August in New Orleans is a bit of slog. Intellectually we know that the heat will eventually subside, but it seems like fall is still a world away.
The hottest month begins with four excellent shows at Gasa Gasa. First, get a cool blast of pop from Baltimore-based Lower Dens on the 3rd. The group released their third record, Escape from Evil, in March. With this album, the group has moved more completely into the realm of pure indie pop. Just a few days later on the 6th, Santa Monica-based Cayucas will be on the same stage. The band’s second record, Dancing at the Blue Lagoon, was just released in June and distinctly places them in the same sound as Vampire Weekend. If you like the latter you’re sure to like the former. After two nights of pop, you’ll probably want to calm down a bit and catch your breath. Just a couple of nights later on the 8th, Haley Fohr will bring her Circuit Des Yeux project to New Orleans. There is a contemplative calm to Fohr’s music that builds toward tense resolution and a pleasant rise to her music, as though together we can see the end of an ordeal. The last show in this fantastic run is The Dominic Minix Quartet. This local modern jazz and hip-hop collective is producing some outstanding improvisation music. They are blending the freedom of jazz with the contemporary indie and R&B sound. Do not miss this show.
For their part in helping us through the deep summer, Tipitina’s is continuing its Free Friday series. The lineup this month is excellent. On Aug. 7, the IKO Allstars featuring Papa Mali, Billy Iuso, Michael Fouquier (of Gravity A), Mike Lemmler (of George Porter Jr. and the Runnin’ Pardners), AJ Hall (of Bonerama) and Kirk Joseph will celebrate Jerry Garcia’s birthday. This should be one of the shows of the summer. If you didn’t make it to Chicago or Santa Clara for the Grateful Dead reunion shows, this will be your Dead fix for the summer. On the 21st, Gravity A will perform Pink’s Floyd’s Animals record in another of their popular covers series. Finally, on the 28th, Sweet Crude will bring their blend of Southern Louisiana and indie rock to the stage.
Do not forget that Satchmo Summerfest will be at the Old U.S. Mint through Aug. 2. There are always some great takes on red beans and rice (Armstrong’s favorite food), and the tributes are amazing. The trumpet tribute to Louis Armstrong (led by Kermit Ruffins) on Sunday evening is of particular interest.
Finally this month, the excellent indie punks Screaming Females will be at Siberia on the 24th. The group released their most recent record, Rose Mountain, in February. There is a definite force that connects these tracks that will translate perfectly to the space of Siberia.
Note: Dates are subject to change. Playlist of mentioned bands available at: bit.ly/InTune8-15
If Americana is more your speed this month, there are some great options available. On Aug. 13, local singer/songwriter Kelcy Mae will be playing at Gasa Gasa. On the 23rd, Breanna Barbara will bring her style of occult blues down from Brooklyn to Gasa Gasa. Finally, The Punch Brothers will close out the month at the Civic. The legendary T-Bone Burnett produced their joyous new record, The Phosphorescent Blues. Nickel Creek member and Punch Brothers front man Chris Thile has been dominating stages across the festival circuit this summer. You won’t want to miss this show.
To contact Mike about music news, upcoming performances and recordings, email Mike@MyNewOrleans.com or contact him through Twitter @Minima.