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.

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G-Eazy: The Endless Summer

Pigeons & Planes/Mostly Junk Food, 2011

It would be far too easy to call G-Eazy‘s The Endless Summer a “mixtape”, as the term has become a quick and dirty shorthand for any sample-laced internet-only hip hop release of the last ten years.  The latest from this New Orleans-based, Bay Area-bred MC does ostensibly fit the bill: Despite a somewhat unique inclination towards 50s and 6os rock and soul, the album is effectively the work of a buzzworthy blog rapper rapping over quirky beats borrowed from the canons of blogged-about buzzbands.  But the pristine and conscientious production of The Endless Summer – in both the traditional music recording sense of the term as well as its hip hop specific beatmaking definition – fiercely eschews classification as a standard issue “mixtape”.

The eponymous album opener as well as its lead single, “Runaround Sue”, are quick to put a fine point on this important distinction, as both showcase G-Eazy’s compositional propensity to elevate the songs on The Endless Summer beyond each’s well-picked loops.  The source material is easily recognizable (especially the case for the latter), but the vintage pop of The Beach Boys and Dion is cradled in booming low-end, and local vocal talent is tapped to supplement Eazy’s laid back flow with freshly written and well-performed choruses.  The beautiful “All I Can Do” similarly transcends the “mixtape” paradigm, as the portion of the track borrowed from LCD Soundsystem’s “Dance Yrslf Clean” sits comfortably among American Idol-alum Devon Baldwin‘s sultry voice and NYC alt-rapper Skizzy Mars‘ playful boasts.

And as was the case on G-Easy’s March offering The Outsider (on which Caddywhompus‘ “But Not Before A Show” served as the backbone for the standout “You Were Up To Something”), the assist on The Endless Summer‘s high point again goes to a brilliant sample deftly plucked from New Orleans’ own indie-rock movement.  In a true masterstroke of creativity and sardonic wit, the infectious “Make-Up Sex” is built atop the bouncy chorus of Generationals’ “When They Fight, They Fight”, with G-Eazy replacing the polite innuendo of the original with the good-natured but frank earnestness that defines most of The Endless Summer‘s choicest cuts.

The Endless Summer is not without its momentary missteps however, as the topical pleasure of Grizzly Bear’s “Two Weeks” proved too alluring for even G-Eazy’s otherwise admirable discretion. But an occasional odd track that doesn’t quite pass the high bar set by the album’s shining moments does little to stop the impressive momentum of G-Eazy’s consistent, clever and sharp new set.

The Endless Summer on Bandcamp