CMJ 2010 : Day Two Recap

<img src="http://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/cmj10d2.jpg" alt=" " />Didn't do much during the daytime, but lit up the evening of CMJ Day Two at PureVolume House. ...
CMJ 2010 : Day Two Recap

CMJ 2010 : Day Two Recap

What does CMJ stand for?  In literal terms, it once stood for ‘College Music Journal’, but has since evolved to just the initials, a-la ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ into just ‘KFC’ or ‘British Petroleum’ into just ‘BP’ (and don’t think CMJ doesn’t love those associations…).  But where does alternative/indie music stand these days, where file-sharing, iTunes, iPods and the rest are all yesterday’s news?  QRO might not have figured it over the five-day CMJ Music Marathon at venues across New York City, Tuesday-Saturday, October 19th-23rd, but had fun trying:

 

PASTE Party @ Living Room

Martina Topley-Bird
Martina Topley-Bird

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Martina Topley-BirdGot an earlier start on Day Two, only to find myself at the door to Living Room (QRO venue review) without my ID.  After returning home and searching with no luck, discovered that I’d left it at Brooklyn Bowl (QRO venue review) the night before.  So schlepping out there & back cost me most of the daytime of Day Two.  Why couldn’t Living Room be like its brethren on the Ludlow city block, Cake Shop (QRO venue review) & Pianos (QRO venue review), who were too lazy to check IDs during the day?…

drummer - or ninja?Only act seen while it was light out was the tail end of Martina Topley-Bird’s set.  Just her and a drummer (dressed up like a ninja), Topley-Bird was in town both to promote her new Some Place Simple (QRO review) as well as while on tour with/doing female vocals for Massive Attack (QRO album review), who were playing two nights at the Beacon Theatre the next two days (QRO photos).  Only caught “Too Tough”, which was certainly “Too tough to die”, but not really representative of Ms. T-B.

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PureVolume House

Bear Hands
Bear Hands

TJ OrscherClick image for full gallery

So daytime was largely a bust, but nighttime looked good thanks to PureVolume House.  The music website picked up where FADER feared to tread last CMJ (QRO recap), occupying the 2008 home of the FADER Fort with their PureVolume House.  Dylan RauWhile it was healthy with the free drinks, the line-up at PureVolume House 2009… well, sucked, but this year the House looked strong, especially on Day Two (though they didn’t have anything for Day One).

Too strong, it seemed.  Right at seven, when the daytime ‘Artists Lounge’ there closed and changed into the nighttime venue, Val Loperwhen Bear Hands were scheduled to start, the bouncer at the door announced to the line developing of people who had RSVPed (and stood in that line to get their RSVP badge first) that, because it was overbooked with VIPs, only other VIPs and anyone with an artist badge for that night could go in (if you were playing the House later on at CMJ, you were outta luck…).  While he was undoubtedly taking orders from somebody, the doorman seemed to be the only person told this and the only person announcing this, leading to confusion among all the people who had RSVPed thinking that that was good enough (as it had been in the past).  Countless people went up to the bouncer and inquired more directly, certainly annoying him, but that’s what Ted Feldmanhappens when you’re the only person telling & enforcing a sudden, drastic, and strict last-minute change of plans at the place with the night’s best line-up.

Luckily, QRO is far more resourceful, and after some work on the iPhone (how did I do three CMJs without it?…), got the clearance.  Unfortunately, only caught the tail end of ‘Friend of the Q’ Bear Hands (QRO spotlight on), but did find out later from guitarist Ted Feldman that the band is finally putting out a new record, Burning Bush Supper Club, on November 2nd.
Bear Hands

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Oh Land
Oh Land

Oh LandClick image for full gallery

At CMJ 2008 (QRO recap), the ‘hot commodity’ was Swedish songstress Lykke Li (QRO album review), who came out of the festival the ‘big thing of CMJ’.  She’s actually one of a bunch of appealing Swedish female singers (most of whom have sung female vocals on “Young Folks” with Peter Bjorn and John – QRO spotlight on – at one time or another), such as El Perro Del Mar (QRO live review), Anna Ternheim (QRO album review), and Taken By Trees (QRO album review) – and now Oh Land, who sounded a lot like Lykke Li, and seemed to be promoted at this CMJ as heavily as Lykke was at CMJ ’08.

Oh balloonsIt’s kind of unfair to make such a direct comparison, and Oh Land did have her own signatures, such as a unique hat (designed by the person who also did her album art) and balloons.  She was also a bit sexier, not shrouded in darkness (at least under the PVH lights), maybe more of a Swedish Little Boots (QRO album review) – who blew up after CMJ ’07 (QRO recap).
Oh Land

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Matthew Dear
Matthew Dear

band in darknessClick image for full gallery

Matthew Dear in darknessMatthew Dear, on the other hand, was shrouded in darkness.  Better known for his DJ work, Dear has put out a new album this year, Black City, and is touring live, with a band behind him.  Unfortunately, PureVolume House’s set-up would have been better for a DJ – a long basement (including covered pool table), the band played in the middle, on the same floor as the crowd (a floor that had some flooding during Dear’s set – QRO photo).  This left the audience mere feet from the band, with a tight squeeze if you were trying to get through to the other side (and kneeling if you were taking photos – at least, if you were a considerate photog like your correspondent…), and a tight squeeze for Dear’s ensemble.  Still, the man/band managed, electro and big, without overdoing it.

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Wavves
Wavves

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PureVolume House had listed a ‘special guest’ after Matthew Dear, and it couldn’t have been Surfer Blood (QRO live review), who were the ‘special guest’ numerous other times at CMJ, but were playing Webster Hall (QRO venue review) that very moment.  No, it was Wavves – who had played Madison Square Garden (QRO venue review) just hours earlier, serving as first opener for Phoenix (QRO live review).
formerly of Jay Reatard

Nathan WilliamsThere had been a lot of hipster-hate directed at Mr. Wavves, singer/guitarist Nathan Williams, thanks to the massive hype that his lo-fi act received last year, including being hand-picked by Pitchfork to headline their stage at Barcelona’s Primavera Festival – where Williams had an on-stage meltdown & fight with his drummer (there was also his physical fight at an NYC after-party with Jared Swilley of The Black Lips – QRO live review – but most people blamed that on Swilley being black-out drunk…).  But since then, Williams has recovered, recruited the line-up that had previously backed the late Jay Reatard (QRO photos), and gotten back on the horse, back on the road, not to mention putting out the well received King of the Beach (QRO review) this year.

Your correspondent was one of those haters who hadn’t really ever seen/listened to Wavves (a drive-by at SXSW last year doesn’t count – QRO recap), and was mostly expecting the Pauly Shore-isms that he’d reportedly been given to doing live (something about “skanking the weed” or “snoochie-moochies” – wait, the latter is Jay & Silent Bob…).  There was none of that (of if he did, didn’t hear it), just rock.  Not quite a full-fledged Wavves believer yet, but definitely not a hater anymore.
Wavves

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Two Door Cinema Club
Two Door Cinema Club

Sam HallidayClick image for full gallery

Alex TrimbleClosing out PureVolume House was Northern Ireland’s Two Door Cinema Club, who had also just opened for (labelmate) Phoenix, two nights earlier in Boston.  A band that has been getting a lot of attention, they were definitely one to see at CMJ.  However, while they were strong, your correspondent’s attention was more focused on the free drinks & potato chips (also improved from PureVolume House 2009), not to mention amused by the coincidence that the paper VIP wristband for PureVolume House that night was the same as the 21+ wristband at another venue, letting a few people not only saunter past the strict doorman, but also into the even more exclusive VIP area for a massage (no full release, though – reportedly…).
Two Door Cinema Club

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Here’s what three others at QRO caught during CMJ Day Two:

Natalia Blas

CMJ Showcase @ Santos Party House

DOM
DOM

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Tamaryn
Tamaryn

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Michael Gutierrez

Free Williamsburg Party @ Glasslands

Kohwi
Kohwi

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Zambri
Zambri

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North Highlands
North Highlands

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Pujol
Pujol

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Yellow Ostrich
Yellow Ostrich

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Blackbird Blackbird
Blackbird Blackbird

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COOLRUNNINGS
COOLRUNNINGS

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Foxes in Fiction
Foxes in Fiction

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Gobble Gobble
Gobble Gobble

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Marielle Solan

CMJ Showcase @ National Underground

MiniBoone
MiniBoone

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Soft Black
Soft Black

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CMJ Showcase @ Brooklyn Bowl

Bear Hands
Bear Hands

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Unfortunately missed:

-Gringo Star (QRO spotlight on) @ Living Room, 3:15 PM – 4:00 PM.  Who I was going to see when I discovered that I’d lost my ID.

{mosimage}-Bear Hands and BRAHMS (QRO photos) @ Brooklyn Bowl, 10:00 PM – 12:00 AM.  Thankfully, Mike Gutierrez caught BRAHMS on Day One (QRO photos), and Marielle Solan caught Bear Hands at Brooklyn Bowl – QRO photos.

-Freshkills (QRO live review) @ Cake Shop, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM.  Felt a bit bad about this one – after being denied at PureVolume House, went down to Cake Shop, where Freshkills were still setting up; even asked singer when they were on, and he said in a second.  He also headed upstairs and back out onto the street to check his phone, which I did as well, and got news that I was cleared for PVH…

-Phoenix, Dirty Projectors (QRO live review) and Wavves @ Madison Square Garden, 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM.  While officially a CMJ show, you had to show at the CMJ HQ at 10:00 AM to get the limited number of tickets – and that didn’t include photo pass, plus you knew the tickets had to be nosebleed…

-MiniBoone (QRO album review) @ National Underground, 9:00 PM – 9:45 PM.  Marielle Solan was there, too – QRO photos.

-My Other Friend, BRAHMS and free pizza @ The Studio at Webster Hall (QRO venue review), 12:00 AM – 1:45 AM.  Free pizza is right up there with free drinks (never enough free food at CMJ…), but runs out even faster.

 

Other notes:

-Nice folks at Brooklyn Bowl; very helpful.

-On way back from picking up ID, saw Static Jacks (QRO photos) playing on the Bedford Avenue L Stop.  Would have taken photos, but don’t want to encourage anyone to play on the subway.

-I was hardly the only one enjoying the free drinks at PureVolume House – QRO photo.

 

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