November always seems to be a little top-heavy. It starts with the sustained momentum of the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience and drifts through what’s generally the end of the fall touring season. The month begins with Kishi Bashi performing on Nov. 1 at One Eyed Jacks. Kaoru Ishibashi, who performs as Kishi Bashi, is a signer and multi-instrumentalist who produces absurdly joyful and nuanced indie pop. Ishibashi is a renowned violinist, and he pushes the instrument to its sonic limits through looping and modulation. As Kishi Bashi he has just released his latest record, Sonderlust, which is a step forward for the artist. There is a masterful blending of genres here that’s brought together by Ishibashi’s trademark style. His shows are always excellent.
It seems as though every month there’s a night with a number of excellent shows stacked on top of each other. This month Thurs., Nov. 3 carries that distinction. First and perhaps foremost, Sia will be at the Smoothie King Center. The Australian singer, who released the excellent This Is Acting in January, is known for the exuberance of her live shows. This is another in a great string of pop shows that has been through the arena lately. That night will also see Alex G and LVL UP dropping by Siberia with Brandon Can’t Dance. LVL UP just released their best album of low-fi rock yet. Return to Love is one of the better albums released this year, and here’s a chance to see them up close at Siberia. Finally, Phantogram will be playing at the Joy Theater the same night. The Greenwich-based electronic duo have just wrapped up a summer tour as Big Grams with Big Boi, and their third album, Three, was released in October. Phantogram is one of the most exciting electro-pop groups on the scene right now. This will be one of the best shows of the month for sure.
Just a few nights later on Nov. 6, Guided by Voices will play Republic. GBV in some form or other have been a fixture on the indie scene since the 1980s. This latest incarnation is based on Robert Pollard’s latest release Please Be Honest, which sees him playing every instrument on the record himself. It has been exciting to see Pollard start fresh on this record, and it will be interesting to see what parts of the GBV canon he carries with him and what’s made new.
In a similar vein, the Brooklyn based indie pop group Lucius will be at Tipitina’s on Nov. 9 with Lake Street Dive. Lucius will be well known to anyone who has kept up with my Newport Folk Festival coverage. In addition to their excellent solo work, they’re consummate collaborators who lend sonic texture everywhere they go. The combination of them with Lake Street Dive will be an excellent evening.
Finally, this month, Tegan and Sara will be at the Joy Theater. Personally, I’m thrilled about this show. I think that their latest release, Love You to Death, was the best record of the summer. Tegan and Sara are at the top of their game. This record is lyrically and sonically beautiful. The hooks are magnificent and there’s a depth of feeling that belies the cheeriness of the pop itself.
Note: Dates are subject to change. Playlist of mentioned bands available at: bit.ly/InTune11-16
Raitt & Parton
In addition to all of the amazing young acts coming to town this month, there are some veterans in the mix as well. Two of the great female voices are coming through town for theater shows. First, on Nov. 5, Bonnie Raitt will play a show at the Saenger. This is a rare treat for New Orleans, as most of Raitt’s recent shows here have been at Jazz Fest. Here is an opportunity to see her in a more intimate, controlled setting. If that weren’t enough, on Nov. 30, Dolly Parton will bring her show to the Smoothie King Center. On this tour Parton has been playing two full sets spanning her entire career. Do not miss it.