangout Music Festival, electronic dance music has been given huge consideration by both those organizing the weekend as well as those attending it.  And if 2011’s nuanced offering shed light on the surprising diversity some of the more popular performers can squeeze out of the genre’s limited formula, this year’s relatively straightforward lineup of Skrillex, Sphongle and Zed’s Dead (among others), likely gave critics of EDM plenty of fodder to poke fun at what has become a ubiquitous part mainstream music.

But hopefully these faithful and extreme examples of dubsteb and trance also shed some light on why this electronic music is popular.  It’s the same reason Hangout Festival is held on a beach and not in a parking lot on the edge of town: When music is performed in a live setting it almost becomes as experiential as it is artistic; and while the merits of whether or not what electronic DJs do qualifies as making music or performing, there is not doubt they are creating an experience that is enormously appreciated by their swelling audiences.

– Matt Rosenthal, Barryfest.com