Dec 15 2011

Top Local Music Pics of 2011

By: Where Y'at

LoVerde Bingo-Voodoo06bNew Orleans Bingo Show - Gary LoVerde

 With 2011 behind us, our music writers look back on their favorite local acts from the past year.

Favorite Live Music Performance
Pony Killer CD release show
October 14, 2011
By Brian Serpas
 Tattoos, cheap beer, hot rock ladies and the coolest venue in town made up my favorite show this year. Pony Killer’s CD release show this fall at The Saturn Bar on Oct. 14 was a fun an impressive show, especially since local metal favorites haarp opened, as well as the sexy punkers Dummy Dumpster, which made this show a lot of fun. And to my surprise, Pony Killer, being on metal legend Phil Anselmo’s new label Housecore Records, didn’t mean they were a hardcore band. In fact they have a layered psychedelic sound. The floor is littered with effects pedals, all of which are used to enhance Pony Killer’s trippy attack. The vocals are clean and mellow and lyrically they address anything from romance to capitalism. Dummy Dumpster played first, and are definitely one of the best punk bands in New Orleans. And not punk in the sense of angry vocals and thrashy guitar, but more of a fun almost childlike lyric theme and straight forward rock, with an overall DIY tone. As far as haarp, they basically have the best metal vocalist in NOLA. The singer sounds like a demon accidentally summoned by some kids experimenting with black magic, backed by a wall of guitar and drums that seems to take you over while you’re watching the look on the guitarists’ face, which alternates between happiness and goulishness. Remember folks, NOLA is about a whole lot more than Jazz.

Favorite Live Music Performance
Sapphire Rebellion at the Dragon’s Den
February 15, 2011
By Dionne Charlet
The shaded mystique and vintage ambience of this Esplanade Avenue venue made anticipation only sweeter for those of us awaiting the late-evening sounds of Gothic industrial darkwave rock.  A light crowd had already gathered as Sapphire Rebellion began their set.  Lead Singer and Guitarist Tim and Drummer/Percussionist Jay were in fine form to preview recent CD release Pocketful of X-Rays.  Tallahassee-based Tim Curry (who shares his given name with a certain Rocky Horror icon) is a soulful master of his craft.  Curry’s careful elocution and annunciation of lyric evoke David Bowie’s tone and style.  Moreover, he breathes a shared air with his audience.  His fans ‘get’ him.  Lured in randomly with techno accoutrements, listeners were won over completely when the mood changed to guitar, drums and vocals alone.  More people began to gather.  The atmosphere came alive on one of those rare miraculous nights where talent blends with music to rock the house.  SR songs like “Hit Me Mindy” and “X-Ray Eyes” kept the crowd wanting more. The duo started taking requests for covers of Johnny Cash’s “Walk The Line”, Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”, and more.  Shout outs came in from all corners of the Den for song choices.  Jay Godin kept the pace with the carefree ease of a Bostonian born with a silver drumstick in his hand.  The caliber of rocker confidence displayed onstage tempered with personable charm and the polish of musicianship will continue to propel Tim and Jay into the limelight. Sapphire Rebellion FTW!

Favorite Live Music Performance
The Revivalists, Voodoo Music Experience
October 29, 2011
By April Siese
I’ve been to many shows this year, especially over the summer where my writing took me to sample a myriad of music festivals that the U.S. has to offer and one of the most surprising and greatest performances came from New Orleans band The Revivalists, who played a Saturday afternoon set at this year’s Voodoo Music Experience. Frontman David Shaw’s stage presence and vocals are reminiscent of Adam Levine, with a bravado and confidence that led the Revivalists through one of the strongest sets of the fest as he raced across the stage while an epic soundscape of pedal steel, drums, bass, and sax played behind him. The band mixes indie, alternative country, soul and everything in between effortlessly, earning them accolades and admiration, and even catching the attention of Rolling Stone. Though they have just one album out, Vital Signs, and a self-titled EP, both are solid. Look for their next release, produced by Galactic and Trombone Shorty producer Ben Ellman, in early 2012.

Favorite Live Music Performance
New Orleans Bingo Show
By Emily Hingle
The New Orleans Bingo Show is an eventful vaudevillian-type show with live music and dance numbers, jokes, and even some bingo. Although not a new thing, I’ve noticed this year that the show has evolved from its strict circus theme to include more ballady musical vignettes of a lonely man watching others fall in love, a song about a Bourbon Street dancer with the visual play of a Big Daddy’s-like window with a silhouetted dancer, and getting in a drunken brawl. It seems more like a piece of theater than a concert now, and that sets it apart from other live music shows. Under the [ring]leadership of Clint Maedgen, who plays sings, plays guitar and manipulates a Theremin, clowns Mr. The Turk and Ronnie Numbers hype the crowd with the assistance of Trixie Minx. If you haven’t been to the Bingo Show in a while, I think you’ll find it pleasantly diverse.
Runners Up: Debauche, Crotchbreaker

Top Three Albums by Locals
By Greg Roques
Of the many local albums I had the chance to review this year, here are three standouts that remain in rotation on my iPod.
Big History All at Once—Though released hardly a month ago, Big History’s All at Once may be my favorite local album of the year. The band’s indie-rock meets new wave sound sets its sights on the stars, soaring above the club to deliver five whimsical and introspective electronic ballads that never abandon their ability to land on the dance floor. (Read the full review in this issue, p. xx).
Dezmond Meeks The Prince of Soul—The Prince of Soul transports its listeners back in time to the dimly lit, smoke-filled jazz clubs of the 1940s. With the exception of the Prince-influenced sonic shuffle “Them and Me,” the EP’s other four tracks are classic soul songs unadulterated by modern production and trends. Meeks’ lyrics are for the hopeless romantic, further swooning the emotional tone of his throwback sound.
The Scorseses The Scorseses—The Scorseses distinguish themselves from the cookie-cutter confines of modern rock by mixing ska with the edgier side of alternative rock and funk. Think early ‘00s Incubus with a brass section standing in for their DJ. Their lyrics are introspective, slightly dark and cartoonishly narrative. Above all, their sound is clever, unique, and most importantly, fun.  This album is still a favorite nearly eight months after its release.

Favorite Local Album
Jesse Moore Live at the Old Point
By Dean Shapiro
Jesse Moore is a local icon, if I may be permitted to use that overused term. Whether he is performing with a band, a duet (as he did recently with guitarist Chip Wilson), or solo, you know you are going to get your money’s worth of great music. On this CD he is performing solo, with the one exception of “You’re Not My Baby” that he did with Wilson sitting in during one of the two dates last summer when these tracks were recorded. Until recently, Moore held down the Sunday afternoon slot at the Old Point in Algiers and wile there he gathered up a loyal following. All but three of the 14 tracks on this CD are originals with, in most cases, deep, profound lyrics that describe complicated relationships and other introspective musings. “You Won’t Be There” and “Better Off Alone” are two of the best examples of this. Apparently recovered from a painful condition that affected one of his hands, Moore has returned to playing his guitar in addition to singing along in a crisp, confident style with full range of both notes and emotions. There is a nice version of the Arlo Guthrie classic “City of New Orleans” here, and the closer, Hank Williams Jr.’s “Family Tradition” is a rousing sing-along that puts the musical performance business into its proper perspective. Moore is currently taking a hiatus from performing to focus on his acting and writing, but more than likely, he’ll be back. Let’s hope so.

Favorite Local Rock Album
The Split Lips Rub it Till it’s Raw
By Emily Hingle
There were so many good releases from rock, punk, and metal bands this year that it was hard to choose one to be the best. However, The Split Lips did a great job on “Rub It Til It’s Raw” and it was one of the first in mind to contend for the top spot. This album has a lot of the humor and brash attitude that I like to see in music and is not as easy to come by these days. These women know what they want and will tell you straight up what it is. The punk throwback sound is well played, but not so extreme as to scare most listeners away. I like how they tackle hot topics like abortion and politics while keeping things light on other songs like the G.G. Allin cover.
Runners Up:
Green Demons The Outer Sex
Fat Stupid Ugly People Self-Titled

Best Local Vinyl Release
The Guilt of... Self-Titled
By Emily Hingle
The Guilt Of…’s release is not necessarily a music album in the traditional sense. It’s spoken word with musical accompaniment from the duo of eyehategod and Arson Anthem frontman Mike IX Williams and keyboard sound effect manipulator Ryan McKern. This release made on dark purple vinyl is a truly different kind of album with atmospheric music and noise to match the chaos that Mike IX speaks about; much of it stemming from the days of Katrina. His poetry is highly thought-provoking words to the tune of spooky and chilling music. It’s found an audience with fans of the musicians’ metal bands, literati, and those into the stranger forms of art from New Orleans.

New Orleans Concert Reviews

Steel Pulse Grooves at the House of Blues
Justin Timberlake Thrills Smoothie King Center Audience with <em>Man of the Woods Tour</em> & Saints