STREAM: Caddywhompus - 'Entitled'

Part of what's drawn me to Caddywhompus over the last few years is how they manage to pack a huge range of feelings and dynamics into one action (and reverb)-packed pop song. That fact might nowhere be clearer than on their new track "Entitled". Like the other songs posted from their forthcoming LP Feathering a Nest (listen to "Stuck" here), the New Orleans duo is pushing their (already formidable) chops to the limit with frenetic time changes and little synchronized, syncopated fills, but this is the first one to truly catch me off guard in its hugeness. It starts off as an almost-ballad, before exploding, and eventually finding its way into something of a breakdown before fading away. 

By the time its five minutes are through, they've covered as much ground as many bands do in a whole album. It's yet another reason to be excited for Feathering a Nest, their first record since 2011's The Weight EP

Feathering a Nest comes out November 11 on Community Records. Pre-order it on coloured vinyl here.

New Caddywhompus LP 'Feathering a Nest' coming Nov. 11

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New Orleans noisey pop duo Caddywhompus are putting out their new record Feathering a Nest November 11 on Community Records. It's been a long time coming, their last LP Remainder coming out in 2010. Here's the LP version of "Stuck", a demo of the song was earlier released on 2012's Maze Demos along with "Feathering a Nest", "Company" and the ambient closing track "It's a Self Portrait (of You)". So it's a pretty good bet at least two of those songs will be on this record.

Singer Chris Rehm's voice is getting less buried in effects (but maybe dial the reverb back a bit too), and his guitar sounding bigger than ever when things get loud. This being a Caddywhompus tune, it goes from ultra-soft to all distortion (and back) in less than four minutes. It's not much different structure-wize to its Maze Demos counterpart, but you can hear the time that went into this recording.

If you want to get acquainted with the band, you can download most of their discography for free at Caddywhompusband.com. Here's "This Is Where We Blaze The Nuggz", one of their old songs off an EP from 2009.

New Caddywhompus LP 'Feathering a Nest' is nearly here

A new Caddywhompus LP will be released soon. Pre-orders start Sept. 16.

It's not unusual for a music fan to have a special place in their heart for New Orleans. Its rich history is second-to-none when it comes to arts and culture on this continent. It's the birthplace of jazz, but there's more than nostalgia fuelling that love for NoLa. Caddywhompus is one of many bands that prove the city has plenty of new sounds to share.

The band is prepping for the release of its sophomore LP Feathering a Nest, though the release date is still unknown. New Orleans-based Community Records posted a photo of a white vinyl test pressing to Facebook on August 25, noting in the caption that on September 16 a new single will be posted and pre-orders will start. The band later posted a photo of a test pressing in its red sleeve. Singer / guitarist Chris Rehm and drummer Sean Hart have been playing together since high school, and it shows — in how both complex and catchy their songs are.

And the songs are just getting bigger. I managed to hear some of the new stuff when they opened up for Mac DeMarco in April, and it bodes well for the new record. Their last LP, the pop-noise beaut Remainder, came out in 2010 but I'm willing to bet Feathering a Nest will be worth the wait.

Here's a demo version from 2012 of the title track, from the one-off cassette run of Maze Demos. You can download every Caddywhompus release for free from their website.

Caddywhompus - Feathering a Nest [from Maze Demos, 2012]

Mac DeMarco is the feel-good hit of the summer

It wasn't until I saw hundreds of college kids in the South go apeshit over him that it sunk in what a sensation Mac DeMarco's slacker surf rockhas become. But with buzz from Pitchfork and even the fucking Guardian, he's captured our attention with his simple bedroom-fi tunes. It's looking like this will be the summer of Mac.

It's just weird that there's so much buzz around someone so laid back. Mac's the loveable shithead, looking like Wayne from Wayne's World onstage, bobbing his head with a permanent smirk. Maybe it has something to do with his style being (by no fault of his own) an easy fit to the vomit-inducing term that is normcore. But it probably has more to do with just how likeable he is.

When Mac played for students at Tulane University in New Orleans last week, at least 100 lined up to take pictures with him (while Caddywhompus played through a killer set of their own). They gleefully cheered when he announced the name of each song before playing it.

They took to the new stuff off Salad Days just as well as "I'm a Man" and "Freaking Out the Neighborhood." But Salad Days is a really flat record, the songs are just there until they aren't. He sets up some nice grooves (see: "Chamber of Reflection"), but there's little about his sound signalling that he'd be the new hipster buzz band.

But he's getting there, already on a first-name basis with the Tulane and Loyola crowd. They all just name-drop "Mac," and everyone knows who you're talking about. And even if I don't understand how it happened, it's pretty gratifying to see it happen to someone who spits in the face of posing and posture. It's all coming as one great surprise to Mac too, who joked that the last time he was in New Orleans he played to five people.

These students, some 1,500 miles from Montreal, weren’t just casually interested in Mac. They were drinking him up like it's going out of style. But he isn't. Though it'll be some feat to maintain this level of hype once summer's through.

Sucre du Sauvage

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ic6OwGSPq0w&h=25] It's generally true that recording and performing are two distinct processes for musicians, but New Orleans-based one-man-band Quintron proves this isn't the rule. The making of his latest album Sucre du Sauvage was an exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art with the visual and vocal stylings of puppeteer Miss Pussycat added to the mix.

It often feels that the only thing holding this record together is its encapsulating energy. Dirty organ lines and frenetic, choppy drums set the stage for the kind of vocals you'd shout right back at the band. Layers are whimsically brought in and out, and the surprise is that a lot of the time the end result is coherent - in its own messy way.

The first few tracks are the most structured on the record, with heavily swung grooves luring the listener down the strangest of rabbit holes. It's a gradual bait and switch, as the songs become more jammy and abstract. Robert Rolston's innovative instrumentation and multitasking fashions itself in several ways, but it's when Miss Pussycat takes lead vocals that things are at their most bizarre. She's an artist that works with puppets, and as campy as that may sound, seeing what kind of visuals she creates for "Banana Beat" or "Spirit Hair" is pretty enticing.

By the time the last third of the record is spinning, the tracks have deconstructed into ambient sounds - a mix of organ play and field recordings. Totally instrumental and lacking  discernible form, it's a challenging listen, one far different than the late-night party vibe of the majority of the album. The record's closer "Morning" resolves things fittingly, with a placid organ vamp until a farewell message plays over loudspeakers. The dynamic range here is extremely ambitious, but Quintron and Miss Pussycat have the talent and creativity to pull it off.

Let Me Get Closer

There's a pretty thin line between successful throwback style and being a total hack. Synth, reverb and a drum machine are nearly staples for indie bands today, leaving many struggling to find their voice amidst played-out, predictable hooks and arrangements.

Louisiana trio Kindest Lines are able to use these '80s redux tools to do more than pay tribute to an era of music. Sure, innovation may not be their highest priority - but solid songwriting appears to be. With their debut LP Covered in Dust their talent is framed in crisp, dynamic production.

They play the soundtrack of an '80s nightclub, one complete with fog machines and lasers. This stuff is meant to make you move, at its darkest becoming an introverted dance party. Brittany Terry sings simple melodies over vintage synth sound, leaving space for notes to reverberate over electronic percussion hits. Terry's voice avoids oversaturation of loops and effects; what is added brings warmth to the electronic hazy haze.

While far from perfect ("No Perfect Focus" is a tad homogenous), the trio manages to pull off a strong debut. Their layers of keyboard and guitar over steady drum loops build beautiful, at times melancholic, ambiances for the dance floor. With reverb, clapper hits and a pretty voice it will be interesting to see where this foundation will take them.

Strange Birds [audio http://killerbabytomatoes.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/04-strange-birds.mp3]

Carry That Weight

The latest from Caddywhompus is a continuation of their rough, catchy sound. Released on Saturday, The Weight further solidifies the duo's brand of treble-heavy noise pop.

The Texas-turned-New Orleans based musicians' new EP has all the familiar elements of their sound, packed into four solid tracks. Chris Rehm's vocals cut through his guitar's feedback and distortion, still sounding like Perry Farrell through a pipe bomb microphone. Sean Hart's drumming more than supports the song structure, it provides the dynamics and versatility that makes this sound work.

All the time that these two musicians have spent making music together becomes evident on this record. They can jump from the dancey to the ambient in a matter of seconds, and always hold onto a wholly original sound while drawing influence from across the board.

The Weight's centrepiece ends up being seven-minute long "The Others," a track that fits the band's whole dynamic range into one song. It begins with a rare sighting of clean guitar before falling into an upbeat groove, then morphing into its crashing, noisy end. A couple Avey Tare-like screams are thrown in as its lo-fi energy bursts at the seams.

It's tension and release in its barest form, garage rock for the twinkle enthusiast. Caddywhompus have something special going on, and hopefully this record is a mark of big things to come.

All the Real Love

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iflUln5KKLM&h=25]

It's a pretty rare thing to hear a band nearly break into "Stand By Me" and make it work. With their LP Coast, New Orleans-born Sun Hotel push blue notes into indie pop songs.

The vocals are the centerpiece of this record, with plenty of magnetic four-part hooks rooted in rock & roll. Several sections reek of  bluesy sorrow, a sound that this record seems to aim at. It's definitely got that indie rock tagline attached to it, but the singing takes the music in a different direction. It's almost like they're trying to make the blues a completely uplifting experience; maybe these guys are a Christian rock band in disguise.

There are traces of New Orleans blues in the vocals, with guitars transplanting sounds from Manchester. All the songs are pretty poppy, but in a way amicably different than top 40. This stuff has soul, a trait not so common with the amount of synthesizers in music today.

“Rediscovery” has the guitars and drums nearly pushing the song apart, harmonized vocal line calmly holding things together. Only one voice is left standing by the end, and Tyler Scurlock's is strong enough to pull it off. Maybe it's the fact that he doesn't need a blanket of reverb to sound good that makes this record sound so refreshing. It's undoctored, catchy passion, and there's something unusually human about that.