Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana’

Although one of the few artists signed to the brilliant Keeled Scales who have not officially announced they’re releasing a record this year, Renée Reed might just be the most intriguing of the lot. Renée is a musician very much in the family tradition, her Grandfather was an Accordion-playing bandleader, her Uncle a renowned folklorist, her family home and her parents businesses, epicentres for Creole and Cajun-music. In many ways Renée continues the family tradition, and yet in others she’s entirely re-inventing it; very much a product of the modern world, Renée’s music takes the deep-set roots of her forebears and crashes them into contemporary sounds from Cate Le Bon to Françoise Hardy.

Although Renée has been drip feeding her music into the world since back in 2016, last year was something of a step-up, with the release of a pair of intriguing singles. The first offering, Out Loud combines a disarmingly rapid flutter of choppy guitars and percussive vocal inflections, while “Until Tomorrow” is a meandering Southern-folk song, Renée’s tremulous vocal accompanied by a slither of guitar, reminiscent of Vera Sola or labelmate Tenci. With the tantalising promise of, “plenty more to come”, Renée Reed is well placed to be one of 2021’s break-out stars.

Renée Reed grew up on the accordion-bending knee of her band-leading grandfather Harry Trahan; in the middle of countless jam sessions at the one-stop Cajun shop owned by her parents Lisa Trahan and Mitch Reed; soaked in the storytelling of her great uncle, folklorist Revon Reed and his infamous brothers from Mamou; and surrounded by a litany of Cajun and Creole music legends, both backstage at the many festivals of Southwest Louisiana and on the porch of her family home. 

Renée Reed

And while Renée’s music is certainly informed by these deep roots, her dark dreamlike folk has more in common with contemporaries like Cate Le Bon and Jessica Pratt. It’s also not unlike the intangible magic contained in Mazzy Star’s songs. Renee Reedis her stunning debut record. 

released July 3rd, 2020
Written and performed by Renée Reed.

Thank you, Keeled Scales. and fortherabbits

best albums of 2020 Emma Ruth Rundle Thou

Given our previous adoration both of Emma Ruth Rundle’s immaculate On Dark Horses it seemed inevitable that this record would rate with us . Each artist has a hybrid tendency, the capacity to remain in the realm of hyperemotive dreamstates, a space induced by both heavy atmospherics and a keen post-psychedelic sense of melody. On paper, this pairing makes tremendous sense; each seems to sit on either side of a divide, one slightly heavier than the other while one sits more in dreamy shoegaze than the other, but each containing traces of the other. What you would hope, on seeing this dual-headline pairing on a record sleeve, is that each of them would pull those hidden elements out of the other, not just gifting Emma a greater weight but revealing in retrospect that weight as it existed in her earlier material, just as Thou has their evocative colours and dreamy post-psychedelia laid bare in their earlier works. And, thank god, that’s precisely what they did.

There’s something soothing, of course, with the highest rated record among us being a collaborative record in a period where human connection feels desperately, painfully needed. COVID has worn on all of us; it can be hard to convince yourself of the necessity of writing about music when people are getting sick and dying, easy to let deadlines for columns careen off the rails as you worry about aging family and distant friends. That sense of communalism at work, the implicit hope of the title, certainly struck a chord. But the most potent aspect of the record was, inevitably, its fullness. This is the trait, ultimately, that is most richly satisfying about each of these artists on their own. Emma Ruth Rundle nearly won a Best Song nod a few years back precisely for this reason, her songs billowing out into clouds of drama and history that feels so often more like stepping into another psyche, the voice inside of your head composing a new universe.

Thou, especially over the past three or so years, have been much the same, radically expanding their scope and sonic vision such that they feel like a limitless group no longer purely defined by heavy metal. These two in unison not only drew out hidden or obscured elements of each other; they intensified those obvious and shared elements as well, producing a record that is both at once the best record of the year and among the best of either artist’s bodies of work. 

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May Our Chambers Be Full straddles a similar, very fine line both musically and thematically. While Emma Ruth Rundle’s standard fare is a blend of post-rock-infused folk music, and Thou is typically known for its down-tuned, doomy sludge, the conjoining of the two artists has created a record more in the vein of the early ’90s Seattle sound and later ’90s episodes of Alternative Nation, while still retaining much of the artists’ core identities. Likewise, the lyrical content of the album is a marriage of mental trauma, existential crises, and the ecstatic tradition of the expressionist dance movement. “Excessive sorrow laughs. Excessive joy weeps.” Melodic, melancholic, heavy, visceral.

R#eleased October 30th, 2020

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The Olivia Tremor Control is an American rock band that was prominent in the mid-to-late 1990s. It was, along with The Apples in Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel , one of the three original projects of The Elephant 6 Recording Company.1997 was a big year for The Olivia Tremor Control. They were riding high on the release of their debut double album “Dusk At Cubist Castle,” and touring the world relentlessly. During a visit to the UK in March, illustrious tastemaker DJ John Peel requested the band to visit his studios to record for his radio show. Seventeen
years later, “John Peel Session” is now released.

The band was founded by the remnants of the group Synthetic Flying Machine (Jeff Mangum, Bill Doss, and Will Cullen Hart) in 1994. The band later went on to become known as the Olivia Tremor Control, with Hart and Doss remaining members while Mangum eventually left to focus on Neutral Milk Hotel. The band had only one official release to their name, “Heaven Is for Kids”,

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“John Peel Session” features a couple never-before-released songs amidst the three tracks. A radio session that has been officially licensed from the BBC, this is continued evidence of a
band that is in further need of celebration.

Will Cullen Hart,
Eric Harris,
John Fernandes,
Peter Erchick,
Derek Almstead,

Bill Doss,
Jeff Mangum,

Released August 5th, 2014

Recorded for the John Peel Show on BBC Radio 1 on 18 March 1997
Original broadcast date: 9 April 1997

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You can think of Esther Rose’s warm, hopeful country songs like points on a map. The New Orleans singer-songwriter takes pleasure in guiding you through colourful landmarks—especially those throughout her hometown—but she also makes time for smaller, quieter spots: say, the bar where a relationship turned sour, or the dreary high school where she and her sister begrudgingly drove each morning. Recorded direct-to-tape and accentuated with lap steel and fiddle, her songs pull you in like this; she wants you to see the scenery, learn the history, and feel at home before she sends you on your way.

With her two solo records—2017’s This Time Last Night (Mashed Potato) and 2019’s You Made It This Far (Father/Daughter)—Esther Rose is at the beginning of her own journey. Her vibrant, homespun music has earned comparisons to Hank Williams and Rilo Kiley, and, over the past year, she has toured with acts such as Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets, The Cactus Blossoms, and Charley Crockett. Carving new ground while drawing on the tradition of classic folk music, she uses tender stories to depict deeper cosmic truths. As she sings, she invites you to a world that feels familiar, magical, and entirely her own.

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On her new EP, “My Favorite Mistakes”, Rose and her band cover a selection of downer anthems close to her heart. Recorded live over three days, it includes songs written by Sheryl Crow, Nick Lowe, Roy Orbison, and, of course, Hank Williams. “When I was starting out on my guitar playing/songwriting path,” Rose says, “I would listen to Hank Williams on my headphones and walk for miles and miles across town and back. Hank is one of the best teachers I’ve had when it comes to writing simply and directly, with humour and sincerity.” Through these performances, Rose sings not only in tribute to her heroes but also in deep, intimate conversation with them, traveling their lonesome highways to find her own new destinations.

Released May 29th, 2020

New Orleans–based singer-songwriter Esther Rose has released a cover of Sheryl Crow’s 1998 track “My Favorite Mistake.” The track was recorded live to live at New Orleans’ Tigermen Den.

“When people ask what kind of music I play I generally tell them ‘country & folk,’ but the truth is my band has a secret genre for my songwriting style which they call ‘’60s/’90s’; this weird blend of late-’60s folk and early-’90s alternative rock,” Rose said in a statement. “‘My Favorite Mistake’ somehow slides right into that comfort zone. My band and I had a lot of fun coming up with our own arrangement; Dan Cutler is playing that iconic guitar riff on upright bass, we slowed down the tempo, and I changed a couple words to make it a little more hopeful.”

Last year, Rose released her sophomore record, You Made It This Far, via Father/Daughter Records.

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Written by Sheryl Crow (BMI) and Jeff Trott (ASCAP)
Vocals: Esther Rose
Fiddle: Lyle Werner
Bass: Dan Cutler
Lap Steel: Matt Bell
Guitar & Vox: Max Bien-Kahn
Drums & Vox: Cameron Snyder

Special Interest is a four piece Industrial punk band emerging from New Orleans, Louisiana. Combining elements of No-Wave, Glam, and Industrial Special Interest create a frenetic and urgent revisioning of punk and electronic music for a modern world gone mad. Propulsive analogue drum machines, a swirling layer of detuned samples, and a driving bass line create the foundation across which angular guitar work and dissonant synth lines glide. Front and center are Alli Logout’s commanding vocals and razor sharp lyrics moving from high camp satire to insightful political imperatives often within the course of one song.

Debut LP from NOLA’s Special Interest. Brooding, political no wave madness from members of Mystic Inane, Patsy, and Psychic Hotline. Great mix of all things punk and industrial, with plenty of catchiness to boot. Favorite track is definitely “Disco II”, a perfect dance tune for the inevitable techno-apocalypse ahead.

Originally released February 28th, 2018

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For the past two years Saddle Creek Records have been doing their part to support the DIY community beyond their Omaha scene with the Document Series, an ongoing collection that shines a light on the radiant pockets of indie rock throughout the country. They’ve previously featured Posse, Palehound, Hand Habits, Hovvdy, etc. and now New Orleans’ Treadles are the next in line. One of our favorite new bands from the Crescent City, the quartet released “Bees Are Thieves Too” back in 2017, their first release as a full band. The years since have found KC Stafford (guitar, vocals) busy as a member of experimental doom metal favorites, Thou, but some point they found enough time to record a few new Treadles songs. Their return is triumphant on “Cold b/w Iron”, the new 7” single handpicked by Saddle Creek, is due out May 24th.

“Cold,” the single’s A-Side is a procession of textures both gentle and raw, from the warm picked intro into the deep plodding bass line. Stafford and Emily Hafner offer a gorgeous harmony, their voices a perfect pairing to sink into hazy emotional atmosphere, punctuating the pull of gravity as they sing “morning comes with the sun but I can’t pick me up from off this dirty ground.” Ian Paine-Jesam casually works an entrancing floor tom and snare rhythm as the band break toward ethereal clarity in the song’s bridge, shifting toward a knotted progression, one that weaves itself tighter as it evolves. The intensity eventually boils over with the structure erupting yet remaining impeccably tight. Treadles work themselves into the oncoming chaos with grace, becoming ever so unglued as they “try not to think about it.”

TreadlesCold from the Saddle Creek Records Document 7″ vinyl Cold b/w Iron Out May 24th 2019!

“I’m always changing,” Esther Rose sings at the top of her sophomore album, “You Made It This Far”. The line is at once a promise and a plea, a concise distillation of her commitment to evolution as well as her dogged determination to meet every challenge in her path with unconditional acceptance. Laid-back yet deliberate, her delivery here marries old-school country and rural folk with a plainspoken philosophy that’s thoroughly modern, and the end result is a record that’s as joyful as it is restless, one that weaves fiddle and lap steel around profound revelations .

“There’s this theme of radical acceptance running through the whole album,” explains Rose, who recorded the album live to tape at Mashed Potato Records in New Orleans in just four days. “I didn’t realize it until after I’d finished writing the songs, but they all came from this place of trying to understand and truly accept myself and others in our most vulnerable moments of confusion or despair.”

A New Orleanian for the last decade, Rose first gained national prominence with the release of 2017’s This Time Last Night, an intoxicating debut, her “honest, gorgeous country songs” and rave that “her voice has a pitched-up June Carter quality, her melodies are simple like Jimmie Rodgers’s, and her tone is reminiscent of bluesy, lovelorn greats like Rex Griffin and Patsy Cline.” The record earned Rose many festival performances from Savannah Stopover to AmericanaFest alongside dates with The Punch Brothers, Pokey Lafarge, and The Deslondes, and it even caught the ear of fellow Detroit native Jack White, who was so taken with the music that he invited Rose to duet with him on his Boarding House Reach album and to share the stage for a live performance at Jazz Fest.

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While writing the songs that would become You Made It This Far, Rose found herself working through a period of tumultuous change, grappling with a breakup, a move, and a family illness all at once. Splitting her time between New Mexico and New Orleans, she pondered what it takes to love and to be loved, to be vulnerable enough to let someone in and brave enough to face the pain when they’re gone.

Following the release of 2014’s AlixGenerationals decided to forego the traditional approach of writing, recording and releasing music in one large batch in favor of putting out singles as soon as they were completed, which resulted in a slew of standalone tracks throughout 2017 and 2018.

Now, for the first time, these singles (along with an exclusive track) will receive a physical release via State Dogs: Singles 2017-18.

Pre-orders are live, including a limited edition vinyl pressing, along with CD and digital options. Order now and receive 8 tracks instantly! The entire collection drops on December 7th.

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Releases December 7th, 2018

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Bent Denim builds beautiful, narrative- driven songs by swapping tracks over email between their respective home bases of Nashville, New York, and New Orleans.

“Idiot” is the new track from Bent Denim and while it makes for a flat and grey three-minute space, over time it becomes something quietly but strikingly pretty; the tempered sound of listlessness articulated rather beautifully indeed.

Taken from the duo’s new album ‘Town and Country’. which is released on May 11th, the new track is almost hypnotically tender, and it’s no surprise to hear that it was informed by the idea of childhood and memories and the space such things leave behind. Slurred and suffocating, the whole thing plays out like some filmic half-dream sequence, where the weight of an afternoon sends us spiralling back to rarely visited recollections of youth, the distance between then-and-now leading to the kind of yearning nostalgia that can quickly put paid to the rest of the day.

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Tenderly handled, and all the more alluring for the blurred gaps it’s happy to reveal, “Idiot” is a captivating next-step, and one that adds even greater intrigue to the forthcoming new record.

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Band Members
Ben Littlejohn,
Dennis Sager,
Chris Littlejohn,