Entries tagged with: CMJ
by Bill Pearis
Haley Bonar, who released 2014's very good Last War, has another band called Gramma's Boyfriend. With this band, that also features members of Cloak Ox and Andrew Bird's band, Bonar further explores her late-'80s alt-rock leanings, taking things into danceable dark new wave territory. Gramma's Boyfriend's new album, Perm, will be out via Graveface on October 9 and you can stream the synthy/smoky "Forget The Stones" below.
Gramma's Boyfriend will be in NYC for CMJ, playing the Panache showcase at Knitting Factory on October 14 with Slim Twig, Ezra Furman, Drinks, Juan Wauters, Sheer Agony, and Babe Rainbow. Tickets are on sale now.
There may be more CMJ shows announced as we get closer to the fest. Stay tuned.
by Bill Pearis
Slim Twig has released a video for "Fadeout Killer" from his new album, Thank You for Sticking wtih Twig. Like the song, there's a dreamlike quality to the video, directed by David Rendall, that has Twig running a race of one. There's also a woman in a house answering a phone. They are connected. What does it mean? That is a question probably for a therapist, but you can watch it below.
Since we last posted, Slim Twig has added a few tour dates. We knew he was going to be here for CMJ and one of those shows has been announced: Knitting Factory on October 14. That's a Panache showcase that's also with Ezra Furman, Juan Wauters, Drinks (aka Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley of White Fence), Montreal's Sheer Agony, The Babe Rainbow, Gramma's Boyfriend (featuring Haley Bonar). That is a pretty good lineup and tickets to that go on sale today at 10 AM. Poster for that show is below
Updated Slim Twin tour dates are listed, along with the "Fadeout Killer" video, below...
Brainfeeder-signed jazz musician and Kendrick Lamar/Thundercat collaborator Kamasi Washington is on tour now, and begins his two-night stay in NYC tonight (8/24) with 8 PM and 10:30 sets at the Blue Note and does it again on Tuesday (8/25). Tables for all four are sold out, but you can still reserve a spot at the bar.
His tour continues into the fall, and includes a return to NYC for a CMJ on October 15 at BRIC House. It's the first night of the venue's JazzFest Marathon, and also features Dessy Di Lauro's Neo-Ragtime, Dawn of Midi, Nir Felder, Kris Bowers, Brandee Younger, Takuya Kuroda, Ben Williams & Sound Effect, Donny McCaslin, and DJ Rich Medina. Tickets are on sale now, and the first 25 CMJ badge-holders will be admitted.
Updated dates are listed, with a video of a recent KCRW session, below...
Former Carissa's Wierd singer Jenn Ghetto's S project will continue to support last year's great Cool Choices (her first full-band album) on tour this fall. She doesn't have exact NYC shows announced yet, but we know she'll be here once again for CMJ (she was one of the artist we were excited to see at CMJ last year).
All dates are listed, with a stream of "Brunch" (one of our favorite songs of 2014), below...
by Bill Pearis
Liverpool's Hooton Tennis Club's debut album, Highest Point In Cliff Town will be out next week (8/28) in North America and is a fun mix of shambolic influences: part Pavement, part Pastels. Check out a couple tracks from it below.
The album's standout cut is "P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L P.I.E.R.R.E." and easily the most fun song by a British band to involve a spelled chorus since Pulp's "F.E.E.L.I.N.G. C.A.L.L.E.D. L.O.V.E." The band have just released a video for it, made by animator Alden Volney, that is an homage to the cheapo '60s Saturday morning cartoons à la Hanna-Barbera or Filmation. Starring Leopold the Fox and his nemesis Furious Jacques, it starts off in familiar territory, but when their slapstick chase across repeating backgrounds hits a cathedral, thing get deeply, deeply psychedelic. (This never happened to Top Cat.) Watch it till the end, below.
We hear Hooton Tennis Club will be here for CMJ. While no announcement on that has been made yet, they will be touring the UK this fall as well and those dates are listed below.
photo: Villagers at Union Pool in March (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Villagers, who were last on this side of the Atlantic around SXSW, have announced that they'll be joining John Grant on some of his North American tour dates this October, including the CMJ show he's playing at Le Poisson Rouge on 10/17 (tickets). All Villagers dates, including a West Coast run with Paul Weller, are listed below.
In Europe John Grant is signed to Bella Union who host the CMJ show happening two days earlier (10/15) at Le Poisson Rouge. Tickets are still available for that show which so far only features Mercury Rev (stay tuned for their updated lineup).
Meanwhile, Jonathan & Grasshopper from Mercury Rev are DJing this Thursday (8/20) at Backbar at The Bedford in Brooklyn. Maybe they'll preview some of their new album which is out on September 18, though you can also listen to two of the tracks streaming online now. In September you can catch Mercury Rev in Burlington, VT on September 10, Northampton, MA on 9/11 and then Hamden, CT's The Ballroom at The Outer Space on September 12 (tickets).
Around the CMJ show they'll also be playing shows in Cambridge, MA, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. All Mercury Rev dates, their DJ set flyer and Villagers/John Grant dates, below...
by Bill Pearis
Leeds band Menace Beach released their debut album, Ratworld, back in January and are already gearing up to release a new EP, Super Transporterreum, which will be out on the Memphis Industries label September 25. Like the album, this was produced by MJ of Hookworms (he also plays in the band). The title track is an ultra-catchy chunk of indie rock, and "Super Transporterreum" is one of the more unlikely sing-a-long choruses you're likely to hear (and sing) this year, but there it is. Listen, along with another track ("Ghoul Power") off the EP, below.
The band, which also includes Sky Larkin's hard-hitter Nestor Matthews on drums, will be on tour in the UK in September. No U.S. dates have been announced yet, but there have been whispers of CMJ. Stay tuned. All dates are listed below.
by Bill Pearis
London trio Kero Kero Bonito's music pays tongue-in-cheek homage to the shiny plastic future of J-pop, rapping and singing about food, playing videogames, the merits of cats vs dogs and other light conversation. Sometimes it's in English, sometimes it's in Japanese, but usually set to catchy tunes and cute prefab beats. - [Bill in March]Kitchy London trio Kero Kero Bonito, whose members include PC Music's Kane West, have a new single "Chicken" that dares you to get out there and dance. This one isn't quite as clever or infectious as previous single "Picture This," but I did enjoy the brief nod to metal they managed to work in there. You can stream or download below.
Having made their US debut at SXSW, KKB will be going on their first North American tour this fall, including NYC at Palisades on October 13. Tickets for that show go on sale Wednesday (8/12) at 10 AM. That show falls during CMJ but whether it's an official showcase or not remains to be seen. All dates are listed below.
by Bill Pearis
Belgian quintet Balthazar will release their new album, Thin Walls, in North America on September 25 via Play it Again Sam. The title comes from touring incessantly for their 2012 album, Rats, and never having any privacy on the road. The current single is the glammy, swaggering "Nightclub" and the video for that makes its premiere in this post. Watch it, and the video for "Bunker," below.
Balthazar will be touring North America this fall, and will be in NYC for CMJ. Stay tuned for details on CMJ shows, but all announced dates are listed below.
by Bill Pearis
Slim Twig's new album, Thank You For Stickin' With Twig, was released today on DFA. The Toronto singer is an interesting guy, and is really making music that doesn't sound like anything else in 2015, sounding like a lost radio broadcast from 1975 where Scott 4, The Slider and Warrior On The Edge Of Time were all being played at the same time at the wrong speed. (That's not a bad thing.) It's a cool, weird album and you can stream it in full, complete with lyrics and side introductions by Twig himself, below.
You can catch Slim Twig on tour this fall, including West Coast dates with Jack Name and he'll be in NYC in October for CMJ. Stay tuned for details on CMJ shows but all dates are listed below...
Mercury Rev's new album, The Light in You, will be out September 18 via Bella Union and if you haven't checked out first single "The Queen of Swans" you can stream it below. The band will be playing their first US electric shows in seven years this fall, including one in NYC at Le Poisson Rouge on October 15. That is Bella Union's CMJ showcase and the rest of the lineup is still TBA. Tickets go on sale Friday (7/24) at 10 AM.
All tour dates are listed, along with the song stream, below...
by Bill Pearis
Drinks, the duo Cate Le Bon and White Fence's Tim Presley, will release their debut album, Hermits On Holiday, on August 21. Where the LP's title track is fueled by Le Bon, new single "Laying Down Rock" has Presley at center stage, though musically there is still the tense, skeletal guitar-style which is the sonic glue for this album. You can stream it below.
As mentioned, Drinks' fall tour kicks off in NYC at Baby's All Right on October 10 (tickets) and while they haven't been officially announced for CMJ (10/13-10/17), those dates are currently free on their schedule. All announced dates are listed below.
by Bill Pearis
photo: Protomartyr @ The Wick in April (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Detroit's fiery Protomartyr will release their third album, The Agent Intellect, on October 9 via Hardly Art. It's named after an ancient philosophical questioning of how the mind operates in relation to the self, and the first song to be released from the album, "Why Does It Shake?," seems to relate. Says frontman Joe Casey, "It's an back-handed ode to humanity's resilient self regard in the face of inevitable oblivion. Then the trap door opens." They definitely played this one a time or two in NYC on a past tour. Listen or download below.
Last here for the BV-presented show at The Wick in April, Protomartyr will be on tour this fall. While there are no NYC shows announced right now, there is a hole in their schedule while on the East Coast that syncs up with CMJ (Oct. 13-17). Stay tuned. All dates are listed, along with The Agent Intellect artwork/tracklist and "Why Does it Shake?" stream, below.
by Bill Pearis
Swedish psych band Dungen will release their new album, Allas Sak, on September 25 via Mexican Summer. The title translates loosely to "everyone's thing" and main man Gustav Ejstes says "These songs are my everyday experiences, my thoughts and stories from the life I live. I hope people can create their own stories around the music and maybe we can make music together, the listener and I." This is Dungen's first album in five years and you can check out the rolling, mellotron-filled "Åkt Dit " from the album, below.
Dungen will be on tour this fall, and will play NYC at Baby's All Right on October 15. That show, like all their East Coast shows, is with Mexican Summer labelmates Quilt. That's during CMJ and stay tuned for the rest of the lineup. Tickets to the Baby's show go on sale Friday (6/26) at noon. All dates are listed below.
by Bill Pearis
London trio Shopping formed in 2012 and make scratchy, minimal post-punk that recalls such acts as Delta 5, Raincoats, Au Pairs, and Joseph K. Shopping get the sonics, urgency and tension right, and don't forget to pack things with memorable hooks. (Members Rachel Aggs and Billy Easter played in, respectively, Trash Kit and Wet Dog which both had a similar MO.) The band's debut album, Consumer Complaints, came out in the UK last year and was just released in North American last month via Fatcat. You can stream the whole record below.
Shopping will come to this side of the Atlantic to open on Shannon and the Clams' North American tour, which hits NYC on October 16 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (6/19) at noon with an AmEx presale starting Wednesday (6/17) at noon.
Shopping will be in NYC right before that, playing this year's CMJ (October 13-17). Stay tuned for more details on those shows. All dates are listed below.
Shannon and the Clams will release Gone by the Dawn on September 11. They recorded it with producer Sonny Smith (of Sonnny & the Sunsets) at John Vanderslice's Tiny Telephone studios in San Francisco, and you can check out smoky first single "Corvette" right now. The video and MP3 stream/download is below.
After a summer tour of Canada, Shannon will launch a North American tour this fall with UK band Shopping. That includes NYC at Music Hall of Williamsburg on October 16. That show falls during the 2015 CMJ Festival but its unclear whether this is an official showcase or not. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (6/19) at noon with an AmEx presale starting Wednesday (6/17) at noon. All tour dates are listed, along with the album artwork, tracklist, "Corvette" video/stream, below...
Marissa Nadler has no upcoming tour dates at the moment, but she just finished a tour and was in NYC to play CMJ showcases for two labels: Sacred Bones at Trans Pecos and Bella Union at Le Poisson Rouge. We don't have video from those shows, but watch a full set she played in the KEXP studios earlier this year, below. How were the NYC shows?
Meanwhile, it's Halloween, and who better to get a playlist from on this dark holiday than Marissa Nadler. Listen to the creepy holiday mix she made at Spotify. Enjoy selections by Billie Holiday, Mazzy Star, Ry Cooder, John Carpenter and more.
photos by Chris La Putt
White Fence at BVCMJ 2014
White Fence just wrapped up their tour -- with Cate Le Bon on second guitar! -- ending with a bunch of CMJ dates, including our Saturday party. We've got a second set of pictures from our show you can check out in this post.
Before the North American tour, White Fence were across the pond for Liverpool Psych Fest which happened in September. Tim Presley contributed a new White Fence song, "Before He Met Her (Decomposing Lime)" for a double-7" compilation made just for the fest by UK label Sonic Catherdral. Moragn Delt, Psychic Ills and a few others contributed to the six-song split as well. Titled Psych for Sore Eyes 2 with pretty rad packaging, it sold out its run pretty much immediately -- and crashed Big Cartel's webshop -- but will get a digital release on Monday (11/3). (We hear a few more copies have turned up so check back at Sonic Cathedral's website.) White Fence's song from the compilation makes its premiere in this post and you can stream it below.
Artwork and tracklist for Psych for Sore Eyes 2 and more pics, also below...
Bo Ningen @ BV CMJ 2014 (via @brooklynvegan instagram)
CMJ 2014 is now just a fading handstamp on our inner wrist (and maybe a slight ring in our ears). We've posted photos from our various parties and other shows we caught but we thought, before we put the fest to bed entirely, we'd pick our favorite performers from the week. This year, it just ended up that many of the bands we were looking forward to (and often had play our shows for that reason) were the ones who wowed us the most. Here's our Top 11 bands from CMJ 2014 (in alphabetical order):
Amason: This supergroup of Swedes, featuring members of Dungen, Miike Snow, and Little Majorette, made their NYC debut as part of a "It's a School Night" party hosted by onetime KEXP DJ Chris Douridas. Bowery Hotel is way swanky and the whole thing felt very LA to me (though I haven't been on the West Coast in 10 years). Amason's sound is rooted in piano-driven '70s MOR and the whole thing could've gone the wrong way, but their skilled musicianship and songwriting won out. Even through bad sound and squalls of unintended feedback, they were terrific. Sometimes middle of the road is right where you wanna be. [Bill Pearis]
Beach Slang: Beach Slang are already my personal favorite new band of this year, and their set at our official showcase only confirmed that even more. More so than any band I saw at CMJ, they had a huge chunk of the crowd who knew every word -- even when James Snyder stepped away from the mic -- and their first EP came out six months ago. The band, whose lineup includes former members of Weston, NONA and Ex Friends, play huge guitar rock anthems that recall The Replacements, Jawbreaker, and yes, early Goo Goo Dolls, but once you dive into their lyrics, earworm melodies and thrilling live show you won't be thinking about comparisons. [Andrew Sacher]
Bo Ningen: I don't have the stamina or zeal that most CMJ show-goers do so I limited my 2014 CMJ experiences to about 8 hours of the BV day and night shows on Saturday at Baby's. I am not as much of a music buff as some BV staffers, so I go into these shows completely without prejudice or preference. The highlight of the entire day for me was Bo Ningen. Shrouded in a dense fog and backed by lighting that was either a dull glow or a seizure inducing, blinding strobe, Bo Ningen blasted through a set that was a cross between Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd, early Dungen, and the Boredoms with a dash of anabolic steroids and bi-polar disorder. When silhouetted, Bo Ningen cast a surprisingly intimidating presence with their long hair, ankle length 'skirts,' and frenzied stage acrobatics. Their set was deafening and frenetic but, at the same time, completely cohesive and compelling. And loud. And at times frightening and, when accompanied by brutal strobe lighting, panic-inducing. Within their cacophony, there was definitely a musical structure but it merely held everything together by a thread and gave everything such a loose and frenetic tone. I found the Bo Ningen experience to exhilarating, scary, profound and absolutely unique. [Klaus Kinski]
Cayetana: I hadn't seen Cayetana since before their debut album had come out, and they were good then but this time they were better in every way. Part of it is that it's nice to see them now that I'm familiar with the songs and it was nice to be surrounded by a crowd who also was, but the band is also noticeably tighter and more confident. It can be cliche to say they "get better every time," but Cayetana definitely do and at this rate their future looks very bright. [AS]
Dilly Dally @ BV CMJ (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Dilly Dally: Toronto's Dilly Dally were one of the bands we were excited to see, and even as early as noon on a Friday they exceeded expectations. Their sound is great, and not easily pigeonholed. Singer Katie Monks has a voice that can turn into a roar at any given moment, but they're not really a heavy band -- it's more mid-tempo indie rock. That said, they're no slackers on stage either. They're clearly a band who's locked in and look like they belong up there. Only a few Dilly Dally songs have come out so far, but if that set is anything to go by, they may have a pretty promising album on their hands. [AS]
Fat White Family: Fat White Family are the only band on this list I saw twice at CMJ this year -- and within 10 hours at the same venue no less -- and they killed it both times. The Fat Whites look like genuinely gross dudes and they like to remove layers of clothing during their sets (which is all part of the appeal), but they're also excellent, wild performers. Crowd involvement is a part of it up front, and frontman Lias Saoudi often ends up in the audience, but even from the back of the room they're a sight to see. As far as their sound goes, it's kinda like if the Brian Jonestown Massacre had a little more Stooges in them and were on even more drugs. It's great stuff. [AS]
Girlpool: I caught Girlpool twice last week, and they were one of the few bands I deliberately watched a full set of, versus cutting out partway through, which is what usually happens as a photographer at festivals like CMJ. Their lyrics ring true, and are particularly satisfying delivered in catchy harmonies and minimally backed with just guitar and bass. [Amanda Hatfield]
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizrd: Along with Girlpool, these Australians probably played the most shows during CMJ. It felt like everywhere I went, there was the 'Giz knocking people's socks off, sometimes through sheer momentum and frenetic energy. With with three guitarists, two drummers, two singers and the occasional flute (some of these duties overlapped), they were a psych-garage semi with no brakes down a steep incline. Was there more than one song or just one really long insane one? I can't remember but it's an awesome blur. [BP]
Protomartyr: Total bias alert: Protomartyr's Under Color of Official Right will be my #1 Album of 2014 by a longshot. (Any band that sounds like Mark E Smith fronting a garage Chameleons...but from Detroit, is going to do it for me.) So it may not surprise you that I saw all four of their CMJ shows, all of which were great for different reasons: they played two new songs at Knitting Factory; tailored lyrics of "Tarpeian Rock" to be about BV comments section at our day party at Baby's; inspired a crazy pit at Death by Audio; and just basically blew the lid off Cake Shop where frontman Joe Casey admitted "First time I was at Cake Shop they served Sparks. I got really drunk and yelled at Sean Lennon." [BP]
Tweens: Garage pop trio Tweens aren't the most innovative songwriters, but what they lack in originality they make up for in pure energetic delivery. It's almost impossible to be bored at a Tweens show -- the trio speed through songs and both the band and the crowd are on a total rush. They're tight, they sound full, and they put a lot of power into those sugary songs. I loved them at SXSW earlier this year, but this one blew that away. [AS]
Ultimate Painting @ Rough Trade 10/25/2014 (via @soundbitesnyc)
Ultimate Painting: There's a reason bands have been aping The Velvet Underground's style for 40 years -- done right it always sounds great. Ultimate Painting do it very right. Jack Cooper (Mazes) and James Haore (Veronica Falls) embrace their full-sleeve influences (with dashes of early Creation and Flying Nun records) with songs that would've held up back in the day too. While their album is great, hearing and seeing that guitar interplay live is a total jolt of electricity. At their Cake Shop show on Thursday, they even dared to cover The Beatles ("If I needed Someone"), making it their own, too. [BP]
Who were your favorite CMJ bands this year?
photos by Mimi Hong, words by Andrew Sacher
Derrick from TWIABP and his lighter / Empire! Empire!
After our Friday day party during CMJ, I headed down the block to Cameo for the Topshelf Records showcase with The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate), Field Mouse, Wildhoney and Sorority Noise.
I got there while Field Mouse was on, unfortunately missing Connecticut's scrappy Sorority Noise and Baltimore shoegazers Wildhoney. Field Mouse's new album is a little shinier than their older material, but they still left room in the set for the harder-edged shoegazey stuff. They sounded good. You can catch them again on tour with The Jazz June this winter.
Empire! Empire!, who are a husband and wife duo on record, had a full band for this show and they sounded great too. Their sound pretty much comes straight from '90s emo, but they do it well. I didn't stay for TWIABP since I had seen them a few hours earlier at our day party, but from what I heard from people who were (and what the setlist says), Derrick was thrown out of the venue for holding up a lighter during one of Empire! Empire!'s songs. He did end up getting back in for TWIABP's set, but after opening with "Picture of a Tree That Doesn't Look Okay," he talked shit about the venue from the stage, then the band made harsh noise for 20 minutes, played "Getting Sodas," and walked off. As you can see above, he then also held his lighter up from the stage and tried to get the crowd to follow suit.
Our photographer caught the whole show, and more pictures of all five bands are below...
photos by Chris La Putt
Girlpool at BV day party at Baby's All Right - 10/25/14
LA duo Girlpool played about ten shows right before and during CMJ, and they'll be back in the area next week to play NYC and Long Island on their tour with Jenny Lewis. They must really love it here, because now they've added yet another show. They were added to the Halloween show at Brooklyn Night Bazaar which already has a stacked lineup of Diarrhea Planet, Hop Along, Mitski and more. That show is free and includes a costume contest ($500 cash prize), face painting and more. Sounds like a pretty good way to spend Halloween.
One of Girlpool's many CMJ shows was our Saturday day party. We already posted pictures of that show and we've got another set of Girlpool in this post. More, with their updated list of dates, below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Pink Baby
Fat White Family / FWF w/ Har Mar / OBN IIIs
If there's a way to end a five-day music festival, when you're beyond tired and maybe in a funny mental space, and somehow it's 2:30 in the morning...it's seeing Fat White Family. Which is how our 15-hour BV takeover of Baby's All Right on Saturday of CMJ (10/25 which included a day party and official evening showcase) ended. It didn't even matter that they had played hours earlier as part of our day show, they brought the insanity all over again. The day show had crazier lights and fog and opened with a psych jam, but this one was definitely more casual and got right into their best songs. The last minute late crowd was understandably not as big as the day crowd (we announced Fat Whites' 2:30am set after midnight), but almost everyone who was there was going wild, very wild, for the Fat Whites. Beers were flung to and fro, bodies atop the crowd and at least one couple was slow dancing in the middle of all this. The band was going wild too, and as he's been known to do, frontman Lias Saoudi let it all hang out. (Though one helpful audience member hilariously pulled his briefs back up.) The crowd included J. Spaceman of Spirtualized (who played NYU with the Joshua Light Show earlier in the evening) and Har Mar Superstar who, at one point, joined Fat Whites on stage. They finished their set with a encore reprise of "Touch the Leather" that seemed to rile folks up even more than when they played it maybe 40 minute earlier. All the while, they sounded great while on the knife-edge of completely falling apart. But they never did. One for the books.
Our free, impromptu late night party began around midnight with locals Sunflower Bean who are no strangers to playing Baby's All Right, and they kicked off the show with a set of psychedelic rock. NPR's Bob Boilen has since named them one of the top 10 bands he saw at CMJ.
Then came OBN IIIs, one of the artists we were excited to see this year. Orville (who is usually in pure frontman mode) was on guitar for this and their other CMJ shows. He seemed especially ornery that night. We probably all were. It was a weird set.
Beverly / Fat White Family
For the final day of CMJ (10/25), just like last year, Brooklynvegan took over Baby's All Right from noon till the wee hours, starting with our free Saturday day party (which came after our free Friday day party).
With brunch also being served in the venue, Austin's Residual Kid started off things with a youthful bounce, making indie rock that already has J. Mascis' approval and consistently lands them choice opening slots in their hometown.
UK trio Flowers were next. While their debut abum, Do What You Want To, It's What You Should Do, is lovely, the band really come alive onstage, both a bit more roughed up and beautiful at the same time. Singer Rachel Kennedy, who was celebrating her birthday that day, has one of those voices that makes you pay attention and you could hear a pin drop in the Baby's performance room during their set.
Then came young LA duo Girlpool, one of the more talked-about bands at this year's CMJ. They only have one EP and a few other tracks so far but they've definitely got a sound. They're drum-less but not empty and both girls nasally shout-sing in unison. It feels a little inspired by punk and a little drone-y in a psychedelic way, but it's also not exactly either of those things.
At this point our day party kicked into high gear with Japanese band Bo Ningen. Their set was pure sensory overload with smoke machines set to 11 and strobes going off the whole time. (For some, those free Bell's Brewery sunglasses came in handy here.) The visuals -- including the band's high-flying rock moves, seen here in silhouette -- matched the Bo Ningen's genre-defying music. Overheard: "I don't know what that was, but it was incredible." We agree (with the incredible part), as does Jon Pareles at the NY Times who says the band put on his favorite performance of CMJ 2014.
At that point, most people probably needed a palate cleanser and Beverly's sweet, fun, harmony-laden music made them the perfect sonic sorbet for the packed room.
Then came White Fence whose lineup for this tour included Cate Le Bon on second guitar and backing vocals, adding a new harmony element to the band's retro-'60s style.
Things went back into insanity mode at this point with the debaucherous mayhem that is Fat White Family. It could seem like the band's love for removing layers of clothing during their set is a schtick to make up for mediocre music, but that's not the case at all. Everyone goes hard the whole show and at times the Fat Whites were straight up mesmerizing. Not to mention the light show and all the fog going on at Baby's that day was perfect for these guys. They came back to do it again at 3 AM (more on that soon) and were just as killer.
Titus Andronicus kicked off their headlining set with a bang with "A More Perfect Union," and then went on to give a sarcastic speech about how this is CMJ, and like most bands at CMJ they've got a new record coming and are hoping to catch their big break. So most of the set included new material which did sound great (and hopefully we get to hear it recorded soon), but hearing those older favorites in a small place like Baby's was really special.
Hopefully you didn't take Titus frontman Patrick Stickles' advice and leave after their set to head to Shea Stadium because our night show which happened immediately afterwards at Baby's was great (though we're sure Shea, which Bully also played again, was fun also!).
Like on Friday, we were giving out tattoos and rum courtesy of Sailor Jerry, and once again we handed out a free keg of Bell's Brewery craft beer along with koozies, bottle openers, Bo Ningen-strobe-protecting sunglasses and other fun stuff.
Pictures from Friday are HERE. More from Saturday (and video too), below...
Dilly Dally / Tweens
The Canadian group Dilly Dally exude a combination of nonchalance and expertly-concealed nervousness. Their songs are bloody-knuckled marvels, big, hammering numbers that are grainy and gritty and yet still centered around clear and cunning pop melodies - it's like sucking into a milkshake and getting a mouthful of sand. The reference points are all late '90s - there are nods to Nirvana and L7 in both the charred scrap metal guitars and Katie Monks's roaring, blown-throat vocals. Their force and power was breathtaking, the sound of a band discovering itself in real-time and reveling in the possibilities. - [Wondering Sound]The first of our two CMJ week day parties happened on Friday and kicked off with one of the bands we were most excited about, Toronto's Dilly Dally, playing their first US show. Even with it being Friday at noon and with Colin Meloy playing a last minute set on the street a few blocks away, there was a good crowd there for their noon set -- including a lot of label folk to see the unsigned (in America) band. As the Wondering Sound review above points out, they delivered and then some.
Then came UK grungy punks The Wytches who brought shades of early Nirvana to their early set.
Tweens, who have great rock hair to go along with their undeniably catchy, spunky indie rock, followed. At this point, we'd now seen two of our top 10 live sets of CMJ week (Tweens and Dilly Dally).
Then there was King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, no strangers to Baby's All Right, who came armed with three guitarists, two drummers, a flute and an insane amount of energy. If anyone could follow Tweens, they could. The Australian band may have played more shows during CMJ than any other band and their crazed stage presence never flagged, nor did audiences bouncing. The band's new album, I'm in Your Mind Fuzz, is out on John Dwyer's Castle Face label and they've clearly nicked a few tricks from Thee Oh Sees. They barreled through their set with nary a pause for breath.
Protomartyr, whose Under Color of Official Right is one of 2014's best albums, brought a typically intense set (one of four at CMJ) characterized by inventive arrangements and killer musicianship (drummer Alex Leonard's contributions should not be undervalued). At the helm, frontman Joe Casey (wearing his free Bell's Brewery sunglasses) offered up tales of everyday life in his typical, witty and poetic off-the-cuff style. He may have also tailored lyrics for "Tarpeian Rock" for our party/commenters. Great set.
After Protomartyr, the vibe changed from post-punk cool to cathartic emo as The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die took the stage. The band fuse the genre with chamber pop-style arrangements and had multiple members singing throughout the set, including spoken word artist Chris Zizzamia joining them for a couple songs. As far as modern emo bands go, they're really a thing of their own and that was clear from Saturday's set, which unlike their Cameo show later that night, went off without a hitch.
Canadian punks Single Mothers followed with what had to be the most intense set of the day party. They were a 5-piece this time, adding in a second guitarist, and all five members were in 100% anger mode the entire time, never looking anything but intimidating. They showed up (a little) fashionably late, set up quick, and just did their thing and left. No frills, no nothing, just badass.
At noon we gave out a keg of delicious and rare (1 of less than 10 kegs in NYC) Bell's Brewery Sweet Potato Stout. Bell's was also giving out koozies, bottle openers, sunglasses and other goodies, and was represented on three of the venues taps.
Sailor Jerry drinks were also complimentary for much of the afternoon, and the buzz of a Three Kings tattoo gun could be heard in the side room all day as people signed up to win Sailor Jerry tattoos and get inked right on the spot.
We then did it all again Saturday.
More pictures from Friday below....
photos by Bao Nguyen
iLoveMakonnen / Cam'ron
FADER Fort returned during CMJ this year and wrapped up on Saturday (10/25) with a lineup surprise-headlined by Mary J. Blige. That day also featured sets from rapper iLoveMakonnen, whose Drake-assisted hit "Tuesday" is basically everywhere (and luckily he wasn't attacked this time), wannabe pop star Ryn Weaver, ambient pop musician Foxes In Fiction, veteran rapper Cam'ron who's been having a pretty good year thanks to his A-Trak collaborations, Will Smith's children Willow and Jaden Smith who played with alt-R&B singer SZA, rapper Sir Michael Rocks and UK singer George Maple.
More pictures from that day below...