Entries tagged with: CMJ

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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.

Continue reading "Belgian band Balthazar releasing 'Thin Walls,' share "Nightclub" video, touring, playing CMJ (dates, streams)"

by Bill Pearis

Slim Twig

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...

Continue reading "Slim Twig streaming new DFA album 'Thank You For Stickin' With Twig,' touring, playing NYC during CMJ"

Mercury Rev CMJ

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...

Continue reading "Mercury Rev announce tour dates, playing CMJ"

by Bill Pearis

Drinks Cate Le Bon Tim Presley White FEnce

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.

Continue reading "Drinks (Cate Le Bon / Tim Presley) share new single "Laying Down Rock" from debut album "

by Bill Pearis

photo: Protomartyr @ The Wick in April (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Protomartyr at the Wick

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.

Continue reading "Protomartyr announce 'The Agent Intellect,' share "Why Does it Shake?" and touring this fall (dates)"

by Bill Pearis

Dungen 2015

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.

Continue reading "Dungen announce 'Allas Sak' LP, share first single, touring this fall including CMJ & dates with Quilt"

by Bill Pearis

London band Shopping

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 WilliamsburgTickets 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.

Continue reading "UK trio Shopping released 'Consumer Complaints,' playing CMJ before tour with Shannon and the Clams"

Shannon & the Clams

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...

Continue reading "Shannon and the Clams announce 'Gone by the Dawn," share first single, touring (dates & streams)"

Marissa Nadler

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.

Continue reading "Marissa Nadler played CMJ, made a Halloween playlist (listen)"

photos by Chris La Putt

White Fence at BVCMJ 2014
White Fence

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...

Continue reading "White Fence contribute new song to 'Psych for Sore Eyes 2' comp (stream it) ++ more pics from BV CMJ day party"

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

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

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!
Empire Empire I Was A Lonely Estate

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...

Continue reading "TWIABP, Empire! Empire!, Field Mouse, Wildhoney & Sorority Noise played the Topshelf CMJ showcase at Cameo (pics)"

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...

Continue reading "Girlpool added to Halloween at BK Bazaar w/ Diarrhea Planet, Hop Along & Mitski (updated dates & more CMJ pics)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Pink Baby

Fat White Family / FWF w/ Har Mar / OBN IIIs
BV CMJ Late Show Saturday
BV CMJ Late Show Saturday
BV CMJ Late Show Saturday

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.

Pics of our two day shows at Baby's All Right are HERE and HERE. Saturday night is HERE. More from our late night CMJ capper, including a few that fall into the NSFW category, below...

Continue reading "Fat White Family, OBN IIIs & Sunflower Bean played our late Saturday night show @ Baby's (pics)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield & Chris La Putt & Nate 'Igor' Smith; words by Pink Baby

Beverly / Fat White Family
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. 

Next up were Nashville's Bully whose fuzzy and tuneful songs helped ease into our final day. Their next two shows are opening for Kevin Drew in November.

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.

Bo Ningen
Bo Ningen

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...

Continue reading "Titus Andronicus, Fat White Family, Bo Ningen, Girlpool, Beverly & more played our Saturday day party (pics, video)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield and Chris La Putt; words by Pink Baby

Dilly Dally / Tweens
BV CMJ Day Show Friday
BV CMJ Day Show Friday

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.

Single Mothers
Single Mothers

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.

Twin Peaks wrapped up Friday's day party without tearing down any of the acoustic ceiling tiles this time, but it was still a spirited set.

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....

Continue reading "Twin Peaks, TWIABP, Protomartyr, Single Mothers, Dilly Dally, Tweens & more played BV's Friday CMJ day party (pics)"

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...

Continue reading "FADER Fort Saturday in pics: iLoveMakonnen, Cam'ron, Foxes In Fiction, Jaden & Willow Smith, SZA, George Maple, more"

photos by Bao Nguyen

Mary J. Blige

Like South by Southwest, CMJ can start the campaign for a new pop product. On an album due in December, the R&B singer Mary J. Blige has been reinventing her music in sessions with London producers of electronic dance music like Disclosure. In an unannounced miniset at the Fader Fort Presented by Converse, singing to recorded tracks, Ms. Blige proved her voice could be just as forthright over a club-music beat as with an R&B band. (She remarked that she hadn't performed without instruments since 1992.) [NY Times]
FADER Fort at CMJ was full of surprises like Dev Hynes on Thursday and Mary J. Blige on Saturday (10/25). A video of her debuting "My Loving" from her upcoming album, The London Sessions, is below. Pictures of her set are in this post.

The London Sessions, due November 24 in the UK and December 2 in the US via Capitol Records, has the veteran R&B singer going in a more electronic direction and it features production and co-writing from Disclosure, Sam Smith, Emeli Sande, Naughty Boy and others. The Disclosure contribution follows Mary teaming up with the duo for a new version of their song "F For You" which they've performed live together more than once. "Right Now," which was produced by Disclosure and co-written by them and Sam Smith, recently got the video treatment and that can be watched below.

More pictures from FADER Fort, and both videos, below...

Continue reading "Mary J. Blige surprised FADER Fort, debuted a new song (pics), made a video for her Disclosure/Sam Smith collab"

photos by Amanda Hatfield & Mimi Hong, words by Andrew Sacher

Beach Slang / Pity Sex / The Jazz June
BV CMJ Showcase Saturday
BV CMJ Showcase Saturday
BV CMJ Showcase Saturday

After our Saturday (10/25) day party at Baby's All Right, we went right into the official BrooklynVegan CMJ showcase with The Jazz June, Pity Sex, Beach Slang, Cayetana and Sport. Sport, who are in the US from France for just a few shows on their way to The Fest, started a little after 8 and were unfortunately forced to play as a 3-piece due to their other guitarist's hand injury. Even with the smaller setup though, Sport sounded great. Somewhere between a hardcore band and noodly emo, there's obvious influences on their sound but they really have a cool thing going on and never sound like one particular band. A small group of people up front were clearly familiar and knew every word, but it seemed like Sport won over even those who weren't. They were a great start to what would be an all around great night.

Cayetana followed. I hadn't seen them since they opened for The Menzingers before their album was out, and they were great then too, but Saturday's show was on another level. They were super tight, and considering Augusta Koch's lyrics are a huge part of their sound it was great to hear her voice cutting through the mix loud and clear. Up next were their Philly neighbors and Tiny Engines labelmates Beach Slang, who kept the good vibes going and inspired the biggest singalongs of the night. They played all seven full-band songs from their two EPs and even though it had only been 11 days since they last played them in NYC, it was refreshing all over again.

Pity Sex followed, and they've come a long way since they played our CMJ day party on the same stage almost exactly a year ago. Their debut album had been out for a few months at that point, but it's really picked up steam and this time the room was packed with people who clearly knew the songs. My personal highlight was that it was the first time they played the stripped-down Britty Drake-fronted "Hollow Body" at a full-band show, and like at Webster in August they included their spot-on cover of the PIxies' "Gigantic" which is always super fun.

The show wrapped with a set from The Jazz June, the one veteran band on the bill, but their set wasn't only nostalgia. They've got a new album coming in November (their first in 12 years) and the songs they played off that fit right in with the newer bands on the bill. Of course they included old favorites too, and in a year that's had no lack of reunions from the late '90s emo scene, it was great to hear The Jazz June's stuff holding up and played in great form too.

In between sets, Tom Mullen from Washed Up Emo spun golden era emo which inspired a few singalongs from the crowd up front. Thanks to Tom, all the bands, everyone at Baby's All Right and everyone who came out to the show. We hope you had as much fun as we did.

More pictures from the whole night, below...

Continue reading "The Jazz June, Pity Sex, Beach Slang, Cayetana & Sport played our official CMJ showcase at Baby's All Right (pics)"

photos by PSquared; words by Bill Pearis

Slowdive @ Terminal 5, 10/25/2014

MT: How did you choose the songs you wanted to play on the reunion tour?

Rachel Goswell: We did like a Twitter and Facebook thing to see what people wanted to hear, and we've rehearsed a few more songs for the American tour that we haven't played live before, so that's really exciting. There's kind of like the standard ones, it's interesting over the summer playing songs like "40 Days." Some of the members don't really like playing it because they don't think it sounds that good, but it always goes down really really well live. It's kind of having to adjust your own feelings on certain songs sometimes and chopping the set around. You want everyone to enjoy it, obviously. It's just kind of making sure the songs sound the best they can sound live, which is the most important thing for us. We're really excited about the visual aspect of the shows that we're going to do in North America because it's all so exciting, the things being sorted out by our lighting guy. - [Music Times]

Slowdive spent their original '90s run in relative obscurity but cast a long shadow, resulting in this year's reformation seeing them tour much bigger places than they ever did 20 years ago. In fact, Saturday's show at NYC's Terminal 5, also part of CMJ, was their biggest headlining show in their history. (Not counting giant festival gigs like Primavera Sound.) The place was absolutely packed -- five deep along the balconies -- and the band's oceanic sound fit T5's cavernous nature perfectly. While not the most exciting band to watch live, they came with a dazzling light show and you could always just close your eyes and let the sound wash over you. It was also a trip to watch the sea of people on the floor bobbing their heads in unison throughout the show. For those who didn't get enough (or didn't get to go), singer Rachel Goswell told the crowd "See you next year" before leaving the stage. The band will begin working on a new album in early 2015. Meanwhile, pictures and setlist from T5 are in this post.

Low were perfect openers for this show, similar in mood and their sparse, echoey sound also fit really well with T5's acoustics. Pictures from their set, and more from Slowdive, below...

Continue reading "Slowdive played their "biggest show ever" at Terminal 5 with Low (pics, setlist)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Self Defense Family / Walter Schreifels & the Dead Heavens
Self Defense Family
Walter Schreifels and the Dead Heavens

"We're competing with Obits," Self Defense Family lead singer Patrick Kindlon proudly declared last night on stage at The Acheron. "You don't know them? They're ex-members of that other band I don't give a shit about."

Never afraid to talk some shit and drop some names, Kindlon's onstage rants are what audiences have come to expect from Self Defense Family's live shows. Acutely aware of his niche (between DIY post-punk and 90s experimental rock) and the fact that their Brookyn Vegan/Iron Pier sponsored CMJ showcase was technically unofficial, Kindlon stood at the crossroads between criticizing the things other bands would deem off-limits, and defensively throwing himself under the bus before anyone else could. Unlike bands on official CMJ shows, Self Defense Family, also known as Self Defense and formerly known as End of a Year, did not come to a tiny room in Brooklyn to become the next big thing - truly, they were there for the music alone.

..."The Family comprises a collective, with myriad members contributing to the incessant cycle of releases and ever-changing live lineup. One never knows who to expect to see on stage, nor can they predict how familiar songs will be interpreted for that specific lineup. Using a model of improvisation, even tracks like "Tithe Pig" and "Turn the Fan On" from the band's latest full-length, Try Me, felt unfamiliar live. [Cultivora]

The Iron Pier showcase during CMJ week (co-presented by BrooklynVegan) went down at the Acheron this past Thursday (10/23), headlined by the eclectic post-hardcore collective Self Defense Family. It also featured post-hardcore veteran Walter Schreifels' (Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand, etc) new blues rock-inspired band The Dead Heavens, and an opening set from locals Deep Pockets. If you made it out, what did you think?

Pictures of the show are in this post and continue below...

Continue reading "Self Defense Family, Walter Schreifels & Deep Pockets played the Iron Pier/BV showcase at Acheron during CMJ (pics)"

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard @ BVCMJ 10/24/2014

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard on now at Baby's All Right for the free BrooklynVegan #cmj day show

A photo posted by Brooklyn Vegan (@brooklynvegan) on

We're on the last day of CMJ -- White Fence just wrapped up their set at our day party and our official CMJ showcase starts in just a bit -- but for those who want to extend the music a little longer, don't forget you can catch some of more active bands this week play stripped down sets over brunch at the DO-NYC / Panache CMJ Hangover Party at Baby's All Right on Sunday (10/25) afternoon. Here's the lineup:

Panache CMJ Hangover Day Party!
MAIN STAGE - White fence 5PM
MAIN STAGE King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 4:15PM
BAR ROOM Juan Wauters 3:15PM
SIDE BAR Tiny Ruins 2:30PM
BAR ROOM Guy Blakeslee 1:45PM
SIDE BAR Christian Peslak 1PM
The show is free and, as you may have gathered, acts will be playing in either the side bar or the main bar for most of the day till things move into the performance space for King Gizzard (who were great at our Friday day party) and White Fence. If you missed them, or want to see them agian, here's another chance. You can RSVP here.

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Widowspeak / Homeshake / Dinner / Mega Bog
Captured Tracks CMJ Day Party
Captured Tracks CMJ Day Party
Captured Tracks CMJ Day Party
Captured Tracks CMJ Day Party

Captured Tracks threw a CMJ week day party at Baby's All Right on Thursday (10/23) with some of their newer signings, plus the only show this week from Widowspeak. The day featured LA band Girl Tears, Seattle's scrappy pop band Mega Bog, Mac DeMarco cohorts Homeshake, the part-guided-meditation-part-dance-party that is Dinner. Pictures from those sets are in this post -- we missed opener Juan Wauters (sorry, Juan).

Meanwhile, in the front room, Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy and Mac DeMarco were spinning tunes. A couple shots of them, and lots more pics of the bands are below...

Continue reading "Widowspeak, Mega Bog, Homeshake, Girl Tears, Dinner & more played Captured Tracks' day party at Baby's (pics)"

photos by Chris La Putt

Tweens / PAWS / Lee Bains III @ Arlene's Grocery 10/22/2014
Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires

While Amanda was at Pianos on Wednesday (10/22), fellow BV photographer Chris La Putt was at nearby Arlene's Grocery for the Never Better CMJ day party where there was a rockin' bill of grungy Scottish trio PAWS, southern sleazy riffmongers Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires, poppy/punky Tweens, and Manchester, UK's attitude-heavy PINS. Then, as a palate cleanser, he swung by Rockwood Music Hall to catch soulful Brooklyn duo She Keeps Bees.

Pictures from those sets are in this post, with more below...

Continue reading "more CMJ Wednesday day party pictures: Tweens, PAWS, Lee Bains III, PINS & She Keeps Bees"

Drake @ SOB's (via)

Though Drake didn't make an appearance with his friend iLoveMakonnen at SOB's on Tuesday (maybe he could have broke up the fight), he did show up last night at the same club to make a CMJ guest appearance with his other friend Partynextdoor. Video below.

iLoveMakonnen plays CMJ again at Fader Fort.

Speaking of not-so surprising CMJ guest appearances and Fader Fort, Dev Hynes joined his friend and collaborator Kindness on stage at Fader Fort late last night. Rapper DeJ Loaf (who brought out Remy Ma and her mom at Santos Tuesday) also joined rappers Rae Sremmurd (who played SOB's Tuesday before iLoveMakonnen who also joined Rae Sremmurd on stage).

Last night was also the late Joey Bada$$ and Vince Staples show at Highline Ballroomm, but more about that one later.

Mac DeMarco, who DJs again at Brooklyn Bowl on Saturday night, showed up to DJ the Captured Tracks day party at Baby's All Right yesterday, after a DJ set by PP's Meredith Graves.

The day parties at Baby's All Right TODAY (10/24) AND TOMORROW are our BrooklynVegan ones. Hope to see you there.

Fader Fort continues tonight. Watch a video of FADER spending the day with Vince Staples before his recent SOB's show, with the Drake video, below...

Continue reading "Drake surprised SOB's last night, Dev Hynes played with Kindness, Mac DeMarco DJ'd & more (it's CMJ)"