Porches, Makthaverskan, Superheaven, Album Leaf, Car Seat Headrest, Ezra Furman & more played BV’s Friday party (pics, videos)
The Album Leaf / Makthaverskan
BrooklynVegan took over Baby's All Right for the third year in a row for free Friday and Saturday parties during CMJ. The Friday show went from noon to 7 PM with Porches, Makthaverskan, Superheaven, Yung, Car Seat Headrest, Ezra Furman, The Album Leaf and Long Beard. Pictures and videos of that one are in this post.
Long Beard kicked things off bright and early with a set of their slow, melancholic songs. Main member Leslie Bear was backed by a bassist and drummer, but the main draw was definitely her pristine sounding voice and clean guitar. Long Beard's album Sleepwalker comes out this week via Team Love and it's now streaming at The FADER.
After them it was post-rock trio The Album Leaf, who played a mostly instrumental set (but did have the occasional vocals) and sounded great. They were super impressive on a technical level, but had plenty of pure beauty in there too. They were a nice treat for so early on in the day.
Then Ezra Furman took things up a notch with a spirited, sax-fueled set. Furman's a charismatic, charming guy and between the confessional, storytelling nature of many of his songs and folk-rock style, it's all a little late-'80s Violent Femmes yet there's nobody else quite like him.
Car Seat Headrest were next, with one of the better sets I saw at all of CMJ. Main member Will Toledo has had this project going for a few years with a ton of releases on bandcamp, but live Car Seat Headrest is a super tight power trio who don't come off like a bedroom/bandcamp project. (They also picked 11 of the best songs and re-recorded them for their fat-trimming Matador debut.) Will can often sound like Julian Casablancas, but the songs sound more inspired by crunchy, poppy '90s alternative rock than The Strokes. That's a sound that a lot of bands have been bringing back lately, but CSH stand out because Will can really write a chorus (check out "Something Soon"). It's not hard to imagine this band playing on much bigger stages very soon, in part because they had no trouble packing Baby's at 2pm on a Friday.
The energy stayed high with Denmark's Yung, who were a heavier band than their EP led me to believe. "Danish punk" is a phrase that tends to get people excited in the American music blogging world, but the Fat Possum-signed Yung don't have the melodrama or the too-cool-for-school attitude that their more popular neighbors do. Instead they're a little screamier and the songs rip a little harder, which I had no complaints about.
It got even heavier when Superheaven followed, with their grunge/shoegaze/post-hardcore blend sounding great as ever. They threw in a really nice cover of Weezer's "Pink Triangle" which they made sound like a Superheaven song, and otherwise gave us a pretty good mix of the stuff off their own albums. Like they usually are, they were loud and super tight/professional-sounding, which is always a nice thing to get at CMJ.
Then it was Sweden's Makthaverskan, who I hadn't seen since they played a BV SXSW show in Austin this past March. They were good then, but this set was way better. Being indoors with a great light show probably helped, but the band just seemed way more confident and way more powerful, even if singer Maja Milner's voice sounded like it was going at times. They can be a pretty intense band, and Friday's set definitely proved this.
Friday's proceedings wrapped up with a set from new Domino signees, Porches. The band draw influence from crystalline, heart-on-sleeve '80s pop (Blue Nile, Prefab Sprout, China Crisis) but pull things into the now via things like on-the-fly autotune. They've also got a lot very catchy tunes -- main man Aaron Maine is good with a hook -- all of which are well rehearsed. It was a full house and a nice way to end the day.
We gave out a keg of Bell's Brewery Octoberfest between noon and 2pm (in addition to the pins, sunglasses, bottle openers and other goodies.) Their Two Hearted Ale and Lager were also on tap all day. We also got a visit from internet-famous pooch Pablo the Pomeranian.
We did it again Saturday, and coverage of that show is coming soon. Meanwhile, more pictures and videos from Friday below...
The Album Leaf
Car Seat Headrest
Pablo the Pomeranian