Sunday, October 17, 2010

Music from New Orleans (Part 3): NOLA Metal

Welcome back guys!
            In this last part of my 3 part series on New Orleans, I'm gonna focus on a often neglected scene, New Orleans Heavy Metal. NOLA metal is some of the most clearly influenced by it's environment. Unlike Bay Area, L.A., or New York metal bands, NOLA metal is much more about the groove than about the speed the tunes are played it. They can get fast, but there will be clearer dynamic changes. Something that NOLA metal has in common with the jazz, blues and funk from the area is it's gumbo-like mix of influences. NOLA metal combines thrash, hardcore, grindcore, blues, southern rock and punk to make a completely, geographically unique sound.
           The first band to be identified with NOLA metal is Exhorder. Originally playing straight ahead trash, they adopted more of a groove element for their 1990 album Slaughter In The Vatican. The following clip is the song "Slaughter In The Vatican" from that album:

Another influential NOLA metal band is Eyehategod. EHG combined more elements of Sludge metal, along with blues riffs. EHG has released 4 major label releases to date. Amazing that they're still around considering how choatic they've been known to be on the road and the issues many of the band members have had with substance abuse. Here's a live clip from 2008:

Another influential Sludge metal band is Crowbar. Formed from the ashes of punk band Aftershock, Crowbar is known for playing much slower than any of their counterparts, giving their music a much gloomier vibe:

Soilent Green formed in 1988, but didn't get to release a debut album until 1995. Highly influential for their mix of grindcore, doom metal and sludge metal. Soilent Green is also infamous for the murder of bassist Scott Williams by his roommate and the death of singer Glenn Rambo during Hurricane Katrina. Rambo went to his mothers house during the hurricane, he help her move to the attic, because she was handicapped. Both were found drowned in that attic by rescue workers after the hurricane. Here's a single from their 2008 album "Inevitable Collapse In The Presence Of Conviction":

One of the most prominent musicians from New Orleans is singer Phil Anselmo. Anselmo is best known as the singer of prominent metal band Pantera. Although they were from Texas, Pantera incorporated many elements of the NOLA sound, most noticeably, the focus on groove. Anselmo also works with the NOLA bands Down and Superjoint Ritual.

Here's a few clips of Pantera:

The next clip is of down, Anselmos' band with members of Crowbar, Pantera and Eyehategod:

Soon after Pantera broke up, Anselmo formed Superjoint Ritual. Even though Superjoint didn't last long, it was clear where they were coming from with the NOLA groove metal sound. Interesting side note, the bass player for Superjoint is Hank Williams III (Also known as Hank III or H3.):

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rest In Peace King Solomon Burke

Hi everyone!
   I usually don't like blog about other things when I have a series going (Currently exploring New Orleans music), but sometimes you can't help it. Tonight, I was on Twitter when I read from Living Colours' page that Soul singer Solomon Burke passed away. Burke is a huge influence on the development of Rock and Pop music. Solomon has recorded 36 albums, had 35 major hits, and has won a few Grammy's. Burke died in Amsterdam, after a flight from Los Angeles. He was currently on tour, set to perform with Dutch rock band De Dijk.

Rest in peace King Solomon

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Music from New Orleans (Part 2): NOLA Funk

Welcome to part 2 of my series on New Orleans music! Today I'm focusing on the New Orleans funk sound. This music shares the same roots as NOLA jazz and Dixieland. The following few groups are just some the stand out to me personally and in no way is this a definative list. There are so many groups from the NOLA funk scene that listing the all, or as many as possible, would take up several blogs!
I'm starting with one of the flashiest performers all around. Mac Rebennack, better known as Dr. John, started as a guitarist in the 50's, but moved to piano after his left ring finger got shot in an altercation. In the early 60's, he moved to Los Angeles working on sessions for Sonny & Cher and Canned Heat.
Starting in the late 60's Dr. John started playing music that combined New Orleans-style rhythm & blues and psychedelic rock and elaborate stage shows that resembled voodoo ceremonies. In the late 60's and early 70's, Dr. John broke though with albums like "Gris-Gris," "Gumbo" and "In the Right Place." His best known tunes from the time are probably "Iko-Iko" and "Right Place, Wrong Time." Both songs clearly showcase the unique mix that occurs in New Orleans.

Here's a clip of "Iko-Iko" from the 1995 Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland:

Dr. Johns' most well known song, "Right Place, Wrong Time" comes from the album of the same name. The backing band here is The Meters, also from NOLA (more on them is a minute):

The significance of the "Right Place, Wrong Time" album is the introduction to one of NOLA funks' funkiest groups, The Meters. Dr. John hired the Meters to back him up in the studio and Allen Toussaint to produce and arrange horns.
The core of the Meters are Art Neville (Keys/Vocals), Leo Nocentelli (Guitar/Vocals) George Porter Jr. (Bass/Vocals) Joe "Zigaboo" Modeliste (Drums) and Cyril Neville (Percussion/Vocals.) The Meters are often mentioned in the same breath as James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic and Sly And the Family Stone as progenitors of funk music. Their tunes "Cissy Strut" and "Look-Ka Py Py" and considered by many to be funk classics.

"Look-Ka Py Py"

"Cissy Strut"

This blog would be incomplete if left as is, so I'm giving mention to a few others that really define the sound of New Orleans:


Dirty Dozen Brass Band: