best of cmj
    • WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2009

    • Posted by:

    I'm sure there will be plenty of waxing poetic about the merits of CMJ and new, undiscovered music, and blah-blah-blah showcases whatever buzz record deal hype-machines. Honestly, there was a lot of garbage out there! No offense CMJ or anything, but your band (which I probably didn't see anyway) wasn't spectacular! I'm just being honest. Based on your Myspace plays. However, we did have our eyes on the prize; so we attended a whole gaggle of shows. And duh, we found exciting new bands! After the jump!

    You gotta' chop through a lot of weeds to get to the treasure especially if you don't have the magic mirror and you are in the forest of despair). But enough LARPing. Let's talk about music (we will also briefly talk about LARPing). CMJ 2009 had a lot of great stuff and we want to tell you about it right now. -joe puglisi


    In the music blog-verse, the dedicated men and woman who frequently brave the stale beer and sweltering climates of New York City's venues are called upon once a year to do it five days in a row. They scour the dirty streets of the LES (and sometimes Brooklyn) for the diamonds in the sweaty, noise-y rough. These are their stories.

    Local Natives - Mercury Lounge - Paradigm Showcase - 10/22/09

    As noted by several savvy fans, this band is a current staple of the L.A. rock scene, and their shows in New York helped to solidify their influence on the other big coastal music market in America, (and arguably the bigger one). There are a bunch of different music scenes in LA, and these guys are definitely not of the Smell variety; take lush harmonies and an emphasis on percussion, smashed with a love of Talking Heads and mustaches, and you've got Local Natives.

    Matt Frazier (drummer), Andy Hamm (bassist), Ryan Hahn (guitar, vocals), Taylor Rice (vocals, guitar) and Kelcey Ayer (vocals, keyboards) all live together in a big house called "Gorilla Manor," which is an interesting take on "band" being synonymous with "serious relationship." They have a new album due in November, and hopefully it will contain "Airplanes." The song is their big number (everyone talks about it), and for good reason; the track effectively nails their aesthetic; the harmonies, the groove, and the passion.

    Gorilla Manor is out 11/2. I'd buy it just to have the name on my shelf. -joe puglisi

    Bang Bang Eche - Red Bull Space - New Zealand Showcase - 10/20/09

    The presence of MTV New Zealand made this entire show seem like sketch comedy, and the ridiculously young and amped up members of electro-rock screamers Bang Bang Eche certainly didn't help. But don't let their young looks fool you; these four kids crank out an impressive, adrenaline pumping show that left several snobbish folks stunned
    "I just came for the free booze, but WOW those kids were awesome!" - actual stunned snob

    Bang Bang Eche formed the day after three of the kids got arrested for LARPing in public (LARPing of course, means "live action role playing." For further reference, watch the last twenty minutes of Role Models). They first practiced in a homeless shelter, and have a mutual love of cartoons and dinosaurs (perfect). While somewhat abrasive at first, BBE pumps out some really interesting and well-developed hard-beat rock. Silly imagery is obvious and deliberate (they are just kids!) but the jumpy, catchy riffs deserve the outlandish treatment. And the whole package is quite a treat.

    BBE has a new record on the way and plenty of touring with Har Mar Superstar, so be sure to check out their recorded material on Myspace, and catch them while they are state-side. -joe puglisi

    Happy Hollows - Lit Lounge - 10/20/09

    I'm going to get smacked for talking this band up way too much (your words, not mine), but they are just a fantastically promising act with solid songwriting and a great stage presence... not to mention some terrific recordings on their album. They were in last week for a Guest Apartment session, and they stripped down their garage rock in a way they'd never done before, and it worked! CMJ is about meeting new people, and it is always a pleasure to meet a band you've been interested in, and see them in action in a bunch of different settings. I guess I got to see HH in so many varieties, the personal acoustic version, the late night dive-bar version, and the well-populated L.A. blog scene version... with them I have a complete picture. And if you read Baeble a bunch, then you do too! If not, go here for more info.

    Spells is out now, and it's pretty dope, y'all. Do yourself a favor and get it, because otherwise they will find you (you know they're right behind you). Get it? -joe puglisi

    Timber Timbre - Union Pool - Arts and Crafts Showcase - 10/22/09

    During Timber Timbre's performance Thursday evening, the cozy audience gathered at Brooklyn's Union Pool may very well have crisscrossed time and space, settling somewhere amongst the crusty landscape of John Steinbeck's hellish, scorched earth if they let it. That's at least the sort of setting Taylor Kirk and his two trusty sidemen and women encouraged the mind to go wandering during his short set at the Arts and Crafts' Showcase. In the raw drone of his blues-infused guitar rhythms, spooked out coo cachous, and devastating thwacks on a single kick drum, Kirk did the devilish work of an agonized set of spirits, offering songs for the tragic and troubled soul...though it's that trauma that provides the ultimate allure of this Canadian bluesman.

    Timber Timbre's self-titled debut is out now on Arts and Crafts Records, though we have details concerning how you can download it for FREE for the next week HERE. - david pitz

    Choir of Young Believers - The Living Room - Music Snobbery Showcase - 10/24/09

    A New York premiere I imagine far too many marathon goers missed out on, Denmark's cathedral-grade, orchestral pop outfit Choir of Young Believers flexed their beautiful might on a Saturday afternoon at Music Snobbery's showcase at the Living Room. With a damp drizzle coating the busted concrete of the Lower East Side, the Living Room's glowing back room was a welcome retreat, made that much more alluring by Jannis Noya Makrigiannis' tender vocals, and his outfit's, exquisite ripple of well mannered pop music. Though most of the 5 piece band's set was appropriately subdued, there were moments - great, big, thunderstruck moments - where rosewater swells of well-rosined cello, biblical blasts of the flugelhorn, perforated tom tom rhythms, and a wash of vocal harmonies called all those in attendance to complete attention, Friday night hangovers be damned.

    Choir of Young Believers' This is For The Whites In Your Eyes is out now on Ghostly International. Read a review HERE and a featured article on the band HERE. -david pitz

    Mum and Sin Fang Bous - Le Poisson Rouge - 10/24/09

    On record - as in their latest, Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know - Mum sound something of a semi-precious, nonsensical outfit, peddling mythical folk constructions from their far off, volcanic home in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It's a quaint notion I know, but one I'm comfortable making having recently felt completely transfixed by the idea of immersing myself in the fiorded terrain of the band's native Iceland. Live in the flesh - as was the case Saturday evening at Le Poisson Rouge - Mum is a very different beasty. Less fictive, more actual (um yeah, they were playing right in front of me), the band stir real life, sing along songs to the tune of nifty percussive elements (programmed, triggered, and acoustic), sultry strings, and more melodica than I've ever previously encountered. Mass amounts of credit to leading man rvar reyjarson Smrason, but it's twin sisters Gya and Kristn Anna Valtsdttir who played the bells of this CMJ ball, pounding their feet, arms outstretched, smiles spread long and wide for the entire room to see. To that add the duo's singing, stringing, and general ukulele-ing. This was music - big, bold, and overly joyous music in concert - ripe for fearlessly sailing to the edge of the world to; something I can only imagine New York must have once felt like to these Icelandic charmers. Now they're here, and we're ever so grateful for the songs that lead them to us.

    Sin Fang Bous, a fellow group of Icelanders also smuggled in to NYC for the occasion, provided a spirited set of their own ahead of Mum..despite one comical distraction. Playing a number of songs from their recently released album Clangor (Morr Music), the four piece offered the kind of skittish, playful pop that went down like some incredible serum oozing it's way to the body's pleasure zone. Apparently some in attendance just couldn't take such magic sensations, as the good vibes were briefly interrupted by a fight in the front row. For those not familiar with the band, this would be the equivalent of coming to fisticuffs in the middle Iron and Wine set? It was sort of odd, yet singer/songwriter Sindri Mr Sigfsson - always the handsome, young sweet talker - dismissed the tussle beautifully, suggesting the room enjoy the rather splendid moment...especially those of us lucky enough to be on a date. Apparently the tune that followed provided the perfect moment to "give 'em the tongue". Sadly, I was alone... - David Pitz


    Until next year, this is Baeble reminding you "don't drink the free CMJ Redbull-vodka cocktails. They will &#@% you up."

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