CMJ DAY 4: Au Revoir Simone @ Bell House

Au Revoir Simone = Beach House + Ariel Pink + Ladytron

The more I listen to their 3rd release the more I love it. I’d think that their recipe of simple Casio loops, drum machine riffs and soft vocals would be played out by now. However on Still Night, Still Light, the lovely trio have finally gotten more confidant with their vocals and marrying them with the warm electronic backdrop. They played much better this time around and the Bell House allowed them to bring out all their antique toys onstage for a rare and special live treat. I still love their simple melodies and so does David Lynch.
Pictures from the show.

CMJ DAY 3: Owen | James Husband | Headlights | Japandroids

Owen = asshole
James Husband = Of Montreal – Of Montreal
Headlights = Maserati + Earlimart
Japandroids = Lightning Bolt + Thunder & Explosions

My guard was down to see Owen after he recently played a surprisingly good set at Union Hall. Unfortunately he decided to sabotage another evening by playing only Oasis covers. Instead of performing to a pretty good CMJ crowd at his label’s showcase, he gave an uninspired and insulting set. I shouldn’t have been surprised, Owen is still a dick.

James Husband played a decent set of guitar indie but I was bored for most if it,

For a band that tours so much I was surprised I hadn’t seen Headlights before. They played upbeat and dreamy pop songs. Really interesting rhythms and good multi-intrument blending. Worth seeing again.

Japandroids simply rocked and finally got the night started. The duo were instantly on overdrive from the 1st note. The sound is intense and just great rock ‘n roll. Despite recovering from the flu, Brian King screamed his head off along with the crowd. This is garage rock with the house on fire. Highlight of the night and a very impressive band to keep your ears tuned to.

Pictures from the show

CMJ DAY 2: Mumford & Sons | Bear Hands @ Mercury Lounge

Mumford & Sons = Fleet Foxes – Band of Horses
Bear Hands = We Are Wolves + Wavves

Mercury Lounge had a line forming around the block to hear the CMJ buzzy band Mumford & Sons. Luckily the venue let me in to catch my most anticipated band at CMJ. Coming from the UK these guys play a country folky pop. Lots of catchy melodies and synchronized vocals with emotion Great set, great crowd, lotta fun.

Bear Hands is a post-punk/indie rock band from Brooklyn. Pretty much got what I was expecting but they had an experimental dimension to their music that held my interest. They had a unique sound and played an energetic set.

Pictures from the show.

CMJ DAY 1: Laura Marling | Antlers | Fanfarlo @ M.H. Williamsburgh

Laura Marling = Joanna Newsom + El Perro Del Mar
Antlers = A Place to Bury Strangers – “bury” + Mobius Band
Fanfarlo = Arcade Fire + Okkervil River + Beirut (when they were good live)

My new crush is Laura Marling. She was adorable onstage playing her mesmerizing songs. She played acoustic guitar accompanied at times with a cellist. Her voice was stunning and even played a number of new tunes. She was quite impressive.

The place got crowded to see The Antlers. The trio played a loud mixture of guitar and electronics that had nice dynamic ebbs and flows. However many of their songs started to all sound alike and a bit boring. They did play a few killer songs near the end.

Probably the most anticipated band at CMJ this year, Fanfarlo closed up the 6 band evening. A three-old London Pop ensemble fashioning catchy music with an expressive palette of instruments including trumpets, clarinet, glockenspiel and even a musical saw. They played songs filled with rousing choruses and catchy melodies. Although Simon Balthazar broke a guitar string on the 1st song, it didn’t deter the non-stop musical party. For the encore they handed out these plastic accordion-like tubes to play along. Great triumphant indie rock from one of the breakout bands to emerge from this year’s CMJ.

Pictures from the show.

Port O’Brien | Sea Wolf @ Union Hall

Port O’Brien is solid indie rock from the west coast. Duo Van Pierszalowski and Cambria Goodwin lead a 5 piece to play catchy songs and sing along jams. It’s hard not to see similarities of Rogue Wave and Arcade Fire in their songs and live show but they do have some fun tunes.

Sea Wolf is led by Alex Church from Los Angeles. He successfully blends indie rock with orchestral arrangements. His voice compliments the sound perfectly. Having a live string section at the show really added to the show and pulled off a nice set. His new album White Water, White Bloom just got released.