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-- The 60's --
The 13th Floor Elevators
Janis Joplin
-- The 70's --
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Asleep at the Wheel
Willie Nelson
The Skunks
Townes Van Zandt
Guy Clark
Jerry Jeff Walker
-- The 80's --
The Dicks
Marcia Ball
The Butthole Surfers
Joe Ely
The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Nanci Griffith
-- The 90's --
Lucinda Williams
Arc Angels
Shawn Colvin
Alejandro Escovedo
Fastball
Jimmie Dale Gilmore
The Gourds
Robert Earl Keen
James McMurtry
Toni Price
Kelly Willis
-- The 00's --
Okkervil River
The American Analog Set
...Trail of Dead
Explosions in the Sky
Patty Griffin
Sara Hickman
I Love You But I've Chosen...
The Octopus Project
Okkervil River
Bruce Robison
Spoon
The Sword
What Made Milwaukee...
   


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Tracy's CMJ 2012 Day 5 - by Tracy Mamoun

TinVulva, Bugs In The Dark, Life Size Maps, Eula, The Everymen, EndAnd, I'm Turning Into, Puppies & SLEEPiES (again!)
- by Tracy Mamoun



 

And finally, we get to the last day of this CMJ fest. Far from tired, I'm in a place where, buzzing off the large amounts of live music I've been restlessly taking in for the last four days, I'm just NOT sure what to do with myself once this is over. Converse might be hard, as one: I've gone partially deaf, and two: all I've been doing all week is chat and shake hands, and I think if I have to say once more 'Tracy from The Deli' I might just die. But before I unplug my brain for the whole of Sunday, time to take you through the final leg of this run. Have been in a bubble now for a few days, and it seems like when the noise stops it's all going to seem OVERLY silent. 

The first half of a day, I spent at XPO 929, where we were hosting our last show of the week, with the noisiest bands of our 2012 selection. The afternoon was kicking off with TinVulva, who as Bugs In The Dark singer Karen said, 'kicked ass', spitting out their message to the opposite sex with more spite & strength than you'd ever really expect from these three tiny ladies which, two of which, despite the obvious shortcut of this comparison, you can place somewhere along the lines Kathleen Hanna meets The Amps meets.. the 5,6,7,8's? Is that last one cheap? Does it have something to do with the two Asian frontwomen? Not certain, but there is something in the stage presence that takes me in that direction. However, as a trio, they pulled off a great performance. Definitely one I'd see again.

Second up were Bugs In The Dark, four-piece powerhouse 'sex rock' with an eye set on the finest of the 90s, who despite going for some awkward-ish enamoured bits of performance delivered a great set. No lies, I did during a third of 'Picture' think 'Hey, that's ripping off..?', but as it turns out, it was only a really sick song of theirs lodged deep in a corner of my brain since first listening to the band. A truly impactive live show building up on solid riffs and raucous vocals which Rockower will at some point pour into a megaphone, only to amp-up the noise factor a notch, with a ferocious fist-lifting stage presence. A great act, which the EndAnd guys will aggree with as they've already made plans to share some more bills with the band after this. 

Then Life Size Maps came on. Playing as a duo some invasive indie pop/rock built upon a shimmering windy loop which came back on for a couple of the tracks, with some intensely reverberated vocals which the singer kept asking to turn up a notch. Not that there's anything to dislike, but it's just not really my thing, that's as honest as I'll get. Somehow, the balance between either too saccharine a noise-driven band or too noisy a pop band seemed to just not match the degree of straightforward noise-noise delivered by the other bands on stage that day; yet taking into account some high-energy fast-riff efforts and a young singer who was determined to deliver 100% despite a crowd which had begun to slightly disperse, they deserve a certain credit for finding their own way to merge glistening neo-psycehdelic influences with the sounds of guitar&bass. And to be fair, their tracks are most definitely catchy, so for those a little more suited to the sweet side of things, I'm guessing they're probably a winning act.

Next were EULA, one of those bands I wish I'd seen perform before writing them up for the issue, for despite the buzzkill of playing for a small afternoon crowd in such a large space as Party XPO, Alyse Lamb (who, due I suppose to her ferocious attitude, I imagined quite a bit taller) managed to show off a bit of what her stage act is about. For such a tiny lady, she takes up the whole space at ease, pacing up and down from one amp to the next, pinching the far end of her guitar strings to slip some high-pitched noise within the ramble of dissonances and bassey layers. Why did I wish I'd seen them before the issue went to print? Because their live set reveals thrice more impactive a band than the records betray, at some points drifting into shambolic spurts of fast drumbeats & shreds as the show unfolds. Wish I'd actually seen them again later on, to see what they're like once the sun goes down, but as you'll read a bit further down, had some planning issues. That'll be for next time. 

First headliners of the show were The Everymen, regarding whom I find myselg more or less in the same case as EULA. Except that I had actually seen them once before this show, but here again, we're speaking of a band about fifteen times more explosive than their first album 'New Jersey Hardcore' or even the more faithful earlier records would let one guess. I heard someone saying they sounded like 'the E Street Band on crack'. And despite the fact that they're nowhere near as tensed-up as the image makes them seem, it is all in all a pretty accurate description of their punk 'big band' frenzies, so here we go, quoting. Remember that Stray Cats song that goes "rock&roll is never too loud"? Well if a four-piece can make noise, imagine what an eight-piece band giving 200% on stage can amount to. 

Finally, our second headliners were EndAnd, second King Killer representatives of the day, part of a their own micro-scene of truly talented musicians drifting far from the hype's beaten tracks to find an edge to noise. We got treated to a few songs from their next album, 'Mechanics and Energetics of Stilt-Running', currently being mixed, which sees them diving further towards hardcore punk with this time round barely an ounce of that pop sensibility pointed out in most reviews of their first output.  

Legion, my next stop, was most definitely the type of bar I'd never want to hang out in. For the exception perhaps of a 4am/in need of a drink/feeling silly type of situation, in which case listening to Patrick Hernandez's 'Born To Be Alive' whilst sipping red wine out of a whisky tumbler could seem an acceptable option. Let's be honest here for a second. The only reason I headed there was that, reading the wrong page in my notes, I believed Cool Serbia were playing. Instead, the line-up turned out to be a cast of kitschy pop bands. Having in mind a stop at the EISGTCMJ show at Paper Box for a Sleepies night cap at 10:40, why not stay for a couple?

As it turns out, Sleepies weren't playing at 10:40. Damn you guide. But we'll get to that in a minute.

I'm Turning Into (yup, these charming lads), in spite of -fair enough - not exactly breaking ground, bring an interesting touch to their live performance, through which one gets to appreciate the different styles coming together in their album, with one player only risking the guitar solos, but all very space-aware, i.e not hitting the drums too hard or the volume too high, reverberation on the other hand used and abused for some dreamy pop/hazy garage.

Next up, Puppies, who with a name like that... anyway. The frontman/keyboardist takes on perfectly well the role of the endearing quirky kid cracking jokes trying to find lookalikes for the entire cast of the Simpsons in this tiny backroom. With three pretty ladies on bass, guitar and drums, the band plays some smooth-swaying crackly surf pop tickled by keyboard melodies heading towards some slightly grittier garage numbers sounding something like Cassie Ramone meets the BBQ show - to picture some super- saccharine lo-fi skipping jams filled with 'ooh-oohs', that's as good as I have.  

Bands aside, I hope I never have to go back to Legion. 

But finally, we get to the last gig that was to close the week en beaute. Is seeing the same band twice cheating? Probably. Then again I did catch Foxygen three times, and although one would have sufficed, having god-knows-how met my 'quotes' for the week, it doesn't seem completely silly to compare performances.

So yes, I missed SLEEPiES at Paper Box, but instead, got to see them at the Fuzz showcase, with as full a room as I'd seen them play for. And a 'special stamp' to drink for free as, having lent a hand carrying the snare drum (that was it, literally) upstairs, the lovely girl at the door seemed to believe I had something to do with the band. Which I just went with, obviously. Despite having already snuck in a six pack, which was now no longer an awesome plan but a burden and a half.

Hard to come back on these guys without either repeating myself or going into too much detail, which I am saving for a Q&A to be posted soon. So for now, I'll stick to a couple of comments, starting with the fact that I finally got to hear the Hot Singles played all in one go, which, despite understanding where the hesitation would come from, Feelers, with its sprightly clean-cut punk momentum, tying far less into the new album's aesthetics (or even those of their earlier records) than would Sludge River Mouth, I'd been impatiently waiting for.

Personal highlights aside, there are a few reasons why I seem to find their gigs a sure value, one which to do with WWW working its way between hook-laden hits and destructured raw noise to find an edge to both, where your taste for grit is fulfilled whilst half the room can joyously sing along. Which was the case that evening, as it seems half the people in the room knew the words to every song.

Then, there's also the fact that once you get bored of seeing/hearing as many self-indulgent half-assed noisemakers as I did back in London, substituting for any glimpse of thouroughness, creativity, or craftsmanship for that matter, the more or less guaranteed effect of a fuzz&feedback-driven cacophony, well.. it's a treat to find some young guys who'll take it upon themselves to work on the outskirts of the punk/grunge/noise battlefield whilst using and abusing the same means as the pack to feed one enough dirt to keep things interesting. Know who else is finding it interesting? Julian Casablancas, who turned up to catch their last CMJ performance. Just thought I'd slip that in. 

Credit where credit's due, here's a band that has slowly built its niche way beyond the shortcut-led mainstream of today's punk scene, and a definite favourite of these few months in New York City. 

So to wrap up, I want a SLEEPiES tee. 

Anyway, this last show was a lovely end to a great week. Consistent? Not really. Organised? No. Productive? I've probably seen more acts from Missouri or Ohio than from any scene covered by The Deli. But the ride was a WHOLE lot of fun, so for that.. cheers Paolo! 

 

 
 
 
 

 

The Deli's CMJ Shows 2012

 

 
 
 

 

  classifieds
 


Tracy's CMJ 2012 Day 5 - by Tracy Mamoun

TinVulva, Bugs In The Dark, Life Size Maps, Eula, The Everymen, EndAnd, I'm Turning Into, Puppies & SLEEPiES (again!)
- by Tracy Mamoun



 

And finally, we get to the last day of this CMJ fest. Far from tired, I'm in a place where, buzzing off the large amounts of live music I've been restlessly taking in for the last four days, I'm just NOT sure what to do with myself once this is over. Converse might be hard, as one: I've gone partially deaf, and two: all I've been doing all week is chat and shake hands, and I think if I have to say once more 'Tracy from The Deli' I might just die. But before I unplug my brain for the whole of Sunday, time to take you through the final leg of this run. Have been in a bubble now for a few days, and it seems like when the noise stops it's all going to seem OVERLY silent. 

The first half of a day, I spent at XPO 929, where we were hosting our last show of the week, with the noisiest bands of our 2012 selection. The afternoon was kicking off with TinVulva, who as Bugs In The Dark singer Karen said, 'kicked ass', roaring to the opposite sex with more spite & strength than you'd ever really expect from these three tiny ladies which, despite the obvious shortcut of this comparison, you can place somewhere between kelly deal and the 5,6,7,8's. Does it have something to do with the two Asian frontwomen? Not certain. But they pulled off a great performance. 

Second up were Bugs In The Dark, four-piece powerhouse indie with an eye set on the finest of the 90s, who despite going for some awkward-ish enamoured bits of performance delivered a great set. No lies, I did at some point think 'Hey, that's ripping off..?',but as it turns out, it was only a really good song of theirs which had stayed engraved in some corner of my brain. A truly impactive live show building up on power riffs and some vocals a la Kelly Deal which Rockower will at some point poured into a megaphone to just amp-up the noise factor a notch, as if the show wasn't already loud enough. A great act, in my opinion, and in EndAnd's two as the guys made plans to share some more bills after this. 

 

Then Life Size Maps came on. Playing as a duo some invasive indie pop/rock built upon a shimmering windy loop which came back on for a couple of the tracks, with some intensely reverberated vocals which the singer kept asking to turn up a notch. Not that there's anything to dislike, but it's just not really my thing, that's as honest as I'll get. Somehow, the balance between either too saccharine a noise-driven band or too noisy a pop band seemed to just not match the degree of straightforward noise-noise delivered by the other bands on stage that day; yet taking into account some high-energy fast-riff efforts and a young singer who was determined to deliver 100% despite a crowd which had began to slightly dissipate, they deserve a certain credit for finding their own way to merge glistening neo-psycehdelic influences with only a guitar and bass. And to be fair, their tracks are most definitely catchy, so for those a little more suited to the sweet side of things, I'm guessing they're probably a winning pair.  

 

Next were EULA, one of those bands I wish I'd seen perform before writing the up for the issue, for despite the buzzkill of playing for a small afternoon crowd in such a large space as Part XPO, Alyse Lamb (who, due I suppose to her ferocious attitude, I imagined quite a bit taller) managed to show off a bit of what hey stage show is about. For such a tiny lady, she takes up the whole space at ease, pacing up and down from one amp to the next, strumming the far uneasy end of her guitar strings to squeeze some high-pitched noise in-between dominant bassey layers. Why did I wish I'd seen them before the issue went to print? Because their music is about ten times more impactive live than the record makes it out to be, in some points drifting into some juicy takes on punk form sporting fast-shredding and rapid drumbeats. Wish I'd actually seen them again later on, to see what they're like once the sun goes down, but as you'll read a bit further down, had some planning issues. 

The Everymen, more or less the same case scenario. Except that I had actually seen them before, but here again, a band about fifteen times more explosive than their first album 'New Jersey Hardcore' or even the more faithful earlier records would let one guess. I heard someone saying they sounded like 'the E Street Band on crack'. And despite the fact that they're nowhere near as tensed-up as the image makes them seem, it is all in all a pretty accurate description, so here we go, quoting. 

 

Finally, our headliners were EndAnd, second King Killer representatives of the day, part of a their own micro-scene of truly talented musicians drifting far from the hype's beaten tracks to find the edge of noise. We got treated to a few songs from their next album, 'Mechanics and Energetics of Stilt-Running', currently being mixed, which sees them exploring hardcore punk with this time round barely an ounce of that pop sensibility pointed out in most reviews of their first output.  

 

Legion, my next stop, was most definitely the type of bar I'd never want to hang out in. For the exception perhaps of a 4am/in need of a drink/feeling silly type of situation, in which case listening to Patrick Hernandez's 'Born To Be Alive' whilst sipping red wine out of a whisky tumbler could seem an acceptable option. Let's be honest here for a second. The only reason I headed there was that, reading the wrong page in my notes, I believed Cool Serbia were playing. Instead, the line-up turned out to be a cast of kitschy pop bands. Having in mind a stop at the EISGTCMJ show at Paper Box for a Sleepies night cap at 10:40, why not stay for a couple?

As it turns out, Sleepies weren't playing at 10:40. Damn you guide. But we'll get to that in a minute.

 

 

I'm Turning Into (yup, these lads), in spite of -fair enough - not exactly breaking ground, bring an interesting touch to their live performance, through which one gets to appreciate the different styles coming together in their album, with one player only risking the guitar solos, but all very space-aware, i.e not hitting the drums too hard or the volume too high, reverberation on the other hand used and abused for some dreamy pop/hazy garage.

And so finally, we get to the last gig that was to cloture the week en beaute. Is seeing the same band twice cheating? Perhaps. Then again I did catch Foxygen three times, and although one would have sufficed, having god-knows-how met my 'quotes' for the week, it doesn't seem completely silly to compare performances.

So yes, I missed SLEEPiES at Paper Box, but instead, got to see them at the Fuzz showcase, with as full a room as I'd seen them play for. And a 'special stamp' to drink for free as, having lent a hand carrying the snare drum (that was it, literally) upstairs, the lovely girl at the door seemed to believe I had something to do with the band. Which I just went with, obviously. Despite having already snuck in a six pack which was now no longer an awesome plan but a burden and a half.

Hard to come back on these guys without either repeating myself or going into too much detail, which I am saving for a Q&A to be posted soon. So for now, I'll stick to a couple of comments, starting with the fact that I finally got to hear the Hot Singles played all in one go, which, despite understanding where the hesitation would come from, Feelers tying far less into the new album's aesthetics (or even those of their earlier records) than would Sludge River Mouth. Yet hey, nothing's worth a challenge.

Personal highlight aside, there are a few reasons why it's always a treat to go check them out, one which has to do with the hard to pinpoint difference between any track and a hit – WWW, in that gap, sits comfortably on its fence, delivering a restless succession of the grittiest A-Tracks to lodge at the top of your playlists. So when it comes to seeing them live, each song is what you'd call a 'classic' if that makes sense, meaning that what they craft is no doubt some of the catchiest punk/grunge/noise mash-up on offer. Ergo, half the people in the room new the words to every song. 

Pleasure to have people to mosh about to their tunes with. Pumped-up ladies bouncing at the front, nice one; that was a lovely end to a great week. Consistent? Not really. Organised? No. Productive? I've probably seen more acts from Missouri or Ohio than from any scene covered by The Deli. But the ride was a WHOLE lot of fun, so for that.. cheers Paolo! 

 

 
 
 
 

 

The Deli's CMJ Shows 2012

 

 
 
 

 

  classifieds
 


Tracy's CMJ 2012 Day 5 - by Tracy Mamoun

TinVulva, Bugs In The Dark, Life Size Maps, Eula, The Everymen, EndAnd, I'm Turning Into, Puppies & SLEEPiES (again!)
- by Tracy Mamoun



 

And finally, we get to the last day of this CMJ fest. Far from tired, I'm in a place where, buzzing off the large amounts of live music I've been restlessly taking in for the last four days, I'm just NOT sure what to do with myself once this is over. Converse might be hard, as one: I've gone partially deaf, and two: all I've been doing all week is chat and shake hands, and I think if I have to say once more 'Tracy from The Deli' I might just die. But before I unplug my brain for the whole of Sunday, time to take you through the final leg of this run. Have been in a bubble now for a few days, and it seems like when the noise stops it's all going to seem OVERLY silent. 

The first half of a day, I spent at XPO 929, where we were hosting our last show of the week, with the noisiest bands of our 2012 selection. The afternoon was kicking off with TinVulva, who as Bugs In The Dark singer Karen said, 'kicked ass', roaring to the opposite sex with more spite & strength than you'd ever really expect from these three tiny ladies which, despite the obvious shortcut of this comparison, you can place somewhere between kelly deal and the 5,6,7,8's. Does it have something to do with the two Asian frontwomen? Not certain. But they pulled off a great performance. 

Second up were Bugs In The Dark, four-piece powerhouse indie with an eye set on the finest of the 90s, who despite going for some awkward-ish enamoured bits of performance delivered a great set. No lies, I did at some point think 'Hey, that's ripping off..?',but as it turns out, it was only a really good song of theirs which had stayed engraved in some corner of my brain. A truly impactive live show building up on power riffs and some vocals a la Kelly Deal which Rockower will at some point poured into a megaphone to just amp-up the noise factor a notch, as if the show wasn't already loud enough. A great act, in my opinion, and in EndAnd's two as the guys made plans to share some more bills after this. 

Then Life Size Maps came on. Playing as a duo some invasive indie pop/rock built upon a shimmering windy loop which came back on for a couple of the tracks, with some intensely reverberated vocals which the singer kept asking to turn up a notch. Not that there's anything to dislike, but it's just not really my thing, that's as honest as I'll get. Somehow, the balance between either too saccharine a noise-driven band or too noisy a pop band seemed to just not match the degree of straightforward noise-noise delivered by the other bands on stage that day; yet taking into account some high-energy fast-riff efforts and a young singer who was determined to deliver 100% despite a crowd which had began to slightly dissipate, they deserve a certain credit for finding their own way to merge glistening neo-psycehdelic influences with only a guitar and bass. And to be fair, their tracks are most definitely catchy, so for those a little more suited to the sweet side of things, I'm guessing they're probably a winning pair.  

Next were EULA, one of those bands I wish I'd seen perform before writing the up for the issue, for despite the buzzkill of playing for a small afternoon crowd in such a large space as Part XPO, Alyse Lamb (who, due I suppose to her ferocious attitude, I imagined quite a bit taller) managed to show off a bit of what hey stage show is about. For such a tiny lady, she takes up the whole space at ease, pacing up and down from one amp to the next, strumming the far uneasy end of her guitar strings to squeeze some high-pitched noise in-between dominant bassey layers. Why did I wish I'd seen them before the issue went to print? Because their music is about ten times more impactive live than the record makes it out to be, in some points drifting into some juicy takes on punk form sporting fast-shredding and rapid drumbeats. Wish I'd actually seen them again later on, to see what they're like once the sun goes down, but as you'll read a bit further down, had some planning issues. 

The Everymen, more or less the same case scenario. Except that I had actually seen them before, but here again, a band about fifteen times more explosive than their first album 'New Jersey Hardcore' or even the more faithful earlier records would let one guess. I heard someone saying they sounded like 'the E Street Band on crack'. And despite the fact that they're nowhere near as tensed-up as the image makes them seem, it is all in all a pretty accurate description, so here we go, quoting. 

Finally, our headliners were EndAnd, second King Killer representatives of the day, part of a their own micro-scene of truly talented musicians drifting far from the hype's beaten tracks to find the edge of noise. We got treated to a few songs from their next album, 'Mechanics and Energetics of Stilt-Running', currently being mixed, which sees them exploring hardcore punk with this time round barely an ounce of that pop sensibility pointed out in most reviews of their first output.  

Legion, my next stop, was most definitely the type of bar I'd never want to hang out in. For the exception perhaps of a 4am/in need of a drink/feeling silly type of situation, in which case listening to Patrick Hernandez's 'Born To Be Alive' whilst sipping red wine out of a whisky tumbler could seem an acceptable option. Let's be honest here for a second. The only reason I headed there was that, reading the wrong page in my notes, I believed Cool Serbia were playing. Instead, the line-up turned out to be a cast of kitschy pop bands. Having in mind a stop at the EISGTCMJ show at Paper Box for a Sleepies night cap at 10:40, why not stay for a couple?

As it turns out, Sleepies weren't playing at 10:40. Damn you guide. But we'll get to that in a minute.

I'm Turning Into (yup, these lads), in spite of -fair enough - not exactly breaking ground, bring an interesting touch to their live performance, through which one gets to appreciate the different styles coming together in their album, with one player only risking the guitar solos, but all very space-aware, i.e not hitting the drums too hard or the volume too high, reverberation on the other hand used and abused for some dreamy pop/hazy garage.

And so finally, we get to the last gig that was to cloture the week en beaute. Is seeing the same band twice cheating? Perhaps. Then again I did catch Foxygen three times, and although one would have sufficed, having god-knows-how met my 'quotes' for the week, it doesn't seem completely silly to compare performances.

So yes, I missed Sleepies at Paper Box, but instead, got to see them at the Fuzz showcase, with as full a room as I'd seen them play for. And a 'special stamp' to drink for free as, having lent a hand carrying the snare drum (that was it, literally) upstairs, the lovely girl at the door seemed to believe I had something to do with the band. Which I just went with, obviously. Despite having already snuck in a six pack which was now no longer an awesome plan but a burden and a half.

Hard to come back on these guys without either repeating myself or going into too much detail, which I am saving for a Q&A to be posted soon. So for now, I'll stick to a couple of comments, starting with the fact that I finally got to hear the Hot Singles played all in one go, which, despite understanding where the hesitation would come from, Feelers tying far less into the new album's aesthetics (or even those of their earlier records) than would Sludge River Mouth. Yet hey, nothing's worth a challenge.

Personal highlight aside, there are a few reasons why it's always a treat to go check them out, one which has to do with the hard to pinpoint difference between any track and a hit – WWW, in that gap, sits comfortably on its fence, delivering a restless succession of the grittiest A-Tracks to lodge at the top of your playlists. So when it comes to seeing them live, each song is what you'd call a 'classic' if that makes sense, meaning that what they craft is no doubt some of the catchiest punk/grunge/noise mash-up on offer. Ergo, half the people in the room new the words to every song. 

 

 

 
 
 

 

The Deli's CMJ Shows 2012

 

 
 
 

 

Josh's CMJ 2012 Day 5: Tallahassee, Ace Reporter, Hippy, Black Wing Halo, Automatic Children

Well, isn’t this bittersweet. After running the CMJ Marathon, I’m certainly exhausted, but I’m definitely sad to see it go. CMJ was so life encompassing that it’ll probably take me a week or so to adjust back to the normal day-to-day. If you happened to be standing by any door this week and I, out of habit, hand you my driver’s license and put my wrist out to be stamped, then I’d like to apologize in advance. Read Josh Johnson's report of CMJ's Day 5 here. - In the picture and Streaming: Black Wing Halo


  classifieds
 


Josh's CMJ 2012 Day 5 - by Josh Johnson

Tallahassee, Ace Reporter, Hippy, Black Wing Hallo, Automatic Children
- by Josh S. Johnson



Well, isn’t this bittersweet. After running the CMJ Marathon, I’m certainly exhausted, but I’m definitely sad to see it go. CMJ was so life encompassing that it’ll probably take me a week or so to adjust back to the normal day-to-day. If you happened to be standing by any door this week and I, out of habit, hand you my driver’s license and put my wrist out to be stamped, then I’d like to apologize in advance. Remember that scene in “Lost” when Ben told Sayid he didn’t have to be his personal assassin anymore? When Sayid asked what he should do now, Ben replied, “Well, I suppose you should live your life, Sayid.” I feel just like Sayid did, except I was writing about bands for a week, and he was killing people for a maniac. But other than that, it’s exactly the same thing. Anyway, let’s get to the bands.

First up at the Legion in Brooklyn was a very cool band from Boston called Tallahassee, whom I covered for the Deli’s New England blog. Each member of the band had a beard on his face and a mic at his mouth. At first glance, it seemed that the audition process for Tallahassee consisted of two parts: can you sing, and can you grow copious amounts of facial hair? But once the band started playing, they became a rock n’ roll monster. The vocals soared and the guitar solos were blistering. The drummer was especially all kinds of awesome, which particularly came to light when part of his kit fell over, so he played it on his side.

All four members of Tallahassee sang, so it was interesting to watch them switch off and on vocals and particular parts of the song. No matter who sang, though, the harmonies were always on point. Basically, Tallahassee was a dirtier, more electric Fleet Foxes, or, if you will, a Fleet Foxes-Lynyrd Skynyrd mash up. Either way, they put on a fantastic performance for the small crowd that was lucky enough to watch one of today’s most talented bands.

Following Tallahassee at the Legion was Ace Reporter, who, like myself, had quite the busy week. Their show Saturday was their third official CMJ show, but they still seemed in high spirits. Ace Reporter played a dramatic brand of indie-rock under the leadership of charismatic lead singer Chris Snyder. Snyder was a skilled vocalist, and his band was talented, but his songs too often failed to come together in a significant way, especially on the slower, quieter performances. When the band got to play louder and really cut loose, it allowed Snyder more meaningfully display his personality, and the result was much more entertaining. Plus, one of Ace Reporter’s songs has a keyboard line that sounded like the “X-Files” theme song, which was quite nifty.

My time at the Legion ended with garage-rock trio Hippy. If you had asked me to draw a picture of a garage-rock band, I would probably come up with something that looked a lot like Hippy. There was the drummer with the Batman-logo t-shirt, the cool chick bassist, and the frontman who looked like the combination of all the male characters in “Dazed and Confused.” The band also nailed the 60’s garage rock sound to a tee. That, combined with my dwindling ability for coherency, made me think I would be able to take a VW bus back to Manhattan. I was disappointed when I walked out of the Legion into the cruel sunshine to not see the sea-foam green vehicle. I did, however, see a White Castle, so I entertained myself with my favorite lines from “Harold and Kumar” on the long Subway ride back to the East Village.  

I soon found myself at the Mercury Lounge for electro-garage rockers Black Wing Halo. Instrumentally, the four-piece band was very solid. The bass and drum-heavy sound was a commanding, full-force presence. Vocally, however, I wasn’t a fan. The lead singer favored a distorted mic over a clean one, and the result was not easy on the ears. When he did sing into a normal mic, especially when his female keyboardist sang backup, the result was a very cool mixture of sounds. But I guess you don’t name your band “Black Wing Halo” unless you want to sound like a demon.

My CMJ 2012 came to a close with Automatic Children at Wicked Willy’s. Despite the venue’s overwhelming pirate paraphernalia and the presence of “official” beer-pong tables that you could potentially reserve in case you and your friends have done everything in the world short of going bowling, it was still an enjoyable place to hold a concert. Even though Automatic Children’s 90’s indie-rock style didn’t really fit the vibe at Wicked Willy’s, the four-piece band put on an entertaining show. Each song was very well crafted, and the band came off as very skilled and professional.

A few stray thoughts before I let go of CMJ 2012:

 

  • My hand is so covered in re-entry stamps and marks and it could probably infiltrate the Russian mob (go watch “Eastern Promises”)

  • The New York City music scene is staggeringly good. You don’t really notice until the best of the best are thrown at you for five straight days

  • My favorite acts of the week (in no particular order): Wilsen, Blonds, The Nightmare River Band, Local H, Field Mouse, The Bengsons, Tallahassee, MS MR, Sewing Machines, Linfinity

Thank you very much for reading. Now, go start planning for CMJ 2013, assuming our planet doesn’t turn into a Roland Emmerich movie two months from now.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

The Deli's CMJ Shows 2012

 

 
 
 

 

Josh's CMJ Day 4: Wilsen, The Bengsons, Ma'am, A Brief View Of The Hudson, Field Mouse

There ain’t no rest for the weary as my CMJ Friday starts bright and early at noon at the Rockwood Music Hall. Why would I voluntarily begin my day so early? So I can see two folk acts featuring guy-girl vocal harmonies, which is essentially catnip to me. First up was A Brief View of the Hudson, a five-piece band centered on the vocals of Ann Enzminger and Nick Nace. Read Josh Johnson's report of CMJ's Day 3-4 here. - In the picture and Streaming: Wilsen.


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Running the CMJ Marathon 2012 - Days 4 - by Josh Johnson
A Brief View of the Hudson, The Bengsons, Ma'am, Wilsen & Field Mouse

 

 

 

 

There ain’t no rest for the weary as my CMJ Friday starts bright and early at noon at the Rockwood Music Hall. Why would I voluntarily begin my day so early? So I can see two folk acts featuring guy-girl vocal harmonies, which is essentially catnip to me. First up was A Brief View of the Hudson, a five-piece band centered on the vocals of Ann Enzminger and Nick Nace. Nace’s deep voice, which contained some rather Dylan-esque inflections, contrasted beautifully with Enzminger's gliding tones.

The band itself had a very old-timey feel, like they should have been playing Al Swearengen’s saloon in Deadwood. Luckily, their style was much more charming than distracting. It helped that the band mostly yielded to the presence of the two singers, since Enzminger and Nace are the heart and soul of A Brief View of the Hudson. The best parts of the set were when the two singers would trade lines during the verses before combining their powers into singular vocal bliss.

 

 

Next up was The Bengsons, a husband and wife duo who could not have been more adorable. Though they only used Sean Bengson’s acoustic guitar and singer Abigail Bengson’s voice, the duo commanded the room. Abigail had one hell of a voice. Her singing style was dramatic, emotive, and captivating, and it was clear she had ultimate control over her instrument. It was amazing to watch her carefully and strategically restrain her voice before just unleashing full vocal ferocity during the set’s penultimate song.

In addition to reveling in the duo’s great talent, it was just fun to watch two people enjoy themselves to such a great extent. Abigail was so happy to be performing that she provided some unintentional percussion by jumping up and down with her boots. While introducing a new song, she said the couple was looking to become parents, but babies are “the grossest.” Seriously, stop it. You’re going to kill me with cuteness. The couple then proceeded to perform the most genuine song Edward Sharpe never wrote. All in all, the Bengson’s chemistry, creativity, and enthusiasm made for an early highlight Friday afternoon.

 

 

 

Several naps later, I returned to the CMJ scene to check out Ma’am, who are actually only one third female, at Leftfield. The trio continued Friday’s trend of guy-girl harmonies with a combination of Rebecca Odes and Charles Gansa’s nineties indie vocal stylings. Gansa in particular sounded like Stephen Malkums.

Both singers were armed with a guitar, and the blend of the two guitars, especially when the band played without a bass, created a kind of floating sensation. If humans ever gain the ability to fly, then Ma’am would be the perfect soundtrack to an early morning flight through the clouds.  

After Ma’am, I once again found myself at the Rockwood Music Hall for one of my favorite new bands, Wilsen. The venue was considerably more packed than I had seen earlier in the day, and for good reason: Wilsen was about to put on one of the best shows I’ve seen at CMJ.

The band opened with “House on a Hill,” a sweeping number that perfectly encapsulated the loneliness of the wild. When the forlornly whistling of the lead singer, the eponymous Wislen, coincided with striking crash of a cymbal, I can’t imagine there was a spine in the room left sans-shivered.

Wilen continued her set with a few more cuts off her fantastic debut album, “Sirens,” before closing with the album’s most epic track, “Anahita,” and damn, did she and her band play the living hell out of it. Starting off with a Friday Night Lights-like guitar riff, the song burst through its soft beginning and destroyed everything in its path, including the awestruck audience. The song equally overcame Wilsen, as she had to compose herself before she could enthusiastically thank the crowd.

My advice to you is this: go check out Wilsen. Each member of the band completely owns his respective instrument, and Wilsen herself has an effortlessly tremendous voice. So do yourself a favor and look them up the next time the band’s in town.

 

I ended the night at the Deli’s showcase at Pianos’ upstairs stage with Field Mouse, which had the least fitting name of any band I’ve seen so far at CMJ. Field mice, at least according to the “Tales of Dimwood Forest” books by Avi that I read when I was nine, are meek and mild, while Field Mouse the band was anthemic and self-assured. They should’ve named themselves after Ragweed, the city mouse. Ragweed was a badass mouse. I mean, he had a freaking earring. Of course, Poppy the field mouse eventually proves to be very confident and courageous, so maybe “Field Mouse” is an apt name for the band. Um, sorry. Does anyone have any idea what I’m talking about?

Anyway, Field Mouse turned out to be another great band on an excellent CMJ Friday. The three-piece rocked through rowdy set with fuzzed out guitar solos starry vocals. After the packed room filed downstairs, I called it a night in order to prepare for the very last night of CMJ 2012.

 

 
 
 

 

The Deli's CMJ Shows 2012

 

 
 
 

 

Tracy's CMJ Days 3-4 Ninjasonik, Total Slacker, Unstoppable Death Machines, The Shrine, The Orwells + more

To understand how much of a treat this Friday was, I guess it makes sense to first explain how major a let-down Thursday turned out to be. With a tight schedule sorted for the last two stretches, I'd gambled on the fact that, venturing from one venue to the next, I'd eventually find a few good NYC bands to write about, or at least some that worked with the scenes we cover. But no. Not in the slightest. A complete failure. - Read Tracy Mamoun's report of CMJ's Day 3-4 here. - In the picture and Streaming: Unstoppable Death Machines.


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