Picking up from where I left off in Part I... This will be a relatively pictureless post. Also, no mp3 samples this time! I am without my computer and music collection. Okay, maybe some...
Friday (The Delancey)
Here's an equation that's not hard to figure out. twosyllable records + Underwater Peoples + Chocolate Bobka = F YEA GOOD TIMES. We made it to the Delancey just in time for Made A Blog favorite Holiday Shores, who I also saw on Tuesday. Oops, that was left out of Part I. Anyway, I can always rely on Holiday Shores to put on a great show. They consistently sound good, and I appreciate that in a band. Standing Room has one of their sets from an older show.
After Holiday Shores was Frat Dad, a band from Underwater Peoples. Like Fluffy Lumbers (and Ducktails and Julian Lynch), Frat Dad is from Ridgewood, NJ. Ridgewood is the new indie mecca, y'all. Sawyer sent me a release for Frat Dad and said that "Frat Dad is like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, then landing in a Middle School Cafeteria... on Mexican Pizza Day." I have no idea what that means, but Frat Dad are in-your-face loud rockers. I only wish I could have turned down the volume a little so that could delineate the songs.
NewVillager was a Made A Blog favorite when they put out Rich Doors earlier this year. I've only heard two songs from them, both on that 7", so I was a bit taken back by their live show. I was expecting something more along the lines of experimental electro, but NewVillager's music was more straight pop with R&B vocals.
Saturday (The Delancey, 92YTribeca, Music Hall of Williamsburg)
About 14 hours later, I found myself back at the Delancey for We Are Country Mice. For a day show, the venue was surprisingly packed. I wrote a little blurb about WACM on the blog for Standing Room, and I like the band now more than ever. They use just enough artful noise to keep things interesting without muddling the rest of the melodies. Their energy and ability to grab crowd participation never fails to impress me (and put a smile on my face). By the end of "Sign of the Times," everyone in the front was singing/yelling along. Definitely head on over to Standing Room to hear more.
Taking a break from CMJ, I headed over to the 92YTribeca for a screening of Sufjan Stevens' The BQE, MC'd by DJ Sufjan Stevens. Opening for the night was DM Stith, also a favorite of Made A Blog, and his spooky songs came alive onstage with the help of backing strings, bass, and drums. I still think that Heavy Ghost is an underrated album, and it's a perfect Halloween soundtrack. The Osso Quartet also performed stunning arrangements from Run Rabbit Run, and special guest Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) lent her vocals for "If I Were Queen." If you haven't given Run Rabbit Run a chance, I highly suggest that you give it the time and attention that it needs. Personally, I am a fan of impressionist music and find that the careful listening is usually rewarding.
Capping off the night was a screening of The BQE, which did not have any live accompaniment as I had presumed. This sounds corny, but I was really moved while watching the film. I'm not sure how non-New Yorkers will react to The BQE, but I felt overwhelmed with feelings of love-hate for my current residence of Brooklyn. It almost became a game of identifying the places that the film featured. I enjoyed it immensely, but I wonder how others will feel about it. Regardless, I would recommend picking up the album. The vinyl version comes with a comic book and 32-pg booklet which both add to the understanding and interpretation of the film.
The night was young, and we headed over the Kemado Records/Mexican Summer showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg. We arrived just as Smith Westerns were hitting the stage. Man, they are young and some of the coolest-looking kids out of my homestate of Illinois. They even wear Chicago Cubs and Bears gear. Their songs have a certain naïveté, honest and playful, and they don't pretend to be any wiser than the teenagers who wrote them. Apparently, they got kicked out of the venue for underage drinking. Yep, sounds about right.
Real Estate is another Made A Blog favorite, and I'm always excited to see them perform. The boys are consistently good, and their live show has gotten tighter over the last few months. Real Estate delivers excellent songwriting backed with excellent live performances, and I couldn't ask for more. While it's not full of new material, Real Estate's forthcoming full-length is killer. Expect to see that on my list of 2009's top albums.
Beach Comber - Real Estate
Last to hit the stage was The Amazing, which was billed as having members of Dungen. From the tracks I had heard before the show, I thought that The Amazing would play pure pop tunes. But, as I found out, they really turn on the psych for some of their songs. Reine Fisk (Dungen) is an amazing guitarist, and it's hard not to become completely absorbed in his playing.
Dragon - The Amazing
I didn't even go crazy during CMJ week, and it still took a lot of energy out of me. Until next year!