Gambit and file-sharing Web site Limewire have teamed up to release the latest Ear to the Ground compilation, a free and DRM-free serving of 19 songs from Louisiana artists selected by Gambit staff. Limewire's globetrotting series seeks to sample the best and brightest from international music scenes.
In New Orleans, the compilation looks beyond the funk, blues and jazz, and reflects the city's growing and diverse rock music scene. Younger bands are creating new brass band traditions (Silent Cinema, Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship?), and New Orleans rock 'n' roll can come from non-Orleanians (The Pharmacy, Loren Murrell). Thunderous metal mammoths (Thou) play a few clicks after boozy New Orleans soul singers (Silent Cinema). Wide-eyed, sweet-acidic pop (GIVERS) segues into a giant of a man's hallucinatory funk (One Man Machine & the Powers That Be!). The compilation includes up-and-coming groups (1990s indie rock purists Lovey Dovies, noisemakers Caddywhompus, folkies Giant Cloud) and the acclaimed (Theresa Andersson, MyNameIsJohnMichael, Generationals).
The collection brings together different musical circles. New Orleans Indie Rock Collective favorite Big Rock Candy Mountain mingles with the DIY punks in Fatter Than Albert and Thou, and long-standing alt-rock outfits White Bitch and Big Blue Marble meet the freshman class in psych-pop outsiders Brass Bed and Giant Cloud.
If the teachers of "New Orleans music" are Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, Cosimo Matassa and all that is Neville family-related, its students are represented here: Andersson channels Irma Thomas, and Generationals and the Pharmacy study warm 1960s soul. Obviously, not one sounds like its predecessor, but that's the point.
The compilation can be downloaded for free at www.store.limewire.com/nola.