Best Band: Lafayette Gilchrist and the New Volcanoes

Lafayette Gilchrist and the New Volcanoes are one of those bands that get more love in Europe than they do at home. But they have been banging out their big band concoction of funk, go-go, jazz, blues, and soul for over a decade now. And they keep getting better and better—and there is nothing throw-back about this music. It is now. This year’s “Blues for Freddie Gray,” with vocals by Brooks Long, is one of the band’s best recordings and shows Gilchrist at the top of his writing game. It’s music that swings and thumps and bounces—with a heady dose of wailing avant-garde horns and a subterranean sorrow that sweeps along underneath it all. The New Volcanoes rock an existential groove that shouts out the pain and the glory of being alive. Now the band is set to reach new audiences as Gilchrist’s song ‘Assume the Position’ serves as the closing credit music on “The Deuce,” the new ‘70s New York porno drama made by David Simon and George Pelecanos. But before we die, we salute y’all as the last Best Band in this last best city, a hard town by the sea (sort of).

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