Live Picks: 09.27.2012 – 10.03.2012

09.27: The Soft Pack + Heavy Hawaii + KG Accidental – One Eyed Jacks

09.28: Rotary Downs + King Rey – Prytania Bar

09.29: Glish + The Beams + Native America + L.F. Knighton – Circle Bar

On some oblique level, the Beams may be the purest example in New Orleans of what it means to be a band. Though boasting, through its members, a pedigree that links it to several of the most well-known and meaningful local rock acts of the last fifteen years, this bristly four-piece power pop act seems to perpetually exist as a fringe presence or a phantom of indie rock past. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing: the less time the Beams spend striving for relevancy in a culture that demands overt self-promotion and subtle competition, the more opportunities they find to offer opening support for the young artists who are actively seeking mainstream acclaim, and thus act as a model of hard work and passion where there would otherwise be none.

At their core the Beams are – simply put – an always pleasant, often loud, occasionally mind-blowing concoction of jangled guitars, heartbreak melodies and charmingly unrefined vocal harmonies. Yet there is always something even more unique about this act bubbling just below its forthright surface. Indeed, most Beams live shows tend to carry with them elements of both isolationism and confederation. Almost as often as the band can be found doing one-off afternoon bar shows and record store appearances completely by themselves, they can be found comfortably on a bill next to literally any band in the city that uses a guitar.

This Saturday night is no exception, as the Beams stop into Circle Bar to lend a hand to space rock shoegazers Glish, who will be celebrating the release of their second EP, Come Down. Fuzzcore act Native America and Mobile, Alabama-based rock and roll band L.F. Knighton also perform.

09.30: Heat Dust + Donovan Wolfington + Isidro

10.01: King Louie’s Missing Monuments + Cyclops + White Mystery – Circle Bar

10.03: Dinosaur Jr. + Shearwater – Tipitina’s

Live Picks: 09.20.2012 – 09.26.2012

09.20: Babes + Prom Date + Benjamin Booker – The Big Top

09.21: Big Rock Candy Mountain + Bantam Foxes – Circle Bar

Since they first bust on the local scene with their 2009 debut EP Hey Kid, the New Orleans music community has rarely agreed about anything the way we’ve agreed about Big Rock Candy Mountain. Rising from the ashes of nearly a half-dozen bands spanning nearly every sub-genre of the city’s storied but then-still-nascent independent scene, BRCM’s hyper-modern perversion of classic alternative tropes made them early and obvious torch-bearers of local rock’s next iteration.  As a band’s band with an inspiring and wide appeal, they have remained in every noteworthy discussion and on every short list worth its salt, even as their most recent studio gestation period resulted in a lengthy stretch of live inactivity.

Nevertheless, whenever we hear from Big Rock Candy Mountain, they easily demonstrate why they have been held in such universally high-esteem.  A high-powered mix of dazzling synth work, face-melting guitar solos and a brain crushing rhythm section explode in a live setting as a barrage of space-age freakouts and ethereal prog-pop interludes, offering something about as close to the platonic ideal of “awesome local indie band” as you are likely to find for miles.

But the sparse live schedule hasn’t been for naught: when lead man Michael Girardot was not on the road with emerging national superstars The Revivalists or in the studio with greatest band in the universe Rotary Downs, the Big Rock gentlemen have been writing and recording their own full length album.  They storm back to the stage on Friday with a complete set of new songs in the can and an extra long set to both debut them all and dig into their canon of old favorites. Local rock and roll trio Bantam Foxes open.

09.22: Sun Hotel + Habitat + Young Jesus + Native America – 3712 Upperline

09.23: Caddywhompus + Sun Dog + All People – The Big Top

09.24: Eternal Summers + Bleeding Rainbow – Circle Bar

09.25: Mac DeMarco + Michael Girardot’s Macrofuns + Julie Odell  – Circle Bar

09.26: G-Eazy + Hoodie Allen – House Of Blues

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

Live Picks: 09.13.2012 – 09.19.2012

09.13: The Tangle + Dresden + The Stairwells – Circle Bar

09.14: Baby Bee + King Rey + Sports and Leisure – Parish @ House of Blues

09.15: Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun + Coyotes + Alexis and The Samurai – Circle Bar

09.16: Jack Donovan + Chris Rehm + Andrew Landry – Mudlark Theater

There has never been anything secret about our love for Breezy’s, the coffee-shop turned apartment turned multipurpose art space that spent the summer of 2011 as the undisputed king of New Orleans DIY live music venues.  Under the tutelage of talent buyer/promoter Mike Twillman and owner Micah Burns (and with the help of a constantly expanding motley crew of supporters) a deceptively unassuming Freret-area home with a legendary bohemian past felt like the nexus of the city’s burgeoning independent rock explosion, even if only for a brief moment in time.

The building’s crumbling walls and ceiling seemed to be held together by the heavily patinated concert posters, newspaper clippings and photographs that covered them, which gave the venue a strangely imprecise aura that beautifully juxtaposed the fresh and exciting programming it hosted.  And whether you credit its easy-going proprietors, the eager young crowds it attracted or diverse music scene it served, Breezy’s grew into an under-the-radar institution unlike many others that came before it or have come since.  It seemed exclusive without being exclusionary, underground but also accessible, and outsider without an overt preoccupation with being edgy.

But even after just one visit to the mystical funhouse at the corner of Soniat and LaSalle, anyone would have guessed the days of Breezy’s original spot were numbered. It was just too good, with a mission too pure to exist in a city as corrupt and morally bankrupt as ours. (Also, almost every aspect of the enterprise was probably completely illegal.) So while it only took six months for the powers that be to shutter Breezy’s first incarnation, the quintessentiality of the concept of Breezy’s became apparent almost immediately. After a short but notable stint in a Pigeontown backyard, Twillman and Burns have taken a broad leap towards sustainability by moving Breezy’s underground spirit into a legitimate commercial space: Breezy’s on Freret, in the heart of the revitalized Freret corridor and just blocks from where it all started, is due to open in a matter of weeks.

This Sunday’s afternoon matinee at Mudlark Theater – a cherished DIY institution in its own right – is part of a final push to bring Breezy’s on Freret up to full speed in time for the jam-packed fall concert season.  While donations will be accepted at the door, the event’s main goal is to raise awareness of the team’s Kickstarter campaign, which (if successful) will allow the new rock club to open with a professional grade soundsystem in place. Music will be provided by the Breezy’s mainstays of Chinquapin Records and will feature stripped down sets from Habitat‘s Jack Donovan, High In One Eye‘s Andrew Landy and Caddywhompus‘ Chris Rehm plus a promised host of special guests.

09.17: Black Taxi + Aerial Attack – One Eyed Jacks

09.18: Beach House + Dustin Wong – Tipitina’s

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

News Briefs: Bringin’ Back Breezys Edition

Fall is upon us (though the heat would have us believing otherwise), and with it comes the time of year when local musicians and the like begin to ramp up their creative output. This week Generationals, LoOmis and Mason Briggs unleash new music, while Breezy’s begins its long-awaited comeback and Royal Teeth’s recent good fortunes continue.

Never known to go quiet for too long, locally-based nationally-recognized indie pop duo Generationals have returned from with the follow-up to 2011’s Actor-Caster, the synthy and upbeat new single “Lucky Numbers”. In addition to prepping the release of an EP of the same name on October 2, the Generationals can be found touring the road for the majority of the next two months.

After nearly two years as a bastion of DIY culture in New Orleans’ indie rock community, local venue Breezy’s has moved onto a larger, more commercially legitimate endeavor. New space Breezy’s On Freret, set to open later this fall, will be only blocks from the former house-turned-coffee shop-turned-underground music spot that owners Mike Twillmann and Micah Burns used to inhabit. Currently working towards proofing and perfecting the new venue’s future sound system, the Breezy’s boys have begun a Kickstarter campaign to help them in their quest to give the Uptown campus area an unsurpassed underground live music experience.  More news as this campaign develops.

After dropping the video for single “Tired Flags” last month, former Smiley With A Knife guitarist Patrick Bailey – known individually as LoOmis – has just released his fifth full-length album of material since beginning the experimental analog project in 2007. A Beautiful Coincidence takes his well-documented penchant for instrumental post rock and intriguingly stretches it into territories more akin to drone and chillwave. Though the current San Francisco resident can’t generally be found haunting the concert venues of New Orleans these days, you can follow Mr. Bailey as he documents our rich history of underground rock and roll at The Memory Farm.

After spending the last six months experimenting with a Keller Williams/tUnE-yArDs one-man loop pedal format as Mason Briggs and forming post rock outfit Luxley with the likes of Bantam Foxes bassist Collin McCabe, local singer and guitarist Ryan Gray has returned with the Briggs monicker for a string of solo tracks utilizing only a guitar and an iPhone app. New song “Elegance” comes on the heels of last month’s “Distractor”.

Thanks to a growing and increasingly rabid national fan base, local indie pop act Royal Teeth will be taking the stage at Filter Magazine’s Culture Collide Festival, which takes place October 4-7 in Los Angeles. The result of a polling contest put on by Red Bull Soundstage, Royal Teeth placed first among dozens of acts from all over the country. Meanwhile, you can find the sextet on tour through the month of October (they’ll be back in New Orleans for the Voodoo Music Experience) or in EA Sports’ Fifa 13, which is available September 28 and features Royal Teeth track “Wild”.

Live Picks: 09.06.2012 – 09.12.2012

09.06: Coyotes + Aerial Attack + Cozy – Prytania Bar

09.07: Yeasayer – Republic

09.08: Native America + Donovan Wolfington + ArchAnimals – Thermos

If I were to pick one concert line-up that accurately represents the personality and attitudinal makeup of New Orleans’ DIY Indie culture, it would have to be one that showcases three bands who seem to be philosophically conjoined at their hips if disparate in their styles of music, and it would have to take place at an unseen, untested pop-up venue – in true underground fashion. And though such concerts take place almost daily for the majority of the year, a summer of hard touring, recording and traveling by local musicians has found these events occurring relatively less often of late. Fortunately, three of the city’s most talented groups of heatseakers have gotten back on the horse for the kind of casual, off-the-beaten-path show that local live music fans have come to crave over the last couple of years.

The tandem of Donovan Wolfington and Archanimals has enjoyed both a warm introduction to New Orleans and a steadily growing level of popularity since the beginning of the summer. In addition to often being found on the playbill together locally, Donovan – a five-piece emo punk outfit – and Archanimals – a southern rock-influenced noise rock trio – recently co-headlined a regional tour, and they both spent the second half of the summer laying down tracks for their respective full-length records, due later this fall.

Meanwhile, the lore of Ross Farbe’s one-man-turned-three-man Native America project has nearly begun to precede it by now. What was once considered a side project which had he and bassist John St. Cyr’s splitting time with Sun Hotel (and which, up until Country Club’s hiatus/disbandment, had drummer Ray Micarelli doing the same) has, for a time now, been a genuinely potent entity in and of itself, with some even going so far as to declare this noise pop act the best that New Orleans has to offer. With virtually no recorded material on which to crutch themselves (a full length is perpetually imminent), Native America has made their name solely on their live performances, which tend to lean heavily on distortion and rhythmic nuance.

This Saturday night, the bands get together for an early show at new venue Thermos, which can be found on the corner of Plum and Leonidas and which might be a house or possibly a bar, maybe even a parking lot.

MP3: Native America: “Winedrunk Potluck”

MP3: Donovan Wolfington: “Spencer Green”

09.10: I Was Totally Destroying It + Faun Fables + Kara Mann – Circle Bar

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