I had spent the first two days of CMJ milling about aimlessly trying to avoid the crowds and hating on way more than I should according to my ex-girlfriends, until the sonic beauty of Women late on Wednesday put me to be in better spirits. They were the best thing I have heard so far and it inspired me to wake up early on Thursday and head over to McDonald's before they switched menus.
With an Egg McMuffin in my stomach and a renewed sense of... I don't know, I wouldn't call it a love of music. Let's just call it, a not as cynical affair with music, i wandered back to the Fader Fort to clock in some time with the two bands I really wanted to see; Passion Pit and Black Moth Super Rainbow front-man, Tobacco. Passion Pit I found to be rather average. I'm sorry to say this, because I like the EP and the "Sleepyhead" single, but it all just seemed to be a bit underwhelming. Maybe I was expecting more. Maybe they lost me when they said they were from Cambridge. I don't know what it was, because they certainly weren't bad. Just... eh.
Again, i didn't take photos because Diana Levine makes my attempts look foolish, but after Passion Pit, I wandered the space killing time while Johnny Foreigner sweat on the crowd in high anticipation of Tobacco's set. Another person whose music I've come to admire, and this time, I was left how was I hoping to be -- in awe. Having just completed a re-mix for Genghis Tron (part of a multi-label release, his re-mix being put out by Lovepump United), as well as his anticipated solo debut, he hit the stage with his fellow Black Moth keyboardist and proceeded to overtake Women as the best thing I have seen at CMJ to date. So inspiring in fact, that I was determined to catch him yet again later in the evening.
Fast forward through dinner -- McDonald's again, this time a cheeseburger meal -- to Piano's where the Force Field PR showcase was going down (also where Tobacco would be playing yet again at 1am). I walked in having just missed Bell, and gauging from the reaction, she was quite impressive. I did make it in time however to see AU. Pronounced just as the letters (A -- U), these guys were quite ridiculous. I don't mean good or bad, just ridiculous. Jazz-inspired, calypso punk performed by two highly talented musicians who don't know when to reign in their own eclectic-ness, the set started exciting, but the act grew tiresome by the end.
Up next was the always fun Cause Co-Motion. See, the thing with this CMJ, which I am sure to expound on later, is that it is killing the enjoyment of psych and garage rock. If I have to hear the phrase "can I get more reverb in the vocals" on more time, I will smack someone. So while Cause Co-Motion, and next-up Crystal Stilts, are probably two of the best examples of how to "do it right," with the Vivian Girls, Women, Muslims, Jay Reatard, Black Lips, along with the Stilts and a host of other psych-garage influenced acts being the darlings of this CMJ, it's getting to be a bit much. That being said, both are great bands, and Crystal Stilts are still so new, I'm really excited to hear what will come pouring out of their echo drenched Vox's soon.
Finally, after hours of standing in Piano's, Tobacco hit the stage again, for his last CMJ appearance. Again masked in a creepy see through piece, him and his accompaniment blazed through his solo album with video to match. Featuring all sampled and found videos (including a piece of all bubble-blowing vixens taken straight from YouTube), it provides a perfect stimulus for whatever his performance lacks. To be fair, he is performing everything live, he just can't really move around much. Still, I could listen to his beats all day. It's like dance music set to mid-tempo hip-hop, every now and again throwing in the Dan Deacon-esque vocoder for good measure.
After this, I wandered upstairs to catch the prog-jazz-freak stylings of Stars Like Fleas. And while I would normally be impressed, nothing was going to sound as good to my ears as what I had just come from. So after a few shots (photos), I packed up and walked to the train for a ride to my bed.
[Stars Like Fleas]