Entries tagged with: Dum Dum Girls
David Byrne & St. Vincent @ Pop Montreal 2012 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
today in NYC
* David J @ The Delancey
* Sanda Weigl @ Joe's Pub
* The Bad Plus @ Mercury Lounge
* The G String Orchestra @ Barbes
* Carol Lipnik and Spookorama @ Barbes
* Weekend, Woodsman, Eraas @ Cameo Gallery
* Herzog Rising, Ballroom, BC @ Union Pool
* David Byrne, St. Vincent @ Beacon Theater
* Saint Vitus, Weedeater, Sourvein @ Saint Vitus
* Big Business, Gay Witch Abortion @ Maxwell's
* Two Gallants, Papa @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* Karan Casey w/ Niall & Cillian Vallely @ Joe's Pub
* Gotye, Missy Higgins, Jonti @ Radio City Music Hall
* Dirty Projectors, Lavender Diamond @ The Capitol Theatre
* R. Stevie Moore, Love as Laughter @ Knitting Factory Brooklyn
* Marc Edwards/Weasel Walter, Violent Bullshit, Aperiodic @ Cake Shop
* Anti-Pop Consortium, Rafiq Bhatia, Alexander Overington @ Pianos
* Rich Aucoin, Stepdad, Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt, Bernsden @ Glasslands
* Rob Tannenbaum, Craig Marks, Chuck Klosterman @ Book Court
* We Have The Technology, Grace Banks, The Nepotist @ Pianos (Upstairs)
* Gross Relations, Punks On Mars, A Rex & J Rex, Young Boys @ 285 Kent Avenue
* Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk, Tall Tall Trees, Emily Mure @ The Rock Shop
* Guerilla Toss, Fat History Month, The Dreebs, Cave Bear, Mr. Transylvania @ Death By Audio
* Diamond Terrifier, The AM Group, Marcia Bassett + Samara Lubelski, Beer Damage, Tetsuo Rebirth @ Zebulon
* Comic Books Club w/ Fernando Ruiz, Fabio Redivo, Anthony Marques @ Fontanas
David Byrne and St. Vincent are here this week, playing the Beacon Theatre tonight and tomorrow (9/26) and Williamsburg Park on Saturday (9/29). You can read BV Chicago's review from last week if you want to know what to expect, as well as bandmember Kelly Pratt's tour diary.
Another David is in town, too. Onetime Bauhaus and Love & Rockets bassist David J. performs tonight at The Delancey.
Onetime Bay Area noisemakers Weekend make their debut as Brooklyn residents tonight at Cameo with Woodsman and ERAAS.
Meanwhile at 285 Kent, it's a similar, if gloomier, vibe with four local bands: A Rex & J Rex, Young Boys, Punks on Mars and Gross Relations. Only $5 for this one and you can stream Young Boys' most recent EP below.
Rock writers Rob Tannenbaum and Craig Marks celebrate the paperback release of their book I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution at Rob Tannenbaum, Craig Marks, Chuck Klosterman @ Book Court">Book Court in Brooklyn. Moderated by Chuck Klosterman, they'll discuss "the heyday of music videos, and whether or not MTV now sucks." The event is free and starts at 7 PM.
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Chelsea Wolfe, whose new album, Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs, is out next month, was filmed beautifully performing "The Way We Used To" by Out Of Town Films. Watch below.
Dum Dum Girls at MHOW in February (more by Amanda Hatfield)
As mentioned, Dum Dum Girls are releasing their new EP, End of Daze, on September 25 via Sub Pop. The girls dropped the EP's single, "Lord Knows," back in August, and now they've got the whole EP streaming a week ahead of its release. You can listen to it below (via Stereogum).
As discussed, the band will play a release party for the EP in NYC at Europa on September 30 with Starred and Chez Deep. Tickets for that show are still available. They'll stick around after that show and play a free in-store at Other Music (10/1, 8 PM) the next day.
Other Music will also host a free in-store for Niki & the Dove on September 26, also 8 PM, the day before their tour with Twin Shadow comes to NYC for a sold out two-night run.
Dum Dum Girls EP stream and a list of updated dates are below.
by Bill Pearis
Dum Dum Girls at Osheaga 2012 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
Dum Dum Girls' new EP, End of Daze, is out September 25 finds Dee Dee and the rest of the girls expanding their sound into some cool new areas. "Lord Knows," which you can download via a widget at the bottom of this post (with your email address), is a soulful "Crimson and Clover" style groover that could've been played at the Hacienda in 1990, and the EP also contains a blissed-out cover of Strawberry Switchblade's 1983 dayglo psych debut, "Trees and Flowers."
Dum Dum Girls will play an End of Daze release party in NYC at Europa on September 30 with "Special Guest" and tickets are on sale now. They'll also be opening for The Walkmen (with whom they played at Montreal's Osheaga fest) at Terminal 5 on October 18.
If you need more related music, check out SISU which is fronted by DDG drummer Sandra Vu and falls a little more on the gothy shoegaze side of things. (I caught them at SXSW.) Their new "Demon Tapes Vol. 2" EP quite good and is a "name your price" download at Bandcamp and is streaming below.
All tour dates are listed below, along with streams and widgets.
Beach Day at Knitting Factory, June 2012 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Beach Day are staying busy on the road this year, having already visited NYC a couple times, and are preparing for another East Coast tour, that will bring them here for two shows next month: September 14 at Pianos and September 16 at Cameo. Tickets to the Cameo show are on sale now.
The Cameo show is with Blonds, who, as mentioned, will play the Rock Shop even sooner on August 28. That show, presented by Brooklyn Brewery, is the "Brooklyn, Sweden Sendoff" with Telepathe, So-So Glos and Teen Commandments all of whom will play the Brooklyn, Sweden Festival in Stockholm and Malmö over Labor Day Weekend (8/31 - 9/1). Blonde Redhead, The Hold Steady, Cults, Crystal Stilts, Phosphorescent, Au Revoir Simone, Dum Dum Girls, DIIV, Twin Sister, Widowspeak, Maluca, Prince Rama, Caveman, and DJs Finger on the Pulse will also be there, so if you're wondering why Williamsburg seems empty that weekend, that's why.
Tickets to the send-off party at The Rock Shop are on sale now: it's $15 bucks but includes free Brooklyn Brewery beer from 7:30 - 9:30 PM.
A flyer for the Brooklyn, Sweden Sendoff party, plus Beach Day and Blonds tour dates, are below.
Florence / Dum Dum Girls / the scene, Osheaga Fest 8/03/2012
"I can't believe we walked the whole thing."
This was the opening of an e-mail Saturday morning from my friend, the Montreal based singer-songwriter Leif Vollebekk. Day 1 of Montreal's Osheaga Music and Arts Festival (8/3) was in the books and instead of joining the crush of people all trying to get into the Metro, we opted to walk with a much smaller group of people from Parc Jean-Drapeau, the festival's home, over the closed-off Jacques Cartier Bridge back to the Mile End.
"You know," Leif's e-mail continued, "we could've all just waited for the subway, but then we might have been accused of being reasonable."
What came before the trek from the island to the mainland was a hot, dusty, sweaty blur of music and dancing and a sold-out crowd determined to pull every ounce of enjoyment from their day out.
The highlight for me on Day 1 was always going to be Sigur Ros, who I'd seen just a days before in Philadelphia. Sure, Justice may have been the official headliner on the day, but the Icelandic band, even restricted to their one-hour time slot, felt like the real headliner and reduced the electronic duo and their glorified DJ booth to the equivalent of an afterparty.
Earlier in the day, The Walkmen featured Skyler Skjelset of Fleet Foxes on bass and guitar and Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men packed the field at the Scene Verte stage on the other end of the park for their mid-day set.
The Dum Dum Girls set was delayed with sound issues and once they got going the tech guys spent most of their set running back and forth across the stage adjusting and fixing gear. It was the beginning of a trouble-filled weekend at the Scene des Arbres stage where delays were constant and, on Day 3, Zola Jesus' set was controversially cut short as thunderstorms rolled through. (Festival officials shut her set down just as the worst of the storm had passed.) She took to Facebook to voice her frustration (though what happened in Montreal was nothing compared to what went down at Lollapalooza in Chicago the same weekend).
Gary Clark, Jr. impressed over at the Scene Verte as his loud, fuzzy guitar riffs conjured dancing girls and good vibes.
Along with a beautiful set from Florence and the Machine and a raucous end-of-the-night set from Montreal's Les Breastfeeders, it was a great start to the festival.
Stay tuned for more on Day 2 and 3. More Osheaga Day 1 photos are below.
After teasing folks with a few names here and there -- like Run DMC most recently -- Austin's annual Fun Fun Fun Fest (Nov 2 - 4) has revealed it's full line-up, including Public Image Ltd, De La Soul, Superchunk, Santigold, Refused, X peforming Los Angeles, and lots, lots more. 3-day passes go on sale at 10AM CST.
Full FFF Fest lineup is below.
King Khan at The Bell House, Nov. 2011 (more by Keith Marlowe)
The full House of Vans 2012 free show schedule is up. The Greenpoint/Williamsburg space has already housed The Rapture and Tanlines this year, and we knew about the 7/12 show with H20, 7 Seconds and Tournament, but here's the rest of the summer's line-up, brought to you by the folks at FYF and the sneaker people:
July 12: H20, 7 Seconds, TournamentThe parties are free with RSVP (which hasn't been posted yet).
July 26: King Khan & The Shrines, Nicky Da B, The Everymen
Aug 2: Washed Out, Chairlift, Lemonade
Aug 16: Cursive, Titus Andronicus, Love As Laughter, Joyce Maynor
Aug 29: Turbonegro, Baroness, Doomriders, Nightbirds
One thing you notice not on this list is Quicksand which was one of the big rumors of this year's VANS schedule. That either means that Quicksand will play somewhere else, or like the upcoming free Dum Dum Girls/Widowspeak show, it won't be part of this series of "House Parties."
The July 26 show is one of many local dates from NJ's Everymen who are also playing Pianos this Friday, July 6 as part of the CBGB Festival. (Advance tickets are on sale.) After the House of Vans show, the band will go on a short East Coast tour while putting the finishing touches on their new album New Jersey Hardcore which will come out in October on Killing Horse Records. All Everymen dates are below.
DOWNLOAD: Dum Dum Girls - "I Don't Care" (MP3)
Dum Dum Girls at Sasquatch 2012 (more by Chris Graham)
House of Vans, who already hosted their first House Party of the summer on June 20 with The Rapture and Tanlines, and has their next one scheduled for July 12 with H2O, 7 Seconds, and more, will also throw a "Classic Summer Party" on July 21. Dum Dum Girls and Widowspeak will play the Brooklyn space that day with a DJ set from Finger on the Pulse and live video installation from Radical Friend and Discipline. RSVP for that show is now open.
This Classic Summer Party falls five days before the third Vans House Party (7/26), which along with 8/2, 8/16, and 8/29, has still yet to announce their lineups.
Last month, Dum Dum Girls wrote a theme song for an issue of Rookie Mag. You can grab an MP3 of that track above, and check out a list of all DDG's dates below...
Cold Cave with Dee Dee of The Dum Dum Girls (via beckadiamond)
Last night (6/14) was unofficial goth night at Europa in Brooklyn.
Less a concert and more a melancholic dance party of black-clad, overdressed waifs, Thursday's Northside Festival line-up at Europa featured darkwave heroes Cold Cave and White Ring, along with the experimental solo project of C. Spencer Yeh, Burning Star Core.
The latter kicked off the show on a dissonant note, barraging the few blasé (and mostly seated) attendees with violin feedback and isolated electronic noise. Though discordant, Yeh's set most certainly lent itself to the "goth prom" ambiance of the event: he performed off and to the right of the stage, set up on a rickety table and backlit with color-changing LED lights. (Naturally, Europa's velveteen, hyper-polished and chandelier-encrusted décor helped, too.)
The night's dance vibes -- and, perhaps not surprisingly, the crowd -- picked up significantly when White Ring took the stage. That is to say, it didn't pick up too much but just enough for people to hang their heads and sway under strobe light. The songs were slow but pulsating; paired with singer Kendra Malia's strident vocal delivery, the performance came across as visceral, yet cold -- think Crystal Castles with a heavy dose of codeine syrup -- and eased the crowd perfectly into the headlining set.
When Cold Cave came on, mood seemed to switch gears to beach party spillover, with the sea of black shifting back and allowing a bare-legged, sun-kissed crew of what some might refer to as "normies" to the front. They greeted the band with exuberance and -- gasp! -- up-tempo dancing. Cold Cave returned the favor by playing the hits off Cherish the Light Years while also peppering in some old favorites including the single "Love Comes Close" and b-side "Theme from Tomorrowland", featuring Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls on vocals. At one point, they went even further back into the band's repertoire to play a Cremations-era mash up of "Poison Berries" and "Pacing Around the Church", much to the chagrin of the dance-oriented crowd.
Saccharine sweet at times and flat-out scary at others (see: Dominick Fernow dancing maniacally around the stage, pointing, and shouting angrily at the crowd), Cold Cave's performance was as dichotomous as the night's line-up. Though the marriage of Eisold and Fernow's hardcore and noise roots with the dance-friendly sensibility of Cold Cave works well for the band, it sometimes fails to translate live, especially when mixing performers as far-removed from each other as these two openers were. But, so long as you can approach the performances with little expectation of seeing "dance-friendly band" or "the members of American Nightmare and Prurient project" and simply go to see Cold Cave, the band (a novel idea, I know), they shouldn't, and won't, disappoint.
7:32pm Metric wrapped up a touch early; partly because one new song ("Lost Kitten") was stopped 10 seconds into it and Emily decided to strike it from the set. Aside from that odd error, Metric played a fair set. They cited the show as their "public debut" of Synthetica and they did play mostly new material (7 out of 11 songs), most of which sounds promising. It's always hard to judge new material accurately as the audience doesn't know it so it always comes across slightly weak or stiff. Metric opened their set with newbie "Artificial Nocturne" (also the album's opener). It was one of the stronger new tracks. The other stand outs were "Youth Without Youth" (when played live it seemed to lose it's sluggishness of it's studio version) and "Nothing But Time", a synth/piano number that builds each verse until drums kick in and the song finishes with a flourish of Emily Haines' Pro-One synth. The band closed with an acoustic version "Gimme Sympathy" that had pretty much the entire amphitheater singing along. [The Province]Here's more pictures from the super-stacked Saturday (5/26) line-up of the Sasquatch Music Festival which happened Memorial Day Weekend in Gorge, Washington -- including Metric, St. Vincent, The Shins, Dum Dum Girls, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Couer de Pirate, Sol, Com Truise and more. The first set from Saturday (5/26) are HERE and Friday (5/25) are HERE. More from Day 2 below and still more Sasquatch pics to come.
We just posted about Austra who's coming back to North America (including 9/19 at Music Hall of Williamsburg) after a tour of Europe. She's also one of many artists playing the 2012 Osheaga Festival in Montreal which happens August 3 - 5. Tickets are still available for the three-day event.
In addition to Austra, Osheaga plays host to The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg, Justice, Metric (who play Radio City Music Hall soon), Sigur Ros (who play Prospect Park and are streaming their new LP), Florence & The Machine (who plays Jones Beach this summer), The Weeknd, Passion Pit (who play Governor's Ball soon), The Jesus & Mary Chain, MGMT, Santigold (who just played Irving), Zola Jesus (who just played the Guggenheim) and many many more.
Full Osheaga lineup is below.
Lollapalooza (more by Grant MacAllister)
Chicago Sun Times reports:
Lollapalooza has revealed its official 2012 list of performers -- a typically wide-ranging smorgasbord of genres and styles topped by nearly a dozen mainstage headliners: the Red Hot Chili Peppers, freshly reunited bands Black Sabbath and At the Drive-In, the Black Keys, Jack White, Florence + The Machine, the Shins and Passion Pit, plus spotlighted electronic music including Swedish house titan Avicii, French dance duo Justice and DJ-producer Bassnectar.Check out the full list below...
The annual music festival is scheduled for Aug. 3-5 in Chicago's Grant Park.
Rumored lineups have circulated widely, as they usually do, and Lollapalooza itself stoked the speculation in recent weeks via a series of CTA and online advertisements that seemed to hint at who would be playing.
The ads featured lyrics from such acts as Sigur Ros, Santigold, Jack White, Kimbra, Twin Shadow, the Weeknd, Bloc Party and more -- all bands that wound up on the bill.
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Black Tambourine - What's Your Game? (MP3)
Black Tambourine back in the day...
The first night of chickfactor 2012: for the love of pop, which features sets from reunited Black Tambourine and Small Factory, sold out pretty quick, so Black Tambourine have added another show at Maxwells on Monday April 9 for those who didn't get tickets. It's with Fan Modine and Rose Melberg (Tiger Trap/Softies/Go Sailor) and tickets are still on sale and still available.
To commemorate chickfactor's 20th birthday, Black Tambourine have also recorded an EP of Ramones covers which will be released as a double 7" on Slumberland on May 15. Says the Slumberland press release:
It took a pretty special occasion to bring Black Tambourine out of retirement, even temporarily, and the 20th birthday of BT singer Pam Berry's Chickfactor magazine is definitely such an occasion. When the band were discussing the rather complicated logistics (members scattered across two continents) for the reunion shows, the thought of maybe doing some new recordings came to mind. The band quickly agreed that a tribute to one their favorite bands would be a fun project, and of course the Ramones jumped to the top of the list.You can download Black Tambourine's cover of "What's Your Game" (from the Ramones' 1977's LP Leave Home) which features backing vocals from the Rinettes (aka Linda Smith, Rose Melberg, Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls and Jenny Robbins from Honeymoon Diary). You can also stream it below.
After choosing which songs to work on, the band recorded using the same methodology as they did for the bonus tracks on their self-titled 2010 compilation LP. The gentlemen in the band convened in Maryland to lay down the music, the rough mixes were sent to Pam in London so she could add her inimitable vocals, and then the resulting recordings were sent back to Maryland for Archie to mix.
The final result is OneTwoThreeFour, a double 7" and download EP featuring Black Tambourine's versions of four of their most-loved Ramones tunes.
In other chickfactor news, in addition to the Maxwell's show, the 20th anniversary party has added a show in Portland on May 30 at the Bunk Bar, with Barbara Manning, Joe Pernice, The Softies and Selector Dub Narcotic (Calvin Johnson in DJ mode).
Speaking of Joe Pernice, he'll appear in NYC at City Winery as part of John Wesley Harding's Cabinet of Wonders with Meg Baird (Espers), Bhi Bhiman, Sloane Crosley, A.M.Homes, Eugene Mirman, and Sondre Lerche on March 10th. Tickets are on sale.
Though the first night of the 3-day Bell House fest is sold out, you can still get tickets to the May 11 show (Legendary Jim Ruiz, Aislers Set, Pipas, Bridget St John) and the May 12 show (The Pines, The Softies, Stevie Jackson, Honeybunch).
There's also chickfactor shows in Arlington, VA's Artsphere on April 6 (Stevie Jackson, Frankie Rose, Honebunch, Dot Dash) and April 7 (Black Tambourine, Lilys, Fan Modine, Lorelei).
Click through for the stream of Black Tambourine's Ramones cover, plus cover art to the new EP...
photos by Amanda Hatfield
Dum Dum Girls @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
After playing a secret show at Cake Shop one night earlier Widowspeak, The Babies, and Punks on Mars played a much larger and public show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tuesday (2/7), but this time Dum Dum Girls were dressed all in white!! Proof is in this post.
More pictures from MHOW, including a shot of the headliner's setlist, below...
photos by Jessica Amaya
Dum Dum Girls @ Cake Shop - 2/6/12
As hinted earlier and then 100% confirmed before showtime, Dum Dum Girls & Widowspeak layed Cake Shop last night (2/6) with The Babies, and Punks on Mars. It looked like both Widowspeak and Dum Dum Girls were sporting new bass players. Here are some pictures.
Three of the four bands (sans The Babies) will play again at Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight (2/7, tickets) and at Maxwell's on 2/11 (tickets). Both NYC-area shows are part of a larger tour for Dum Dum Girls/Widowspeak. All DDG dates, including the recently-announced Sasquatch, and more pictures from Cake Shop, below...
In other news, Widowspeak kicks off a short tour with Dum Dum Girls at Music Hall of Williamsburg Tuesday night (2/7). Punks on Mars (aka Ryan Howe) open the Brooklyn show too, and tickets are still on sale.
"Following last year's 10th anniversary, which crushed previous attendance records and set a new mark for the speed with which tickets sold out, the Sasquatch! Music Festival unveils its 2012 lineup which once again features 4 days of music. The festival, hailed as "a model of well-paced programming...in a four-day schedule as efficient and natural feeling as an expertly built algorithm" by NPR Music while Wired notes, "leave the landscape out of it and Sasquatch! has a lineup to kill for," runs May 25-28 (Memorial Day Weekend) at The Gorge, the internationally acclaimed concert venue carved in the basalt cliffs high above the Columbia River Gorge in Quincy, WA."The Sasquatch! Music Festival takes place, as usual, at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington over Memorial Day weekend (May 25-28). And this year's lineup is:
Dum Dum Girls at Mohawk (more by Tim Griffin)
As discussed, Dum Dum Girls spent the first portion of 2012 in Australia, counting down the new year at the No Years Festival in Brisbane. Now they're set to go on a short US tour that includes dates with Widowspeak and Veronica Falls (who will be on their own bigger tour). That DDG tour hits the NYC-area twice with shows happening on February 7 at Music Hall of Williamsburg and February 11 at Maxwell's. Both NYC-area shows are with Widowspeak. Tickets for the Maxwell's show are on sale now. The MHOW show is on AmEx presale and goes on general sale at noon (1/13).
Dum Dum Girls will also play 35 Denton in Denton, TX this March before heading out on a European tour. All dates and some videos below...
Dum Dum Girls (more by Tim Griffin)
Dum Dum Girls (#40 on Rough Trade's favorite albums of 2011) may have their New Year's planned in Australia, but not before the band hits a very-recently-announced show at Brooklyn Bowl on December 1st with DIVE and Xray Eyeballs. The band will also play Late Night with Jimmy Fallon that night (actually technically earlier that day). Tickets are still available OR you can roll the dice and try to win a MEGA prize pack featuring "EIGHT free tickets and two hours of free bowling & shoes for up to 8 people!". Details on how you can enter to win are below.
Maybe Dee Dee is sticking around town too, because the Dum Dum Girl is also scheduled to bless Brooklyn Bowl with a DJ set on 12/17 as part of a reunion show for Stylofone (mems Amazing Baby, MGMT and Standing Nudes). Tickets are still available. She is also playing solo acoustic at Glasslands that same night along with an acoustic Crocodiles set. Tickets are on sale.
In related "news" a video below shows Dee Dee gushing about The Cure's great Disintegration. The Cure did NOT play that LP at Beacon Theater as part of their three night stay over the weekend. They instead focused on earlier material. The setlist from their third Beacon Theater show and all DDG tour dates and some videos and the contest below...
Josh T Pearson @ BV-SXSW 2011 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Check out Rough Trade's list of the Top 100 Albums of 2011 (yay Josh T Pearson!), below...
Memoryhouse @ Mercury Lounge
Like Still Corners, Xray Eyeballs, Gem Club, Jacuzzi Boys and Memoryhouse played the Hardly Art/Sub Pop CMJ showcase at Mercury Lounge during CMJ. Here are some previously unposted pictures from that show.
J Mascis and Dum Dum Girls also played this Merc show, but we missed 'em. We did however catch DDG at their headlining Bowery Ballroom show. Some pictures from that one in here too. They are all below...
photos by Bryan Bruchman
MBAR fronting Ill Fits @ Pianos
Finishing off wha we have from Bryan (who also saw the Rapture and our Thursday day party), here are sets from the Greedhead CMJ showcase at Pianos with Keepaway & Ill Fits (Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson included), and some of Dum Dum Girls headlining Bowery Ballroom. They continue below...
Casiokids @ Public Assembly
Well, another CMJ week has come and gone. How did you fare?
Though Northside summoned a number of my favorite artists to town, the CMJ line-up was rather thin by comparison, so I made it my goal to catch as many new acts as possible this year. With help from BV's tightly scheduled day parties, I managed to squeeze in 46 bands. While it's all still fresh in my mind (ie, before I spend the next week hibernating), here's a recap of my week, complete with my favorite finds...
I kicked things off with trance-inducing, one-man knob twittler Sun Glitters. Figuring out how to bring life to headphone-friendly, sample-heavy music in a live audience setting can be a challenge, but the few I saw this week (Million Young, Chad Valley and Luxembourg's Sun Glitters included) were decent.
If last year was the age of the one-man laptop act, 2011 was rife with lo-fi, synth/guitar-heavy (mostly) male groups cloaked in reverb. Each band had its strengths: Sunglasses (great energy on stage), Gauntlet Hair, Guards (perfectly summed up the sound of the moment), 1,2,3, Balkans (nice balance of in-your-face guitars and sunnily-swaggering vox), Tiny Victories. But after a while, I confess they all started to blend together--especially since a good chunk of these bands came early in the week for me.
What did stand out for me in this category was San Diego's garage-psych outfit Tropical Popsicle. Instead of falling flat, the deadpan vocal delivery of Tim Hines pulled me in and kept my attention, making me forget about my plans to leave midset. Another pleasant surprise for me was Dive, the side project of Beach Fossils guitarist Zachary Cole Smith.
But after a rather slow start to the week when schedule issues and cancellations made me abandon my original plans, things definitely picked up midweek. I spent Wednesday evening shuffling around in the rain to some seven venues. From the synth-driven pop music of Norway's Casiokids (whom I managed to sneak in on my lunch hour) to the decent public radio-friendly folk-pop of The Lighthouse and The Whaler and Lissy Trullie's alluringly husky vocals, the day was full of pleasant surprises--not the least of which was John Maus, easily one of the highlights of my week.
As I walked through the door at 285 Kent, I immediately felt as if I had gone back in time. Thick music pumped from the DIY graffiti-covered space, through clouds of cigarette smoke. On stage, Maus shook with intensity as he addressed the mass of dancing, sweaty revelers. Beneath the shambling chaos of the quick synth riffs and simple drum lines is an unhinged but triumphant quality that is intoxicating. I had heard whispered stories of Maus shows before, but I never really understood the fervor until I saw it for myself.
Thursday was also packed with a number of good finds. I somehow found myself in the 7th floor of a swanky hotel for an "acoustic" (as in not electric; not unplugged) Dum Dum Girls set (though only 2/4 band members were present). Other highlights included the seriously talented and take-your-breath-away-beautiful dreamy folk-pop of Gem Club (who just released their debut album on Hardly Art), and Brooklyn's own, Headless Horseman who make fun, glitchy, hook-laden music with inventive beats (Their song "Wavlngth" was seriously one of my favorites all week.)
Friday, my band-count escalated rapidly, thanks to the BV day showcase at Public Assembly, which essentially had two bands playing each hour. I knocked out a few of the hyped bands in this fashion, including Chelsea Wolfe and Gauntlet Hair. (I also stepped over to Cameo briefly to catch a few adrenaline-packed songs from the Brooklyn duo Hunters.) With her beautifully haunting (but not annoying operatic) vocals Chelsea Wolfe was certainly one of the more memorable acts of the week. Would she be getting as much buzz if she didn't dress like "a medival [sic] reinactment [sic] person from Medival [sic] Times" (to quote an anonymous BV commenter)? Hard to say, but I have to give the woman credit--I couldn't take my eyes off her, and she was one of the few artists I caught twice. But my surprise favorite of the day show was Young Magic. Hip-hop and dark electro-pop may be unlikely bedfellows, but they sure make for quite an interesting pair. These guys are a force.
Other highlights of the day included the eye-catching electro-pop duo Purity Ring (love the name) and one of my favorite SXSW finds from earlier this year, Sea of Bees. At Webster Hall, Purity Ring's bass was so powerful at times that I almost forgot to breathe. Though the band relies on a lot of samples to craft their sound, they are far more interesting to watch due to their onstage chemistry and mysterious gold-piped instrument. Though nothing alike, my other favorite artist of the evening was Sea of Bees. Singer/songwriter Julie Baeziger's genuinely sweet demeanor and earnest acoustic performance are always a pleasant change of pace from the more aloof, laptop-driven artists that seem to sprout with the speed and frequency of mushrooms.
The week concluded not with a bang (I was turned away at the door of Brooklyn Bowl for Unknown Mortal Orchestra, whom I had hoped to end on), but with more of a slow fade-out. Forced to change my schedule at the last minute, I caught a few acts nearby, including Delicate Steve (how those five people were working from the same set list was a mystery at times given the haphazard nature of their sound, but it was fun to watch them put it all together), Races (pleasant and charming), Bleached, and about four minutes of the Kopecky Family Band (fun!) before hopping on the L and calling it a week.
So how does this year's CMJ stack up? Most people I spoke with seemed unimpressed. No doubt, the growth of SXSW--especially over the past few years--seems to have sucked some of the life out of CMJ. (It's hard to compete with free tacos, 76-degree days, and the compact nature of downtown Austin.) But like a hipster chick desperately scouring the racks at Beacon's Closet, I like the challenge of the frenzied search. There's good stuff in there hiding among the dross. You just have to look a bit harder.
Pictures in this post are from day parties at Pianos (We Listen for You) and Public Assembly (Under the Radar) on Wednesday. More of them below...
photos by Tim Griffin
Dum Dum Girls @ the Mohawk
The Bowery Ballroom show is part of CMJ, and Dum Dum Girls will also play at least three other shows while they're in NYC for the festival. We already mentioned their 10/20 KEXP Ace Hotel taping. They also play two other shows that day. They are the 1am special guest playing the Sub Pop showcase at Mercury Lounge that night, and before that they make an appearance at the Thompson Hotel as part of SmartLounge, a Wednesday/Thursday party that will also include sets by Unknown Mortal Orchestra, DOM, Small Black, Little Red, Araabmuzik, The Stepkids, Gotye and others. You need to download an app to get in. You'll also find more details at the link.
The pictures in this post are from a recent DDG show in Austin at the Mohawk (the one Mark Sultan also played). More of them, and all DDG dates, below...
Zola Jesus at Pitchfork Fest (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
On October 19, Zola Jesus, We Are Augustines, Portugal. The Man, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah will perform during the day with "Matador, 4AD, and Rough Trade DJs" at night. On October 20, there will be performances by Widowspeak, Givers(who opens for Portugal. The Man at Webster Hall), Dum Dum Girls (who also plays Bowery Ballroom), and The Lonely Forest, and DJ sets by Acephale Records and RVNG INTL. On October 21, there will be performances by WATERS (who has other CMJ shows), EMA (who has two other CMJ shows), Atlas Sound, and one more TBA, and DJ sets by Group Tightener and Merge Records. You can just show up and watch, or else tune into KEXP to listen on those days.
Full CMJ KEXP schedule below...