don't you tell me how i feel.

cmj: day one by v
October 17, 2012, 10:48 am
Filed under: cmj, New music, Shows | Tags:

a lonely set list

I spent day one of CMJ’s 2012 Music Marathon at Pianos in the Lower East Side — their upstairs/downstairs setup would maximize the number of bands I’d see in an afternoon, I figured. They also seemed to have the most promising lineup, featuring Slow Magic and Levek, along with 15 or so others in between.

Of course, the whole point of CMJ is to watch the bands you’ve never heard of before, and the showcase format (everyone gets a short set, no more than five songs or so) makes it possible to absorb a crazy amount of music in one go.

Below, some of Tuesday’s highlights:

A one-man band who does live beat looping and plays a hell of a guitar solo. Biggest surprise there: his uncannily Layne-Staley-esque voice (when he’s not in falsetto mode, that is). Holy ’90s grunge growl.


Phil photo

This Canadian duo hails from the land of Portishead — haunted high-pitched vocals over slow-building beats, and appropriately colored face paint. Night music, for sure. Check out Lehtola’s interview with them here.


Phil photo

An exceedingly cute keyboard-driven pop group whose songs wouldn’t be out of place on an ’80s teen movie soundtrack. I mean that in the best possible way.


Phil photo

Really like this guy’s album, but I had concerns about its live translation, as I often do with electronic music. His solution to the typical knob-twiddling performance was donning a crazy tribal mask, leaping into the crowd and beating a drum (with considerable skill) over his backing track. He gets the prize for audience engagement, without doubt.


This band’s combination of two drummers and a violin makes for some weighty, almost apocalyptic sounds.


Theirs was one of the richer performances of the day — the bossa-nova “Terra Treasures” sounded gorgeous as ever. Particularly endearing was the moment when frontman David Levesque accidentally spilled his bottle of water on the stage, then paused in seeming horror before kicking his pedals out of the way and pressing on. Gotta love those human moments.

the offending bottle

Not sure what’s in store for day two just yet, but I’m definitely hoping to catch the Hare Krishna sisters of Prince Rama at some point during the week. More soon.

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