In the interest of removing ourselves from the perennial New Orleans echo chambers, here's my annual look at some of my favorite overlooked albums and other releases from local artists from the past year (arranged alphabetically).
Aurora Nealand's The Monocole
In a year seemingly shaving away our last shreds of humanity, Nealand’s gorgeous, difficult pop opus exercises our brains over what it means to be human, a powerful statement from an artist whose versatility often cracks open untapped wells of new sounds and visions.
I & II
A suite of incredibly satisfying cosmic soundscapes to score an unwritten film, buried beneath the swamp.
Released in tandem with a gorgeous multimedia performance to celebrate the anniversary of the Voyager
spacecraft and its Golden Records, the Balkans-inspired band released its interpretation of Bulgarian classic “Izlel e Delyo Haidutin,” as well as an original composition, an indictment of xenophobic groupthink, asking the world to keep up with the band’s galactic ambitions despite its unfortunate earthly reality.
Nearly a decade into the duo’s prolific relationship, bending and layering guitars and vocals around powerful and malleable drums, Caddywhompus’ third album boils over with its trademark atmosphere but spends time simmering in the pop songs beneath it.
Among the breakout stars of 2017, Delish’s no-holds-barred, visceral and loud live performances are merely glimpsed in her brief blasts of raw-power raps.
Restrained, emotional, harmony-filled heartland rock ‘n’ roll from its most humid corner on the map.
... Is A Conspiracy
After 2016’s debut full-length Neurotica
, the punk band’s relentless follow-up EP burns through its four tracks like a fuse rigged to dynamite.
On her debut album, the singer-songwriter’s sophisticated neo-soul compositions challenge love and loss, social injustice, and the pain wrestled throughout, captured in cathartic bliss with an all-star lineup behind her.
The surprising debut from singer-songwriter Cherie LeJeune’s latest outfit unabashedly embraces ‘90s angst and earworm hooks. Try getting “I Never Knew You” out of your head.
Stunning melodies swimming in otherworldly lush pop and post-punk, drowned by ghosts.
"Cardinal Feather" / "Strange Endangered Bird" (Sickbay)
Julie Odell's sublime songwriting sounds as if it's about to crawl out from the speakers.
Black Man 4 Sale
Among the many ambitious projects the rapper and producer has developed over the years, this cinematic expose tackles white supremacy and black cultural appropriation, a necessary manifesto that doesn’t shy from hard truths or powerful hip-hop.
A John Carpenter- and Italian horror-inspired slasher disco from local synth experts Disko Obscura.
True Talent Champion
In its vulnerable, introspective followup to 2015's Fiction
, Pope further embraces a nostalgic sonic palette throwing grunge and ripped diary pages against its growing pains.
Proud Father / Holy Gallows split
Among the composers holding down the city’s noise- and experimentally focused scenes (and one half of the DJs behind crucial WTUL-FM program Night Gallery), Proud Father’s ambient abyss gets deeper with each listen.
Your resident tiki lounge singers invite you to sink deeper into that booth until you end up on the other side.
Quintron and Miss Pussycat
Europa My Mirror
This obviously isn't an album, but Quintron's tour diary is an illustrated, impossible to put down tribute to a road extremely traveled.
Turk Dietrich (Belong) and Joshua Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv) made one of the most exciting electronic albums of 2016 with its self-titled debut. It outdid itself with an ecstatic assembly of wire-crossing signals on S/W
, each sound eclipsing the next, amounting to a brilliant burst of rhythm and noise.
Milk For My Tears
A surprising, sprawling epic of progressive pop and lush arrangements that comfortably avoid labels.
"Drug Culture" / "I Don't Play Games" (Space Taker Sounds) and Trampoline Team / Mama split (Giveaway Records)
Trampoline Team's two 2017 7-inch releases show off the band's dual personalities: a lightning fast double dose on a single from Space Taker Sounds, the other a one-two punch of pitch-perfect snot-nosed pop punk.