Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CMJ 2010 - The Wrap

CMJ 2010 - The Wrap Up

Moving on to the CMJ shows I attended on Thursday, October 21, 2010

First stop was Pianos on Ludlow Street in the heart of New York City's Lower East Side.

Super manager and show promoter Steven Matrick was keeping everything humming there at a furious pace.

I caught a band from Los Angeles called Pepper Rabbit, who went on at the tail end of the daytime events.

I found their Paul McCartney-esque sound to be pleasant and appealing.

I couldn't dawdle at Pianos for long, though as I had to get over to The Living Room (fortunately, only 2 doors down) to catch the opening featured acts for The Deli Magazine's Thursday night showcase.

Living Room owner Jennifer Gilson chats preshow with Deli Publisher Paolo DeGregorio
First up was an act I was quite curious about - Octant

The "band" (really a solo artist and his incredibly unique, hand-crafted machines) delivered a wistful sound via sad, yearning vocals and sparse arrangements. Of particular note was the robot percussion. Can hammers be programmed to emote? It almost seems possible. As you find yourself (via his lyrics) with a "shipwrecked feeling on garbage island" with "hummingbird hands." As weird as it is wonderful.

Next up was breakout artists Buke & Gass

Two amazing musicians, with the female having an equally brilliant voice. They are prog, art, jazz, rock, rhythmically twisted and everything needed in music today.

Have a listen:

Following that was a singer I had seen previously (January of this year at Glasslands), Kendra Morris. Her set at that show leaned heavier on slower, soulful burners. And despite a somewhat flashy appearance, the dancing was kept to a minimum.

Not so for this go round.

On this night Kendra did the bump and grind through her set with an energy level one might expect from a Las Vegas showgirl. With all that going on, it was still her voice that was most impressive.

This being CMJ marathon, however, I had to dash out of The Living Room and head down the street (down below Delancey) to catch the Fleck PR Showcase at Fontana's

I arrived just in time to witness the short burst blasts of bluesy punk band Two Tears

Singer Kerry Davis told me after her set that she keeps everything short, rather than "playing the same thing over and over" - makes sense to me.

Inbetween sets I managed to touch base with Fleck PR's Jo Murray

Cromwell and Jo - taking a moment at the DJ table
Up next was the much anticipated set from punk-injected southern garage rockers Gringo Star

The band had an absolutely brilliant light show (especially for a relatively small venue like this).

They had different tones and textures for nearly every one of their songs.

The green lighting was particularly stunning.

They also sounded great.

Have a listen:

Saturday - October 23

With shows scheduled to begin at the un-rock'n'roll hour of 12 Noon, one had to get up early to hear some of the better bands performing.

Heading over to Spike Hill in Brooklyn for the Saturday portion of The Deli Magazine's all day presentation, I made it just in time to catch one of my favorite bands - Dead Leaf Echo

Despite the early hour, the band was in fine form.

Mysterious dreamscapes are established via their creative projections

Ana B is a multi-talented musician, accomplished on keyboards, guitar and vocals.

Their voices blended perfectly with LG's atmospheric 12 string guitar.

Shadows and Light

LG in his element

and a moment of extasy

Following Dead Leaf Echo was the chamber pop textures of Teletextile

Frontperson Pamela Martinez brings the unique texture of a Harp to their sound.

Performing as a 3 piece, live drums and backing vocals combined with bassist/guitarist and backing vocalist Caitlin, as they complemented Pamela's moving vocals.

With a delicate, emotive sound and visually attractive presentation, there is much to like about this band.

See for yourself:

"You can't escape"

Another song:

OK - but this was CMJ you know - I couldn't stay in one place for too long! There was too much to see - too much to do. Feverishly, I contemplated what was next.

Jumping into my vehicle (lovingly known as the "Crom-wagon") I raged out of Brooklyn for the horror that is trying to find a legal cost-free street parking spot in Manhattan.

Somewhere between one and two hours later I finally found one. I usually go out in NYC at night, so I wasn't aware that Saturday is pretty much the same as Monday-Friday as far as street parking goes. Now we know. Needless to say I missed the first band I was attempting to see (no need to mention them now).

One of the cool things about New York city, though (and having to park far away from you intended venue) is all the great street art you get to see.

I am continually fascinated by it all.


I never expect to see what I do.
Finally arriving at Arlene's Grocery in the heart of NYC's Lower East Side mecca,
I caught Canadian groove-enthusiasts Young Empires

The band plays an interesting hybrid of dancefloor grooves but with rock guitar embellishments.

Guitarist Robert Ellinson placed some tasty licks and textures throughout their set.

Vocalist Matthew Vlahovich and bassist Jake Palahnuk executed well-rehearsed, professionally delivered songs.

Have a listen:

Chatting with the band after their show, its always a pleasure to meet a bunch of great guys who can joke around, engage is chatter and in general not have the dreaded head-up-your-ass disease. Young Empires qualify as all around good guys.

Following them was the moderately hyped UK band Everything Everything

Having one of theirs songs on my iPod already (Lord knows which PR press release or blog I got it from) I was curious to hear them.

A fully live 4 piece band, they put on a spirited presentation and the sound was quite good. Predominantly a vocal group (and their harmonies were well executed) with emphasis on the emotive qualities of their lead singer, it was the bassist who seemed to be the "glue" in their band concept operation.

Finally it was time for the daytime portion of the ForceFieldPR / Windish Agency headliners
Shipla Ray & Her Happy Hookers

Shipla puts on an amazing show. Her band is smokin' hot and she is borderline psycho (and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible).

Give this a listen and you'll know exactly what I mean:

"I know all about the woe is me" Indeed.

These two guys are amazingly great players.

I don't know how Shipla does it. Keeps her voice and screams like that.
Talent. That's all you can say.
Whew? Is CMJ really over?
I need to lie down for a while.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CMJ - 2010

The annual October CMJ fest in New York City can only be described as an orgy of music. Multiple "exclusive" events happening simultaneously - many in the same venue on separate floors - it can be a bit overwhelming.

Its best just to simply - pick your targets - formulate a plan - and stick to it.

Day one actually went rather well.

The really big show of the night was venerable New York City melody and noisemakers Yo La Tengo

Having already eteched their names on the walls of Alty History, it was a real treat for MOG to present them as headliners at Brooklyn Bowl.

But before we got to that point, it was early doings on this Tuesday, October 19, 2010 - the first day of CMJ.

In addition to this blog and it's associated MMN repeater feed - I also write for The Deli Magazine.

They are presenting shows all over New York for CMJ this week - and I certainly wanted to be there for the kick-off event - at The Delancey on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Meeting up with the indomitable spirit that is The Deli Magazine publisher Paolo DeGregorio

First band of the night was Brooklyn's own


The venue was intimate - and it was early - but the band never disappoints and delivered their well crafted show.

Because of space limitations, drummer Kevin had to set up on the floor in front of the rest of the band. It was actually pretty cool to have him out front there like that for once.

Guitarists Flemming and Ritchie create sonic textures, while Lindsey's bass provides a solid foundation.

Filtered in blue like an early 70s TOTP

Impressive as their show was - I had not a second to hang around and chat afterwards, as it was rush, rush, rush off to the next show.

It is truly amazing what you'll sometimes see down in the subway, waiting for a train.
Performace artist - actor - statue? All of the above, I believe.

Arriving at Brooklyn Bowl in (where else) Broolkyn, NY - I was most pleased to finally meet and chat with Mog Music Network's own Abigail Gerow. It was a spirited conversation outside the venue (making sure names were on lists, and the three or four security checkpoints were all coordinated) its always great to finally meet someone you've had a messaging relationship with for a while.

Slithering my way through the crowd, youthfully exuberant rockers - DOM were already on stage.

They put on an energetic and musically accomplished show.

DOM throttled under the MOG banner.

I drum - you riff - ok?

It really is "so sexy" (living in America)

Video screens promoted MOG thoughout the night.

The teeming masses must have CMJ goodness.

Finally it was time for headliners Yo La Tengo
Frontman Ira Kaplan opened on keyboards, and twisted significant nobs to make mysterious sounds.

"If I could get this one twist juuussst right . . ."

Georgia Hubley is an American percussionist and is one of the founding members of the alternative-rock band Yo La Tengo. (Well, that's what is says on her Wiki ;-) )

I have to borrow this line I recently read:
"the racket the three create when gathered in a single lump is inelegant, malformed and harmful to aesthetic health"Yeah - that good.

I hope to be adding (my own) actual proof of this here, soon.
Stay tuned.