Thursday, October 30, 2008

CMJ Recap - Day 3: Vagrancy, Salem, Glasslands

Alright, so Thursday I blew off a panel about how fucked the industry is, to go to Piano's to catch part of the all day Brooklyn Vegan showcase. I showed up for the last 45 seconds of The Muslims. They were loud as FUCK. I met up with Ant and watched Japanese Motors, who were OK, and Friendly Fires, who I thought were sweet...again I lean towards the idiotic dance rock. I can't help myself. I left to back to the panels, which means I had to miss Crystal Antlers, which also meant I had to suffer Ant's ranting and raving about them later.

Japanese Motors

Friendly Fires

After my last panel, we headed to Brooklyn, driven by sheer curiosity, to check out a band with the greatest band name EVER. They were called "Check out the Tits on Tituba". The second I saw their name in the lineup I knew I had to see them. It was destiny...

I prayed to Satan that they would be a witch-hunt themed band who made references to their own name as often as possible. To my surprise, THEY FUCKING WERE! They dressed like witches and they were clearly more amused by their band name than I was, so they made tons of witch themed jokes:

COTTOT: "What did Giles Corey say as he was being pressed to death for witchcraft in 1692?"
CROWD: "More Weight!" [He really did, he was a beast]

Brilliant. Their music was OK, but the name was the centerpiece, the music was just an afterthought.


After that we headed down the block to Glasslands, where I have never been before. Its an odd place but cool as hell. One of those barely legal "venues" in Brooklyn. More legal than Market Hotel, but FAR less legal than the Warsaw. Legal enough to take credit cards though.

Miles met up with us to throw down some vodka and talk big, tuxedo-related plans (I'll explain later). We saw So Percussion, and Itsnotyouitsme, who Miles happened to be friends with.

This was the kind of wanky, experimental show I found myself going to in my rare Minneapolis days, when I was running around with the great and powerful Oceans In Space. It was a refreshing counterpart to all the self consciously hip shit I had been seeing all week. Especially Itsnotyouitsme. Its great to see some guys play who are not worried about being ironic or kitschy, and are just GREAT at their instruments. Good for them.

So Percussion


Thats all I got for now. Day 4 is on its way.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CMJ Recap - Day 2: Shugo, Pho, Assfreezing coldness

As day two's panels cleared up and the sun set, the city was slammed by a cold snap that I don't think anyone was expecting. I recall last year after the panels, sitting in Washington Square Park in the sun, catching up on work and making phone calls. This year after the panels it was dark, Washington Square Park was cut in two and decimated, and the first day of miserable cold weather blew threw the city. Strange.

So I met the girl, and we wandered towards the Lower East Side to see Shugo Tokumaru at The Bowery. On our way there, thanks to Katie's recommendation we grabbed some Pho in a shady Vietnamese place just north of Chinatown. Pho is the shit, when a great mind once said "crack in a bowl", they were right. Get familiar. I think it saved my life, as my body was already protesting the injustices it suffered in a short week, the Pho was the only salve. My brain still hasn't recovered...that's why I'm talking like this.

Anyway, we made it into the Bowery to a spare crowd of beardy hipsters and marketing interns trying to get us to play Guitar Hero in front of a camera. Thanks to Zune and XBox, CMJ was branded strong this year.

Shugo Tokumaru took the stage in his bare feet. Check my ipod and you won't find much stuff like this, but I have his album, and it holds a certain appeal to me that I can't quite pinpoint. Part of it is his simplicity, part of it is the way he says "parachute". Amazing.

This is something like his 3rd ever stateside performance, and its a little loose, but cool nonetheless. I think he can only get better, as he gets more confident in front of a bunch of belching yanks and morons with their hands in their pockets.

Oh yeah, stealth cam again.

After that, we stuck around to see Audrye Sessions, who Michelle LOVED. I thought some of their songs were really great, for one of those bands with a ton of instruments they were really tight, their singer sounded like the guy from Muse, and their bassist looked creepily like one of my ex-girlfriends.

Then we left, as I had already seen Love as Laughter, who were boring and followed only by Margot and the Nuclear So and So's, who are also boring, according to Ant...the authority on boring hipster bands.

There were talks of Psyopus at Knitting Factory, or Adventure at Le Pouisson Rouge, which would have been awesome but the weather blew and Shugo was good enough to justify an entire CMJ night.

More to come. Sorry for the horrid writing here, still trying to discern my ass from my elbow.

Monday, October 27, 2008

CMJ Recap - Day 1

Well, I am sick as hell, my hands are stained with strange markings, and when i shower I find strange cuts and abrasions that weren't there before. Also, I'm broke, my wallet is full of strange receipts and my phone has been dead for about 4 days. Must mean I spent all week and weekend at CMJ. Holy god. I will attempt to re-cap all that went down here, as it was an amazing week. I saw so much goddamn great music...learned a lot, and punished myself mercilessly every step of the way.

Day 1 - Tuesday - K'Naan, Brooklyn Vegan.
Early in the day I had to meet K'Naan to interview him for Metropop. It was to be my first face-to-face interview, so I went through 30 minutes of pure anxiety beforehand...which really isn't all that bad. I met my label contact at a restaurant on The Bowery. I was early (nerves) so we sat and chatted about the resurgence of A & M records, CMJ, and Herb Alpert. Then K'Naan came, and we sat down to our 30 minute interview over breakfast...well, he ate. I just sat and asked questions. When I do interviews, I tend to get too excited, turning the "interview" into something more like a barstool conversation...which sounds like fun, but later I go back over the tapes and wince at how stupid I sound and wish I spoke less.

So this time I spoke less, I was controlled. I acted like a god damn journalist. I was fucking 60 minutes. We talked about globalization, Maroon 5, and how he was literally handed the keys to Bob Marley's house, where he recorded his new record. He also poured a bunch of salt in his tea by accident so we were granted a hilarious moment of levity. He was really cool to talk to, laid back, and we discovered that he lived in the same Minnesota city as my Auntie Jer. I'm looking forward to writing the feature.

Then it was off to panels. They were panels. A lot of yapping about the current state of the music biz and whatnot. I won't bore you with the details.

Night came and I met Ant and his friend Shannon at The Music Hall of Williamsburg for the Brooklyn Vegan Showcase. I got there extremely early because I was paranoid about them restricting the number of badges that got in. This is a problem I ran into a lot last year, but only once this year. I got in no problem to see Emmy The Great...more like "Emmy the alright live but probably a lot more interesting on the album". Hey-o! Little bloggy joke there for you. But seriously, where you kids from?

Anyway. After her was a band, The Sammies, that sounded generic and lame for the first half of their set, but somehow morphed into Ram Jam for the second half. Divisive. Literally.

Then it was the "Special Guest", Shearwater, who I have never really heard before, but I kind of dug. His voice threatens to take over the music most of the time, which is OK if you like that kind of thing. I tend to enjoy it, but at least twice I cringed at how far he really took the "operatic guy in a waistcoat" shtick. And their drummer is Bruce Dickinson. Seriously.

Oh yeah, last time I filmed there, I got thrown out, so the camera was in stealth mode the whole night. Meaning you won't see much, but the audio will be there.

After that, Ponytail, who fucking crushed at Market Hotel (which is basically what a venue would look like if they had a venue in that movie Judgement Night), but sounded completely different here. We all agreed they were better suited to a 400 degree slum/venue than the Music Hall, but they were still pretty damn sweet nonetheless. I don't usually roll with the yippy ecstatic female music but I can do it in small doses.

Then it was Passion Pit, who were fucking amazing. Now you can tell which way I lean, musically: moronic dance rock. Thats how I roll. Really loved these guys.

Then it was singing DJ Jens Lekman. He did one of his own tracks as Shannon and I danced our asses off, making Ant uncomfortable because he likes dancing just as much as he likes ranch dressing.

Then it was a cab ride home to dry out for Day 2. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Last weekend was brilliant. It was my birthday and I will never forget it. My girl got me tickets to Hot Chip as a gift, and despite the boners in the audience, it was an amazing show. Especially this...they played a new song, "Alley Cats", and I can't stop listening to it. Its smoother, without the schizophrenia (great as it was) that characterized "Made in the Dark". It's controlled and builds logically, like a calmer "No Fit State". I also like how none of the instruments really come out of the wash, they all just melt into the same warm mass. Actually, this wouldn't be out of place on a Gas or any number of Kompakt records. Anyway, enjoy. With some bonus vids from the weekend...including a trip with our limo driver, Hogan. Call a number, and a shitty limo comes screaming from the night blasting Rick James, the driver shakes a tambourine, and the whole thing smells like gas so bad you can't even taste your beer. Thanks again friends.

Hot Chip - Alley Cats

Hot Chip - Playboy

Hot Chip - And I Was a Boy From School

Hot Chip Covering Sinead and adding their own track

I don't care if you can't see whats going on.