October has become one of the great months for music in New Orleans. This time of year we’ve always had the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience to look forward to at the end of the month. Over the last couple of years, the expansion of Austin City Limits to two weeks has given a lot of national tours the downtime to jaunt over either between the festival weekends or immediately after. This year we’ll be treated to visits by darlings of the indie folk set Houndmouth Oct. 1 at Tipitina’s, hip-hop all-stars Run The Jewels Oct. 3 at Republic, pop dreamers In The Valley Below at the Hi-Ho Lounge Oct. 5, electro wunderkind Disclosure Oct. 6 at Mardi Gras World, indie rock masters Alt-J and San Fermin Oct. 7 at Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square, and indie prog rockers Moon Taxi Oct. 10 at the Civic.
In addition to these excellent headlining performances, this month will also see visits from some of the more interesting experimental groups currently on tour.
On Oct. 13, Toro y Moi will be at One Eyed Jacks. Toro y Moi released his excellent new record in January and has been on a rather extensive tour this summer. His touring band is in great form. Expect a wide-ranging night of genres from chillwaveto electropop. If you miss Toro y Moi, make sure to check out Battles at Republic on the 15th. Another New York band, Battles are closer to the progressive/math rock end of the spectrum. Battles released their new record La Di Da Di Sept. 18, so expect to see a set heavy on the new tunes.
On Oct. 21, Matt Pond PA will be at Big Mama’s Lounge attached to the House of Blues. This will be an ideally intimate space to see the indie rocker bring his new record to New Orleans.
If you want to see what the current New Orleans sound is like after being read through the Brooklyn music scene, check out Rubblebucket Oct. 7 at One Eye Jacks. There is something irrepressible about the band, and it centers on their excellent use of brass.
Finally, this month Gang of Four will be at Tipitina’s on the 25th. This is a big one for me. You can’t talk about the history of post-punk without mentioning Gang of Four. Cited by folks like Michael Stipe, Flea and Kurt Cobain as a major influence, shows don’t get much bigger than this. Keep an eye on my blog, as I’ll be interviewing Andy Gill later in the month.
Note: Dates are subject to change. Playlist of mentioned bands available at: bit.ly/InTune10-15.
With the arrival of Halloween, many of us will converge on City Park for the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. This year the Ritual has put together an eclectic group of fantastic performers. The one that everyone is talking about has to be Ozzy with original Black Sabbath bandmate Geezer Butler, Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello and Slash. This is the supergroup you want to see; hopefully the setlist will range across their diverse careers. Additional perfomances will include Florence + the Machine, Jane’s Addiction, Chance the Rapper, Metric and the legendary Giorgio Moroder. I will have daily updates and photos on the blog, so stay tuned.
Learning the Path: Talking with Django Django drummer and producer Dave Maclean
In September 2012, Django Django’s self-titled debut album appeared on the shortlist for the Mercury Prize (the annual award for the best album from the UK and Ireland). This nomination and a relentless touring ethic served to launch the band to international acclaim. This May, Django Django released their sophomore record Born Under Saturn to excellent reviews. This month the band will visit New Orleans for the first time with an appearance at Voodoo. I was able to chat with drummer and producer Dave Maclean about their recent record, his new record label and the beauty of a gut reflex to music.
For Maclean it seems that an important part of his role is to balance the creative processes of himself and his bandmates with the need to construct what will ultimately be a complete record. “With us … things can go off in any direction. So in the morning we could be making what sounds like techno and in the afternoon it’s a kind of folk song,” he says.
“By the evening we’re kind of making a rockabilly thing. Things just kind of twist and turn, so I guess it’s my job to try and find some kind of linear path through it all.” On this new record there’s a dense layering of harmonies that plots a very clear path through the tracks. When I asked Maclean about this, he talked about his production inspiration. “I was listening to a lot of 1970s music for production ideas, like Fleetwood Mac and Gerry Rafferty, Cat Stevens and Supertramp – trying to emulate some of the vocal sounds on there …
We like to get carried away and layer and layer and layer … ultimately its the harmonies gluing it together as an album.”
Ultimately, this density of production is what creates the mood of Born Under Saturn. The record has the effect of lifting the listener outside of himself, which is something that Maclean prizes in music himself. “I think it’s setting a mood,” he says. “I think I’ve always done that thing where I zone out and whatever is passing me by I see it as a little film in my head … I quite like to be transported somewhere else when I listen to music.” This sense of transportation can be seen both in his music with Django Django and the performers he has recruited for his label, Kick + Clap. In his words, one just knows when something is right. “I don’t have an ethos or a genre for this label. I just know – I just get a gut feeling when I hear things.” We are fortunate to have him listening for us.
You can find Born Under Saturn in music stores now. Django Django will be playing Voodoo Fest on Sat., Oct 31.
To contact Mike about music news, upcoming performances and recordings, email Mike@MyNewOrleans.com or contact him through Twitter @Minima.