NOLA Acts Receiving Long Overdue Critical Praise for Studio Work

As a contributor to Relix Magazine’s album reviews section, I’ve been given the opportunity to review a number of LP’s to come out of the Big Easy over the last year including ’s Carnivale Electricos, Revivalists’ City of Sound, Royal Southern Brotherhood’s debut LP and Joe Krown Trio’s Triple Threat among others.

Although most local acts are better known around the country and world as incendiary, can’t-miss live performers, a lot of critical attention has recently been focused on NOLA artists’ recent studio work as evidenced by Rebirth Brass Band’s recent GRAMMY win, Galactic’s widespread praise for Carnival Electricos, ’s exquisite four-star-across-the-board Locked Down and ’s Backatown Grammy nomination in 2010 and requisite attention surrounding last year’s For True release.

Moreover, newer, indie-associated bands like Lafayette’s GIVERS, Vox and the Hound, Big History, Generationals, MyNameIsJohnMichael and Gold and the Rush have sprung up from outside the deep ruts of the local funk scene and helped to further diversify the sounds that can be associated as local to the area – driving the point home that there is more than something happening on the scene and playing to the CMJ-adoring universe that previously hadn’t been paying much attention to the Big Easy scene.

Recently, I got to spend some time with an album that hasn’t received write-ups in mass circulation rags like Rolling Stone or the Wall Street Journal like works by more well-known locally-based acts. After a couple of spins, it was apparent that this alluring 9-song set stands on its own and further supports the well-known fact that there is a lot beneath the mainstream-visible upper echelon of the New Orleans music scene and ’s latest Allen Toussaint / Tom Drummond co-produced studio work Needle In The Groove speaks volumes to further sustain this truth.

Alas, I wanted to share the Relix review here on LMB NOLA for those who don’t subscribe to the magazine. It’s a great album worth checking into and further affirmation that I need to make it up to the Maple Leaf for PGF’s staple Monday nighter very soon…

If you have Spotify, you can listen to Needle In The Groove by going here.

Having developed their sound as a veteran live band on the NOLA club scene in the friendly confines of joints like the Maple Leaf and Tipitina’s, Papa Grows Funk delivers an LP brimming over with pop awareness and wellcrafted, down home grooves. The forward-churning momentum that the band has experienced recently beams through during self-conscious declarations, and is most apparent on “Make It Right Now,” a song organically built atop saxophonist Jason Mingledorff’s tenor solo. Led by John “Papa” Gros’ B3 rolls and the downright incendiary axe work of local June Yamagashi, wordless portions like the blithe and cheery instrumental chorus “Out of the Mud” stand out as much any verse on the record. Calling in outside forces like Allen Toussaint and Tom Drummond to co-produce could’ve made for inconsistencies, but instead, the decision delivered a cohesive, ambitious and self-defining record that captures the energy of the band’s live show.

- Volume 234 – (March/April Issue)

April 3, 2012 |  by  |  Features, Reviews
About the author

Wesley grew up in coastal Georgia and is a former resident of The Music City and The Big Easy where he helped get LMB NOLA off-the-ground after launching in January 2011. Over the past few years, he has also contributed steadily to JamBase and Relix Magazine. Recently, Hodges moved on to L.A. where Abita Beer is hard to find, costs about $6 if located and impromptu parading in the streets will most likely get you arrested on the spot.

 
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