News Briefs: Survivor Series Edition

As the hottest month of the year finally comes to a close, nonstop rain and monsoon weather has attempted to dampen the collective mood of all New Orleans art and entertainment fanatics. Naturally though, the city’s music culture seems to only get denser and more exciting as the summer trudges along:

Hometown hip-hop hero G-Eazy, currently criss-crossing the country on the 2012 Vans Warped Tour, just announced the details of his fall tour. He’ll be joining forces with fellow buzzed-about indie rapper Hoodie Allen for a month of shows that will take him through the midwest and across the great plains. The tour kicks off with a September 7 gig in Columbus, Ohio and begins to wind down at our own House of Blues on September 27 – just a day after he plans to drop Must Be Nice, his highly-anticipated follow-up to last year’s The Endless Summer.  G released the latest sample of his new album, “Plastic Dreams” featuring Johanna Fay, this week.

After unleashing the Art Boonparn-helmed video for “(I’m Gonna) Love You Back To Life” in May, local garage punk legend King Louie Bankston returns with another clip, this one for “Another Girl”, in which his band of Missing Monuments hauls their gear over to a few Greater New Orleans Area parking lots, covered in blood (per usual). Both songs can be found on the three-song (I’m Gonna) Love You Back To Life 7″ EP, available now via Hozac Records.

This year, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has not cut a single corner in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of their iconic home.  Their memorable set at the 2012 Jazz Fest – closing down the Gentilly Stage with a handful of special guests – amazingly does not even rank as their most star-studded show of the year. That honor rests with their January performance at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, where they were joined by The Del McCoury Band, Ed Helms, members of GIVERS, Tao Seeger, My Morning Jacket, Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), King Britt, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs (just to name a few).  Thankfully, this acclaimed performance was caught on tape and will be formally released on September 25 under the title St. Peter and 57th. The version of “St. James Infirmary” that will appear on the live album, featuring Jim James and Trombone Shorty, premiered on Pitchfork this week.

Caddywhompus, at this point one of the most road-ready bands in the Crescent City, is embarking on their most ambitious tour to date. With a kickoff two-night run in Houston, including a headlining show at Fitzgerald’s with Limb, the noise pop duo will trek up to the Midwest and over to the entire eastern seaboard, performing everyday for 41 straight straight days, after which point they’ll round their summer with their second appearance at Denver, CO’s annual Goldrush Music Festival.

After a 2012 first half that saw them widen their presence in and around New Orleans and even find a showcase at South by Southwest Festival in Austin, uptown-area party rockers Chilldren have released their debut EP, Slug Life. The six-song release finds this hip hop trio beginning to showcase their talent beyond sweat-drenched, energetic live performances with some seriously impressive beats and noticeably expanding rhyming techniques.


Live Picks: 04.26.2012 – 05.02.2012

04.26: Vox and the Hound + Gold and the Rush + The Jonesbirds + Sports & Leisure – The Hookah

04.27: Givers + Habitat – One Eyed Jacks

It’s practically a no-brainer that on a week which neatly serves as a backdrop to the first three days of Jazz Fest, that the New Orleans late night music calendar will be bursting at the seems with dynamically talented musicians of every genre vying for the attention of those festivalgoers with the gumption to take the entire experience to its logical extremes. As a consequence, many artists – finding themselves pulling two performances a day (one at the Fest and one after) – are running on the very same kinetic energy as those brave and untiring audiences.

But perhaps no doubleheader of Jazz Fest’s first weekend has the potential to be as thrilling as that of GIVERS, a Lafayette-based indie pop group that really needs no introduction in this area of the country. As anyone even casually aware of the national indie rock zeitgeist knows, the past two years have seen this young band on a creative and touring tear through every section of North America and parts of Europe and as a result they’ve virtually become branded by their pitch perfect live endurance. Lighthearted, upbeat and masterfully instrumental, the five-piece – led by male/female vocal duo Taylor Guarisco and Tiffany Lamson – perfectly embodies the balance between uproarious stage spectacle and the joy of audience enthusiasm-inspired accessibility.

On Friday night, after a 3:45pm set at Jazz Fest’s Gentilly Stage, GIVERS will be making their way to One Eyed Jacks for an evening with local on-the-rise experimental noise pop trio Habitat, presented by SimplePlay Productions and WTUL.

MP3: GIVERS: “Saw You First”

MP3: Habitat: “Miracle of Deafness (Live from Bedroom Sessions)”

04.28: Empress Hotel + Mahayla + Bantam Foxes – Circle Bar

04.29: Billy Iuso & the Restless Natives – Sandpiper Lounge

04.30: The Bruisers + O.L.D. + Bunny & the Playboys – Circle Bar

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

The 2012 Jazz Fest Lineup Is Out!

As if fighting on one side of the “War On Christmas” or the other isn’t stressful enough this time of year, The New Orleans Jazz And Heritage Foundation just released the lineup for the 2012 Jazz Fest, setting off an almost inevitable debate about The Current And Future State Of Music™: Local Edition that has become as much of a yearly tradition as the purchase of ridiculous BayouWear leisure shirts adorned with piano keys shaped like fleurs-de-lis (or vice versa).  But regardless of whether you see last night’s announcement as a beacon of hope or a harbinger of disaster, we’ve got another pretty solid festival on our hands.

Top tier headliners for the 2012 Jazz and Heritage Festival include Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers, Foo Fighters, John Mayer, 2010 Voodoo alums Florence + the Machine, “Best New Artist” Nominee Bon Iver and – in accordance with their 4+ year long (and counting) love affair with New Orleans – My Morning Jacket. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Iron & Wine, Jill Scott, Herbie Hancock, the heart-stealing Grace Potter and the venerable Levon Helm – owner of 2010’s best performance of the fest and appearing this year with Mavis Staples – are also on the enormous multi-weekend bill.

The formidable local talent rounding out the first weekend includes Empress Hotel, The Revivalists, Dee-1, Sasha Masakowski, GIVERS and Meschiya Lake; while the second weekend features Feufollet, Supagroup, MyNameIsJohnMichael, greatest band in the universe Rotary Downs and Honey Island Swamp Band along with two of the most can’t miss homegrown events of the weekend: If Jazz Fest’s “Bounce Shakedown” is anything like this past Voodoo’s “Azzstravaganza” showcase,  New Orleans’ hip-hop aficionados of all stripe and persuasion are in for a spirited encounter with some of the most dynamic personalities making music these days; meanwhile, after their ripper of a set at last month’s Chingdig, Lafayette’s Brass Bed heads into their Jazz Fest debut just about as highly recommended as a young band can be.

Jazz Fest 2012 takes over the Fairgrounds (and the city) April 27 – April 29 and May 3 – May 6.  Weekend packages and discounted single day tickets are on sale now.

MP3: The Band: “Chest Fever”

Jazz Fest Lineup 2012: The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Artist Roster Announced :: OffBeat

Barryfest v. Wikipedia // Rotary Downs

When taking on the arduous task of editing Wikipedia, one is faced with a draconian and arbitrary editorial process, hyper-specific technological codes and an altogether baffling insider culture.  If you haven’t done  your research, learned how to tailor citations to meet certain ambiguous yet rigid criteria or developed a neutral voice, you might as well quit. By the same token, even if you’ve mastered Wikispeak, perfected the art of navigating Wikipedia’s difficult reference guidelines and honed your journalistic writing style, you still have an uphill battle to avoid speedy deletion.

But it is a fight worth fighting, and one that fits with our mission to document the music of New Orleans (and beyond). So we have set out to create, edit and update Wikipedia entries for as many noteworthy, important and deserving New Orleans artists as possible. In this edition we’ve revamped the existing entry for greatest band in the universe Rotary Downs, reformatting the citations as well as adding a much-needed information block and a link association with Lafayette Indie Pop group GIVERS via former Rotary member Tiffany Lamson.

Rotary Downs is a two time winner of the “Best Rock Band” category at Gambit Weekly‘s Big Easy Music Awards.[2]NPR‘s Morning Edition considers them “outsider artists” and characterized their 2007 album Chained To The Chariot as “a stunning collection of psychedelic art-pop songs that play like brilliant mash-ups of Neutral Milk Hotel and Odelay-era Beck“.[3]

Rotary Downs on Wikipedia

If you would like to help us in our noble quest, all you have to do is visit the newly created/updated pages and use Wikipedia’s page rating system to evaluate the articles’ trustworthiness, objectivity and completeness.

GIVERS Release New Music Video For “Meantime”

When we last checked in with Lafayette, LA-based bust-out twee pop troupe GIVERS earlier this summer, they had just delivered a stunningly recorded collection of indie epics in the form of their debut album In Light. And although we have a pretty strong aversion to “Best of The Year… So Far” lists, getting sandwiched between Tune-Yards and Radiohead in any sort of discussion is certainly something to get excited about. As one would expect, the quintet has been hard at work, jumping all over the country before heading across the Atlantic for a month of barnstorming the United Kingdom with a string of high-impact appearances.

After a write-up in New Musical Express and a much-talked about Black Cab Session, Louisiana’s favorite sons and daughter made it back home to Lafayette, though only briefly, as they’re already back on the road through most of September. Nevertheless, they still managed to find the time to film a well-produced video for “Meantime” – a longing walk down memory lane in an old plantation house that finds band members exploring every hauntingly sentimental room with flashlights in hand and nine-year-old versions of themselves by their sides before launching a glittered and disco-lit revelation of a house performance.

MP3: GIVERS: “Meantime”


GIVERS: In Light

Glassnote, 2011

In what may be an example of professional misdirection in marketing at its most tactful, record mogul and Indie Pop Kevin-Bacon-from-The-Air-Up-There Daniel Glass has seemed pretty modest about the chances for success of his newest find GIVERS.  In recent interviews, he has implied that the recorded product on In Light probably won’t hold a candle to the band’s trademark live show, which is really where he wants people to connect with the band. Listeners should be taken completely by surprise then that, behind the thick, sprawling production of In Light are the sounds of a band tirelessly creating and applying their own ideas to the point of near-perfection.

It’s truly a rare and precious occurrence when something this sonically bloated is also this substantively accomplished. With help from producer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter) and mixing master Chris Coady (whose work earlier this year single-handedly brought …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead out of prog-rock oblivion), GIVERS somehow manage to present every note, flourish and minute texture on In Light as if they’ve refreshingly never been put to wax. Only one minute into opener “Up, Up, Up” (whose background synth line playfully resembles that of Rilo Kiley’s “Breakin’ Up”), otherworldly vocal harmonies and intensely high-in-the-mix percussive nick knacks expand into a jubilant barrage of heavy drums and fully-fleshed keyboards.

“Saw You First”, a driving track of multi-layered folk guitars and vocal flourishes, is symptomatic of the band’s “sprint out of the gates” mindset, as they attempt to pack every idea they have into the album’s 51 minutes.  In doing so, they successfully take interesting musical turns at nearly every minute of every song.  Among the myriad fragmented melodies and instrumental arrangements, the choirboy vocals of Taylor Guarisco and the sultry howl of Tiffany Lamson never get lost in the chaos, like that found on “Atlantic”.

Possibly the only genuine knock against In Light may be the glaring extent to which these songs are informed by the already-existing conventions of “indie” and the stylistic techniques of bands that epitomize the genre; but while, for instance, the slight rhythmic dressing of “Meantime” unavoidably brings to mind earlier work by Architecture in Helsinki, the association is never enough to prevent the band from making each moment of the song their own. In fact, the ability to take an area of modern music so widely traversed in recent years and push its creative limits to the breaking point is simultaneously GIVERS’ most endearing and surprising trait.

In Light on Insound

Rotary Downs Premiere Music Video for “Promised Land”

[vimeo w=635]


Greatest band in the universe Rotary Downs has had a busy few months.  Since once again rocking the Bingo Tent at last fall’s Voodoo Music Experience (and capping the Halloween weekend off with their annual throwdown at d.b.a.), the boys won an Offbeat “Best of The Beat” Award had two tracks from the 2010 masterpiece Cracked Maps and Blue Reports added to the latest edition of Rock Band, and have been hard at work putting together a dazzling addition to their growing collection of music videos.

“Promised Land”, filmed, edited and directed by Nathan Tape, is the band’s fourth full length music video.  In a day and age when according-to-Hoyle music videos seem to be a thing of the past, Rotary Downs continues to showcase an almost preternatural ability to craft compelling visual accompaniments to their experimental indie-pop.  This dreamy, stop-motion project features a cameo by GIVERS’ Tiffany Lamson, who contributed backing vocals to Cracked Maps.