Rotary Downs is leading the charge in a post-Katrina resurgence of rock 'n' roll
in New Orleans. An unlikely sound is emerging from the Crescent City in the aftermath
of the storm-a sort of psychedelic indie rock that Alison Fensterstock of GambitWeekly
describes broadly as "fuzzy, noisy, trippy swamp music." The band released
Chained To The Chariot in the fall of 2006, an album that survived formidable
elements and obstacles. Original tapes were rescued from the deluge and evacuated
with the band to Lafayette, Louisiana where the album was completed. Chariot
is a masterpiece with commentary on many different elements of life in South Louisiana
and has quickly become a favorite among fans and critics.
Rotary Downs have been one of the driving stalwarts in the under-praised genre
of experimental indie-pop since 1999. Chained To The Chariot follows
three previous albums: Quitters EP in 2004, Long After the Thrill
in 2003, and their self-titled debut in 2001. They've emerged from Katrina fully
formed with the addition of more drums, bass, keyboards and trumpet giving their
fuzz-guitar and pedal-steel-driven sound an extra dose of texture.
The word is traveling fast about Rotary Downs after successful trips to New
York City, including remarkable shows at the Knitting Factory, Mercury Lounge,
The Delancey and Magnetic Fields. They have been a guest on public radio with
in-studio performances and interviews on the acclaimed programs Studio 360 and
WNYC's Soundcheck and the song "False Protection" has been featured
on All Songs Considered. The band just completed their inaugural trip to the
West Coast which included a sold out performance at the famed, and now closed,
Sweetwater Saloon in Mill Valley, CA. During their trip to the Golden State,
Rotary Downs was filmed for an upcoming feature on CurrentTV - the Emmy award
winning network led by former US Vice President Al Gore - which will be available
to thirty million viewers.
Fresh off the heels of a successful run of shows during the 2007 New Orleans'
Jazz Fest-including a high-profile slot at the Fairgrounds -the Big Easy's favorite
indie-rock band Rotary Downs will be on the main stage at this year's Voodoo
Rotary Downs is James Marler (lead vocal/guitar), Chris Colombo (lead guitar),
Jason Rhein (bass/vocal), Zack Smith (drums), and Cory Shultz (trumpet/keys/guitar).
"Singer James Marler sounds like has been taking double shots of thesaurus,
unraveling densely packed rhymes in his abstracted lyrics. Too lo-fi to be baroque,
too catchy to be experimental, songs like "G-7 Hit!" and "A Feast
in Squalor" swerve into woozy grooves but don't stay for long." -
"****" - Alternative Press
"The [JazzFest] set suggested New Orleans really ought to be paying a
lot more attention to Rotary Downs." - Offbeat Magazine
"[Chained To The Chariot] is a diverse album that ricochets from roots-tinged
psychedelia to edgier synth-pop to excursions along the spaceways, but with
a sure hand on the wheel." - Gambit Weekly