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

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Live Picks: 07.26.2012 – 08.01.2012

07.26: You Blew It! + The Rooks + Les Doux + Shark Bait + Brent Houzenga – The Big Top

07.27: The Iko Allstars + Colin Lake – Tipitina’s

07.28: Quintron and Miss Pussycat + Gary Wrong – One Eyed Jacks

07.29: The Cons and Prose – Circle Bar

07.31: Glish + ArchAnimals + Big Waves of Pretty – Banks Street Bar

08.01: Heat Dust + Adults + The Fagettes + The Clap – The Saint

Although it seems like only yesterday, it has been almost nine months since Austin-bred singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer Jasper den Hartigh dive bombed New Orleans’ DIY music scene with his latest project Heat Dust.  After releasing a genre-defining eponymous EP in late 2011, the post-fuzz outfit when on a live tear, splitting a string of bills all over the city with similarly newcoming spacegaze supergroup Glish. As each show devolved into a splendidly raucous miasma of crowd-surfing and property destruction, both bands cemented their places near the head of local punk rock’s newest wave.

Seeing and hearing den Hartigh lace his piercing tirades with the controlled chaos of willfully dispatched feedback, there is no doubt these guys are heavy as shit.  But even when the sometimes ethereal vocal harmonies present on their recorded material are casualties to the subprime sound systems common in most of New Orleans’ small rooms, there’s a resonance in Heat Dust’s canon beyond the reverb of the lo-fi  paradigm.  The immediacy of Clayton Hunt’s frenetic drumming cuts a deep swath for bassist Shawn Tabor’s throaty bass thumps, adding an extra dimension to washed-out guitar drone that is intense and angular enough to be a spectacle in and of itself.

The mid-week show at the Saint will kick off Heat Dust’s most ambitious tour to date, a two-week, play-every-day journey up the east coast and back with fellow New Orleans punks Adults.  The free show also features Boston co-ed surf rockers The Fagettes and Atlanta’s The Clap.

MP3: Heat Dust: “I Was Afraid Of Dying”

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

News Briefs: Running Of The Bulls Edition

After this, the first full work week following the Fourth of July, the entirety of New Orleans is trying to fight a collective, fatigued yawn. Not to fear though, the weekend is almost upon us, and some of our area’s most talented artists have been hard at work.

The downtime between spring’s Wednesday At The Square and the fall’s Harvest The Music is about to be filled by a new entrant to the local concert series lineup.  Ampersand Events and The Howlin’ Wolf have joined forces to create Jammin’ On The River, which takes over the Mississippi River frontage of Mardi Gras World for a run of free Friday afternoon shows.  The eclectic weekly lineups combine some of the city’s most heat-seeking indie darlings such as Vox and The Hound and Big History with free-festival veterans like The Boogiemen and Bag Of Donuts for some truly all-ages affairs.  Rebirth Brass Band, The Scorceses, George Porter and His Runnin’ Pardners, and Earfunk have also been tapped for the events, which will feature gourmet food trucks, crafts vendors and a DJ set to close out each night.  The series kicks off this Friday and continues through August 31.

The inimitable Tess Burnet, former drummer for the Generationals and seminal swamp rockers Deadboy and The Elephantmen, has announced a September 11, 2012 release date for her second full-length album as Au Ras Au Ras, The Great Nothing. Pre-orders of the record in digital, vinyl and audio cassette formats are currently available, with a portion of the sales being donated to progressive/alternative FM radio outlet WTUL for those who enter “WTUL” at checkout.

Local purveyors of all things lo-fi, fuzz and space rock, Glish, are giving fans a peek at what they have in store for their sophomore EP, due this fall. The Collider Demo seems to almost precisely pick up where Blast Off closer “Seven” left off, with an already-noticeable, expanded dynamic between harmony and dissonance.

Baton Rouge progressive rock group Twin Killers have released an epic new single “Self-Portrait Beneath Woman’s Mask”. After a rather quiet 2011, save for the release of track “The Two Fridas” and the departure of guitarist Chris Lott due to a long-anticipated reunion of former band As Cities Burn, the Twin Killers have slowly begun to creep back onto social media, previously with the release of another single, “The Ship”, this past March.

Photoset // South by Southwest Festival, Part 1: 03.15.2012

Candy Claws + Chrome Sparks w/ Stefaloo +  Secret Mountains + Tops + You Won’t + Sun Hotel + Hikes + The Artist Formerly Known as 2012 + Glish + Sun Hotel + Caddywhompus performing in and around Austin, Texas on March 15, 2012 for South by Southwest Festival

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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