by Andrew Sacher
Joanna Gruesome at Pianos (photo by Amanda Hatfield for BrooklynVegan Instagram)
The biggest surprise for me at CMJ so far had to be Welsh band Joanna Gruesome, who I caught yesterday (10/16) at the Kanine Records/SESAC party at Pianos (one of many CMJ shows the band has). I arrived a few more minutes before they started, and the crowd was already packed in all the way back to the door. And once they came on, the buzz for this band became pretty clear. From the sounds of their noise pop debut Weird Sister (out now on Slumberland), I expected something a bit more restrained and stripped down, but Joanna Gruesome are a beast of a live band. They wail on their guitars in that post-Sonic Youth style that always tends to be welcome in indie rock, they have the stage presence of a band who have toured relentlessly (they deserve to be playing this many CMJ shows) and the intensity of singer Alanna Gruesome (née Alanna McArdle) is no small part of that. Her balance of piercing shouts and softer twee-pop singing can get a bit buried on the record, but at Pianos yesterday, she took command over the entire room.
Joanna Gruesome have more shows coming up this week, and all of them are listed, along with full lineups, below...
Joanna Gruesome -- CMJ 2013 Tour Dates
10/17 New York, NY - Cakeshop (Capeshok Presents) w/ Weird Womb, American Sharks, Dirty Fences, Nancy, Tweens
10/18 Brooklyn, NY - Shea Stadium (Portals Music, FREE) Arnold, Born Gold, Pity Sex, Julia Brown, Homeshake
10/18 Brooklyn, NY - 285 Kent (Pitchfork showcase) w/ Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Priests, Speedy Ortiz, Perfect Pussy, Eleanor Friedberger (solo), and Courtney Barnett
10/19 Brooklyn, NY - The Rock Shop (Lost Colony party) w/ Great Lakes, Fan Modine, Room Full of Strangers, Sophie Auster, Riverwild, Three Thousand Crowns
10/19 Brooklyn, NY - Death By Audio (Agency Group showcase) w/ Hookworms, "Andy Spamburg," Ex-Cult (TN), Kirin J Callinin