Archive for October, 2011

Ok, so I’ll admit I was a bit scared upon receiving an invitation to see Gwar at Irving Plaza this past Sunday.  After a week of CMJ, I thought I would take a break from loudness that is live music, but I agreed to one more assault on my ear drums. Dressed for the Lower East Side, I climbed the stairs, palms sweating and knees a bit shaky, to the stage room, where I  cowered under the second floor balcony, fearful of the impending spews of fake blood (Did you know the band uses 50 gallons on average per show? Yes, I Googled.), and other “alien bodily liquids.” Not.that Im afraid of blood, but I wasn’t prepared to have some of my own shed.

When Gwar finally entered the stage with poofs of smoke, in their full spiky, helmeted and armoured regalia, meatheads, skinheads, and metalheads, circled together in the mosh pit, welcoming the showers of red and green fluids. As Gwar growled, battled large creatures, and sacrificed Snooki on stage, my nerves subsided and transformed into pure enjoyment of the theater meets Comicon meets Medieval Times meets metal extravaganza.  long story short, I survived to tell a good story of impromptu ridiculousness.
These aren’t my best shots, but hey, I was keeping my camera safe…

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CMJ 2011, my fourth ever, seemed short compared to the previous years, as “real life” aka my day job met rocker stalker-ing. I spent a lot of time at very few venues, absorbing what I could of sets that lasted til 2am. That being said, I saw a good dose of CMJ and then some.

Tuesday evening started out at the Studio at Webster Hall where the Surprise Attack showcase was under way, buzzing with the hyperactive Wild International. Next up,  NYC notables, The Click Clack Boom played all new material, amping up the excitement for their upcoming release, a date TBA.   The Rassle, fronted by the thinnest man I have ever seen,  followed suit, bouncing with high energy which continued with Night Fevers and The Twees. I stuck around until the sprightly and youthful,  The Twees finished up and headed over to The Delancey for the Deli Magazine’s Alternative Rock stage where NY residents,  gritty indie rock trio, Raccoon Fighter, amped up the late night showcase. Outernational and several friends on drums, brass, and acoustic guitar squeezed onto the stage, performing “all-star jam band”  renditions of their “future rock.”  Look out for their new EP and album coming soon!

Hump day rock ‘n roll started off  in a slump at Sullivan Hall. NYC-based The Narrative were as energetic as a book on tape (This could be a compliment…) and were followed by the dapper, Nashville-born alternative rock outfit, The Rouge. Afterwards, I scampered over to Maxwell’s in Hoboken, making it just in time to catch Philly’s feel-good Indie rockers, The Canon Logic. Highlight of the night, Lights Resolve, blasted through most of their debut album Feel You’re Different, warming up for their release show that went down Wednesday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

Thursday was definitely the highlight of the festival week. Uptown at Terminal 5, the show I had anticipated for the last few months was finally happening. Alberta Cross got the crowd moving and the adrenaline pumping with tracks ranging from their album Broken Side of Time to their new Rolling Thunder EP to the unreleased track, “Lay Down.” Energy still high, GIVERS, who seemed hopped up happy pills, took the stage, pushing the enthusiasm in preparation for headliners, Portugal. The Man. Portland band Portugal. The Man were THE men. To put it simply, I was blown away. An hour set and half hour encore made for a memorable evening, topping most shows I’ve seen, well, ever. I didn’t let my awe struck ears get in the way of enjoying virtuosic Brooklyn band, Apollo Run, at Rockwood Music Hall, closing the night with lovely tunes yet to be released among Here Be Dragons Vol 1 and 2 favorites.
Here’s Portugal. the Man’s rendition of “Helter Skelter.”

TGIF doesn’t really apply during CMJ. The lengthy nights of music were still goig strong, and as was I, shockingly. I settled at The Studio once again, this time for about 5 hours. I arrived when Morning After Girls, who, to my surprise, were a bunch of gentleman dressed to a tee, were finishing their set in a solemn, almost a capella manner. Right after, Belgium-based duo, The Blackbox Revelation shook the venue with their bluesy riffs, heavy drums, and overall sassiness.  Definitely another band to add to the “to watch” list. Kentucky kids, The Pass, flew on and off the stage with their dancy synth pop before Lindbergh Palace took the evening in an unfortunate direction (Sorry). Bringing the night back up to speed, Kid Savant packed the place, transfixing the audience with their light and projection show and catching, electro-rock tracks from their recently released Drop It on the Stereo. Concluding the night on an upswing, Datarock created a surge of excitement, as crowd and band members crowd surfed to frantically paced electro-rock songs and laughed at clever inter-song patter.
Take a listen to The Blackbox Revelation and Kid Savant live!

My CMJ schedule happened to save the best for last. A stellar line up at Mercury Lounge brought exotically tinged My Pet Dragon and dancy and delightful Hank and Cupcakes to the stage. Black Taxi carried the dance party out, propelling it through Austin-based,  The Frontier Brothers, NYC’s Deadbeat Darling, and late night sets by Austinites, Bright Light Social Hour, who brought the house down, and Fresh Millions, trio with a spacey edge that perfectly matched my spacey and exhausted state.

I couldn’t believe I was still standing by Sunday (I say this every year.), but I managed to get to Pianos by late afternoon for the second annual CMJ wind down, where NYC’s The Shake and Apollo Run were kindly playing acoustic sets, saving what was left of the audience’s hearing. The Young Things, however, took the amplified route, pushing trought the remnants of CMJ’s home stretch.

Here’s a look back on the week!

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On their long-awaited, full-length record, Feel You’re DifferentLights Resolve delve deeper into the dark side of rock. Following a different path from their previous three well-received EP’s, the Long Island-based trio delivers 11 powerful, fully produced and great sounding tracks. Previously released “Another Five Days” receives a sonic makeover, assimilating the grittier edge and intricate layering of the newer material. A series of heavy, fervent tracks, including the impassioned single, “Sew It Up,” pounding “Happens Every Day”, distortion-ridden “HIPS,” frenetic “Stick Em Up,” and explosive “With the Pieces,” culminate in the enraged “Misfire.” Even dancy “Hurt a Little” and melodic “My Gemini” do not escape the emotional wrath that pervades the album. Each track reaffirms Lights Resolve’s surging trajectory, as they maintain their musical notoriety . Feel You’re Different officially drops today, and Lights Resolve celebrate the release with The Canon Logic, Night Fevers, and Electric Sun TOMORROW  at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.  Doors at 7pm, $15, 16+!   Download the album and check out this spiffy video for “Happens Every Day.”


Posted: October 18, 2011 in Entries

The madness is back! For five days, October 18-22, NYC, Brooklyn, and a bit of Jersey are under siege by bands, industry folk, and fans for CMJ 2011. Kicking off the week  are  some of my top favorites.

The Click Clack Boom at the Studio (8pm)

Black Taxi at the Studio (11pm)

Raccoon Fighter at the Delancey (10:30pm)

Outernational at the Delancey (11pm)

Just to name a few…

A report back is on its way with any new musical findings…Good luck to all you CMJ’r’s!


They’ve been  practicing hard. They dry cleaned their white outfits. And, they wrote a record. Please come join Kid Savant as they celebrate their debut EP, Drop It On the Stereo, tonight at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn at 9:30pm. The band will also be showing the title track’s new video for the first time before their set, so get there promptly to catch the first glimpse. If you need more incentive to get to the lovely venue on time, the first 20 paid entries will receive a copy of the EP!

All ages, 15 buckaroos.

Back to back greatness on a Wednesday night was provided by Blackbells at Mercury Lounge and Jump into the Gospel at Pianos.

Blackbells brought a swarm of fans and friends to celebrate their second EP, IxI.  Get your hands on a copy and/or digital copy and check the band’s website for upcoming CMJ dates that start Tuesday!

A hop, skip, and a jump away, Jump Into the Gospel accompanied Spacecamp on their Wednesday residency at Pianos. Always a good time, JITG warmed up for their CMJ gigs, starting off on Monday at the Studio at Webster Hall. As singer, Louis Epstein pointed out, “We’ll be playing after midnight, so technically CMJ.” It’ll be a great way to start off a crazy week.

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Brooklyn’s retro-meets-indie, psych-rock n rollers,Blackbells, are ringing in their sophomore EP, IxI, tonight wih an early show at Mercury Lounge. The happy hour show will begin at 7pm, and you can pick up a copy of the EP!

Around the corner at Pianos, Jump Into the Gospel bring some danceable salvation to the Lower East Side around 10pm.

Come get your groove on double time!

Although it’s been out for purchase on their official website for a week already, Alberta Cross‘s newest, five-track release, The Rolling Thunder EP, is officially available for public consumption on other music vendor sites! After debuting a few teaser singles, “Money For the Weekend” and “Get Up, (not on the EP),” both featured on ads for Ketel One Vodka and Verizon’s Droid Bionic “Ring,” and “Wait,” the quintet delivers a  beautifully crafted series of songs that blend signature howling vocals, mysterious echoing effects, bluesly, bassy sultriness, rocking slide guitar, and the touching elements of  folk.  The EP opens with the fiery “Money For the Weekend,” and follows with the seductive “Ramblin’ Home,” eerie “Wait,” bossanova-rock infused “Driving With Myself,” and finishes with the poignant, piano-driven title track.

The Brit-NYC-LA band also has a new video out for their slide guitar sensation, “ATX” from their album Broken Side of Time. Enjoy!


Don’t miss Alberta Cross when they come through your town with Portugal.The Man! They’ll be in New York on October 20 at Terminal 5, Boston on October 22, and Philly on October 23. In the meantime, bask in the sounds of The Rolling Thunder! The Rolling Thunder EP by Alberta Cross

Last night, Bright Light Social Hour and Black Taxi brought Mercury Lounge down with an unforgettable show. Austin’s BLSH, who whipped the crowd into a sweaty dancing frenzy with their infectious grooves, more than warmed up the audience in preparation for Black Taxi. It was the perfect way to celebrate the band’s new single, “Tightrope,” which they performed among other new tracks that will soon be released on  their upcoming album, “We Don”t Know Any better,” and several fan favorites. The highlight of the evening occured during “Up Here for Thinking (Down There for Dancing)” from their first album Things of That Nature, when the band welcomed the audience on stage for a dance party finale!

Here’s a newbie!

Back in Brooklyn for one night only, Outernational took over the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg on September 30. Also joining them was Japanese punk rockers, Uzuhi, and Radio Armada (sorry to have missed them!).

Here are some sights and sounds of future rock!

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