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Running the CMJ Marathon 2012 - Day 1 - by Josh S. Johnson
Blonds, Laura Stevenson, The Nightmare River Band, Sean0Sean, sami.the.great, Brainstorm, Everest Cale



The second best part of CMJ, after of course the opportunity to see tons of great bands for five straight nights in the greatest city for music, is the process of sorting through the seemingly endless list of bands in order to meticulously plan your personal schedule down to the minute. That feeling of invincibility concerning the laws of time and space is an awful like the one you get when you develop grand plans to start exercising and working out.  That brief sensation of euphoria lasts right up to the minute you told yourself you were going to start. Then you realize you already walked something like three flights of stairs that day, so really there’s no need to exercise.

Similarly, that confidence in a CMJ strategy lasts for the all too brief period between the schedule’s release and when the first band you see doesn’t start or finish on time. Suddenly those hours of planning turn are for naught as you blindly choose a venue to visit next. Yet the chaos of CMJ is part of its undeniable charm. As my uncle once said to me while my dad tried to figure out how he forgot to turn the lights off in the now-non-starting rental car we were driving through the middle of Alabama: “It’s part of the adventure.”

My CMJ adventure started with an example of the aforementioned scheduling hassles. I arrived at The Rock Shop around 7:30 with the intention of catching Brooklyn’s Howth, who released a solid indie-rock album, “Newkirk” earlier this year, at 7:45.  However, I soon learned that the band that was supposed to play at 7, Sean0Sean, was just beginning their set. Not wanting to leave Brooklyn empty handed, I stuck around and declared Sean0Sean, led by Brooklyn-born Sean Kiely, my first band of CMJ 2012.

Not only did Sean0Sean’s Rock Shop gig break the band’s CMJ virginity, it was their first gig, period. Hearing that, I felt that there wasn’t a better way to begin my week of researching upcoming bands than with a band that has never played a show before. When I arrived, the band consisted of only a guitarist and a bassist, but I was optimistic since I love the Flight of the Conchords. Well, Sean0Sean weren’t quite as entertaining Bret and Jemaine (and Murray, present), but they did bring a sort of straight-out-of-the-garage charm. Eventually a drummer joined the duo, and the newly formed trio banged out some solid garage-rock tunes.

brainstormAfter a brief excursion in Brooklyn, I made my way back to the East Village, where I spent the remainder of the night. First up was Portland, Oregon trio BRAINSTORM at the Lit Lounge. BRAINSTORM was certainly fun to watch and listen to, mostly due to the drummer/singer’s energy and the guitarist’s oscillation between psych distortion and the fluttery cleanliness of indie-rock. Also, the guitarist frequently put his instrument aside to grab a tuba, so that was neat.

nightmare river

I then made a quick walk to the Bowery Electric, where I caught the last couple songs of pop artist Sami Akbari, aka sami.the.great. Sami’s performance of Cyndi Lauper-like pop songs was enjoyable to watch and listen to, but it wasn’t particularly my cup of tea. However, the next act up at the Electric, The Nightmare River Band (pictured), was right up my alley.

The Nightmare River Band is the most aptly named band I’ve seen so far at CMJ. Many of their songs possess that sort of romantic notion that if the boat is sinking, then fuck it and party while you still can, specifically “Last Goodbye.” Ironically, they opened with “Last Goodbye,” which, at least by looking at its title, would seem like the perfect closing song. Instead, the band closed with an inspired cover of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers, which was somehow an even bouncier version than the original. The dueling guitar and bass solos certainly helped. Overall, the Nightmare River Band a great set filled with some rather awesome rock n’ roll songs.

Returning to my home turf, I set up shop at the Delancey to see Blonds (top of page picture) perform at the Deli's Rootsy showcase. I had high expectations for the duo, who performed as a five-piece live, and they were undoubtedly exceeded. Singer Cari Rae began the show with her smoky, sultry vocals. Just as you start to view Rae as an angel from heaven, the instrumentation, led by guitarist Jordy Asher, knocks you off the side of the earth down into hell. Rae’s smile turns to a snarl, and her swagger rises as the controlled chaos builds around her. Every song took on new power live. While the studio version of “Mr. E” embodies the suaveness of James Bond, then the live take sounds like what happens when you replace 007’s martini with an assault rifle. With their commanding take of an already strong catalog, Blonds proved to be the highlight of CMJ Tuesday.

l

After a misguided attempt to squeeze in seeing a band at Fontanas, I returned to the Delancy just in time for the tail end of Laura Stevenson & the Cans. Stevenson commanded the packed room with her confident folk-rock.

brainstorm

After Laura, I ended my first night of CMJ 2012 with Everest Cale The strength of Everest Cale’s debut EP, “Beast,” comes from Brett Treacy’s fantastic voice, which, at times, sounds like the late, great Layne Staley. While Treacy did howl like the eponymous beast, the star of the band’s performance at the Delancey was guitarist Jeremy Kolmin. Kolmin would rip off blistering solos while bending notes to new heights. With Treacy’s vocals and Kolmin’s guitar, Everest Cale delivered a high-quality performance. Plus, they won the coveted “Best Line of Stage Banter Award” with this gem: “You drunk assholes go fuck yourselves” (said jokingly, of course).

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

The Deli's CMJ Shows 2012

 

 
 
 

 





SUBMIT: THE DELI'S BEST OF NYC 2011 YEAR END POLL

Deli readers in bands,

Every year, The Deli's Year End Polls highlight hundreds of the best emerging artists in the 11 local US scenes we cover - and reward them with prizes from our sponsors.

As you may know, the winner of the NYC poll will grace the cover of the spring issue of The Deli.


Now established artists like Local Natives, Yeasayer, Twin Shadow, Vampire Weekends, Vivian Girls, Ra Ra Riot, Girls, Kurt Vile, Baths, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Blank Dogs, Buke and Gass and many others won or did well in our polls months if not years before getting international recognition.

The end of the 2011 is quickly approaching and we are ready to go through the painstaking 2 month process involved in selecting the artists and processing the various votes. We are already asking our local jurors (mostly venue promoters, bloggers, record store and radio personnel) to cast their vote for their favorite local emerging artists. But of course, our polls are open to all bands who want to be considered: free submissions are open from now until December 4th HERE - after that date we'll have $5 submissions through SonicBids for another couple of weeks. All these submissions will be grouped by genre and filtered by The Deli's local editors and some Deli writers.

To submit for consideration and for more info about our year end polls please go
HERE.

Good Luck
The Deli's Staff

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Deli CMJ ELECTRONIC STAGE - TONIGHT, The Delancey - FREE!

At The Delancey on Tuesday 10.18 we'll have a truly fantastic bill with 9 NYC based electro-pop bands - and it's going to be free!. 21+ - $8.
Full listings of the Deli's CMJ shows here. See below for the Dream Pop and Alt Rock stages that same night in the same venue (downstairs).

P.S. If you are into Pedal Effects, don't miss The Deli's STOMP BOX EXHIBIT at CMJ on Friday and Saturday!!!

ELECTRO STAGE

7.00 - The Casualty Process



7.40 - Illuminator
8.20 - Tiny Victor ies
9.00 - Mitten
9.40 - Computer Magic


10.20 - Psychobuildings



11.00 - Pretty Good Dance Moves


11.40 - Caged Animals


12.20 - Slam Donahue

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The Black Black/Kissed By An Animal release split single about how "Songs About New York" are bringing them down

From the golden age of Tin Pan Alley about a century ago to the golden showers age of Meet Me in the Bathroom-era indie sleaze and beyond, songwriters do seem to love writing songs about New York City or at least many of them do and while one could easily make a case for there being more memorable and outright iconic songs about NYC than pretty much anywhere else in the world it’s equally true tho’ not as widely noted that there’s lots and lots of crappy songs about NYC too…

…one example being Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “Island Girl,” a song largely forgotten today despite topping the charts back in 1975 and for good reason too seeing as it’s a cringe-worthy condescending ode to a six-foot-three “Jamaican honey so sweet / down where Lexington cross 47th Street […] turning tricks for the dudes in the big city” with lyrics that reinforce at least one hoary racist or whorey trope for every bump of coke Elton and Bernie must’ve done when they were writing the thing (allegedly!) not to mention some faux West Indian articulations and a bizarre kazoo/keyboard/marimba solo section I sh*t you not…

…and then jumping ahead 40 years you got Taylor Swift and Ryan Tedder’s “Welcome to New York City,” a song lambasted for being “the worst ode to NYC ever” and for being a “gentrification anthem...[written] for its transient oligarch class” with T-Swizz pimping her new hometown via a string of tourism brochure platitudes and bland “poptimist“ electro-pop uplift although at least it includes a couple pro-LGBTQ+ lines fit for mass consumption that even if perfunctory (or not!) who cares in the end cuz who can know what mysteries lie deep within Miss Tay Tay’s heart…

…and when it comes to songs about NYC it’s a matter not only of quality but also of quantity cuz there’s soooo many songs about NYC already in existence which has gotta make it pretty tough to come up with a non-hackneyed angle on the city and really how many ways are there to say “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” or to praise “streets [that] make you feel brand new [with] big lights to inspire you”…

…and even if you're looking to write more of an outlier song with NYC-related lyrical content it’s a safe bet almost every random piece of NYC marginalia you can imagine has been addressed at least once or twice before in song like how back in the ‘70s there were not just one but two songs by major artists named for the notorious “Coney Island Whitefish” which I would not recommend ordering from your local fish market even if you are running low on tartar sauce…

…which is all a moot point to the likes of Hiro, Dima, Johnny and John seeing as the musical foursome “fucking hate songs about New York”—and isn’t this the most “New York” take one could take on songs about New York possible—as explored further on “Songs About New York” which is the title track twice iterated appearing on both sides of the split seven-inch recently released by The Black Black and Kissed By An Animal (EWEL Records) two bands with an overlapping keep-it-in-the-family membership while remaining almost entirely non-incentuous in sonic terms seeing as how “KBAA move through tight, clean punk into melodic power pop, while TBB bring their unique brand of bass-driven post punk groove” according to the EWEL’s official press release

…and it’s a clever conceit to be sure having both bands record their own versions of the title song (alongside one bonus cut each) because not only do they cleverly bypass the whole “another stupid song about New York” quandary with a song about stupid songs about New York sharing a set of lyrics and a main vocal hook between them but otherwise we’re talking two totally different bags of apples...

…a conceit that (arguably) acts as a critique of the Big Apple’s oft-vainglorious sense of self-regard because as usual the mirror has two faces—the one shown to the outside world and the one more hidden away which is not to imply those two sides are always clearly distinguishable—and whether we’re talking about a split-single or a split-personality the two sides reflect and refract one another while standing along in their own right too like a double-helix strand of DNA where neither side is considered the “A Side” or the “B Side” it’s far more dialectical than that…

…or to put it more in layman’s terms the new KBAA/TBB split-single totally rips while simultaneously ripping a new one for all those clichéd songs about New York and ripping at the very fabric of ontological/representational self-certainty ideal for fans of bands like The Hives, The Vines, The Seeds, Oh Sees, Parquet Courts, Television, Radiohead, TV On The Radio, TVOD, Cinemax After Dark, Red Shoe Diaries, Midnight Blue, New Wave Theater, The Corey Hotline and Freddie Freaker and the single comes in numerous hues and shades such as periwinkle putrid pink, grape Shasta, and ‘70s shag avocado but the color is chosen at random so order at least 10 copies (out of a limited run of 200!) to increase your chances of getting a cool one… (Jason Lee)

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Songwriters

Time: 
20:30
Band name: 
Jessica CarterAltman
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/jessicacarteraltman/
Venue name: 
Rockwood Music Hall
Band email: 
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