Tag: New Orleans LA

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Share Their Funkiest Jam to Date

Formed back in 2010, the acclaimed, genre-defying Aussie psych rock and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard — Stu Mackenzie (vocals/guitar), Ambrose Kenny-Smith (harmonica/vocals/keyboards), Cook Craig (guitar/vocals), Joey Walker (guitar/vocals), Lucas Skinner (bass) and Michael Cavanagh (drums)– have developed and maintained a long-held reputation for being a restlessly experimental and prolific act that has released material that has seen them zip back and forth between psych rock, heavy metal, thrash metal, thrash punk, prog rock and Turkish pop.

In 2022, the Aussie JOVM mainstays have added two more albums to their rapidly growing catalog, Omnium Gatherum and Butterfly 3001. Continuing upon their wild prolificacy, the Gizz will be releasing three more new albums in October: Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava, which will drop first on October 7, 2022; Laminated Denim, which will drop on October 12, 2022, unconventionally a Wednesday; and lastly, Changes, their fifth album on October 28, 2022. Coincidentally, all of this will be happening when the Gizz will be embarking on a North American tour that will see the band playing some of their largest venues to date, including three shows at Red Rocks Amphitheater (two of which are currently sold-out) and Forest Hills Stadium on October 21, 2022. As always, all tour dates are below.

Limited stock of Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava will be available at their Greek Theater show in Berkeley, copies of Laminated Denim will be available at Red Rocks, and Changes can be obtained at the Orpheum in New Orleans. Additionally, bundles of all three albums can be pre-ordered through the band’s homepage: https://kinggizzardandthelizardwizard.com

With an outfit that’s so wildly prolific, things often move very quickly: Before Mackenzie and company had finished work on Omnium Gatherum, they’d started sketching out the next album. Album single “The Dripping Tap” had begun as a handful of ideas and riffs that had arisen at pre-pandemic soundcheck and demos recorded during lockdown. But for Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava, the band didn’t bring in any pre-written songs or ideas; instead, they planned to completely improvise the album’s material in the studio and on the spot. “All we had prepared as we walked into the studio were these seven song titles,” says Mackenzie. “I have a list on my phone of hundreds of possible song titles. I’ll never use most of them, but they’re words and phrases I feel could be digested into King Gizzard-world.”

Mackenzie selected seven titles from this exhaustive list that he felt “had a vibe” and then attached a beats-per-minute value to each one. Each song would also follow one of the seven modes of the major scale: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydina, Aeolian and Locrian. Over a week-long period, the band recorded hours and hours of jam, dedicating a day to each mode and BMP. “Naturally, each day’s jams had a different flavor, because each day was in a different scale and a different BPM,” Mackenzie says. “We’d walk into the studio, set everything up, get a rough tempo going and just jam. No preconceived ideas at all, no concepts, no songs. We’d jam for maybe 45 minutes, and then all swap instruments and start again.”

The band ended each day with four-to five hours of new jams in the can. Mackenzie auditioned those jams after the sessions were done, stiching them together into the songs that would comprise their 21st — 21st! — album, Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava, a mnemonic for the modes employed in the material’s composition and recording.

Having assembled full working compositions from those jam sessions, Mackenzie and company then began overdubbing flute, organ, percussion and extra guitar over the top. The lyrics were a group effort. “We had an editable Google Sheet that we were all working on,” says Mackenzie. “Most of the guys in the band wrote a lot of the lyrics, and it was my job to arrange it all and piece it together.” The end result off this wildly experimental creative process is reportedly one of the densest, most unpredictable statements from a band, whose work always rockets back and forth in unexpected angles — and accompanied by a wealth of subtext and theorems behind it.

Clocking in at a little over 10 minutes, “Ice V,” IDPLML’s latest single is centered around a tight, shuffling and relentless Afrobeat-like groove, wah wah-drenched guitars, fluttering flute, twinkling Rhodes paired with Mackenzie’s imitable delivery. While arguably being the grooviest track I’ve heard from the Gizz in some time, it also features some of the most infectious hooks as well.

Since their formation in Cincinnati back in 1986, The Afghan Whigs — currently Greg Dulli (vocals, guitar), John Curley (bass), Patrick Keeler (drums), multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson and the band’s newest member, Blind Melon’s Christopher Thorn (guitar) — have a long-held reputation for refusing to play by convention: During the flannel and plaid of the early 90s grunge era, the members of The Afghan Whigs stood apart from their contemporaries for wearing suits and for being more likely to slide into a soulful groove than a power chord-driven riff. 

Reuniting after an 11 year hiatus in 2012, the JOVM mainstays released two critically applauded albums, 2014’s Do to the Beast and 2017’s In Spades, that found the band writing and recording music that furthered their story together, while pushing their sound in new directions. 

Slated for a September 9, 2022 release through Royal Cream/BMG, the JOVM mainstays’ ninth album — and first in five years — the Christopher Thorn co-produced How Do You Burn? reportedly picks up on the sound and appraoch of 2014’s Do to the Beast and 2017’s In Spades and pushes it even further. With the pandemic forcing Greg Dulli to abandon plans to support his critically applauded solo album Random Desire, the band began working on How Do You Burn? in September 2020 and continued over the next 14 months in remote recording sessions: Dulli, Thorn and Keeler in California; Curley, Jon Skibic (guitar) and Nelson laying down and engineering their own parts in Cincinnati, New Jersey and New Orleans respectively. “Once we got the system down, we started flying,” Greg Dulli says. 

The album features guest spots from a collection of frequent and longtime collaborators including — the late Mark Lanegan, a collaborator of Dulli’s in The Twilight Singers and The Gutter Twins, as well as a close friend. Lanengan sung backup vocals on two album tracks. “It was Mark who named the album,” Dulli says in press notes. Susan Marshall, who contributed to 1998’s 1965 contributes vocals on album track “Catch A Colt.” Van Hunt,who toured with the band in 2012 and contributed to 2014’s Do to the Beast, contributes vocals on “Jyla” and “Take Me There.” And last but definitely not least, Marcy Mays, lead vocalist on Gentlemen‘s “My Curse” contributes vocals to “Domino and Jimmy,” a song that Dulli had specifically written with Mays in mind. 

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:

  • I’ll Make You See God,” which is arguably one of the hardest and aggressive songs they’ve written and recorded in close to 30 years. 
  • The Getaway,” a widescreen ballad that pairs Dulli’s whiskey and cigarette-like croon with a gorgeous string arrangement, twinkling keys and Dulli’s unerring knack for crafting earnest, lived-in material with enormous, arena rock friendly hooks. 

How Do You Burn?’s third and latest single “A Line of Shots,” a woozy yet anthemic ballad featuring heavily distorted and delay pedaled guitars, Greg Dulli’s imitable croon paired with a slow-burning groove and the band’s unerring knack for rousing, fist-up-in-the-air choruses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, “A Line of Shots” was so much of a crowd favorite during the JOVM mainstays’ May 2022 US tour that the band decided that the song needed its own moment in the sun.

The JOVM mainstays are about to embark on a UK and European Union tour that starts on July 23, 2022 and ends on August 10, 2022. The band will take a few weeks off and then go on a month-long US tour that includes a September 15, 2022 stop at Brooklyn Steel. They’ll cap a big year with a return to European Union and UK. Tour dates are below.

EUROPEAN SUMMER TOUR DATES 

07/23                Brighton, UK                              Concorde 2

07/24                Suffolk, UK                                 Latitude Festival

07/26                Frankfurt, Germany                    Batschkapp

07/28                Vienna, Austria                           Flex

07/29                Prague, Czech Republic             Lucerna Music Bar

07/30                Berlin, Germany                          Metropol

08/01                Oslo, Norway                              Parkteatret Scene

08/02                Stockholm, Sweden                    Debaser

08/03                Copenhagen, Denmark               Amager Bio

08/05                Hamburg, Germany                    Uebel & Gefährlich (Half House)

08/06                Nijmegen, Netherlands               Roosje Live In Park @ Openluchttheater Goffert

08/08                Stuttgart, Germany                     Im Wizemann

08/09                Cologne, Germany                      Luxor

08/10                Lokeren, Belgium                        Lokersee Feesten

U.S. FALL HEADLINE TOUR DATES

09/09                Minneapolis, MN                       Fine Line Music Café

09/10                Chicago, IL                               Metro

09/11                Cincinnati, OH                          Bogarts

09/12                Detroit, MI                                   St. Andrews Hall

09/14                Washington, D.C.                     9:30 Club

09/15                Brooklyn, NY                            Brooklyn Steel

09/16                Philadelphia, PA                       Underground Arts

09/17                Boston, MA                              Paradise

09/20                Charlottesville, VA                    Jefferson Theatre

09/21                Asheville, NC                            The Grey Eagle

09/22                Birmingham, AL                        Saturn

09/24                New Orleans, LA                      One Eyed Jacks

09/28                Austin, TX                                 Mohawk

09/29                Dallas, TX                                 The Echo Lounge & Music Hall

10/01                Denver, CO                              Gothic Theatre

10/02                Salt Lake City, UT                     The Commonwealth Room

10/05                Portland, OR                            Wonder Ballroom

10/06                Seattle, WA                              The Showbox

10/08               San Francisco, CA                    The Regency Ballroom

10/09           Dana Point, CA       Ohana Encore

10/11                Tucson, AZ                               191 Toole

10/12                Los Angeles, CA                       Belasco Theatre

EUROPEAN FALL HEADLINE TOUR DATES

10/22                Madrid, Spain                           Teatro Barceló

10/23                Barcelona, Spain                      Apolo 2

10/25                Milan, Italy                                Santeria

10/26                Rome, Italy                               Largo

10/28                Munich, Germany                     Freiheitshalle

10/29                Zurich, Switzerland                   Bogen F

10/30                Luxembourg                              Den Atelier

11/01                Amsterdam, Netherlands           Paradiso

11/02                Antwerp, Belgium                      De Roma

11/04                Manchester, UK                         Cathedral

11/05                Glasgow, UK                               St. Lukes

11/06                London, UK                                 KOKO

New Video: Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s Charlie Gabriel to Release Debut Album As Bandleader, Shares Intimate, Behind-The-Scenes Visual for “I’m Confessin'”

88 year-old Charlie Gabriel is a New Orleans-born and-based saxophonist, clarinetist and vocalist, who has had an incredibly lengthy music career: Gabriel’s first professional gig was back in 1943, sitting in for his father in New Orleans’ Eureka Brass Band. As a teenager, he relocated to Detroit, where he played with Lionel Hampton, whose band at the time included a young Charles Mingus. Gabriel then spent nine years with a group led by Cab Calloway drummer J.C. Heard.

For a period of time, Gabriel fronted a bebop group. He has also played with or toured with Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin and a lengthy list of others before joining the legendary New Orleans jazz ensemble Preservation Hall Jazz Band in 2006. Since then, Gabriel, the most senior member of the group has developed a tight musical relationship with creative director, bassist and tuba player, Ben Jaffe, the son of the group’s co-founders Allan and Sandra Jaffe.

Gabriel signed to Sub Pop Records, who will be releasing the jazz legend’s full-length debut as a bandleader 89, which is slated for digital release on February 25, 2022 and a July 1, 2022 physical copy — CD/LP, etc. — release, a few days before his 89th birthday.

Although he’s faced plenty of challenges over the course of his almost eight decade music career, none likely rank with the death of his brother and last living sibling Leonard to COVID-19. For the first time ever, Gabriel put down his horn, filling his days and weeks instead with dark reflection, a stubborn yet understandable despondency broken now and then by regular chess matches in the studio kitchen of Pres Hall leader Ben Jaffe, who was working overtime to bring his friend and bandmate some light.

One of those afternoons also included guitarist Joshua Starkman, who was sitting off in a corner playing his guitar and half-watching Jaffe and Gabriel play chess from a distance. When Charlie returned the next day, he brought his saxophone. “I was just inspired to try it, to play again. It had been a long time, and a guitar makes me feel free. I do love the sound of a piano, but it takes up a lot of a space, keeps me kind of boxed in.”

“We had no particular plan, or any particular insight on what we were gonna do. But we were enjoying what we were doing, jamming, having a musical conversation,” Gabriel adds, further musing, “Musical conversations cancel out complications.”

Interestingly, that day wound up being the first session for 89, almost entirely the work of Gabriel, Jaffe and Starkman, recorded mostly in the kitchen by Matt Aguiluz. Charlie Gabriel plays tenor sax and clarinet on the album, Starkman plays guitar and Jaffe plays bass, drums and keys throughout the album.

The album’s material includes six standards, including “Stardust,” “I’m Confessin'” and “Three Little Words,” which the New Orleans legend describes as “standard material that every musician, if they’re an older musician like myself, will have played throughout their career. Every time I play one of these tunes the interpretation is a little bit different.” The album also includes two originals written by Gabriel, “Yellow Moon” and “The Darker It Gets” — and while being Gabriel’s debut, it also marks a return to his first instrument, clarinet on many of the album’s tracks. “The clarinet is the mother of the saxophone,” he says. “I started playing clarinet early in life, and this [taught me] the saxophone.” 

89‘s first single sees Gabriel and his bandmates play a gorgeous and utterly charming rendition of the old standard “I’m Confessin.'” Centered around a subtle re-arrangement for jazz guitar, clarinet, saxophone and bass, Gabriel’s version to my ears manages to meet Peggy Lee and Louis Armstrong somewhere in the middle, while being roomy enough for Gabriel’s vocals, which balance a wizened raspiness with an sweet tenderness. Simply put, it’s the sort of vulnerable and endearingly honest love song that we just don’t get anymore — and that’s just one why I love it so much.

Directed by Alex Hennen Payne, the recently released video for “I’m Confessin'” is shot in a gorgeous and cinematic black and white and captures the 89 sessions with a warm and loving intimacy.

Live Footage: Luke James with Nu Deco Ensemble, Samoht and Sensei Bueno Perform a Gorgeous Re-Imagining of “shine on”

Luke James (born Luke James Boyd) is a New Orleans-born singer/songwriter and actor, whose musical career started in earnest as a background vocalist for Tyrese, along with a classmate Quentin Spears. While with Tyrese, James and Spears met acclaimed production outfit The Underdogs, who worked with and mentored the duo, who performed, wrote and recorded as Luke & Q.

Through his connection with The Underdogs, the legendary Clive Davis signed James to J Records, where he wrote material for Chris Brown, Britney Spears and Justin Bieber. But by 2011, he released his debut mixtape, #Luke, which featured the critically acclaimed single “I Want You.” “I Want You” eventually earned James a Best R&B Performance Grammy nomination. He followed that up with his sophomore mixtape 2012’s Whispers in the Dark and his 2014 self-titled, full-length debut.

Since the release of his full-length debut, James released “Drip,” which was later remixed by A$AP Ferg and his critically applauded, breakthrough sophomore album, last year’s to feel love/d. The album which featured guest spots from BJ The Chicago Kid, Ro James, Big K.R.I.T., Kirk Franklin and Samoht, and production by Danja, Cobaine Ivory, Guitarboy, and Sir Dylan received a Best R&B Album Grammy nomination. The album helped James earn his third Grammy nomination while being the only independent release album in the category to land a nomination.

As an actor, James played Johnny Gill in BET’s 2017 TV biopic The New Edition Story. He has appeared in the Regina Hall and Will Packer film Little. He played Noah Brooks in FOX’s Star and he’s appeared in HBO’s smash hit series Insecure, as well as BET’s The Bobby Brown Story. Last year, he was in the third season of Showtime’s The Chi.

The multiple Grammy nominee will star in the Broadway play, Thoughts of a Colored Man, which will open at The John Golden Theatre on October 31, 2021 and run through March 2022. The limited engagement will be the first new play to open on Broadway in almost two years, as a result of pandemic-related shutdowns. The play explores a single day in Brooklyn with seven Black men discovering the extraordinary together through a blend of spoken word, slam poetry, rhythm and humor.

Adding to a busy year, James teamed up with Sam Hyken, Jacomo Bairos and their Miami-based 30 member orchestra Nu Deco Ensemble on A Live Sensation, a live re-imagining of his Grammy nominated sophomore album to feel love/d.

Slated for release on Friday, A Live Sensation was recorded at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and was originally broadcast exclusively on BET as a benefit concert for the NAACP’s Backing the B.A.R. Initiative, with donations and funds going towards Black-owned bars and restaurants hurt as a result of pandemic-related shutdowns.

A Live Sensation will feature nine tracks from the live performance, which sees James blend his soulful vocals with Nu Deco Ensemble’s orchestral sound. The album features guest spots from Sensei Bueno and Samoht.

“‘A Live Sensation’ is a raw orchestral expression inspired by the verb: love. It is a live recorded offering to the world, taken from a film inspired by love,” Luke James says of the new album. Nu Deco Ensemble co-founder and conductor, and collaborator Jacomo Bairos adds “It feels cosmically aligned to once again collaborate with our friend – the sensational and truly creative Luke James. We all recognized his unbelievable talent as well his generous and collaborative spirit when we first met years ago, so to have him return to collaborate on a project that highlights his unique vision through his GRAMMY nominated album on such a dynamic and creative project simply means the world to us. We are blessed to share this moment together, bringing more beautiful and meaningful music experiences to such a wide audience.” 

A Live Sensation‘s latest single is a re-imagining of to fee love/d‘s “shine on,” that pairs James’, Samoht’s and Sensei Bueno’s soulful and achingly vulnerable vocals with a breathtakingly gorgeous arrangement of soaring strings, shimmering guitar and twinkling Rhodes. The end result is a song that sounds enormous yet deeply intimate, while yearning heavenward with a rare, but profound sincerity.

WRD Trio is a dynamic and gritty organ trio that features three highly accomplished bandleaders and musicians:

Walter, Roberts and Deitch would often bump into each other at New Orleans Jazz Fest, and in those those meetings, the trio would longingly discuss future collaborations together. Generally fueled by Roberts’ long-held belief that the trio would yield something impactful and interesting, the Leeds-born, Denver-based guitarist realized that with the co-founding of Color Red Music, that it was a perfect time to bring everyone into the studio to put some tracks on wax.

The end result is the trio’s recently released full-length debut The Hit, which was written and recorded in just two single-day sessions at Color Red Studios. Sonically, the album is reportedly one-part Sunday stroll and one-part rocket ship to Saturn centered around their unmistakable simpatico. (Perhaps that simpatico draws from the fact that each member is a Taurus, with each member’s birthday being a week after the other.)

The Hit‘s first single “Chum City” finds the trio collaborating with The Twin CatsNick Gerlach on a funky and strutting number centered around a grinding and muscular groove reminiscent of Chuck Brown-era go-go music and Booker T and The MGs and an arrangement that’s loose enough for all of these talented musicians to deliver some impressive solos. Simply put, this one is just fucking nasty y’all.

New Video: People Museum Releases an Infectious Club Friendly Bop

People Museum is a rising New Orleans-based art pop/dance pop act largely inspired by Afrobeat, hip-hop and choral and marching music. The duo — Jeremy Phipps (trombone, production) and Claire Givens (vocals, keys) — can trace their origins back to 2016: Phipps and Givens were eager to start a music project that incorporated the feelings and vibes of their hometown. Founded with the expressed intention of bringing nature to the future, the New Orleans-based duo’s sound and aesthetic seamlessly meshes their hometown’s beloved and world famous brass band tradition with the Crescent City’s synth heavy, progressive underground scene. 

Givens and Phipps’ soon-to-be released effort I Could Only See The Night EP is slated for release next week through Community Records and Strange Daisy Records. The new EP features a mix of songs made during last year’s pandemic-related quarantines and restrictions and songs the duo initially created during the first few months of their collaboration together. Thematically, the EP is a contemplation of our past, how we’re making sense of where we have ended up — and as a result, learning how to be more malleable with our visions of what the future could and should be. As the duo explains in press notes, the songs are an attempt to offer a bit of light in our very dark times while opening space for the listener to reflect, dance or just feel some sort of joy.

Last month, I wrote about “Forever” a Larry Levan-era house music influenced club banger that’s full of late night regret and trepidation centered around shimmering Giorgio Moroder-like synth arpeggios, skittering beats, Phipps’ mournful and melodic trombone played through reverb and delay pedal and Givens’ achingly plaintive vocals. You can literally feel the song’s narrator spiraling into indecision, regret and despair — although they’re desperately trying not to do so. 

“Rush,” I Could Only See The Night’s latest single continues a run of house music inspired bangers, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, skittering beats, Gaines coquettish vocals, explosive bursts of fluttering and melodic trombone and a euphoria-inducing hook. The end result is a much-needed escape to the dance floor, where there’s true liberation and equality.

“‘Rush’ was written in July of 2020 during quarantine with our drummer and co-producer, Mopodna. It is a dance anthem about letting go of the expectations we had for where we thought would be right now and reframing our thoughts and words to rebuild a better environment socially and emotionally. It’s intended to be this idea of a mourning that’s moving us toward evolving personally and globally. We have second-lines here in New Orleans which are basically street parades that are for deaths and for parties – I think it’s that’s a huge vibe of ‘Rush.’ We cry, we dance it out, we move on together and celebrate what we have and help each other.”

Directed, filmed and edited by People Museum’s Claire Givens, features black and white footage of a horn player walking to the beach with his horns, the band’s Phipps conducting an informal march, the recording of the song and Givens singing and dancing along to the song. It’s a playful and feverish visual that captures aspects of life in a quarantine.

New Video: People Museum Releases a Brooding Yet Club Friendly Banger

People Museum is a rising New Orleans-based art pop/dance pop act. Inspired by Afro-beat, hip-hop, choral, marching band music, the duo — Jeremy Phipps (trombone, production) and Claire Givens (vocals, keys) — can trace their origins back to 2016: Phipps and Givens were eager to start a music project that incorporated the feelings and vibes of their hometown. Founded with the expressed intention of bringing nature to the future, the New Orleans-based duo’s sound and aesthetic seamlessly meshes their hometown’s beloved and world famous brass band tradition with the Crescent City’s synth heavy, progressive underground scene.

Givens and Phipps’ latest effort I Could Only See The Night EP is slated for an April 9, 2021 release through Community Records and Strange Daisy Records. The EP features a mix of songs made during pandemic-related quarantines last year with songs the duo initially created during the first few months of the duo’s collaboration. Thematically, the EP is reportedly a contemplation on our past, how we are making sense of where we have ended — and as a result, learning how to be more malleable with our visions of what the future could and should be. The songs are an attempt to offer a bit of light in our very dark times while opening space for the listener to reflect, dance or feel joy.

“Forever,” I Could Only See The Night’s latest single is a Larry Levan-era house music influenced club banger that’s full of brooding, late night regret and trepidation centered around shimmering Giorgio Moroder-like synth arpeggios, skittering beats, Phipps’ mournful and melodic trombone played through reverb and delay pedal and Givens’ achingly plaintive vocals. You can literally feel the song’s narrator spiraling into indecision, regret and despair — although they’re desperately trying not to do so.

Directed by Riley Teahan, the recently released video is a brooding fever dream following a series of women trapped within their own thoughts, late at night. Teahan, the video’s director on the video:

“flashing light, thoughts that keep you up at night:
when I think about forever my head starts to spin.
caught in a cycle, the mind is a spiral staircase.
how long did you know it was time to go
before you decided to leave?

“‘Forever’ is a song about cycles and liberation. I know well the feeling of spiraling, how easily you can lose yourself. I asked women to embody a complicated moment of escape, flee, freedom, run, don’t look back.”