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Tracy's CMJ 2012 Day 1 - by Tracy Mamoun
Foxygen, Dirty Fences, Murals, Yung Life, Cultfever, Yellow Red Sparks, Natureboy + more




Frankly, this first day of CMJ went a billion times better than I expected. What did I expect? To get lost, for sure, having not been in the city that long. To miss half of the bands I'd listed on some meticulous schedule/map scribbled in my notebook the night before. To be drinking far too much. Ok, maybe that did happen. It's one thing I had to learn, I guess: do not say yes to every drink that is handed to you, because people will be handing you PLENTY of them - that's what happens when you run a Marathon right?

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To ease myself into the week, I'd planned to spend the whole day hanging around the Lower East Side, with Pianos a first stop, where Happy People, I believed, were on at 1pm. At this stage, I'll give credit to just about any band that managed to put on a show at 1pm, for I hadn't set foot in my first venue of the day that I managed to get the floor wrong. However, with Yung Life (top picture) getting ready for their set, it worked out well. What started off as some high-energy electro-rock number soon enough turned into what you'd call a game of musical chairs as the frontman went onto the drums, guitarist onto more drums (with a sweet choreographed mirror effect as they both smashed a beat in sync), drummer onto synth and lead vocals. I KNEW there was some resemblance there, and after checking their page, turns out three of them are brothers. Anyway, great start to the day.

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Kicking off a parade of not-full bands, Cultfever was the next act I saw, playing as a guitar&voice duo - which made for a sweet and intimate opener to Piano's upstairs showcase, but did unfortunately mean that their music was every now and then being overpowered by the pounding beets coming from the ground floor room, each time someone opened its door. Joe Durniak's “I feel like we're playing someone's basement' assessment would have been spot on if it weren't for the three windows providing enough natural light to remind one how bloody early it was for any performance. However, a most endearing duo with some more playful vocals to be found in their new songs.

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Next up was Los Angeles indie folk trio Yellow Red Sparks, on guitar/double bass/drums, who managed to involve us earlybirds in some thirty-second Elvis singalong intro, as well as the chorus of one of their tracks, and despite calling anyone who wouldn't know 'I Can't Help Falling In Love With You' stupid, were for sure a most inviting act to watch, with singer Joshua Hanson a determined entertainer.

Finally, Happy People was the last act I saw there – as a three-piece who, after scribbling a new set list on some napkins at the counter, drifted into their set as casually as could be – and actually took off with just as little ceremony. As frontman Steven pointed out, rock&roll doesn't happen at 2pm, ergo what we were granted was a teaser to the full band performance's glamorous turbulences, with the promise of 'the real deal' for their next couple of evening shows.

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I would have stayed a little longer if it weren't that Pianos' AC was threatening to keep me bed-ridden for the end of these festivities, and so as you do when you're one lazy bugger, I shimmied onto The Living Room (i.e next door), missing Conveyor (who, I am certain, were splendid), yet right on time for the complementary red wine, and for Eagle Seagull mastermind Eli Mardock, terrific songwriter with a taste for odd subject matter ('this song is about crickets', 'this song is about algebra on the Moon'), accompanied by some lovely lady whose vocal and synth harmonies provided a lush backdrop for Mardock's dramatic tales to unfold upon. For filling the room with some of the most clean-yet-highly-impactive indie music I've seen performed recently, I do think he/they deserve a mention, despite being from Nebraska, which is not in theory a scene that we cover.

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Next up was Sara Kermanchahi, Natureboy, which I was really quite excited to see, having listened to her songs a few months back but who -like some of the previous acts - came without a full band, and actually only with herself and a guitar, a self which didn't seem too chuffed to be there. I have the feeling she was a little sick - that's what happens in October... we'll give her another chance.

Eventually, after drifting off to the press mixer – definitely will not bother explaining why – I headed back to my headquarters for the day, i.e anything within a few feet of Katzs Delicatessen, to catch the beginning of the Drunkard Aquarium showcase at Mercury Lounge, getting there as early as possible, determined to see The Deli's cover band Foxygen (top picture) perform but getting a strong feeling that the show would be attracting quite a serious crowd. Which turned out to be the case, as I heard from Mike Levine as the duo were kicking off their set that badge-holders were no longer being let in. But let's get back to the beginning. It's for some ten people that the first act of the evening, Rafiq Bhatia, got to perform. But then again, ten really impressed people. Three of which asked me, looking stunned, if I knew who these guys were. And truth is, I didn't have a clue, and didn't care, would eventually figure it out by checking the board during my next cigarette, once I'd snapped out of hypnosis. For the time being, this delicately fast & frantic guitar/double bass/drums & clarinette avant-garde jazz performance was getting my undivided attention. Fingers merely tickling his six strings, skipping through some mathy, utterly deconstructed melodies, Bhatia was that unexpected treat I was truly glad to stumble upon, and made, despite the mostly empty room, for a great opener, paving the way for...

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Louisville's psychedelic pop quartet Murals, playing the first in a string of nine shows they're scheduled for this week, delivering a smooth swaying performance that drew plenty more heads in.

Finally, after Canadian electro-pop band Calvin Love, the act I was clearly not alone to be impatiently waiting for, however surprising it seemed to them, Foxygen, a.k.a Salmon, Radio & friends. Between Sam France's retro-fitted looks and fervent attitude, the fact half their instrumentation holds together thanks to good old duck tape, pedals stuck to the guitar, two keyboards on top of one another, or that they all look far younger than I thought they would.. they're quite the intriguing bunch to watch, really. And what a show! Some sound level hiccups didn't matter at all. Neither did, in the slightest, the fact that they pretty much only played new songs, besides Make It Known which everyone was mouthing the lyrics to, and latest single Shuggie, which may have only been out for a week or so, but already seemed oh-so-familiar to most of the audience, yours truly included. Fact is, and I'm sure Sam's grandmother – who got two shout-outs, lucky lady -would agree, that was rock&roll. 

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And it is wanting to keep that taste in my mouth for a while that I chose to skip Tashaki Miyaki's show, which I'm certain was terrific, but which I'll get to see later this week, and headed to Fontana's for an r'n'r night cap courtesy of Dirty Fences, a furious four-piece combining the solo-driven swing of mid-70s protopunk and the spite akin to Dead Boys and followers into some hard-hitting fast-rolling ramblers.. Despite a set which didn't last half as long as I'd have wanted it to, or for that matter generate the rabid pit I was hoping for (and was promised by some dude at the bar, but hey, I'm starting to process the fact that's NYC for you), a great band to go check out. Who will actually be playing on Halloween with The Shrine, ergo I know where I'll be getting my candy from this year. In the meantime, got a couple of hours to sleep off the gallon of booze I poured down my throat and it's back up again. So for now, that's all folks.

 

 

 
 
 

 

The Deli's CMJ Shows 2012

 

 
 
 

 

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Marathon Runner Josh's first day at CMJ: Blonds, Laura-Stevenson & the Cans, The Nightmare River Band, Sean0Sean, sami.the.great, Brainstorm, Everest Cale

The second best thing about the CMJ Music Marathon, after of course the opportunity to see tons of great bands for five straight nights in the greatest city for music, is the process of sorting through the seemingly endless list of bands in order to meticulously plan your personal schedule down to the minute. That feeling of invincibility concerning the laws of time and space is an awful like the one you get when you develop grand plans to start exercising and working out. That brief sensation of euphoria lasts right up to the minute you told yourself you were going to start. Then you realize you already walked something like three flights of stairs that day, so really there’s no need to exercise. - read the full report here. - (in the picture, Blonds)





No CMJ badge? Win 40 tickets to see Foxygen, Hundred Waters, Wildlife Fire, You Bred Raptors?, Snowmine + more

Deli Readers,

We are giving away 10 tickets for each one of our CMJ shows through Thrillcall!

"How do I get them?" - we hear you ask? Follow these instructions:

1. Download the Thrillcall app for smartphones here 

2. Tap on the "exclusive" tab at the bottom

3. RSVP for the Deli show you want to attend - first 10 applicants will win free tickets

The Deli's Staff

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Chappo releases new video for "5-0" + plays CMJ

Thrill seeking and cutting loose is the central theme of Chappo’s latest video and song “5-0.” Behind steady snare drum flams and properly reverbed crunch guitars, three rocked-out young adults snag some cash, jump behind the wheel of a sweet Mustang Ford and head out for some weed-fueled adventures. While the vocals tend to segue somewhere between Jack White and Joe Walsh (with verses delivered in the cadence of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”), the overall rhythm comes closer to Duff McKagan’s "Loaded." This momentary carefree youthful abandon on display masks the songs deeper lyrical content of wishing to be “older.” But for now it’s “all for the run” - the quick, cheap thrills – as they “build it up just to tear it down.” Included is a surprisingly lovely trippy instrumental break which takes things to almost prog-rock territory – before the rock stomp crunch returns. See Chappo at CMJ on 10.16 at the Bell House and 10.18 at XPO 929. - Dave Cromwell

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14 bands play Deli CMJ Rootsy Stages at The Delancey: Laura Stevenson, Shakey Graves, Blonds + more

DETAILS ABOUT THIS SHOW + STREAMING COMPILATION OF ALL 14 BANDS HERE.

The 2012 Deli's CMJ festivities will be kicking off on Tuesday, October 16th at The Delancey, with an extensive showcase of some of the city's best rootsy acts. This year, we've booked fourteen artists, most of them local, who'll be giving us a good taste of folk music beyond the run-of-the-mill, split between both floors of the Lower East Side venue. 

Headlining the main floor we'll have the magnetic concoctions of dream-roots duo Blonds and rootsy-pop ensemble Laura Stevenson & The Cans (pictured), amidst a farandole in which everyone should find a flavour that suits them - check out Town Hall, Swear & Shake, and The Reverend John Delore, who will be releasing a new album that night.

Upstairs, for a free (!) show, you'll find bluegrass trio JP & The Gilberts, energetic singer folky duo XNY, and the enchanting recent additions to the NYC scene Plume Giant (pictured) - who've been getting some well-deserved attention since the release of their debut album 'Callithump' - on a night filled with talent in which everyone, even those country detractors out there, should find a reason to cheer. Check out the full details of the line-up here.

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