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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Live Picks: 02.23.2012 – 02.29.2012

02.23: Andy D – The Saint

02.24: See You In Mexico + Dominique LeJeune + The Rooks + High In One Eye – 3613 Chestnut

Yeah, of course punk is dead; it’s always dead. It died when a heroin-adled MC5 didn’t break, and again the year Blondie got rich off “Heart of Glass”, and again the day Nirvana signed to Geffen and again when Green Day tried to make their own Tommy. If there’s one lasting truth to punk’s entire story, it’s that it is always dying. For it to even truly exist in the first place, an artist needs a perfect storm of abrasiveness, energy and appeal – a nebulous form of bottled lightning that, almost by design, can’t last as long as it takes for someone else to find it again.

Yet that has never deterred Greg Rodrigue from living, breathing, pursuing and playing with the ethos that seems to perpetually outlast all who attempt to embody it. Business owner, Community Records founder and champion of all things DIY, he has spent the better part of his last half-decade helping to rebuild a New Orleans punk scene that, almost as fleetingly as punk itself, seems to constantly ebb and flow in and out of minor popularity among the city’s bored and alienated youth. Infrastructurally, Rodrigue has been largely successful thus far, and as a result the area has seen a rejuvenation of authentically reverent punk.

So it should be no surprise that the Rooks, even as a side project, are one of the most riveting bands in the city. De rigueur in their militant positivity and their desire to ignite short explosions of punk rock, bassist Rodrigue, Marathon/Choi Wolf drummer Rob Landry and Lollies guitarist Brian Pretus are pure life together on stage, though not necessarily in the old lightning in a bottle punk hackney: as a unit, the Rooks’ periphery presence is a conscious avoidance of the need to push superficial musical boundaries and instead the result of their need to affranchise a city – both as an avatar of the record collective whose existence the band’s members individually bolster and as a manifestation of the work it requires.

True to unconventional form, the band can be found hosting a house show on Friday to welcome a new addition to the New Orleans DIY community, A Billion Ernies singer and guitarist Ryan Leavelle and his wife Kassandra, who are moving to New Orleans all the way from Seattle, WA. Joining the Rooks will be local experimental punk duo High in One Eye and singer/songwriter/G-Eazy collaborator Dominique LeJeune, as well as Leavelle’s solo project See You In Mexico.

MP3: The Rooks: “Rat Pellet”

02.25: Royal Teeth + King Rey + Vox And The Hound – House Of Blues

02.28: Eternal Decay + Serpentis + Legions of Hoar Frost – Siberia

02.29: The Legendary Shack Shakers + The Dirt Daubers – One Eyed Jacks

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

Live Picks: 11.24.2011 – 11.30.2011

11.24: Rebirth Brass Band – Howlin’ Wolf

11.25: England in 1819 + The Winter Sounds + Shovels and Rope – Cafe Prytania

11.26: The Rooks + The Switchers + Sharks’ Teeth + Dominique LeJeune – The Big Top

If you’ve been to The Big Top in the last five years, the Lower Central City gallery associated with the non-profit arts education organization 3 Ring Circus Productions, there is a good chance it was for a Community Records organized or affiliated event.  Several times a month, the multipurpose exhibition space is transformed into an all-ages punk emporium, providing a safe and inclusive venue for DIY fans young and old. As the default venue for the collective’s large-scale programming, The Big Top has hosted everything from Samurai Deli’s final show to the annual indoor/outdoor Block Party extravaganza; and this weekend Community Records will stage an event to benefit the center itself.

The Community Records Benefit For The Big Top takes place this Saturday and will be headlined by The Rooks, a punk power-trio starring label co-founder Greg Rodrigue, Lollies’ guitarist Brian Pretus and Rob Landry of Marathon on drums.  The bill also includes ska-core crooners The Switchers and solo performances from math-folk songstress Dominique LeJeune and Tyler Schurlock of Sun Hotel, under the guise of his prolific space drone side project Sharks’ Teeth.  Doors open at 6:30PM on Saturday and admission is a recommended $5-10 donation (100% of which goes directly to 3 Ring Circus Productions).

MP3: The Rooks: “Fall Again”

MP3: Sharks’ Teeth: “Grave”

12.30: LA Guns + Dilana – One Eyed Jacks

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

Preview // 2011 Community Records Block Party

After much anticipation, the de facto centerpiece of festival season is finally upon the city of New Orleans. After a massive first act that included Foburg Fest, French Quarter Fest, and Austin’s South by Southwest Festival, the third annual Community Records Block Party is, seemingly by design, the punk rock primer for the laid back, lighthearted vibes of Jazz Fest and Hang Out Fest. Taking place this Saturday, April 16, from noon until midnight, the local festival will feature twenty bands on two different stages; and because that may seem overwhelming to the ska or punk newcomer, here is our best attempt to shed light on some of the acts appearing on Clio Street this weekend.

Community Records, being a New Orleans label, aims to showcase a mass of local talent at the Block Party. Friends of the label and rising rock band Sun Hotel will be bringing their raucous, anthemic post gospel live show, as will the Bay St. Louis-based heavy third-wave ska outfit Stereohype. Caddywhompus, looking to outdo their mind-blowing appearance at last year’s Block Party, will be in attendance with their fluid meld of noise drumming and mathrock guitar shredding, which Antigravity Magazine’s Dan Mitchell has very aptly argued “no one can touch” right now. The Rooks, a band fronted by Community Records’ own Greg Rodrique, will bring to the festival a refreshingly straightforward punk/ska ambiance, while street team manager Dominique Lejeune will take the stage with an intimate acoustic set. Not to be left out, D-Ray – the other third of Community Records – will probably sit in with five or six bands throughout the festival (if it’s anything like last year). Topping it all off will be the Mad Conductor, a hip hop group (with punk roots in the defunct No Cash) that blends sinister funk bass lines, psychedelic guitars and Q-tip-influenced lyricism.

Of course, much has been made of the level of national talent that the Community boys landed this year; but the poetic justice of having California veterans Rx Bandits basically kick off their farewell tour here in New Orleans simply cannot be overstated. As a guy who has narrowly missed seeing these guys three or four times in his life, the opportunity to finally experience the Rx Bandits with – quite literally – their entire career already behind them, may finally allow me to justify my own guitar’s adornment – a lone sticker that reads “The Pharmaceutical Bandits” featuring the quirky cartoon characters from the cover of their debut, Those Damn Bandits.

The Bandits will be joined by several other nationally touring acts: eclectic Michigan ska/punk artist Matt Wixson, whose midday performance last year was the sleeper hit of the entire festival; the Best of the Worst, a lightning fast punk band from New Jersey boasting a furious horn section that allows for the occasional ska interlude; and Informant, a seemingly uncategorizable progressive band from Texas that blends equal parts ska, punk, power pop, arena rock, and experimental music through a lens of lo-fi recording.

MP3: Rx Bandits: “Babylon”
MP3: Sun Hotel: “Swamp Thing”
MP3: Informant: “Lately”
MP3: Caddywhompus: “Big Fun”
MP3: Stereohype: “Blackout”
MP3: The Rooks: “Perception”
MP3: The Mad Conductor: “Yo Kid”
MP3: Matt Wixson: “Double Agent”
MP3: The Best of The Worst: “Why Don’t You Have A Seat?”

Community Records