REVIEWS

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-ART-Group-Show-st-roch-art-market

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-AdultsADULTS
MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL IS A METAPHOR
(HURRY UP AND WAIT)
Adults bassist Rustle did a chunk of my job for me during a mid-March appearance on ANTIGRAVITY RADIO by identifying his band as “gruff, nihilistic pop punk. All dads, no kids.” When I think of pop punk, twee suburban kids binge-drinking PBR™ at The Fest™ comes to mind, but Adults brings a gnarly, oppositional character that befits the more “mature” New Orleanians who make up the band. Circle pits would come to mind if I hadn’t already witnessed that an Adults crowd is the headbobbing, beer-chugging, scene veteran sort. It’s sensible to connect the band to Latterman, Jawbreaker, and the Replacements, but only while simultaneously imagining those bands spending their free time getting 30-something-hammered on beer at Bayou St. John. As a pop punk release, Minor League will get a part of almost every song stuck in your head, but also ends before you’ve processed every catchy bit. —Ben Miotke

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-CaddywhompusCADDYWHOMPUS
ODD HOURS
(INFLATED)
Experimental rock duo Caddywhompus is back with another full-length celestial storm of trippy sincerity. Odd Hours bears a great deal of the post-rock sleekness of 2014’s Feathering A Nest, and reintroduces some of that earlier release’s noise pop playfulness. But Caddywhompus seems to have pivoted anew toward a rollicking psychedelia on this record. Caddywhompus’ heartfelt psychedelic inflections throughout do not supplant any components of their signature sound—including every genteel nod to influences like Deerhoof, Hella, and Tera Melos and shoegaze/dream pop/noise rock/ math/space amorphism. Odd Hours gives Caddywhompus an opportunity to show us again how they can conjure and artfully manipulate sound through the practiced use of hardware effects, sounding bigger and more adventurous than bands with twice the members. Odd Hours may showcase the most ambitious and prepared version of the band yet. —Ben Miotke

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-Donkey-PuncherDONKEY PUNCHER
STRANGER DANGER
(SHEER TERROR)
Fans of Disappointed Parents and Pallbearers rejoice! For there is a more recently established thrash punk outfit that unabashedly carries on the torch of sleaze and disrespect. They are called Donkey Puncher, and they have unleashed their first full length album entitled Stranger Danger. With such thought-rendering proclamations as “F*ck Iraq, f*ck Iran, f*ck ‘em in the a$$ with Afghanistan” and “take that lick / rancid clit,” you can be assured that singer Severin Lagarde will fill your head with full frontal provocations, brimming with lewd, crude, and rude references, sure to humor or gag just about any morbidly curious onlooker. Tight, stop-on-a-dime drumming provided by Brent Vasseur accompanies wellbalanced, thrashing guitars by Marc Winn and Angus Khan that together recall Waste ‘Em All-era Municipal Waste and Dealing With It!-era D.R.I. James Whitten handled recording duties, album artwork by Bill Heintz. Donkey Puncher leaves the listener at the record’s conclusion with the sordidly sweet sounds of a wailing ice cream truck, careened by mad punk rockers with contempt for anything resembling sweetness and light. —Dan McCoy

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-EkumenEKUMEN
2017 DEMO
(SELF-RELEASED)
Ekumen involves members from past and current projects such as Baton Rouge’s We Need to Talk, Adults, Hatchback, Opposable Thumbs, and Small Bones. Described by their singer AuraLee in the February 2017 issue of Paranoize as “something along the lines of His Hero is Gone meets Drive Like Jehu,” Ekumen reminds me of a cross between the mid-to-late ‘90s Gravity, GSL Records, and Ebullition Records scenes out of California. I hear artsy, driving hardcore comparable to that of Mohinder splashing into avant-garde interludes mimicking Antioch Arrow and Heroin. In the aforementioned Paranoize interview, AuraLee alluded to their interesting-sounding song titles as coming from the “Hainish Cycle of books, by Ursula K. Le Guin.” Ekumen plays sporadically but keep an eye out for them in 2017. —Dan McCoy

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-Hand-Grenade-JobHAND GRENADE JOB
DEVOTIONALS
(SISTER POLYGON)
The Washington, D.C. duo of Erin McCarley (Delta Dart, Pygmy Lush, Governess) and Beck Levy (Turboslut, The Gift) form the minimal and haunting project Hand Grenade Job. Often singing in unison, their singular voice chants and conjures some syrupy spirit. For example, the track “Rohypnol” is hands-down one of the sludgiest tracks on the record and lives up to its namesake. This witch’s brew of songs is an introspective, personal, and occasionally pagan mix that can intoxicate and hypnotize. Devotionals is dark and cinematic—the aural equivalent of filling your coat pockets with stones and walking into a river. Chelsea Wolf , Microphones, or Circuit des Yeux enthusiasts may enjoy this cross-section of field recordings, guitars, autoharp, and vocals. —Emily Elhaj

 

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-PilePILE
A HAIRSHIRT OF PURPOSE
(EXPLODING IN SOUND)
For the unfamiliar, Pile is a strange underground rock band politely and artfully captivating your friends and favorite musicians with almost no marketing or ego. Pile’s Boston locus alleviates some of the difficulty in classifying the band by framing them with alternative icons Mission of Burma, the Modern Lovers, and the Pixies and—for Pile’s occasional hard rock bombast—even Aerosmith. All of this kaleidoscopes in deft evocations of dynamic, angular bands Drive Like Jehu and, even moreso, Slint and passionate Texan oddities The Jesus Lizard and Roy Orbison. Orbison is extra relevant considering Pile’s vital esoteric, rootsy soulfulness—a compelling Lynchian interpretation of the American musical institution. Frontman Rick Maguire flows emotively outward and in from a restless Orbison-meets-Yow croon to dispense abstracted empathy and experiences. A Hairshirt of Purpose enthralls with all the weight, complexity, and accessibility one should expect from Pile, from its opening queasy lullaby “Worm” to every song after (on a loop until Pile’s 4/20 appearance at Gasa Gasa). —Ben Miotke

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-Rim-JobRIM JOB
S/T
(STAY PUNK)
Rim Job is a self-described “faggot hardcore” band from New Orleans. When I first encountered them a couple years back, their live shows blew me away. Recently I learned that kinetic frontman and founding member Jojo had left the band; but upon hearing them with their current line up, I wasn’t dissatisfied. They still sound exactly like what one would hope a “faggot hardcore” punk band would sound like—raw, fast, and hard. The guitars and vocals throughout the recording are powerful and unrelenting. Stand out track “Crawl Your Way Out” has every element of a classic ‘80s hardcore stomper, except with better drumming, or what I imagine 1,000 homophobes getting their heads kicked in might sound like! —Beau Patrick Coulon

 

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-Static-MasksSTATIC MASKS
LATE BLOOMER
(STRANGE DAISY)
While I find the irony of a debut album entitled Late Bloomer to be slightly humorous and poetic, in the case of New Orleans’ newest indie-experimental quartet, Static Masks, it is, most of all, appropriate. It connotes a new beginning—a self-awareness. Accounting for more than a dozen other independent music projects over the last decade (All People, Isabella, Fruit Machines, Autotomii, etc.) it would have been easy for these seasoned vets to half-heartedly indulge themselves in a self-congratulatory “side project.” Such is not the case here. Instead, the band has crafted something unique that strives for connectivity—an album that would meet the audience halfway. Right out of the gate, the high energy “Aware Wolf” seeks to woo the listener by laying the course for the entire album. It has everything, from quirky guitar noodling and crunchy breakdowns to head-bobbing sing alongs. Two of my favorite tracks are the triumphant “90s Smell” and “Clear Lake, TX,” both cementing the primary themes of isolation and reconnection. And while there are elements of mathrock and shoegaze (which are typically red flags in my book), there is plenty of substance here to keep the listener coming back for more. In a world where self-awareness is becoming more elusive, Late Bloomer feels like a timely arrival. —Kevin Comarda

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-SydSYD
FIN
(THE INTERNET)
The evolution of singer/songwriter/ producer Syd has been the most interesting of all the members of Los Angeles hip-hop collective Odd Future. Originally known as simply the group’s DJ (and frequently used as a point of deflection whenever the group’s homophobic lyrics were brought up in the press), she has since become the front person of neo-soul group The Internet. The group’s profile has grown over the past year with the song “Girl” being used in several movies and TV shows, including HBO’s Insecure. Riding high off that success, the group has decided to tackle various solo projects, Syd’s being the most anticipated. And Fin doesn’t disappoint, as tracks like “Shake Em Off” and “Know” immediately give off vibes of early Aaliyah. The rest of the album dips into similarly slinky radio R&B, with the single “Body” sounding eerily similar to Ciara’s “Body Party.” The album that Fin immediately reminds me of, however, is fellow Odd Future alum Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. Though Fin is way more laid back, both albums have this quiet confidence that could only come from the places that both Syd and Frank have had to exist in. —Brandon Lattimore

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-UrchinURCHIN
HOW TO MAKE NAPALM EP
(ROACH LEG RECORDS)
What I admire most about the ongoing waves of Boston and NYC raw punk is the bands’ nonbinding, yet never trite commitment to a maximalist aesthetic paired with maximalist delivery. Urchin, in turn, epitomizes this substrate of punk weltanschauung. Formed in early 2016 and comprised of members from Bloodkrow Butcher (Boston) and Razorheads (New Brunswick, NJ), Urchin is quickly gaining the reputation as being one of the best supporting local punk bands to play alongside when hardcore punk bands tour through Gotham. Urchin’s sound falls right between earlyera Anti Cimex (reminiscent of the Anarkist Attack and Raped Ass EPs), and mid-era Varukers. This allusion implies primitive, yet paced d-beat drumming; howling vocals in Discharg-esque iambic pentameter; accelerated bass-playing; and staccato bursts of distortion-drenched, double-tracked guitar leads. Indeed, this whole record is put through a filter of distortion that goes to 11. Nonetheless, Urchin captures a richly analog sound, absent of hollowness, without appearing “self-consciously vintage-y” as a Sorry State Records review describes. Side Two Studios in Boston—the site of this recording in addition to many others that have come courtesy of sister entity Side Two Records—has provided a well-rounded analog sound to the host of bands that have tracked there. —Dan McCoy

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-Studio-OneVARIOUS ARTISTS
STUDIO ONE ROCKSTEADY VOLUME 2
(SOUL JAZZ)
Shopping lesser record stores, I didn’t see why new collections of older Jamaican music with generic covers were imported from a British label and sold at a high price. These compilations became sensible when I encountered them in the far better curated and priced Domino Sound Record Shack and I now purchase any Soul Jazz comp automatically. Punk 45, New Orleans Funk, and Studio One—the label’s three major series— consistently showcase both their field’s known and unknown gems with engaging biographical liner notes, but they inevitably end up sold out (indefinitely) quickly after release. Studio One Rocksteady Volume 2 is as much example of this as any other, but it has the added draws of being new and focusing on rocksteady. Alton Ellis’ “I’m Still In Love With You” is a must and the collection features other key figures but, Soul Jazz stacking every release, Volume 2 contains two of my favorite moves in rocksteady: doom and a synchronicity with American soul peers. Grim rocksteady songs may be the less common of the two, but it’s certainly a thread worth pulling and John Holt’s “Strange Things” fits into the album as a choice entry. Released within a year of the original, Owen Gray’s version of the classic “Gimme Little Sign” appears here and accordingly shines. Other rocksteady draws (like engaging instrumentals and romantic soul tracks) fill the album out. So much so that this volume is both a satisfying addition for existing rocksteady fans and a compelling introduction for the unfamiliar, despite its unassuming presentation. —Ben Miotke

ART REVIEWS

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-ART-Patrick-Coll-The-CloudPATRICK COLL
“THE CLOUD”
(THE FRONT)
“The Cloud” could refer to one of two analogous, yet wildly dissimilar, things at once: one, the lonely pat of vapor that wandered over Yeats’ daffodils; or two, the digital repository that stores content from mobile phones. How did we get here? “Here” being a little something I like to call the modern malaise. Coll isn’t interested in answering this question so much as in playing within its ample confines. His multimedia photo collages and video installations layer the technological over the natural, the future over the past, to give us a deeper look into the increasingly absurd present. In one photo, iPhones jut out of a vine-covered stone column, each screen bearing the swirling rainbow loading icon. Are we looking at apples, or are we looking at Apple? So too does Coll parlay this sentiment through a gif-type video loop where cars jet off a raw stretch of highway in infinite repetition, hurtling over a classical Greek statue. Flower bushes crowd the bottom corners of the screen and small fish leap into a body of water in the background. It is both Artemis and Hot Wheels in one frame; it is both purple jungle and post-industrial wasteland. Technology permits time to exist not so much as a linear framework, but rather as a looping circuit conjured with a few clicks. Coll’s investigation is crucially topical and his execution technically and aesthetically successful. It is, however, a familiar rendering within thickly bespectacled, hipster meme culture. —Brooke Sauvage

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-ART-Devin-Reynolds-MRSADEVIN REYNOLDS + MRSA
“GET OUT OF THE DARK AND INTO THE NIGHT”
(COMMUNITY PRINT SHOP)
Devin Reynolds and MRSA present a neatly packed collection of “outsider art” for their joint show at the Community Print Shop, in works that comprise elements of graffiti, sign painting, and folk art alike. The artists do this earnestly and without pretension. The passing of Lester Carey—whose hand-lettered signs earned him a cult following amidst New Orleanians fond of old facades and corner stores—coincided narrowly with the show’s opening. I first noticed Reynolds’ works for their resemblance to Carey’s signs. Of two large, square paintings smattered with various lettering, one is emblazoned with phrases pertaining to graffiti—“Paper Bag,” “Spray Paint Nightly,” “Markall Paintstik Marker”—the other with fried chicken jargon “Legs and Thighs,” “Great Buy,” “Lawsee, This Chicken Sure is TASTY!” When I mentioned Carey, Reynolds gestured with paint-stained hands, citing hometown Los Angeles as inspiration for his works. Regardless of their origins, Reynolds’ works represent an unwitting ode to hand-lettered typography, as well as the intermingling of craftsmanship and commerce—of character within otherwise bleak commercial landscapes. MRSA’s multimedia cut-outs of many-eyed, animalesque creatures on the wall complement Reynolds’ works in that they come from an artistic perspective that is nuanced, distinct, and detailed. I suspect these little guys are born of a rich inner mythology. Sadly, I missed the Hank’s fried chicken by mere minutes, though I was happy to have mistaken the silver bowl on a pedestal in the center of the gallery for an art piece. Reynolds informed me, thankfully, that it was but a well-adorned trash receptacle. Whew. —Brooke Sauvage

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-ART-State-of-Fear“STATE OF FEAR”
GROUP SHOW CURATED BY DAN TAGUE
(BARRISTER’S)
I get the odd impression from time to time that Barrister’s Gallery is a secret club for the old guard sorcerers of St. Claude and its environs; that the artists and spectators alike are nursing some sparkling resistance to objective reality within its bunker walls. Dan Tague’s curated selection for “State of Fear” only bolstered this impression, with a heavy dose of vitamins (for your health!). Though the show was conceived and concretized before the election, the artists put the writing on the wall, literally. Tague presents us with an anti-fascist curriculum as seen through a largely re-appropriative lens. In Perspective, Dan Tague reimagines dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s series, Study of Perspective, in a local context. Weiwei’s riotously satisfying series shows him flipping off various important monuments from around the world, like the Eiffel Tower; Tague takes a photo of himself flipping off the hotly contested Lee Circle statue (recently cleared for demolition). Generic Art Solutions retools Delacroix’s La Liberté guidant le peuple as a photograph in their version, Liberty. And though the sentiment is a nice one, all the actors in the photo are white men—an essential detail that undermines the piece’s overall heft. Katrina Andry’s simple canvas banners, however, redeem this misstep with a reminder of the most vulnerable members of the “State of Fear”: BLACK LIVES MATTER, ALTON STERLING, and TAKE EM DOWN are shown in block lettering, three slogans from last summer’s racially charged resistance that played out between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. “State of Fear” exists within the smart framework of “think globally, act locally.” The show is unconcerned with creating fodder for your living room walls, but focuses instead on what I would deem the noblest application of art: to raise consciousness in troubled times. —Brooke Sauvage

ANTIGRAVITY-APRIL-2017-REVIEWS-ART-Group-Show-st-roch-art-marketGROUP SHOW
(ST. ROCH ART MARKET)
I thought I heard that the St. Roch Art Market was owned by the same fuckers who opened the St. Roch Market next door, but the only confirmation I found that evening was from a random bro on the street. Is it true? At any rate, there are incredible similarities in their objectives and models: both cater to cadres of stylish New Orleanians presumably interested in a crash course on “How to Furnish a Funky Bywater AirBnB.” Does wanting to sell art make it a bad piece? Not inherently, no. St. Roch Art Market, for better or worse, is a testament to the revitalization of the St. Claude corridor, hand-in-hand with an expanding streetcar line and freshly christened businesses. It provides New Orleans artists with another opportunity to connect with moneyed buyers, which is positive. But the curators aren’t taking any risks. An oil painting of one oak tree doesn’t do anything for me (and I love oak trees!). I nonetheless enjoyed the work of fiber artist Connie Shea, who created a tiered wall hanging out of tassels in all tinctures of blue in Sea Shimmer and Lana Guerra’s Insert Heart Here (pictured), a painting childlike in its abstractions, as if speaking to some back-of-mind memory. —Brooke Sauvage

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