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Running the CMJ Marathon 2012 - Day 3 - by Josh S. Johnson
Beast Patrol, Thomas Simon, Sewing Machines, JJAMZ, Linfinity, MS MR.


The third day of CMJ is the festival’s Humpday. Once Day Three ends, the festival is already more than half-over. Now that I’m halfway done with running the CMJ Marathon, I feel pretty good about my journey towards the finish line. While my marathon numbers are solid, they aren’t as good as Paul Ryan’s. Of course, Ryan made up his marathon times on the spot, so at least I’m winning in that regard.
 


First up was Beast Patrol at the Rockwood Music Hall, who was indeed quite beastly. Led by a fiery pixie for a lead singer in Vanessa Bley, the four-piece band tore through a fast set filled with heavy punk-rock songs. All eyes were on Bley fiercely strummed her guitar and violently grabbed the mic stand. Beast Patrol’s exuberant set almost made up for Rockwood’s incredibly lame one-drink-minimum policy. Almost.
 


My next stop was the Deli’s Electro showcase at the Delancy. Opening the show was composer extraordinaire Thomas Simon, who solely manned a vast amount of pedals while riffing on guitar and singing in a low, growling voice. There were so many pedals on stage that Simon could curate his own pedal museum. Or he could just join forces with the Deli’s own Stomp Box Exhibit, held Friday and Saturday at Main Drag Music from noon to 9 PM.

Simon’s intense guitar playing highlighted his performance. His instrument had an ominous, jungle-like sound, as if a tiger would burst through the stage at any moment. The most energizing moments of the set came when the guitar was given the most power. For Simon, heavier is better.

After Simon’s set, I got mistaken for a member of a band for about the fifth time this week. Being confused for a rock star has done wonders for the old self-esteem. Now, if only I could get people believe I'ma an NBA point guard, then both my childhood career aspirations would be fulfilled. How people perceive you is at least half the battle, right? Right? Let’s move on.
 
Continuing the trend of one-man bands at the Delancy’s upstairs lounge, Max Horwich brought his delightfully bizarre project Sewing Machines to the stage. Horwich’s set began with a traditional folk sound, followed by the use of loops and other electronic elements, resulting in what has been dubbed as “folk-tronic.” Basically, Sewing Machines sounded like if aliens conquered the West, then adapted and started playing folk music. In that regard, Sewing Machines is the best version of “Cowboys and Aliens” ever.

In addition to some excellent musical stylings, Horwich was also quite the charming stage presence. From the matter-of-fact way he introduced his set as “I’m going to play four songs for you” to his beef with the talky portion of the crowd, Horwich was always compelling. Plus, he used a freaking microphone as a guitar slide, which doesn't beat using a beer can or bottle, but is still pretty cool.
 
My next stop was the Bowery Electric, where I wanted to check out LA five-piece JJAMZ, mostly because of their drummer, Jason Boesel. Boesel used to be the drummer for Rilo Kiley, a band that is currently in possession of the Theodore Roosevelt spot on my Mount Rushmore of my favorite bands of all time.
 


Other than Boesel, the main attraction of JJAMZ was the band’s sassy little spitfire of a lead singer, Z Berg. Led by Berg, the band played that kind of indie-pop where every song sounds like an adorable love song. While JJAMZ was entertaining enough, watching Boesel play drums in a band fronted by a very Jenny Lewis-esque lead singer was a little too close for comfort, so I went up the street to the Lit Lounge to see Linfinity.
 

I’ll admit, I was initially drawn to Linfinity because of their name. I still have a small case of Linsanity (now would probably be a good time to offer up a hearty “screw you” to James Dolan), so I wanted to see anything that reminded me of the best story out of last year’s NBA season.

However, Linfinity’s set proved they were much more than an intriguing name.  The New York band played indie-dance rock very reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand. Also like Franz, Linfinity’s sound had bite and swagger, courtesy of their rambunctious frontman, Dylan Von Wagner. Von Wagner was the most compelling frontman I saw perform Thursday. His voice was extremely expressive, and every so often his eyes would light up with crazy - although I later discovered that was because he was literally getting electrocuted by his microphone. I guess things like that happen when you play the “Bands of the Budget” showcase.  Yet even after the technical problems were resolved, Von Wagner was a forceful presence that could not be denied.

Ending the night was the biggest show I’ve seen at CMJ so far: the mysteriously alluring MS MR (top picture) at the Bowery Ballroom. I had seen MS MR perform over the summer at Santos Party House, and since then, the band has developed a much more dynamic stage presence. Their stage presence wasn’t bad at Santos, but, at the Bowery Ballroom, it was much more confident and refined.

That being said, any stage presence at all is icing on the cake that is the voice of MS MR’s MS, because, good god, that voice is incredible. See, this is one of the many reasons why it’s so hard to take American Idol and all these other competitive singing shows seriously. MS MR’s lead singer could tear through those shows without even really trying - and did we mention that THEY WRITE THEIR OWN SONGS??? When MS' voice is combined with a powerful drum beat and a commanding stage presence, the result is electrifying.

The highlight of the show was, of course, the band’s first single, “Hurricane.” Even though it was obvious they would close with their most popular song, the song still felt fresh and honest. MS MR was truly awed by the crowd’s more than enthusiastic response, and it was easy to tell that when the band returns to the Bowery Ballroom, they will do so as headliners.

After rocking out to one of the best songs released in the past year, it seemed like a good time to call it a night. With that, I mounted the hump that was CMJ Thursday. Er, something like that. 

 

 

 
 
 

 

The Deli's CMJ Shows 2012

 

 
 
 

 

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From the NYC Open Blog: pow wow! debuts new LP

After a little over a year in the making, pow wow! has debuted their first full length record, Don't Stop To Look, streaming and available for download now on their bandcamp and soon available on Itunes, Spotify, Amazon (& More) as well as a limited run vinyl LP pressing before the end of the year. Voted one of of L Magazine's NYC Bands You Need To hear in 2009 and covered extensively by Brooklyn Vegan, Time Out New York, Village Voice, and various other local and international blog's after having released a handful of EP's and singles between 2009-10, pow wow! returns in 2012 with "Don't Stop To Look," their most diverse, yet focused and finely crafted pop record to date. Keeping true to their march to your own beat mantra as a band, the offerings on Don't Stop Look marry 60+ years of international pop music influence while honestly narrating an experience that is quintessentially New York. Passive and passionate; Yearning yet resigned. Candid, sometimes cryptic, but always conversational in delivery. Check out their latest video here. (As posted in The Deli's Open Blog - post your band's entries, videos, and Mp3s here). The Deli NYC Open Blog is powered by The Music Building.

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Cold Blood Club releases a first EP

You remember 'White Boyz' right? The song that tried to make white male timidity into a cool thing, while being picked up for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2012 to soundtrack catwalks across Bryant Park. Indeed, Cold Blood Club are almost too catchy for their own good. Well, now the group is back with their first official EP, 'Headlines & Firefights.' Lead vocalists Kendra Jones and Brad Peterson are not exactly known for being timid, so you know when they do something new, it's sure to turn heads. And based on their increasing penchant for loud, obnoxious party music, and loud, insane parties... it's bound to be a thing best experienced live. - Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets)

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Psychobuildings release new video for 'Wonderchamber'

“Wonderchamber,” the new video by Brooklynʼs Psychobuildings, creeps along like an arachnid lullaby poised to disintegrate into a danceable labyrinth. Subtly political, its Nietzschian lyrics deadpan the sensual allure of an omnipresent cult leader who speaks with “glitter in his pockets” to crowds more than willing to drink his kool-aid. Psychobuildings leader Peter LaBier prances across the singleʼs video in a shirtless jiggle, gently balanced by the kaleidescope ballet effects that brings to mind Damien Hirshʼs larva collages. When LaBier emerges halfway through in a psychedelic unitard, the whole affair feels somehow enlightened and utterly irresistible. Five live shows during CMJ last week cemented the bandʼs devil-may-care aesthetic to dizzying response. - Brian Chidester 

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Tracy's CMJ Day 5 -TinVulva, Bugs In The Dark, Life Size Maps, Eula, The Everymen, EndAnd, SLEEPiES & more

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, to the point where 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. Read Tracy Mamoun's report of CMJ's Day 5 here. - In the picture and streaming: SLEEPiES, who by the way have planned a sweet Halloween bash mit Pixies, Ramones, Siouxsie and The Banshees and Joy Division covers, check it out here

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