REVIEWS

DANKHEAD CORLEONE
COTTON MOUF
(SELF-RELEASE)

Ever since his 2021 debut project HIGH SCHOOL, New Orleans rapper Dankhead Corleone has continued to raise the bar for himself. Dankhead’s steady growth culminated with last year’s Home Alon3, arguably one of the best rap albums to come out of New Orleans in 2022. COTTON MOUF, his most intimate and open project to date, marks another bold step in the rapper’s young but promising career. Dankhead stabs through mellow production draped in groovy bass riffs, sharp percussion, and timely samples with rapidly paced yet skillfully controlled bars. He effortlessly uses these skills to talk his shit, like relating himself to Will Smith’s superhero Hancock and peak Chicago Bulls player Ben Gordon behind shimmering synths on “BEEN BALLIN.” But the album’s best moments come when Corleone is honest and introspective. “BETTER” is a bluesy and sincere page from Corleone’s journal, reciting the words of affirmation he can recall from his mom and his inner thoughts (“Got to know that I mean the best even though that I’m yelling / God told me that’s passion”). COTTON MOUF feels carefully crafted and intentional; it’s the kind of project that should elevate this burgeoning artist to new heights. —Nigel Washington

DROP NINETEENS
HARD LIGHT
(WHARF CAT)

Formed in Boston in 1990, Drop Nineteens, in their short original tenure, broke into the UK-dominated shoegaze scene, performing with the likes of Blur and Radiohead and gaining some acclaim with their debut, Delaware. After some turmoil, the band broke up officially in 1995, reuniting almost 30 years later for their third release, Hard Light. The songs on Hard Light incorporate pop and post-punk moreso than the classic shoegaze sound; the only “true” shoegaze track on the album is “Rose With Smoke,” which, fittingly, marks the album’s halfway point. The title track has a wistful air reminiscent of the songs on Delaware, albeit with a perspective that has been earned with time (“You are the album, its songs, their notes / The night, its stars, their sex, their moves, their light / Time is the thing with you”).  “A Hitch” and “Scapa Flow” capture the ethos of late 1990s indie rock, offering a glimpse into what Drop Nineteens might have created if they hadn’t broken up in 1995; and “Tarantula,” in its guitar-driven glory, finds the band delving fully into pure pop for perhaps the first time in their history. It would have been easy for Hard Light to simply be a rehash of the band’s past. Instead, they look back on the tumult of their youth with tenderness and reflection, creating an album that feels more like a natural (albeit slightly delayed) continuation than a reunion. —Mary Beth Campbell

KING LOUIE BANKSTON
HARAHAN FATS
(GONER)

It was a sad day for rock’n’roll when the world lost King Louie Bankston on February 12, 2022. Louie was a true local legend, putting out an absurd number of records with the likes of the Royal Pendletons, The Exploding Hearts, and his own one-man band (check out Andy Bizer’s excellent guide from the April 2022 issue for a proper deep dive). Harahan Fats, the Louisiana rocker’s first posthumous release of new material, is pure Louie, eccentricities and all. He is the rare type who is capable of gleefully joking about the destruction of Westwego on opener “(Theme From) Crawzilla” before pulling listeners into the down-and-out blues on “Pawn Shop Row.” Louie, always a firm champion of his individualism, plays almost everything heard on this album, which he worked on until October 2021. The few tracks that do feature other musicians showcase Louie in cohorts with old friends, such as the Painted White-era lineup of his band Missing Monuments on “Gone Too Far,” Egg Yolk Jubilee saxophonist Paul Grass on “(Theme From) Crawzilla” and “Wasted at Work,” and his Kondor bandmate Jheri MacGillicuddy on an unknown array of tracks. A “Director’s Cut” double cassette version of the album extends the fun with seven additional songs. Regardless of which version you pick up, the album closes with a re-recorded version of the King Louie One Man Band song “Writing the Same Song Over Again,” a fitting curtain call for a man who indeed spent his life writing the same song over and over again, much to the joy (and sometimes torment) of those around him. King Louie may no longer be with us, but his music continues to resonate in our hearts. —William Archambeault

MOTÖRHEAD
ANOTHER PERFECT DAY (40TH ANNIVERSARY)
(SANCTUARY)

Since its release four decades ago, Another Perfect Day has remained one of Motörhead’s most divisive albums. Following the exit of classic era guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke, the rough rockers entered an unorthodox partnership with former Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian “Robbo” Robertson. The new guitarist’s very melodic approach polished a lot of the signature grit off of Motörhead’s sound. Robertson favored layers of technical guitar drenched in effects, rather than honoring the raw and raucous bite that endeared the band to so many. The transition was jarring to both fans and band members alike, ultimately leading to Robertson’s exit after touring behind the album. Listening to Another Perfect Day 40 years after its release, it’s clear this version of the group was not meant to pass on the torch and continue the band’s legacy. However, it is for that reason that this album is worth listening to—it’s a slightly different take on Motörhead’s time-honored formula that tries to adapt some of the lead guitar-centric stylizings of Thin Lizzy. The resulting songs, such as “Back at the Funny Farm,” “Shine,” and “Dancing on Your Grave,” largely hold up. This anniversary reissue adds a generous amount of b-sides, demos, and even a rough recording of a live concert featuring the Robertson version of the band. —William Archambeault

DOLLY PARTON
ROCKSTAR
(BUTTERFLY)

It is fairly safe to say that Dolly Parton has had an indelible impact on popular music and culture writ large (among other things, she is the subject of a Ken Burns documentary). Though most of her influence has, of course, been in the realm of country music, she has also had crossover success and influenced rock and pop artists, much like fellow country artist Johnny Cash. With Rockstar, the 77-year-old artist’s 49th solo album, Parton is indulging in her own personal rock fantasy, enlisting other famous musicians as she performs both original songs and covers. Rockstar is an ambitious effort, a collection of 30 classic rock covers and new songs that spans two hours and 21 minutes and includes collaborations with such icons as Elton John, Debbie Harry, Stevie Nicks, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Parton’s goddaughter, Miley Cyrus (the full list of collaborators, of course, is too long to list here). Parton’s voice has changed over time, as is expected, but she is still a strong and talented vocalist, which is best showcased on the new, original song “World On Fire.” There is definitely something commendable about an artist continuing to experiment with their sound decades into their career. Overall, though, the album is a mixed bag. Parton’s best duets are with other strong female vocalists, such as Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, and Debbie Harry. Her solo cover of “Purple Rain” and collaboration with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr on “Let It Be” are both lovely and offer a certain pathos, though neither cover offers any interesting twist or improvement on the originals (and are lacking a bit without the guitar work of Prince and George Harrison, respectively). Though Parton and her many collaborators all bring their top game, the end result feels more like an A-list celebrity karaoke party than anything else—a fun album to listen and sing along to, but nothing that holds a candle to the rest of Parton’s canon. —Mary Beth Campbell

SLAB
SUBSTATION FAILURE
(SCUM LORD / FLOODED MAUSOLEUM)

New Orleans grindcore disciples SLAB tear through nine gnarly tunes in seven minutes with animalistic intensity on Substation Failure. This is maximum grind defined by million-mile-an-hour blast beats, sharp riffs, and deranged screams. The four-piece specializes in straightforward chaotic grindcore, avoiding the technical flourishes that some groups add into the mix. This tape’s solid production is much welcomed, starkly contrasting the woefully lo-fi demo the band debuted earlier this year. “Camouflaged” and “Reprehensibly Fucked,” which both made their first appearance on that earlier demo, are propelled into new terrains with help from James Whitten, whose Hightower Studios has been a saving grace for the local underground scene in recent years. At two minutes in length, closer “Dirty & Diseased” and its congealed doomy death-grind riffs feels massive in comparison to the rest of this tape’s bite-sized bursts of aggression. Keep an eye out for the cassette version, which features a completely different cover paying tribute to the iconic Cash Money aesthetic. —William Archambeault

TASHI DELAY
S/T
(SELF-RELEASE)

British-born and New Orleans-based musician-artist Emily Seabroke is the creative force behind the genre-crossing electronic punk project Tashi Delay. Seabroke also creates animations for her songs (during live shows, they are projected behind her), adding another sensory layer to Tashi Delay’s music. The project’s latest, self-titled album explores the commonplace frustrations and indignities we face on a daily basis: corrupt politicians, overstimulating technologies, the changes that app-based dating has made to how we find meaningful human connections. Seabroke has a versatile voice that allows her not only to hop between genres seemingly with ease but also add other, interesting layers to the songs themselves. Opener “Meltdown” starts the album off with high energy, chaotic electronica mixed with hard rock and lyrics that skewer modern life (“Disposable me? / One swipe adds three / It’s all the same / No touch, can’t complain”). “Deception” is deceptively breezy, its upbeat vibes belying commentary on political corruption (“Politician and the banker, went to sea on a beautiful Lazzara Yacht 
/ Had money, without any worry, and all they did was drain the lot”). “Lazaretto” is more of a jazzy number, while “Cerebration” delves into trip-hop territory. Other standout tracks include the gorgeously macabre “Blue” (“Affection was the only need / Monsters manifest in sleep”) and the groovy, psychedelic beats of “Henry Kumera.” With Tashi Delay, Seabroke has created a unique and innovative album that not only invites but encourages the listener to fully immerse themself in the sounds and visuals. —Mary Beth Campbell

TEENAGE HALLOWEEN
TILL YOU RETURN
(DON GIOVANNI)

The New Jersey power-pop band has gone through several iterations before landing on the current four-piece they have now. Despite lineup changes, they’ve always maintained a loud, punk sound similar to The Ergs or Jeff Rosenstock, from whom they got their band name in his song “Twinkle.” The album is best when the choruses are anthemic and melodies are killer, like on “Takeaway” where Luk Henderiks shouts, “It’s survival / It’s absurd,” seeking out control over their life. The lyrics on this album often focus inward towards things like identity, isolation, and declining mental health. Though dismal, they remain hopeful without drifting off into overly-positive drivel. For many, it’s a struggle to simply love yourself and feel like enough. Teenage Halloween thrives on overcoming that anxiety together. Henderiks’s raspy, off-kilter voice lends urgency to the album’s message. In contrast, classically-trained musician and bassist Tricia Marshall adds some diversity to the album with her vocals while also offering her viewpoint, like on “Say It” where she addresses being constantly belittled as the band’s only female member despite being in supposedly inclusive DIY spaces. Eli Frank’s lead guitar matches the intensity of Rosenstock all over the LP but especially on “Armageddon Now.” Peter Gargano’s tight drums and Marshall’s thumpy bass on “Sights Down” throttle the track into a slow, marching descent. They’re riffing and ripping. It leaves me wanting to see where they go from here. —Dalton Spangler

U.S. GIRLS
LIVES
(4AD)

Since the devastating news that Gasa Gasa closed down in mid-November was made public, people have been sharing their favorite memories of the venue, a space which played a vital role in showcasing up-and-coming local and touring acts. While it is hard to pick a favorite Gasa memory, seeing U.S. Girls perform there in April 2019 certainly makes my personal Top Ten List; they have been cited as one of the best live indie shows touring today. Lives, the second album released by U.S. Girls this year, is a compilation of recordings from concerts that the project—led by producer and musician Meg Remy—has played over the past five years. Arranged in a non-chronological manner, the recorded songs are presented as one unique, singular concert being experienced for the first time. Lives consists of songs from In A Poem Unlimited, Heavy Light, and Bless This Mess, spanning U.S. Girls’ experimentations with multiple genres, including jazz-funk, disco, and pop, with banter from Remy and noise from various crowds over the years stitched in as well. It is, of course, impossible to fully capture the energy and spectacle of a live U.S. Girls show, but Lives still manages to crystallize much of the magic. —Mary Beth Campbell

COREY LEDET ZYDECO
MÉDIKAMEN
(NOUVEAU ELECTRIC)

Though this is indeed a straight-ahead and undeniable zydeco album, Corey Ledet and his band aim to preserve but also broaden the sound with new additions to their traditional format. Médikamen opens up with a classic, danceable, two-step accordion anthem titled “Alon kouri laba” taking the listener away via its bayou atmosphere and pulsating rhythm section. This album also offers a balance of Southern blues guitar, jazz organ, and a horn on the title track (avèk Kermit Ruffins), which features an arrangement that will pull in fans of jazz and funk. Médikamen is rich in zydeco history with its crisp production and vibrant tempos shifting throughout its run time, allowing each instrument to shine clearly in the mix while also sounding bright and hypnotic. Sing along to this album’s lyrics in the Louisiana Creole dialect Kouri-Vini, a complementary sound to a dance-ready genre. Ryan McKern

DRACULA / B.O.R.N.
SPLIT
(BLOODLUST)

New Orleans bloodsuckers DRACULA have teamed up with Birmingham, Alabama ghouls B.O.R.N. to knock listeners over the head with two pummeling servings of Southern d-beat savagery. This tape split, released by Die Rötzz guitarist Andy Goceljak via his label Bloodlust, showcases a healthy competition between the two bands as they attempt to outdeprave each other. DRACULA, our local representatives in this bout, enter the ring with a fire burning deep inside on ragers like “End of the World” and “Reaper Beat.” Deep guttural screams and the occasional gnarly guitar lead sit firmly atop a wall of loud guitars and pounding drums. B.O.R.N. opts for an intentionally raw sound that somehow manages to make the rough rockers in DRACULA seem like primped-up popstars. The guitar on songs like “After Hell” feels like a chainsaw revving mere inches from the listener’s ears. Their vocal delivery is equally harsh, as if you heard Discharge playing over a weak radio signal that distorts the shouting into an even more extreme feeling of anguish. Without a lyric sheet, it’s difficult to delve into these screamed songs in search of a deep meaning but DRACULA and B.O.R.N. made it evident with every note that their primary focus is evoking a sense of sheer chaos. —William Archambeault

HOLLY A. BAGGETT
MAKING NO COMPROMISE: MARGARET ANDERSON, JANE HEAP, AND THE LITTLE REVIEW
(NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY PRESS)

Margaret Anderson founded the Little Review in 1914, but the magazine’s successes and spats, struggles with censorship, and perennial quest for cash foreshadowed a century’s worth of independent publishing. Anderson and her romantic and editorial partner Jane Heap published the magazine variously from Chicago, New York, California, and Paris until 1929, featuring work by then-rising stars of art and literature like T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Amy Lowell, Wassily Kandinsky, and Man Ray. The magazine saw controversy early on for promoting and publishing anarchist Emma Goldman and later faced legal trouble for serializing James Joyce‘s Ulysses, which was deemed obscene. Holly A. Baggett, history professor at Missouri State University, tells the story delightfully. She also contextualizes magazine contributors and highlights those lesser known today, including women sometimes elsewhere remembered more as scene fixtures than artists, like Djuna Barnes and the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Heap herself gets her due, after being historically overshadowed by larger-than-life Anderson, who issued three memoirs and innumerable other impassioned writings, along with cartoons of herself in creative action. Baggett also delves into the sometimes overlooked roles of queerness and mysticism in the lives of the pair—who’d come to follow the guru Gurdjieff later in life—and of many contributors. —Steven Melendez

ELISTA ISTRE
JOSETTE & FRIENDS COOK A GUMBO
(UL PRESS)

Looking to teach your kids more about the multicultural heritage of south Louisiana in an engaging way? Josette & Friends Cook a Gumbo, a charming new book from Dr. Elista Istre, does just that. The book centers around a young Cajun girl Josette and her mother, working together on a chilly winter afternoon to prepare a pot of gumbo. When her friends join in on the fun, we’re treated to mini history lessons built around ingredients; sausage from her Isleños friend, okra from her African American friend, filé from her Native American friend, and rice from her German friend. The history of each contribution is surface-level, so it’s appropriate for all ages, but would make a good jumping-off place for deeper learning about the complex histories of slavery and native land loss with older kids. Kids will learn all the essentials of gumbo (the proper color of roux, what “gumbo weather” means) and the book even comes complete with a recipe (blessedly free from tomatoes, so I can endorse it with good conscience). My soon-to-be 6 year-old had this to say about the book: “I like it because they all get to add their own ingredients. My favorite was the sausage. Something new I learned was about okra coming from Africa. I also liked the part with the roux because I love it when daddy makes roux. I would tell my friends to read this book.”  —Erin Hall (& Emmett)

ANNA MOSS
“GRAVY”
DIR: SASHA SOLODUKHINA

Music videos frequently oscillate between strictly ambient or overly expository; few strike that elusive balance between telling their own story and successfully serving the music. In the video for Anna Moss’ new single “Gravy,however, director Sasha Solodukhina does all that and more. Solodukhina’s top-of-the-line music videos for local talents like Maggie Belle, Blato Zlato, and Joanna Tomassoni have earned her a reputation as the New Orleans independent music scene’s cinematic secret weapon. The video’s fantastical concept is a collaboration between Solodukhina and New Orleans surrealist artist Sarah VanDerMeer, and their opulent aesthetic blends deliciously with music written, produced, and performed by Anna Moss. A sultry ode to love’s very beginnings, “Gravy” the song is a portal unto itself, expertly deploying the triple threat of beguiling percussion, Moss’ sensuous vocals, and Ashlin Parker’s crystalline trumpet. With the three women’s artistic powers combined, the video achieves world-building of the highest order. Sound and light flicker invitingly around lush foliage to set the scene for a whimsical clay creature’s journey by boat to deliver stone fruit to a love-drunk but ever serene Moss, languid and irresistible in her underwater milk bath. Somewhat reminiscent of the sweet, sexy fantasy of ‘90s Sade videos, it’s marvelous to consider how much farther this video goes on an infinitesimal sliver of a budget. The level of embedded visual detail is so intense that appreciating it requires many, many viewings. But as I discovered, it is more or less impossible to get enough of this video, so feel free to replay with abandon until you are awestruck before the small miracle that is top-shelf art done for no more payment than love of the game. —Holly Devon

DIR: SASHA SOLODUKHINA
ANNA MOSS — “GRAVY”

Music videos frequently oscillate between strictly ambient or overly expository; few strike that elusive balance between telling their own story and successfully serving the music. In the video for Anna Moss’ new single “Gravy,however, director Sasha Solodukhina does all that and more. Solodukhina’s top-of-the-line music videos for local talents like Maggie Belle, Blato Zlato, and Joanna Tomassoni have earned her a reputation as the New Orleans independent music scene’s cinematic secret weapon. The video’s fantastical concept is a collaboration between Solodukhina and New Orleans surrealist artist Sarah VanDerMeer, and their opulent aesthetic blends deliciously with music written, produced, and performed by Anna Moss. A sultry ode to love’s very beginnings, “Gravy” the song is a portal unto itself, expertly deploying the triple threat of beguiling percussion, Moss’ sensuous vocals, and Ashlin Parker’s crystalline trumpet. With the three women’s artistic powers combined, the video achieves world-building of the highest order. Sound and light flicker invitingly around lush foliage to set the scene for a whimsical clay creature’s journey by boat to deliver stone fruit to a love-drunk but ever serene Moss, languid and irresistible in her underwater milk bath. Somewhat reminiscent of the sweet, sexy fantasy of ‘90s Sade videos, it’s marvelous to consider how much farther this video goes on an infinitesimal sliver of a budget. The level of embedded visual detail is so intense that appreciating it requires many, many viewings. But as I discovered, it is more or less impossible to get enough of this video, so feel free to replay with abandon until you are awestruck before the small miracle that is top-shelf art done for no more payment than love of the game. —Holly Devon

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