We're still a little wiped from the weekend...but that's always the case after The CMJ Music Marathon invades the haunts and dives of our urban jungle. Piling into sweaty downtown clubs, pristine church settings, and purposely sketchy Brooklyn loft art spaces, the team at Baeble spent the better part of the last week immersing ourselves in the newest crop of bands to invade our city and how these bright eyed hopefuls aim to influence what the next year or so will sound like around here, there, everywhere. Like most music outlets, we hedged our bets on a handful of musicians, inviting them to perform at our little house of music on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. Three years into our annual weekend residency at Spike Hill, 2013 gave us memorable moments from every act that graced our cozy stage. Have a look at a few snaps and the accolades each of the 12 amazing bands we had the pleasure of working with this year deserve.
Flagship - The Good Sports Award
There were no better sports at The Launch Pad than Flagship. We're not proud to say that approximately five minutes into the first performance of the weekend our PA blew. Then again, remember when the NBA had to Shaq-proof basketball hoops everywhere when he entered the league? It's kind of like that. Flagship shattered the venue's backboard with a big, dramatic performance of songs from their self-titled debut.
Duologue - The Resiliency Award
CMJ can take its toll...especially on bands. With our events often slated for the end of the week, we sometimes deal with cancellations. Insane working hours and the various temptations of life in rock clubs take their toll. Duologue, however, defied a gravely ill band member to deliver one of the most talked about performances of the festival, carving twisted electronics into more traditional rock elements. The result is the closest thing we've heard to early-aughts Radiohead, which is a very good thing.
The Darcys - The Muscle Award
No band brought as much sonic muscle to our showcase than the Canadian outfit The Darcys. Theirs is a brand of rock that streaks to the stratosphere, filling a much needed Canadian void vacated by Constantines all those years ago with music that moves in beautifully macabre ways as it chugs along.
Misun - The Best Vibe Award
Little synthetic scatterings, bouncy hip hop beats, and flighty vocal melodies made for one of the most satisfying vibes of the weekend, courtesy of fun-loving, DC party band, Misun.
Claire - The Night Owl Award
German band Claire (that's a band, not a solo artist) had a big week in NYC last week, swinging by a number of showcases for a slew of highly talked about performances. They closed things out with Baeble in Brooklyn, enticing an adoring crowd with a sweltering swirl of glitzy electro pop. Between you and me the band must have had a stellar time, hanging around the bar well past we did.
The Ceremonies - The Most Stylish Award
Highly-touted, LA band The Ceremonies closed out night one of our festivities with gorgeous harmonies and retro UK leaning rock in stylish shades of black and white.
Bad Suns - The Next Big Thing Award
Bad Suns are a young...we're not sure they were actually allowed to be in the bar. But the Los Angeles four-piece kicked off night two with an exhuberant batch of songs that seem destined for the radio dial by this time next year.
In The Valley Below - The Biggest Surprise Award
Don't be fooled by In The Valley Below's suspenders. This is not another artisanal folk outfit vying to capitalize off the whole kick drum and tamborine thing that's happening right now. No, Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob play a better Buckingham-Nicks instead and the music they haunt is dark and beautiful.
Kingsley Flood - The Wildest Band Award
They were on their third performance of the day, but somehow rough and tumble folk-rock outfit Kingsley Flood brought more energy than any band during the weekend. Then they high-tailed it back to Boston, only sticking around to see their Sox clinch a trip to the World Series.
Luke Temple - The Bravest Man Award
Here We Go Magic's Luke Temple arrived with only a guitar. That's brave, especially when CMJ crowds reach their gossipy heights at 10PM on a Saturday night. It's risky business. But Luke's performance was spellbinding, pulling the good folks of Spike in close with his precise use of a looping pedal to hypnotize songs from his most recent solo album and the Here We Go Magic catalogue.
Strange Talk - The Happiest Award
Before taking the stage for what would be the weekend's last live performance, the awesome Aussies in Strange Talk met up with our writer over burritos to discuss the week that was. Clearly enjoying their time in NYC, the band were the happiest lot of musicians we'd met all week. No surprise the performance they delivered was bright and vibrant, introducing the crowd to their dancing feet as they conquered their way through songs from their recently released self-titled EP.
Until The Ribbon Breaks - The True Headliner Award
Hailing from Cardiff Wales, Pete Lawrie Winfield - aka Until The Ribbon Breaks - produces a menacing brew of dark soul and broken beat electronica, with masterful results. Mr. Winfield can count Lorde as a fan, among many others. For The Launch Pad's final moment, Pete was kind enough to swing by and perform an hour long DJ set for the lucky ones in attendance. It was the perfect cherry on top of a weekend chock full of amazing music.