Live Picks: 10.04.2012 – 10.10.2012

10.04: Tops + Dominique Lejeune + DeftJams – One Eyed Jacks

10.05: Merchandise + Glish + Loveless – The Big Top

10.06: Chef Menteur + Whom Do You Work For? – The Circle Bar

10.07: Habitat + Woozy + Gnarwhal – The Big Top

10.08: Bombay Bicycle Club + Vacationeer + Sports & Leisure – House Of Blues

10.09: Bipolaroid + Trampoline Team + Holy Wave + DJ 9ris 9ris – SIBERIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We’re not going to lie, when City Hall started their inexplicable war against a few of the city’s most quintessential live music venues, we did not think it was going to last very long.  And for some, it didn’t.  Circle Bar had to cancel barely a week of shows before they navigated the draconian hoops of jargon and bullshit that beset the path to legitimacy on all sides.  But for whatever reason, Siberia – the young St. Claude rock club that shattered all land speed records during it meteoric rise to venerability – was left out in the cold for nearly three months.

Though one of the most consistently impressive musical operations in the city and a club that has operated for two nearly-complaint free years just steps away two other music clubs, Siberia had to completely clear its schedule, canceling on the dozens of local musicians and nationally touring bands it had on the books.  The slowdown forced them to lay off half their staff, and even when the place seemed to catch a break, it didn’t really catch a break.  Hurricane Isaac delayed their long-awaited hearing in front of the New Orleans City Planning Commission, and as a conciliation they were granted a handful of temporary live music permits – at the effectively cost-prohibitive price of roughly $300 per night of music.

But the pointless aggression has at least been put on hiatus, as last week Siberia was mercifully allowed to resume all live entertainment while the city reviews their permit application.  Local psychedelic garage rockers Bipolaroid – who spent the better part of the live music crackdown working on their upcoming forth album – have the distinct honor of welcoming Siberia back to the fold.  They will be joined by Austin’s Holy Wave and local newcomers Trampoline Team.

10.10: River City Extention + Winter Sounds – Circle Bar

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

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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

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

Live Picks: 08.23.2012 – 08.29.2012

08.23: Michael Girardot’s Macrofuns + Mississippi Shakedown – Circle Bar

08.24: Alexis and the Samurai + England in 1819 + ImagineIAM – Howlin’ Wolf Den

08.25: Coyotes + Gold And The Rush + Sports & Leisure – Carrollton Station

As a unit, Sports & Leisure have only been a presence in the New Orleans underground musical consciousness since October 2011, but the band’s individual players possess as impressive and diverse a musical pedigree as any local act currently playing. Though this orchestal-leaning indie pop band is the first major project embarked upon by former MyNameIsJohnMichael keyboardist and guitarist Richard Leo Dubourg, S&L is arguably much more than yet another offshoot from that aforementioned band’s prolific member exodus. Touting Solid Fuzz drummer Russell Shelton and Silent Game guitarist Scott Hannan as well as BJ Blue, Whitney Brown and Jeremy Peres, who share between them memberships in hiatus’d alternative rock band the Green Genes and early 2000s progressive screamo outfit Infinite Hours, Sports & Leisure’s work was cut out for them as they spent late 2011 and early 2012 searching for chemistry where there was already no lack of physical talent. After an impressive string of performances earlier this summer and a trip to the studio to put down their first offerings of recorded material, what is obvious to many at this point is how Sports & Leisure has quickly managed to match their complex – often jarring – milieu of folk, indie pop and psychedelic miscellanea with an organic tightness and a fantastic level of onstage energy.

This Saturday night they join forces with two other up-and-coming local acts, Americana indie band Coyotes and raucous southern rockers Gold and the Rush for a night at Carrollton Station, a venue which is mere blocks from an evening of cocktail-fueled rowdiness and bizarre costuming courtesy of the Krewe of Oak’s A Midsummer Night’s Mardi Gras. The post-party concert is set to beginning promptly after the krewe parades down Oak Street at 9:00pm.

08.27: Vox and the Hound + Birds and Batteries – Circle Bar

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

Live Picks: 08.16.2012 – 08.22.2012

08.16: Babes + Dominique LeJeune – Circle Bar

08.17: Rotary Downs – d.b.a.

08.18: Felix + Cons and Prose + Sideshow Tragedy – Prytania Bar

When entrenched in the Austin City Limits spillover that fills local stages during the fall and the South By Southwest, et al runoff that keeps our agenda slammed throughout spring, it is easy to forget how dusty and plodding a New Orleans summer has the propensity to be.  This year was made particularly lean by the absence of two notoriously prolific groups, who are mercifully returning to action just as local schedules are beginning to show some signs of life:  This weekend, both Felix and greatest band in the universe Rotary Downs return to the New Orleans stage.

After holding their own opening and closing ceremonies for this years Jazz Fest in the form of characteristically epic marathon performances at Le Bon Temps and Circle Bar (respectively), Rotary Downs spent the end of the spring and the beginning of the summer working diligently on their new album, a follow up to the 2010 masterpiece Cracked Maps and Blue Reports that is due out in early 2013.  They reappear this Friday on one of their many home courts, the friendly cypress-wrapped confines of d.b.a. that has been the backdrop of some of RD’s most memorable outings.

But just as exciting is the long-awaited return of Felix, whose absence from the scene isn’t quite as easily explained but who, during their periods of high activity, reign as the most fearlessly awesome band in town.  On record their songs are rancorous delights that land anywhere from funked-out country-western dirge to bluesy folkabilly rippers, but it is their live act that is truly the stuff of legend. Playing anywhere in town, in any slot on any kind of lineup, the ragtag trio regularly steals the show with an unhinged performance that remains frighteningly dialed in even as the group – most notably lead singer John Curry (equally engaging with his Blind Texas Marlin side/solo project) – descends into brute-force post-punk chaos: Curry growls through heart wrenching and hilarious lyrics in a wide range of physical and emotional postures, keyboardist Thomas Furtado navigates his multi-tiered universe as if he has far more than the standard issue 5 fingers per hand and drummer Adem Van Hull thrashes mercilessly at his well traveled kit and the hodge-podge of auxiliary percussion devices that surround it.

They will be joined at the re-christened Prytania Bar (the constantly evolving haunt formerly known as Cafe Prytania) by Austin’s Sideshow Tragedy and freshly minted local supergroup The Cons and Prose.  Saturday will mark just the second show for the new project that brings together lead singer extraordinaire Rik Slave, bassist Al Small of The Blue Party, Sports And Leisure‘s Whitney Brown and Bingo! Show drummer Keith Hajjar.

08.19: Sweet Street Symphony + Saint Bell + Pancake – The Big Top

08.20: Fang Island + Adebisi Shank + All People – The Parish at House of Blues

08.21: Rational Animals + Microshards + SS Boombox + Curved Dog – United Bakery

08.22: Gruff Rhys + ArchAnimals – One Eyed Jacks

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