Inn Like Flint

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Tomorrow night the City Life will debut its new single, "White Elephant," at Carrollton Station alongside homeboys Fay Wray. The guitar-driven track, an angular post-punk rocker with happy feet that bears striking resemblance to Franz Ferdinand’s “The Dark of the Matinee,” is easily the top horse in the emerging quintet’s impressive stable of restless-leg dance anthems. It's perhaps my second-favorite NOLA rock song of the moment.

Now, I have yet to witness the City Life do the “Elephant,” but it would be tough to imagine the band — or any local band, for that matter — topping the live rendition of “Ernest Borgnine” put on by Antenna Inn. The latter, a nine-piece jazz/rock outfit, has its shortcomings, nearly all of which revolve around its proclivity for emo vocals and overblown poems (see: “The mind is a crazy thing/But only when you listen to it”). It’s hard to find fault with the group’s onstage product, however, which at times borders on a sonic orgy and is always a study in glorious excess.

Dueling drum kits. Mid-song instrument swaps. Tag-teamed vibraphone solos. Curtain-dropping rhythm circles. Each of these made an appearance at a recent Blue Nile gig, and all on the encore performance of “Borgnine,” a 7-minute syncopation lesson that borrows parts from the Mercury Program, Tortoise, Aloha, Danny Elfman and Steely Dan and sounds precisely like none of them. It starts with two plunks on a piano and ends with a leisurely, lounge-y keys/brass/bass waltz. In between there are itchy cymbals and scratch snares; multiple polyrhythmic, Elfmanesque vibe-offs that evoke snowflakes colliding in a Tim Burton-directed blizzard; and that wordless, “ooh-ooh-hoo-ooh-hoo” falsetto hook that eventually should catch Antenna Inn the record deal it's been fishing for. With music this good, who the hell needs lyrics? (Seriously, fellas — who needs 'em.)

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