“Homies”/“Bingo Bango” is the new double A-side single from Hot 8 Brass Band, out 28th October on Tru Thoughts.
One of the most revered contemporary brass bands, with a milestone year of music and touring behind them Hot 8 are at the heart of a current fever for all things brass, highlighted in recent special features in the Guardian Guide and The Huey Show (BBC 6Music). This upcoming single brings together a track from each of Hot 8 Brass Band’s two most recent albums, a pair of linked LPs released just six months apart to tell one story, that of the tumultuous lives of the New Orleans band and the music that defines their city and keeps them marching on.
The first piece of this two album set was ‘The Life & Times Of… The Hot 8 Brass Band’, which dropped in November 2012, ending the five year wait since their debut. Four and five star reviews including The Observer, MOJO, Metro, Songlines and The Big Issue, and widespread major UK and international radio support, greeted the release, which shone the limelight onto the straight-up party side of the band with big grooves and joyous, spirited jams.
Part two was ‘Tombstone’, in May 2013, a thematically more sombre record which presented another chapter in Hot 8’s history - a new window onto the lives, the friendships, the heartbreaks, the roots and culture of New Orleans brass music and its players. While still rocking with an incendiary party spirit, and bringing huge acclaim, the majority of the songs carried a lyrical poignancy, as personal dedications in memory of the Hot 8 band members and other dear friends who have passed away. “These two records celebrate the times we have had both before and after the storm. Burying our dead and letting their spirits soar, celebrating our city and the lives that our band mates have lived”, explained bandleader and tuba Bennie Pete, of these two complementary releases.
Opening this new single, “Homies” is taken from the ‘Tombstone’ album, and epitomises the spirit of the record. It is, in the words of Bennie Pete, “dedicated to everybody we miss, and everybody that misses someone”. Performed in loving memory of all their deceased band members Demond Dorsey, Jacob Johnson, Dinerral Shavers and Joseph Williams, it also stands in recognition of all lost family members, friends and musicians everywhere: “I miss my homie, since he’s gone away; I miss my homie, every single day” goes the raw, simple and heartfelt chorus line.
Complementing the original composition on the A-side, on the flip, “Bingo Bango” is an inspired cover version in the grand brass band tradition; this house track simply pulsates with New Orleans street energy at the hands of Hot 8. This ebullient record is a loving nod to their collaborative past with Basement Jaxx, for whose album they recorded horn parts, and has become a live favourite since it appeared on ‘The Life & Times Of…’.
Hot 8 Brass Band will soon announce tour dates for Autumn 2013, following a massive Fuji Rock appearance, and marking the third European tour of the year for this roof-raising live band. Having always attracted attention for their music and their story (including featuring in Spike Lee’s documentary When the Levees Broke and the recent HBO series Treme), on recent visits, Hot 8’s ever-growing appeal has led to their most diverse slew of media appearances yet, with sessions for Guardian Music, Cerys Matthews (BBC 6Music), 1Xtra Breakfast, Loose Ends (BBC R4), Monocle 24, and feature interviews including Craig Charles (BBC 6Music) and The Sunday Times.