Every year, thousands of journalists, radio programmers, bloggers and other assorted music-nerd types invade New York for four days, leaving a trail of PBR cans, badges, and flyers in their wake. It’s CMJ
, and it always brings, along with 1,000 bands you’ll probably forget, some of the top acts from every genre to New York for an extended weekend. Even for people who have attended the festival for years, planning a CMJ can be a Sisyphean task of frustration. For many, the festival is marked as much by what they missed as to what they saw. But when it’s 2:00 in the morning and you’re crammed into the tiny Mercury Lounge to see the first New York show of a much-buzzed about band named “Arcade Fire,” it’s all worth it.
Thus begins Baeble’s preview of the days to come. It’s so massive, in fact, we have to tackle the schedule in two parts. Today, Jason Newman
has a little fun with band names, attempting to pick those acts worth sniffing out on namesake alone. Tomorrow, he’ll pick right back up where he left off, handling those that bring both the buzz and the wares to prove it. To the lists!
Baeble’s CMJ Picks – Cool Name Edition
Baeble picks the most interesting sets based solely on how cool the band name is. Let us know after the festival how on-point we were.
Tuesday, Oct. 16
Choo Choo La Rouge
10:30 p.m., Living Room, 154 Ludlow St.
Instead of getting a 300-pound drag queen based on the name, we get a pretty good indie pop group. Male/female harmonies sound like Freedy Johnston singing with Chrissie Hynde.
De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig
1:00 a.m., Cake Shop, 152 Ludlow St.
At first, we thought this was a Brooklyn band trying to be ironic and ensuring every single press mention will get their name misspelled. Turns out they’re actually Dutch and rap over electro beats a la Ed Banger. At least they made their Myspace link easy to remember by removing the difficult “De” from their name.
Wednesday, Oct 17
Tiger Bear Wolf
8:00 p.m., Crash Mansion, 199 Bowery
The burning question here is if this North Carolina band was just too lazy to register myspace.com/tigerbearwolf or if there was another band with the same name that beat them to it. They like hardcore and Rollins.
Fight Like Apes
10:00 p.m., 205 Chrystie (Same for address)
If they stay true to their name, they should have one of the best live shows at the festival. Unfortunately, this Dublin quartet’s brand of pop, while certainly competent, virtually ensures no ape-fighting.
Super Potent Death Baby
10:00 p.m., Crash Mansion, 199 Bowery
Their drummer is named Jimmy the Weed and according to their Myspace, sound like “The Runaways and Black Sabbath having an orgy,” which is pretty spot-on. We like these guys and would heartily endorse doing shots of Jack while listening to this band.
Tacks, The Boy Disaster
10:30 p.m., Arlene Grocery, 95 Stanton St.
This Texas quartet channels Mercury Rev-esque dream-pop and actually sounds pretty damn good. We’re still curious what Tacks did to deserve the name though.
Thursday, Oct. 18
With Blood Comes Cleansing
8:30 p.m., Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery
Metal bands always have the coolest names. These guys do the whole Cookie Monster vocals where you don’t really know what they’re saying, but it’s good for hurting the person next to you. The Myspace lyrics for one song is, “Geeeehhhhhh!!!! Grau snapsin bungi heedo GAAAARRRRRR!!!!” True story.
A Band Called Pain
12:00 a.m., Ace of Clubs, 9 Great Jones St.
Do you have any idea how hard these guys are? The band is called pain. But not just “Pain.” They stress that the band called pain is actually A Band Called Pain. That may be one of the most meta-metal names ever. If you dig hard rock and metal, you’ll dig these guys.
12:00 a.m., Lion’s Den, 214 Sullivan St.
Their Upcoming Shows section on their Myspace page says “Cheerleaders wanted” so this, coupled with hard-rocking c*ck rock, may have potential for a good show for anyone who thought Queens of the Stone Age went too soft.
Friday, October 19
Tom Schraeder & His Ego
7:45 p.m., Arlene’s Grocery, 95 Stanton St.
The most meta band name since, well, A Band Called Pain. We’ll assume it’s a joke instead of just massive arrogance. Schraeder does guitar-based singer-songwriter tracks that’ll make indie heads and Jeff Buckley fans take notice.
Michael Hearst's Songs for Ice Cream Trucks
9:00 p.m., Banjo Jim’s, 700 E. 9th St.
We seriously hoped this was some Warhol-esque performance art of a guy playing the Mister Softee theme song for his entire set. But his tracks are even better than that. With names like “The Popsicle Parade” and “Where Do Ice Cream Trucks Go in the Winter?”, take his band name literally with indie-pop accordion- and synth-heavy tracks that sound like, well, um, see band name.
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
9:00 p.m., Cake Shop, 152 Ludlow
To quote Lionel Hutz, “This is the greatest case of false advertising I've seen since I sued the movie The Neverending Story.” There’s nothing Scottish, gospel or choir about this Chicago musician who dabbles in shoegaze pop and 60s British Invasion rock.
Assemble Head In the Sunburst Sound
10:00 p.m., Luna Lounge, 361 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn
Let us guess, Assemble Head in the Sunburst Sound. You like weed. A lot. No, we don’t need to hear your music to guess that. What? You want us to hear your songs? Fine…..It’s confirmed. You like weed. But your stoner-rock in the vein of Spirtualized and Kyuss is actually pretty damn good. Is there anything stoners can’t do (besides sports)?
Strikkly Vikkly Dubsystem
10:00 p.m., Rose Live Music, 345 Grand St., Brooklyn
Anything with the non-ironic usage of the word “dub” will always get our attention as it’s a genre that sounds so good live but is performed so rarely these days. This is actually the alias of Victor Rice, an incredible, renowned dub/ska musician who’s been a regular fixture in the scene for a minute.
Saturday, October 20
Bring Back the Guns
6:00 p.m., The Annex, 152 Orchard St.
Not as hard as their name suggests, this Houston quartet still stands out with nods to the Fugazi/At the Drive-In tree of rock.
Sex With an Angel
11:00 p.m., Cake Shop, 152 Ludlow St.
Wow. How the f**k did they come up with this one? They could make up 328 stories about the derivation of their name and they could all rock. And they’re from Brooklyn so New Yorkers, support your local shimmering indie band. - Jason Newman