We didn’t have enough pull to get our interns their own bunk-bed suite at Barclays Center, so we promised them the next-best New York experience: CMJ, with badges! While we were holding it down at the FADER FORT Presented by Converse in Brooklyn, Patrick McDermott, Veronica Hoglund and Bri Sylvester hit the streets, wiggled past doormen, bands and regular party drunks and reported on the entire festival as it happened. On Saturday, Patrick and Bri spotted lots of saxophones and Julian Casablancas. Check out their night out with Mr. Dream, Twerps, Kilo Kish, Sleepies, King Cyst, Julian Lynch, Wild Nothing and more below.
PATRICK MCDERMOTT: At the FADER FORT, loving Kilo Kish’s lazy beats. She just sampled and danced to Aaliyah. Twerps onstage now, playing new songs. Guess all I needed to cure this day-long hangover was some laid-back guitar pop. “This song goes out to Jessica Alba for being a babe.” Interesting accessory: frontman’s hot pink heart-on-chain necklace. Heading to Shea Stadium for the Underwater Peoples party.
BRI SYLVESTER: I’m at Paper Box, right across the street from Shea, to see Mr. Dream, my brother Nick’s band. Accompanying him on the drums is an 11-foot-tall paper mache bear. Grizzly, I think. There’s a large cinderblock in front on the floor tom. Paper Box has “Hole in the Wall Tacos.” I don’t know if I should chance it.
PATRICK: A taco that comes from any sort of hole sounds risky. Got to Shea Stadium before doors opened so I cracked open a beer on Bogart street. Stopped in Paper Box to use the bathroom and made friends with some dudes outside. Listened to “Friday Fahrenheit” in their car. Inside now; King Cyst setting up while a Suzanne Vega song plays. There’s jagged, fang-like cardboard hanging from the ceiling. Looks like they’re sound checking inside a giant mouth.
BRI: Sleepies are on. The lead singer has hair that kinda reminds me of Kramer from Seinfeld. Drummer’s doing a weird combo of lip singing the words, shaking his head back and forth and rolling his eyes. Not sure why these guys are called Sleepies, they’re so upbeat. “This song’s for mom,” says the drummer. Loving these surges of super fast music.
PATRICK: Maybe they just nap a lot. Members of King Cyst are passing around a plastic pint of Jim Beam aka store-bought courage. Alex Bleeker from Real Estate and Alex Bleeker & The Freaks is here, flipping through the in-house record collection. A couple joints are also floating around. King Cyst finally started. Aww yeah/ Baby, oh yeah was the chorus of the first song.
BRI: Eula’s playing here. The lead singer’s wearing black spandex, covered in medical tape and scrawled words like “rhymes” and “mind.” On her midriff it says “embryo.” Her voice is spunky and so are her dance moves, but she sounded frightened when she sang, Where the fuck were you?!
PATRICK: Improvised saxophone bursts, loungey rhythms, deep, dreamy vocals from Big Troubles’ Luka. Now 3/4 members of Big Troubles are performing, tight, calculated pop songs melting into avant-garde jamming. This place is flooded with 1970s vibes. Julian Lynch just came up to play the clarinet.
BRI: Riding with Mr. Dream to the Marcy Ave stop. Discussing birthday venues, someone suggests this place, “that promises Manhattan class in Brooklyn.”
PATRICK: Was thinking about leaving til Julian Lynch started. Long-time fan of his crisp guitar work. Just the right amount of experimentalism. Entire crowd looks hypnotized. No one is taking their eyes off the stage, except for me, to write this text. He’s playing a three-piece. Bass and drums make everything fuller. Luka from King Cyst stepped in on bass. Two saxophones playing unison. Occasional fragile vocals. I’ll stop gushing now.
BRI: Walked into Braids at Bowery Ballroom. It’s a three piece that sounds a bit like elevator music with thick, quick bass thumps. Singer’s voice is so soothing. Every song is a lullaby.
PATRICK: Somehow ended up in my friend’s dad’s car. He’s driving us to Pianos for the Get Bent/ Dirty Laundry TV showcase. We’re stuck in traffic. Feel like I’m on a middle-school date going to the movies or something. CMJ is weird.
BRI: Listening to Wild Nothing is like watching waves. Each instrument in the band he’s assembled plays pretty simply, but when you put all five together, it’s complex.
PATRICK: The Sundelles are playing at Pianos. 2/3 members in denim. I’ve never waited in more lines for the men’s room than I have this week.
BRI: No press pass for that. They’re playing “Nocturne.” The woman next to me is wearing a lace nightgown. Walked past a couple dancing in perfect synchronization to “Gemini.” Then, someone gave me a huge high five for no apparent reason. I like this sense of Wild Nothing community.
PATRICK: Charging my phone while Eternal Summers get going. Awesome shimmery guitar tone. Lead singer Nicole Yun’s bratty yelps is awesome.
BRI: Taking a Chilly walk to a place called Upstairs Bar in Chinatown. Inside Team Spirit is playing. Lady Gaga karaoke being projected in the background. Everybody is headbanging except one girl. She is voguing.
PATRICK: It’s COLD. I’m in a dive bar playing PacMan.
BRI: Ending CMJ with round two of Sleepies. Band member Thomas says, “It’s way past my bedtime.” Julian Casablancas is here to see them.