With the sheer amount of music that's thrown out into the world these days, local and regional acts tend to get tossed to the side even by the towns from which they came. Of course, that is, only until those artists have "made it big" or have a "hit."
While national acts tend to get the majority of attention (even from writers like me), south Louisiana — specifically Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans — has tons of talented music (and comedy) constantly being released. Here are a few of my new favorites that you should give a spin.
Eric Schmitt — "Unraveling"
Singer-songwriters pervade the Baton Rouge music scene, in both good and bad ways. The entire genre can be littered with pretension or cutesy fluff with acoustic guitars. Anyone can write a song, but to do it well, that takes talent. Eric Schmitt, an English professor and former member of the roots band Flatbed Honeymoon, has that talent. His latest solo album is neither pretentious nor fluffy. It's an example of what you should think of when you hear the term "singer-songwriter." ericschmitt1.bandcamp.com.
T. Mason & the Bricklayers — "Break Ground"
If you've even been to a Baton Rouge rock show, chances are you've seen T. Mason. A long, skinny, happy, hairy dude, Mason has previously rocked with bands such as JustinBailey and Baby Boy. On this new EP, he takes the reins and leads the charge across five energetic punk songs that are as fun as they are surprisingly personal. tmasonandthebricklayers.bandcamp.com.
Loudness War — "Warm Fizz"
A restless rock quartet, Loudness War continues to prove why it's one of the best bands in Baton Rouge on this new EP. Released months after the full-length, "The Miser," "Warm Fizz" has more freak outs. The young dudes are growing up and developing their own weird fuzzy style. Rock like this can get old, but with Loudness War, it's always a blast to hear what they can come up with. loudnesswarband.bandcamp.com.
Mike Honore — "Splenda Afternoon"
A veteran on the comedy scene, Mike Honore (don't call him Uncle Phil!) finally gets his moment in the spotlight with this live recording. For so long, people have ignored local comedians in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and even New Orleans. Here's an LP full of reasons why you shouldn't. facebook.com/mikehonorecomedy.
Shrugs — self-titled
When I lived in Lafayette, I knew I couldn't hang on stage with the local bands. Most of those groups are so damned good they make you rethink playing music altogether. There's always a band over there that makes you stop, sigh and say, "That's amazing." Shrugs is a meditative, spacey, beautiful band that will give you that reaction. For those already aware of this greatness, a new three-song EP will be released Friday. shrugs.bandcamp.com.
Pope — "True Talent Champion"
If ’90s rock is dead, don't tell that to Pope. This New Orleans trio sounds straight out of 1994, and I mean that in the best way possible. The loud-quiet-loud dynamics, bursts of over-fuzzed guitars, deadpan vocals that'll make you remember groups like Heatmiser and Sebadoh — it's all there and done quite well. popeband.bandcamp.com.
Television Man — "Always"
Oh hey, remember all those great jangly alt-rock bands that you loved listening to that are now defunct because no one gave them the respect they deserved? Add this Lafayette trio to that list. Though Television Man played its last show a couple weeks ago, "Always" is an impressive document of a band that never got its due. televisionman.bandcamp.com.
Sarcotics — self-titled
A newish release from the Sickbay imprint, Sarcotics kick all sorts of tail on a new three-song EP. The first track, "It's All So Real," mixes Motown organs, furious riffs and ’70s rock attitude into something that'll give you whiplash on first listen. Something this freakishly good had to come from Lafayette, because of course it did. sarcotics.bandcamp.com.