Monday, October 27, 2008

Myles Turney @ The Trash Bar, CMJ 2008, October 25th

I usually don't fall for singer-songwriter types (they usually can't hold my interest for an entire set), but there was something honest and immediate about Myles Turney that won me over. He plays a southern style of bluesy acoustic folk with a mixture of finger-picking and slide guitar over sharp, witty, dynamic vocals. He had a way of completely getting lost in the moment of each song, that reminds us of the power that a single musician can have in conveying an idea or emotion with just a guitar and voice. Hilites included a ballad that he apparently wrote "3 weeks ago," and also a mccain-palin-bashing political rant that was both entertaining and timely. Keep up the good work Myles.

Dungen @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg, CMJ 2008, October 24th

I'm always tempted by a Dungen show. I love how nobody in the audience knows any of the lyrics or what they mean (because it's all in Swedish), but it doesn't matter because the music is sooooo good. Their lead guitarist, Reine Fiske, is one of the best out there today, with an all-vintage set-up, and some outstanding chops (and i'm usually perched right next to him front row, to catch every lick). Their drummer is also pro, probably jazz-trained with a good ear for fills, pattern and groove. This one may not have been their best set, since it was just the start of their tour and they were still working out the kinks. But they still had one or two jams that were just awe-inspiring. Go. See. Them.

The Muslims @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg, CMJ 2008, October 24

The Muslims are one of this year's CMJ "buzz bands." And while I get what people like about them, with their retro-modern-post-punk attitude, they just didn't quite win me over in the originality department. Still, they closed their short, 25 minute set with a "Spacemen 3" cover of "Walkin' with Jesus", which was pretty awesome.

Marissa Nadler @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, CMJ October 242008,

I guess this was kind of an off night for Marissa Nadler. I think she has a lovely voice and style, but technical difficulties with her guitar and restarting a song half way thru sort of ruined the vibe for me.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Misson of Burma @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, CMJ 2008, October 24

Maybe it's just me, but it's kinda weird to see Mission of Burma rock out. I mean there's no doubt they still have the chops. And they play LOUD. But I'd say the average age of the audience was twenty years younger than the average age of the musicians. And this is kind of a weird dynamic. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who felt this way, and watching them, I couldn't help but imagine how amazing it would've been to see them during their artistic prime. I mean, they still have their edge and drive (no doubt), and it's a testament to the longevity of their music that they're still innovative and can command a sold-out crowd at a fairly large New York venue 20 years after their critically acclaimed peak. But I'm still left asking, what are they looking to accomplish now? And where do they go from here, in this, their middle-aged renaissance?

Photo courtesy of Carl Robinson.

Friday, October 24, 2008

King Kahn & BBQ Show @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, CMJ 2008, October 23

Alright, so King Kahn & BBQ Show is definitely a weird band. I mean one of them is wearing a thong and the other guy has a turban. Whatever floats your boat. If you can look past that, some of their music is actually pretty good and has this sweet style of 50's pop-soul that you don't see much of anymore. But then again I only liked maybe 1/3 of the songs, and the rest was just too weird and out of tune, so it's a hard sell and I probably won't be seeing them again.

The Dutchess and The Duke @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg, CMJ 2008, October 23

The Dutchess and The Duke were a breath of fresh air last night. Finally a band at CMJ that was not trying to rock my face off. With minimalist percussion (just one tom and tamborine), George Harrison-esque lead guitar lines, male/female vocal harmonies, and great lyrics, the Dutchess and Duke would feel right at home in the 1960's San Francisco folk-psych scene.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ringo Deathstarr @ Knitting Factory, CMJ 2008, October 22

Ringo Deathstarr. Best band name ever. Pretty good band too.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ Knitting Factory, CMJ 2008, October 22

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. This is Kip's band. He's a nice guy. He used to work with some of the blue album group dudes back at Insound. So they love this band. Also, the drummer in this band is the lead singer in The Depreciation Guild. See, it's a big happy family. Also, they sound kinda like if The Promise Ring played happy music, or at least that's what came to mind last night. Their record sounds like a more shoe-gazey Belle and Sebastian. Either way, pretty good.

The Depreciation Guild @ Knitting Factory, CMJ 2008, October 22

The Depreciation Guild plays sexy Nintendo shoe-gaze. I love that this genre exists.

Crystal Antlers @ Knitting Factory, CMJ 2008, October 22

Fuck you. Why isn't this band more popular? Alright, their myspace page doesn't do them justice. You have to hear the whole album. Also, the screaming-stoner-psych thing isn't very popular right now. But shit, this was the only band I wanted to see at CMJ. And they SMOKED. A Sunny Day In Glasgow was playing downstairs at the same time, and I peeked my head in, but it was no contest. Crystal Antlers by a landslide. Now if only Obama could do that...

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Morning Benders @ Bowery Ballroom, October 16th 2008

The Morning Benders put out one of my favorite albums this past year, and I've been looking forward to checking out their live show for some time. They did not disappoint, opening their set with a cool, slower, more "psychy" version of "Patient Patient". Lead singer and guitarist Chris Chu carries the band with his sweet and charming voice, but really I think their drummer is the secret weapon, effortlessly guiding the band through a slick set of throwback 60's pop (think of the lead singer of The Shins jamming with The A-Sides and you're almost there). My one criticism for the Benders would be the stage banter... Frankly, less is more when it comes to band members chit-chatting with the audience. But that can be fixed in time, and I'd recommend checking them out now, while they're still young and playing in a small venue (to be honest the Bowery was a little too big for them at this point, but it won't be long until they have to play this size venue). They closed their set with "Waiting for the War", another of my favorites. Man, can this band write a bad song?