CMJ Thursday - Sadly, The Contents Of The Bag Were Lame

I am not going to lie; I was definitely hurting this morning. Two days straight of incessant partying took a toll on my body and I needed some recovery time. With a belly full of pasta and my Dayquil fully kicked in I was ready to plow through another day of talented musicians and interesting takes on what music could be.

My first stop of the day was at the Knitting Factory for the Fanatic Promotion day party. It was an intriguing line up of eclectic artists that caught my eye and as a plus you got a bag of free shwag! Sadly, the contents of the bag were lame, but the bands were pretty impressive. The stand-out performances of the party included the quirky indie folk duo, the Terrordactyls; who performed cutesy pop rock arrangements equipped with kazoos, bells, a strange makeshift percussion contraption that resembled a hiking stick of some sort and lyrics filled with boyish adolescence. Their performance was a lot of fun and was a soothing accompaniment to the beginning of day three.


Saxon Shore also put on a pretty great show filled with atmospheric instrumental arrangements fueled by soaring guitars and shimmering percussion. It was a mix that was one part Explosions in the Sky/one part the Album Leaf.

[Saxon Shore]

During James Jackson Toth I was able to take a seat and rest my weary bones and absorb his tranquil blend of well-written folk songs. It was absolute bliss.

[James Jackson Toth]

The headliners of the party were the Trachtenburg Family Slide Show and they were definitely something unique. It's a band made up of papa, mama and daughter Trachtenburg who play comical songs that were written from random slides they find in peoples yard sales, which are then projected on a screen as they perform. It was a hyperactive quirky performance that was pretty entertaining to say the least. Daughter Trachtenburg even tried a new song from her kids show that they will be performing at Galapagos Art Space at the end of the month. It was a song about a black cat that had the whole audience meowing along with the chorus. Strangely this wasn't my first time I was asked to meow along to a song by a band, just the other night Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos did the same thing, pretty strange if you ask me.

[Trachtenberg Family Slide Show]

The next stop was the Fader Fort. I walked in and immediately left. It was too packed for my liking. So I ventured over towards Pianos and Cake shop just to see what was going down. I just happened to stumble into the Brooklyn Vegan day party at Pianos, which had a phenomenal line up. I was able to check out the hard rock styles of Sebastian Grainger and the Mountains which was pretty amazing. I mean, it wasn't Death From Above 1979 quality, but Sebastian still knows how to kick out a sexy danceable bassline drenched in guitar feedback.

[Sebastian Grainger and the Mountains]

After that show I was fortunate enough to catch an intimate solo performance by Phosphorescent on the second floor of Pianos. It was a heart wrenching performance filled with beautiful melancholy tunes delivered in a confessional tone, which seemed worn down by life and the passing of time. It was a performance that had the audience completely entranced.


The Dears at Hiro Ballroom was my next stop. Just having reviewed their new album for Thetripwire -- not really favorably -- I was still intrigued enough to see them in concert. I'm glad I did, because I was absolutely blown away by the performance. It was the most engrossing, emotionally dense indie rock opera I have ever seen. Murray Lightburn's bold Morissey-like voice was a stunning theatrical achievement that sent shivers down my spine. Their play-list was top notch pulling some of the best songs from the new album including "Money Babies" and "Berlin heart", while also incorporating in old favorites "Lost in The Plot" from No Cities Left and a couple of songs from Gang of Losers. The all around experience of the show was absolutely perfect for their music. The light show was exceptional with dense beams of light slicing through the smokey club illuminating the band on stage in a dark eerie glow that perfectly complimented the bands performance. For all encompassing experience this was the best show I have seen so far at CMJ. It will be nice to be able to revisit the recent album with a new perspective.

[The Dears]

The rest of the night was spent at Webster Hall between the main space and the Studio. I was able to catch the end of the Crystal Castles set which was a jam packed sweaty dance floor of people rocking out to the groups thrashing electronica. I will definitely have to partake in a full concert of theirs sometime in the near future.

[Crystal Castles]

Down in the Studio I was able to check out this great retro 60s pop group from England called the Lucky Souls. Their lead singer was a cute blonde girl who had the pipes of Dusty Springfield, mixed with the spunk of Duffy. The best way I could describe their sound was Beach Bingo Boogie. It just made me want to dance like those cheese balls from the films. It was a lot of fun and I wouldn't be surprised if this band was hyped up as the next big retro import after the Duffy buzz calms down. Other than that I went to the vice party had a free Sparks, took some strange pictures in the photo booth and waited around for Amazing Baby to come on. I was able to catch a couple songs before my tired and wired body told me to call it a night. So I made my way home to write this overly verbose review fueled by an energy drink.

[Lucky Souls]

The CMJ Music Marathon

CMJ Thursday - Sadly, The Contents Of The Bag Were Lame