Dig Baton Rouge

Fresh Heat

By John Hanley

With a new year around the corner, almost everyone is anticipating something – moving forward with resolutions, a new school semester and a fresh start. Perhaps one of the most anticipated things that comes with a new year, however, is the promise of new music. Most people know all the big-name albums scheduled for release, but here are a few talented artists from the Red Stick to keep a lookout for in 2016.


The Michael Foster Project (“Untitled”)

Anticipate a release: Right before Mardi Gras and in fall 2016

Where to find their music:

The Michael Foster Project is a New Orleans-style jazz and funk band that’s been gaining recognition in Baton Rouge for several years. The titular member and leader of the band, Michael Foster, said they had trouble deciding what to release in 2016 due to the duality of their fan base – one side of their fans enjoy the traditional New Orleans style jazz you might hear around Mardi Gras, while the other side prefers the high-energy party vibes of their hip-hop and funk music. Foster said they solved the problem by deciding to release two albums – the traditional NOLA style project will drop just in time for Mardi Gras, while the party music (including many of their originals, well-known covers and staple songs) will come along as school returns in the fall.


Ship Of Fools (“Untitled”)

Anticipate a release: April 2016

Where to find their music:



Ship of Fools is a unique, four-piece, indie rock and folk band, composed of cellist Raudol Palacios, guitarist Michael Blount, vocalist Ashley Monaghan and percussionist Eric Brown. The group is currently working on releasing a five-song EP to showcase their range of talent through “interesting arrangements” and “an unconventional use of instruments.” The group hopes to branch out after the release of the EP and potentially go on an accompanying tour.


Marcel P. Black (“Cry Freedom”)

Anticipate a release: Feb. 26, 2016

Where to find his music:


Marcel P. Black has been making waves in the southern underground hip-hop scene for quite some time. Focused around non-traditional conscious rap and social justice, Black advocates activism and speaks on “the fight to overcome the struggles in African America.” He said he takes a lot of influence from black revolutionaries like Malcolm X, George Jackson and Steven Biko, and wanted to portray a “hybrid of street guy turned black freedom fighter” on this project. “Cry Freedom” will be his 9th album, but his first release under the indie label Grand Union Media Group.


The Field (“The Field”)

Anticipate a release: Valentine’s Day 2016

The Field, formed in part by the band formerly known as You Know Who, is a relatively new collective focused around jazz, funk and R&B. The group plans to release an audio anthology of jam sessions, live shows, covers and original songs in what will likely be a double-album. JP Rivers, the group’s drummer, said the compilation is a “complete work in progress,” as they continue to work on it every time they jam. He said that a Valentine’s Day show is in the works as a debut for the album.


Two Bear Moon (“Untitled”)

Anticipate a release: Summer 2016

Where to find their music:

This acoustic folk duo is composed of artist-singer-songwriter-musicians Alexis Phillips and Matthew Schwartz (of Pacifico). The two have mainly focused on cover songs and playing gigs, but Phillips said they have an EP of original music in the works for summer 2016. She said the duo is “focused on building a collection of songs that reflect [their] romantic lust for beautiful words and haunting, soulful harmonies.”


Hazlehurst (“American Rock & Roll Part II”)

Anticipate a release: By spring 2016

Where to find their music: http://hazlehurst.bandcamp.com/releases


Hazlehurst is a local rock ‘n’ roll trio influenced by blues, southern music and modern indie rock. The band takes its name from the birthplace of Robert Johnson, “the godfather of rock ‘n’ roll.” American Rock & Roll Part II will be a continuation of Part I, which was released last year. Jesse Brooks, the band’s guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, said the band originally had an old school rock ‘n’ roll sound but that they will be pursuing a more experimental sound with this upcoming release.


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