Sunday, September 20, 2009


By Cecil Doyle

Givers are already putting their name to the test. With only a modest number of live performances and a newly released five-song e.p. under their belts, this young Lafayette area quintet have already managed to make a quick, loud, impressive and beautiful noise. Having caught the attention of Brooklyn-based indie rock darlings, Dirty Projectors; the group has landed an opening slot on a leg of their current tour next month that will run through Baltimore, Philadelphia, D.C., Atlanta and Austin. An October 25th downtown appearance at Nitetown will certainly be a high water mark in their brief career.

Combining intricately weaving, lofty vocal harmonies and moves (courtesy of Taylor Guarisco and Tif 'Teddy' Lamson) with innovative beds of seemingly ever-evolving rhythms derived from musical traditions as diverse as South African township jive, guitar-ringing Congolese soukous, Latin salsa, Jamaican ska and pure Eighties dancewave; Givers have formulated one of the most infectious and commercially viable sounds to come out of this town in quite some time.

Their debut recording has just been released. Surprisingly, it was put out under the Valcour imprint (the bold, upstart South Louisiana roots music label headed by Joel Savoy and Lucius Fontenot). It's a simply amazing endeavor featuring just five new tracks (one of them being a sort of 'dub' remix of the opening number, "Up, Up, Up") with backings provided by Will Henderson (keyboards, samples, sax & flute), Josh LeBlanc (bass, trumpet) and Kirby Campbell (drums, percussion). It's a happy sound - a positive, elevating and danceable vibe that's all but sorely missing from much of today's music. Their live shows are pure grinfests. Every few seconds, the numbers shift styles and musical nods while remaining solidly whole and rhythmically capturing. Your tailbone gets pinched and involuntarily rotated, whether you like that sort of thing or not! There's a faint familiarity akin to what Talking Heads (or more accurately, their offshoots - The Tom Tom Club) brought to Popular Music circa 1977-1982, that being the fusion of new music sensibilities with a variety of international styles accenting soaring and twisting vocals and backbeats. The result is total 21st Century, however. That they can and have done so much with so little (in material and time) is a testament to their potential.

For more on Givers, check out their webpage at or Valcour Records' site at

Cecil Doyle, originally from Mamou, knows everything there is to know about music. He hosts the Medicine Ball Caravan every Monday - Thursday at 11am and Jah Mon heard weekly on KRVS 88.7. He also serves at the station's Music Contact.

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