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October 2010

CMJ Thursday Recap

DSC02395 I spent Thursday night bumping around the Lower East Side, mostly between on the Ludlow St. corridor that is the unofficial hub for all things CMJ. At the M for Montreal showcase at Arlene's, The Luyas were led by the pixieish Jessie Stein, who was both cute and strange, like Stereolab meets Victoria Williams. (Pietro Amato, who also plays with Bell Orchestre and Torngat, added resonance with his french horn.) Red Mass, who were just written up in Rolling Stone as Band of the Week, played a kick-ass set full of feral energy. And, girl duos Random Recipe and The Pack A.D. were good, familiar fun. (See my past posts about them here and here.)

The Deli Mag showcase at the Living Room started off with the amazing Buke and Gass, who I last saw at the Bang on a Can Marathon back in June. Aron Sanchez made both his own hybrid bass guitar ("gass") and lead singer Arone Dyer's bass ukulele ("buke") They were followed by Kendra Morris and her big band, who sang old school R&B in a form-fitting leopard jumpsuit.

I also had time to catch the strange and soulful Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson at The Delancey, sounding like a cross between Dylan and Hendrix. A bit of a loon, mumbling to himself throughout.

More pics on Flickr.

CMJ Wednesday Recap

DSC02111 After stopping by the CMJ Press Mixer at the Hotel on Rivington for some free cocktails and schmooze, I made my way over to Arlene's Grocery for the Canadian Blast with Halfax's Rich Aucoin, who showed 3D movies and brought out a mulit-colored balloon for us all to hide under, just like when we were in 3rd grade. A bit heavy on the Dan Deacon-esque gimmickry, but not a bad way to break the ice on an early Wednesday. (I'll be back at Arlene's tonight for the M for Montreal showcase - is one of the owners Canadian, or do they just like NOTB music?)

DSC02131 Next was the Sennheiser showcase at LPR, hosted by my favorite maker of headphones (who generously provided me with a sweet schwag bag including some new CX 680's!) Boston's Adam Ezra Band played groove-laden rock, with Ezra telling stories about all the small rooms he's played and lived in over the years, and all the big ideas that have come out of those small rooms.

DSC02168 Unfortunately, I had to dash out after only a couple of songs, making it just in time to catch Phoenix's headlining set at a sold-out Madison Square Garden. (I missed both openers Wavves and Dirty Projectors, as well as Phoenix's monster hit "Lisztomania," which opened their set.) The show was full of surprises, including the band suddenly appearing in the soundbooth for one number, and lead singer Thomas Mars ending up in the upper deck for another.

But, the biggest surprise of all came during the encore, when fellow Frenchmen Daft Punk joined them onstage for "Harder, Faster, Better, Stonger", followed by Phoenix's other major hit, "1901." The capacity crowd of 20,000 went completely bonkers, completely in thrall with the electro-rock majesty in their midst.

More pics on Flickr.

CMJ Tuesday Recap

DSC02050CMJ 2010 got off to rocking start Tuesday night with the free MOG Showcase at Brooklyn Bowl. Newcomers Screaming Females and DOM  played straight ahead guitar rock that was welcome for its lack of pretension, if not completely engaging. That left the door wide open for local indie heroes Yo La Tengo to lay waste to the capacity crowd. In between fits spent shredding his guitar and keyboard, lead singer Ira Kaplan hopped off the stage momentarily to take aim at some pins. "Gutter ball," he reported back before unleashing yet another fusillade of sonic fury. 

More pics on Flickr

CMJ 2010

BoweryelectricIt's go time for the 30th annual CMJ Music Marathon, with wall-to-wall music over the next five days here in NYC. For credentialed bloggers like your's truly, it means navigating a treacherous terrain of press releases promising free beer, pizza and other special "prizes" (a.k.a. Heartburn.) I wouldn't have it any other way; stay tuned here and on Twitter for live updates.