Photoset // All People: 08.20.2012

All People performing at The Parish at House Of Blues on August 20, 2012

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News Briefs: On Dat To’ Edition

The general lull around town you may have noticed is about to come to an end as local bands gear up for tours, drop new music, and keep gaining national attention.  It’s gonna be a hot one.

Local post-rock heros Sun Hotel – as they have dependably done during every college break/vacation of the last three years – are gearing up for their next tour, a summer road trip that will take them up the east coast and across the midwest.  They will be joined by Chicago’s Young Jesus, Nashville’s JAG and El Paso’s The Lusitania at various points along the way, and kick everything off with a pair of Louisiana shows: June 23 at Chelsea’s in Baton Rouge and June 24 at Siberia with Habitat.

DIY collectives Chinquapin and Community Records have joined forces to release a densely packed Summer Sampler. The 27-song disc features offerings from both stables, as well as unreleased and brand new music from Donovan Wolfington, ArchAnimals, the Taxpayers, Matt Wixson’s Flying Circus, Chris Rehm, Maddie Ruthless and All People.

In addition to releasing a new album Sunday night at Yuki Izakaya, Luke Winslow-King also debuted a new music video.  The beautiful visual accompaniment to “Moving On (Towards Better Days)” was photographed, edited and directed by Los Angeles-based artist/animator Cosmo Segurson, and filmed in Winslow-King and Esther Rose’s own Marigny home.

On June 13 Hurray For The Riff Raff will appear on NPR’s World Cafe, a live performance and interview program hosted by Philadelphia DJ David Dye.  The performance will be part of the show’s “Sense of Place” series, sets of week-long examinations of local music scenes across the globe.  The New Orleans edition also covers Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Trombone Shorty, Dr. John and puts a spotlight on the historical Treme neighborhood.  As our local WWNO does not carry World Cafe, the show can be streamed from host station WXPN Monday through Friday at 2PM and archives are hosted on NPR.org

Established local indie artist Micah McKee has broken a lengthy silence with the release of the newest Little Maker track, “LA Story (Alright Too)”. The former Silent Cinema and current Empress Hotel frontman’s most recent project features an ensemble cast of string and horn musicians, and is readying for the release of their debut this October.

Following hot on the heels of the mega-success that was “Marilyn”, Oakland/New Orleans-based blog rapper G-Eazy has just released another heavily anticipated track. “Mad”, the second from his yet-to-be-titled debut album, was produced by the budding star himself and features choral vox from longtime collaborator Devon Baldwin.

Preview // 2012 Community Records Block Party

By the end of April, just as the rest of the country is getting their festival engines started, a triumvirate of consecutive noteworthy weekend events will have already swept through New Orleans, satiating the diverse tastes of locals and flooding the streets with music lovers from all over the world. This past weekend’s record setting French Quarter Festival did well to entertain fans of oppressive downtown crowds and bands you can probably see almost any other weekend of the year, while the looming Jazz Fest – with an old-bro jams heavy lineup that somehow includes Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys, The Eagles and Jimmy Buffett – is pretty secure in its standing as the marquee event of the season regardless of how much FQFesters boast about that event’s swelling attendance.

But in it’s fifth year nestled between April’s two behemoths, local DIY powerhouse Community Records’ annual Block Party continues to fill the broad niche inhabited by garage, punk, ska, and noise fans of all ages and is becoming not just a local institution but something of a tourist destination.  This year’s event features 26 bands from all around New Orleans and locales as far flung as Michigan, Rhode Island, California and Indiana, drawing carpoolers and couch surfers to town from all over the country for what has grown into a nationally recognized event (while an extensive and tightly-packed pre- and post- party schedule has transformed the one-day celebration into a truly weekend-long affair).

During the twelve hours of non-stop music on Saturday, here are two acts to look out for:

Matt Wixson’s Flying Circus – 4PM, outside

A Detroit area native who manages to act both as a DIY go-to-guy in his own community and an artist who wears more hats than his fan base can keep up with, perhaps no performer at Block Party is as unique a case study as Matt Wixson. One of the few (only?) ska artists who seems to embody the internet age’s obsessive collage culture, Wixson’s recorded history plays like a blogged stockpile of old Toots records and a few beat up Dan Pothast CDs owned by a 90s pop culture apologist who’d be working from behind a laptop at home if not for his obvious guitar skills.

Though he’s been known at different times to belt out numbers at the top of his lungs over an acoustic guitar, provide pounding keys to already-earsplittingly heavy skacore bands and craft the strangest punk mash-ups you’re likely ever to hear, the project he’ll be bringing to Clio Street on Saturday, Matt Wixson’s Flying Circus, is an exercise in archetypal genre blurs and splices as he and his merry backing band delve both parodically and reverently into political discourse, protest music, drinking hymns and middle American angst.

MP3: Matt Wixson’s Flying Circus: “They Can’t Fix Me”

Brunt Of It – 6PM, outisde

Of every punk/ska hybrid one may to encounter in a lifetime, Brunt Of It‘s drive to perfect the energy of old school punk will likely always stick out. Where contemporaries of their 15+ year history have tended to take their punk roots into thrash or metalcore territory while relying on ska’s metered upstroke and sinewy brass to create some semblance of melodic balance, this Boston-based act seem to do the exact opposite. With punk spiritually culled from the likes of Dead Kennedys, Brunt Of It’s ska roots often emerge warped and textured, making for strange concoctions of rocksteady and hardcore: where you’d expect Flaming Tsunamis you get Screeching Weasel, and where there might otherwise be a few pieces of pedestrian 3rd Wave Ska bacchanalia, there are horns and rhythms rife with a discordant intensity few ska acts can achieve.

Returning to Block Party after a year off in 2011, Brunt Of It will prove to be one of the highlights of the entire event. Expect a massive, sweat-drenched circle pit and some microphone-induced forehead bleeding.

MP3: Brunt Of It: “Art School Dropout”

The 5th Annual Community Records Block Party takes place on Saturday, April 21 at The Big Top, 1638 Clio St.  Tickets are $20 at the door, $14 in advance or with a clothing or food donation on the day of the event.  Gates open at 11:30AM and the music goes non-stop from noon to midnight.

Community Records Block Party on Facebook

Punk Rock Matinees Coming To The Big Top

It’s a concept that has been applied many times throughout the past decade or so. The idea of “Sunday Matinees” – early evening, weekend ending concerts capable of catering to both the underaged-with-protective-parents crowd and the aging, late-night-avoidance crowd – has always been a well-intentioned, if not necessary, community-building exercise for New Orleans’ underground punk rock scene. In the early days of Cypress Hall and the live music era of the Ark, it was commonplace for Brian Funck, the city’s all-ages DIY curator, to occasionally institute that exact format of concert series. But whether by lack of galvanization or inoperativeness of a centralized punk rock meeting spot, Sunday Matinee shows would fall out of practice just as quickly as they popped up.

But a lot has changed in the New Orleans music scene since the early aughts, and at this very moment the idea of weekly, all-ages punk matinees seems not just fitting but appropriate given the laundry list of exciting and enriching programming sprouting up all over town.  The newest incarnation of such a project, Punk Rock Takeover, is set to kick off Sunday at Lee Circle-area multipurpose art center The Big Top.  The chosen venue could not be a more fitting home for the planned melange of  indie/underground/outsider/alternative showcases, as the past few years have seen the cozy but versatile space transformed into a DIY music mecca. It’s practically home base for the extensive programming of a long list of show organizers that includes Funck’s An Idea Like No Other and Community Records, who hold their day long, multi-stage Block Party festival in and around the Clio St. gallery.

The strictly all-ages affairs will start at 2PM each Sunday and feature free food, a cash bar and unique bills combining musical acts from all over the subcultural spectrum.  This Sunday’s kickoff features a band that needs little introduction around these parts, Vox And The Hound, but combines them with the punchy electro noise-pop of Whom Do You Work For? and the hypnotic drone-funk of No Clouds.  The lineup for the rest of the month includes everyone from garage rock stalwarts Opposable Thumbs to indie newcomers Pancake to psychedelic bluesmen Black Smoke, and that is hopefully just the start to an enduring schedule of diverse and interesting programming.

Each show is $5 at the door or $3 with a book or non-perishable food donation (for the benefit of Iron Rail and local outreach programs, respectfully), and the proceeds from each event will be given to local non-profit organizations.

Punk Rock Takeover: Sunday Matinee Shows at The Big Top on Facebook

Photoset // See You In Mexico + Dominique LeJeune + The Rooks + High In One Eye: 02.24.2012

See You In Mexico + Dominique LeJeune + The Rooks + High In One Eye performing at the Community Records practice space on February 24, 2012

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Block Party 2012 Lineup Announced!

Just as the NFL Draft, with all the pomp and circumstance that surround it, is considered by some to be America’s fourth major professional sport, the first few months of every year, during which time details about the annual Festival Season’s numerous events are unveiled in quick succession, is a noteworthy and exciting music-centric stretch in its own right.  Rumors abound, travel plans are made, and sometimes vitriolic meditations on the Current And Future State Of Music™ are hard to avoid.  But sardined among reliably controversial announcements from Hangout Music Festival, Jazz Fest, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo and Coachella is the one press release that is almost guaranteed to bring nothing but good news for local fans of excellent alternative rock, punk, grunge and ska music: Community Records has released the lineup for their 5th Annual Block Party, and once again they are offering a full-day’s-worth of the best and brightest offerings from DIY scenes all over the country.

Matching last year’s epic headliners the Rx Bandits is an equally – if not more – revelatory announcement that Mustard Plug will be gracing the main stage of Block Party. One of the hardest working bands of the 90s punk ska era, this group of Michigan stalwarts was one of the most pervasive influences on New Orleans’ own ska scene at the time, a legacy that Community Records itself is arguably a manifestation of. Joined by westcoast street ska veterans Left Alone, the Plug will headline a list of touring acts that includes hodgepodge Florida punks Safety, Illinois punk pop band Good Luck, Nashville ska thrashers Stuck Lucky and California’s much-adored A Billion Ernies.

These touring bands will appear along side a lineup of natives that cuts across almost every musical crowd currently rattling cages at the local level.  Lords of Block Party Caddywhompus properly get top billing, but the set ranges from modern-punk surgeons The Lollies and The Riffs to the freakishly talented member-sharing melange of Glish, Choi Wolf and Habitat, while an after party at Circle Bar adds Houston’s bluesy art-rockers The Tontons to the jam packed weekend.

The 2012 Community Records Block Party will take place for 12 hours from Noon to Midnight on Saturday, April 21 at The Big Top.  The current bill features 24 bands on two stages, with more acts as wells as details about a string of pre- and post- shows still to be announced.  Tickets are available online or at the event, and you can save $4 by purchasing in advance or bringing a food or clothing donation to the gate.  All donations will go to the New Orleans Mission and a portion of all ticket sales will benefit the Gulf Restoration Network.

Block Party 2012 / Community Records Block Party 2012 on Facebook