Finding Cajun and zydeco CDs in "World Music" record store bins has always annoyed me, especially when they are filed that way in stores in Houston. Sure, some lyrics are in French, but when you get right down to it, most modern zydeco has about as much business in the world music section as Labelle's "Lady Marmalade" and its voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir chorus. And then there's that whole thing with zydeco being more or less the official music of some neighborhoods right here in town.
But if there is a zydeco-tinged band on the Gulf Coast that you could truly describe as music beyond borders, it is this gang of tattooed twentysomethings from New Orleans. Zydeco and punk only begin to describe their mix, which also includes hypnotic Balfa Brothers-style Cajun melodies, frenzied klezmer, Breton folk and rollicking Gypsy styles; vocals come phrased not just in French, Spanish and English but also in Yiddish, Portuguese and German. So as they say in FrenGermIsh, laissez los güt tiempos rouler!
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Local Irish rockers Blaggards are fresh off a national tour and a stint in Austin, which saw them as both the only Celtic-based band on SXSW's official talent roster and as one of the stars of the capital's St. Patrick's Day celebration. Blaggards don't musically span the globe à la Zydepunks. Instead, their formula is straightforward: Take trad Irish music, combine it with rock and ratchet up the pressure till the rivets start to pop. Dubliner Patrick Devlin and company more than make up for the simplicity of this idea with the sheer AC/DC-like intensity of their "stout Irish rock."