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The Deli's 2007 CMJ Marathon Report

Tuesday, October 16 2007
at The Delancey

7.30 The Headset
9.00 The Picture
10.00 Soft
11.00 The Press
12.00 Bella Noir

CMJ Badges free,
everybody else $5)

The Headset
""With their punchy rhythms, catchy melodies and inventive choruses, The Head Set is perfectly irresistible."

The Picture

"I melted like a little Kraft caramel at their show, and I’m still not sure if it was the temperature of the venue or the feeling The Picture’s songs left me with….or both. Watch out for this band…" The Deli
"One of the most blogged about bands on the NYC scene With their shaggy hair and cool demeanor these gents know how to be anything but soft. " The Deli
The Press
"While it’s pretty clear that the Press is influenced by modern indie-rock and maybe some punk, there’s so much going on in their songs that no similar bands immediately come to mind, which is a good thing. This means originality, and who couldn’t use a healthy dose of fresh lately?"
Bella Noir
  Think of Bella Noir as the band equivalent of a Femme Fatale. Their dark, layered, complex sound boosts the sexiness of their songs rather than overshadowing it, and the ambiguity of their words keeps you hanging all day long - The Deli



Thursday, October 18 2007
at The Delancey

Beat The Devil


The Giraffes

Black Tie Party

The Netherlands

Previous CMJ editions

Andrew's CMJ Marathon
Joe's CMJ Marathon

by Andrew Spaulding

Let me tell you somthing. CMJ is stressful.  Especially for an aspiring writer such as myself.  So many hands to pump, bands to see, press passes to get.  Before receiving my pass I was pointed towards three different lines, I ended up in a stall in the Women's restroom before I realized that perhaps the line I was in wasn't the correct one to get a press pass...  I quickly washed my hands, nodded to the young lady washing hers next to me and proceeded towards the "press line." I recieved my pass and found that, according to CMJ's system I was not, in fact, writing for The Deli but rather for  I imagined pasty white bloggers standing in my way at the Dragons of Zynth, Tall Firs, Effi Briest show at Union Pool that night, brandishing lead pipes and cracking their knuckles.
    "Hey.  You ain't writin' for, I AM."
    A greasy, pimply red headed HTML coder with a bad pompadour behind the blogger:
    "You tell 'im Boss!"
I made my way down the street to Bowery, where I would see my first band of the week. 

Honestly, I had not expected to be so impressed with Quintus.  I had chosen to see them like dropping my finger somewhere on a spinning globe.  Also this:  where the fuck is the Indaba loft?  I literally had to call my girlfriend and ask her to get on a computer to help me find it. Finally I noticed an 8 by 11 printer paper sign on a door above a bored looking dude's head.  Turns out Indaba is a kind of love child between Craig's List and Garage Band and they were hosting a show in their office(?) apartment (?) extremely expensive loft on Bowery (check).  Regardless, there was a keg so I hunkered down with a red cup and watched a couple of young guys plucking away at their guitars.  It really took a minute for the music being played to register, to plinko through my brain hitting band references like pegs.  Wilco: ding. George Harrison: ding ding.  The Band: ding ding ding.  

     Quintus blew me away.  When you're swapping between tempos and time signatures as in the song "Flat Feet" or matching three part harmonies it's near impossible to sound as tight as they did.  Despite all the tightness, the music stretched and contracted like flexing a rubber-band between your index finger and thumb.  Don't be fooled by their recording on myspace.  Cleaned up and through computer speakers they have a tendency to sound like Maroon 5.  When they're on stage they germ up that aseptic studio sound and start smiling into the microphones.  Please make sure you catch these guys if you get a chance.          Immediately after Quintus took the stage I staggered downstairs to grab a cigga and realized that I was slightly tipsy thanks to the IndabaKeg's sweet nectars.  I had four more bands to go.  It was 2PM.  Rock and Roll.

    Arizona began their set in tableau.  Ben Wigler seated afloor with acoustic, Alex Hornbake above him to the left on a rickety chair, Andrew on keyboards behind Alex, Nick on stand up bass and the Drums above and behind Nick.  A fitting stance for such pristinely crafted music, all that was missing was a shaft of golden shimmering light and maybe a dove with an olive branch in its beak landing on Ben's shoulder.  Perhaps thats a bit too far, but you get the gist of how they sounded from that image.  Typically Arizona tosses in a little meandering noise, Tuesday they had only acoustic guitars so the noise took the backseat to their strong melodies and harmony arrangements.
    There were a few tuning issues, but overall the band's live set held up to their fantastic LP Welcome Back Dear Children.  Quite a feat, mind you.  The Deli may have helped these guys along with a bit of cover action, but our job is to give you some good music so we'll keep pushing them at you until they stop writing good music.  Which doesn't seem like it will be anytime soon. 

    Three hours, three more beers, a thermos of wine and an L train later I was meeting up with friends at Union Pool in Williamsburg for the Effi Briest, Dragons of Zynth, Tall Firs show. 
    "Hey!  You!  You don't write for  I DO"
    "You tell 'im Boss!" 
    "Oh Shit."
    I ducked into a photo-booth and landed on the lead singer and drummer of Telepathe.  ignoring them I peeked out the curtains searching for my assailants.  Just the lead singer of TVOTR and one of the guys from ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead who was drunk and screaming about  but just to be safe I ran into Union Pool's venue, bought another PBR and tucked myself into the crowd that was watching Tall Firs. 

    Tall Firs sounds like tall firs.  Their sound is about as aeleatoric as the sound of trees branches but somewhere in the center is the sturdy trunk.  Comprised of a drummer, two guitars and a pair of vocal pipes they can deftly move between Thurston's gloaming groan to twinkling Explosions In The Sky arpeggios. 

    Effi Briest is made up of seven ladies, four of whom move between a batallion of different instruments, the rest stick with the basic guitar, drum, bass setup.  I was quite surprised at Effi Briest's sound which differed drastically from the cyclical and churning "Mirror Rim" on their myspace.  They seemed to be headed more towards an early Animal Collective tabula-rasa-folk sound with chanting melodies and astute baselines.  Unfortunately their set was marred by the ridiculously bad sound setup.  It was almost as if the sound guy didn't even bother moving any of the sliders or knobs when they did sound check: 
    "Yeah.  Yeah.  Sounds great guys."  thumbs up.

    Dragons of Zynth, TVOTR's wilder more noise oriented protege's, may have a tendency to sound like the aforementioned pop/shoegaze group, but there is a darker blunter edge to their sound.  Zynth is the hired muscle with bludgeoning cudgels that TV On The Radio hires to do their dirty work.  The live show, still marred by the crappy sound, was pretty brutal with guitar feedback at the loud parts and quite succinct at the quieter moments with disturbing synth lines.  Catch these guys live if you can. 

    So day one is complete and daylight in day two is waxing.  I plan on finding myself a new badge today and arriving late and sweaty and smelly to a billion different shows.  If I pump your hand today please be friendly and squeeze back. 
     We're all in this together. 
     Wish us luck. 

There are two incontrovertible truths that I have discovered in my time upon this earth. The first is that nobody doesn't like a sandwich. The second: everytime is a good time for chips and salsa. We live in a mish-mash of evil and decrepitude and just plain rudeness. Suharto? Evil dictator. Rude. But it is a testament to the hardness and tenderness of the human race that I am able to say this about General Suharto: he probably liked sandwiches and salsa.

 To lesser degrees there are other somewhat enjoyable things. Sex. love. Al Green. Those Sunday mornings when you roll out of bed, tussle your hair, gaze out at the new morning filled with possibilities and find that your girlfriend left a little extra for you in your crack pipe. Indeed, all of these are arguably one and the same.

 And then at the bottom rung comes work. Nobody likes work. God doesn't even like to go to work anymore. God was a genius, believe it or not. He got in and out in six days and then he took a siesta. Now I'm not claiming to be better than God or anything, but God sucks. I have to cram five days of CMJ into just five or six paragraphs? Great googly moogly I say to you sir. Fortunately I am a punctual, well-organized, functional member of society.

 I arrived late to the shows I was meant to go to yesterday because I had gotten too drunk the night before and then procrastinated my ass off with the writing of my CMJ recap for The Deli. So I missed Team Robespierre  (picture), Joan as Policewoman, and Essie Jain at the Brooklyn Vegan showcase at Pianos. I apologize guys, I'm sure the roof was sufficiently raised by each of you. In my fear of Paolo's cat o' nine tails, I began mumbling under my breath and shiftily scrambling around the lower east side hoping to catch a glimpse of a New York band that might be tucked away into my pocket for future use like a chinese fortune. Ahh. Yes. The Forms. from Brooklyn. Excellent. They will do nicely.

 I ducked into The White Rabbit, next to the sunshine theaters on Houston street. Hoping to see Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping choir (who, though I will not be reviewing them here, must be seen and heard to be believed) Alas, they were performing at 7:30 which would interfere with my later show. I had a falafel and then went back to see The Forms perform an acoustic set at 6:00pm. Despite their lack of instrumentation  The Forms managed to give a spirited performance lush with harmonies and one loud floor tom. The band is very much reminiscent of Guillemots quiescent and more ponderous moments and I really wish I could have seen them with a full setup but they did a fine job nonetheless.

After The Forms I went out to Greenpoint to catch the Ear Farm and Serious Business Records showcase at Matchless. The Unsacred Hearts, for whom The Deli has had much love, were blowing up the stage as I walked in.  They're less of a band than they are UPS delivery-men each song a neat little 3 minute package of tight catchy riffs and shout/sung lyrics. Each song was like getting a hallmark card from your Nana but instead of there being a ten dollar bill inside it just says "Fuck you."

Following The Unsung Hearts was Kickstart (picture) who sound like the Misfits if they watched more Charles Bronson and John Holmes than Bela Lugosi flicks. The lead singer had a distinctly sleazy voice ala The Cramps, which is tough to hear on their myspace but check them live and you'll see what I mean.
 Man in Gray, also having received love from The Deli, was a decidedly frenetic show. I was surprised at the speed at which they played (I'd only heard their toned down debut LP) and the shriek at which lead singer Tina DaCosta was able to shriek at. Very much like the Gossip.
 Finally, Goes Cube got on stage with long stringy hair as well as rock and/or roll. Listening to their pummeling guitars, low bass, and punctuated snare drums sounded like repeatedly getting punched in the face with a good way. There was more sweat flying around the stage than Dane Cook at a MENSA convention.
 Alas, I could not make it to Hull. I was called away betwixt the shows by a dear friend in need. Hull, I apologize. Believe it or not, sometimes rock and/or roll must take second banana.
 See you tomorrow dear readers. Or tonight. - Andrew Spaulding

continued here


by Joe Coscarelli

This year a monolithic pairing between NYU and CMJ finds the Marathon's headquarters at the historic Puck Building. Think of it as a sort of indie-rock  Death Star -- the center of the CMJ universe. Amidst promotional booths and piles of free swag sits the Day Stage, home to performances throughout the week. People mulled around with gift bags and free mags, Mountain Dew and energy drinks flowing like water. Dirty beards and thick-rimmed glasses were countless. On your marks, get set ...

The first stride in my marathon was Takka Takka's (1:00 PM Day Stage set). The boys from Brooklyn didn't so much kick things off as ease them in, their bright clean guitars weaving tight patches, always calming and clear. Pavement had riffs like this but they felt dirty, loose and sorta zany -- Takka Takka's intertwining grooves are polished and fine. The five-pieces' clarity was ideal for the daylight hour, sunlight shining in spears through the building's windows. Any brooding that might find itself at home in a dark, dingy club or bar was absent, replaced by laid-back, shuffling percussion and melodic bass-lines. The highlight, though, was the spirited facial expressions, winces and grimaces from the band's rhythm (and 3rd!) guitarist while providing smooth vocal harmonies. Entertaining, yes, but wholly unwarranted. An embodiment of effortlessness, Takka Takka don't toy with pain nor strain.

mp3: Takka Takka - We Feel Safer At Night

My night on the LES ran as smoothly as a three-wheeled wagon. Marred by my own inexperience, I tripped and ate a little mud (to 'run' with this marathon metaphor). Day 1 saw me miss three scheduled bands (sorry guys!) to be replaced along the way. Hear you me -- I will make up the ground I lost.

A set switcheroo had me at the wrong end of an MPress Records showcase at Mo Pitkins on Ave. A, leaving me with LA's Raining Jane instead of Swati and the (unbeknownst to me) headlining Rachael Sage (in the picture) - who at least is from NYC. To their credit, the place was packed. Ladies' night, oh what a night!

The D train over the bridge brought me to Southpaw in Park Slope, Brooklyn for a three-fer of good ol' rootsy, countrified NYC Americana.

AA Bondy is an Alabama transplant with a full, hoarse voice driving his weary acoustic numbers. The Tom Waits cover ("Hang Down Your Head") was telling but the between-song-banter was extraordinary, the most notable of which told a tale of Mt. Everest and Anderson Cooper killing Bondy's entire family. He also didn't lie when he said he had a lovely wife and she kindly drenched a few of his songs in sweet organ hum.

Stream the AA Bondy album American Hearts here.

The night's remaining NYC acts were a pair of rough-n-tumble, scruffy fans of Dylan and The Band. The Felice Brothers (picture and embedded mp3) were a barroom bunch -- crass, mannerless and so much fun. With the lead Bro stripped to a wife-beater, he belted proudly and emphatically in a gravelly yell about making love to a "Cincinatti Queen" in a bathroom stall. 'Nuff said.

To a thinning room, The Rosewood Thieves were the night's late-night headliners, kicking out jams with Jagger-esque throaty yelps and '60s flair. Groovy. Regrettably there was actual a shortage of actual kicking -- "Van Morrison-style" -- because Erick Jordan, the group's foul-mouthed frontman, had injured his groin chasing a hot-air balloon. Supposedly.

A slow start makes it all uphill from here. Don't touch that dial, I'll be here all week.

It's 3 AM and my head is ringing like Mike Tyson just boxed my ears. The thing is, it's not that recurring dream where Oscar De La Hoya dresses up in women's clothes and I'm a heavyweight champion (as opposed to real life where I'm only a featherweight champion). But let me back up.

Rolling on 4 hours of sleep when an early evening lull hit, I crashed for a power-nap, setting an alarm for 6:45 PM. The time came and in a sleepy haze I decided I had a few more minutes to rest before I would book it to Brooklyn.

The next time I opened by eyes it was 9:45. Jay Garrick style, I was in Greenpoint in time for The Vandelles (picture) and the greater part of a CMJ showcase at Europa. Initially, I was the least hip person in the room as I was the only one to approach the stage  -- guess I just didn't get the memo. 
While the self-proclaimed "loudest band in New York City" were killing time in Williamsburg until their night-cap, undoubtedly reciting their Best New Music 'fork review to one another from memory, Brooklyn's The Vandelles were doing all they could to usurp the title by fuzzy coup. While A Place To Bury Strangers ride aggro-shoegaze revival, The Vandelles skip the gazing all together and just pulverize ears, burying their Dandy Warhols psych-rock in a deep, dark place. 
The rhythm section, wo-manned by two unassuming, comely females, was a true force -- bass dipped in a hot vat of distortion and drums clawing and clamoring to be heard. You know the scene in Kill Bill where Uma Thurman is buried alive, forced to karate-chop her way through wood and tightly packed dirt? In that adrena-frezy, she'd play the drums like the chick from The Vandelles. Three-quarters through the set, the sound guy chimed in: "You're gonna have to turn that down."

Later, dramatic pre-recorded strings welcomed to the stage a morbid doll, her bleached blonde hair adorned with black lace and one fabric sleeve of her body-length dress removed to reveal an arm swathed in a bold tatts. Theo and the Skyscrapers had a highly theatrical showing, a jean-jacketed guitarist mustering '80s squeals from a jagged axe while Theo unleashed a booming vibrato and Joan Jett-ed around the stage, fronting Hair Metal: The Musical. "Welcome to the Catholic Music Jam," our blonde-bombshell version of Elvira cackled. Indeed.  
The Voluptuous Horror Of Karen Black, a satirical punk-Rocky Horror act, apparently went to the same School Of Spectacle as Theo. With coifed 'dos that dwarfed Amy Winehouse's, five burlesquer clones in bodypaint took the stage, thigh-high laced boots poised for a horror-rock ass kicking. Like a costume-shop Halloween impression of the Supremes, the girls graced the stage but left the work to their leader Kembra Pfahler and a male-trio content to power through motorboat numbers. 
But with my ears still hurting so good from the first set, my night could end nowhere but the eardrum graveyard of A Place To Bury Strangers late night stint at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Set to take the stage at 1:00 AM Eastern Time, the band finally took the stage closer to 2, definitely running on CMJ time. The late night hour made it so that every time I yawned during the band's set, the onslaught of sound was temporarily muted, kicking me that much harder when the sound returned. To have thought their title was in danger was embarrassingly naive -- APTBS made The Vandelles sound like Iron & Wine. Gusts of distorted hiss cut the air and the endless engine rev rattled my brain and body as the group's assault sounded, and felt, like a hurricane during an earthquake inside of a volcano. This band sells earplugs at their merch table. True story. 
Between the strobe light, projector screen, tremolo and guitar smashing, I'm pretty sure I blacked out because I woke up on the L train spooning with a bum who whispered in my ear, "Can you believe it's only Wednesday?" I couldn't. 
Note to the reader: I've fallen further behind in this race but I'm bracing for a Floyd Landis at the Tour de France-worthy comeback. Without the bike. And the steroids. Believe it. - Joe Coscarelli

continued here


About 150 NYC bands that weren't selected for CMJ submitted their music to play our unofficial CMJ party. Here's how our jury voted.

The Jaguar Club  3+2+3
Sikamor Rooney  2+3+1
Kendra Morris  3+3
The Shot Heard Round the World 2+3
Joe Moore  3+2
The Clear Heels  3+2
Bella Watt  1+3 
Anthem In   1+2+1
Undersea Explosion 2+2
Jones Street Boys 3
Radio America  3
The Velocet  3
Chris Maher  3
Purple Crush 3
Todd Bogin & the Lovin' 1+1
Josh Mease 2
Tonearm 2
My Other Friend 2
Spindle 2
Americans 2
Sigmund Droid 2
Wild Things 2
April Smith 1
The Morning Code 1
Schwervon! 1
The White Noise Supremacists 1
Desperate Shithead 1
Creaky Boards 1
Boy Genius 1
Telenovela Star 1
The Bridesmaids 1
Automatic Children 1
Von Robinson 1
Special Death 1

The CMJ Marathon Runners' Plan

For this year's appointment with CMJ, our two brave music writers Handlebar Joe Coscarelli and Andrew Spaulding planned to see live performances by 26 NYC bands each (26 as the miles in a marathon) and report about each show in this page. Here is the list of shows they planned to attend. On the central column of this page you can find the actual report.

Tuesday 10/16
1. Takka Takka - 1:00 PM - Puck Building Day Stage
2. Swati- 7:00 PM - Mo' Pitkins New Arrivals Showcase
3. Rachael Sage- 7:30 PM - Mo' Pitkins New Arrivals Showcase
4. The Felice Brothers- 8:30 PM - Southpaw
5. AA Bondy- 9:30 PM - Southpaw
6. Dean and Britta- 10:00 PM - Bowery Ballroom
7. The Rosewood Thieves- 11:30 PM - Southpaw
Wednesday 10/17
8. Excellent- 7:30 PM - Europa
9. Freshkills - 8:30 PM - Europa
10. The Vandelles - 9:30 PM - Europa
11. Bloody Social - 10:30 PM - Europa
12. Theo and the Skyscrapers - 11:30 PM Europa
Thursday 10/18
13. The Muggabears - 2:15 PM - Gothamist House
14. The Jealous Girlfriends - 3:00 PM - Gothamist House
15. The Big Sleep - 3:45 PM - Gothamist House
16. The Jaguar Club - 6:00 PM - Indaba Loft
17. Sam Champion - 6:45 PM - Gothamist House
18. The Epochs - 8:30 PM - Blender Theater at Gramercy
19. Orba Squara - 9:00 PM - Southpaw
20. Pela - 11:00 PM - Bowery Ballroom
21. Elk City - 11:30 PM - Joe's Pub
22. Camphor - 12:30 PM - Joe's Pub
Friday 10/19
23. Santogold - 8:50 PM - Filmore at Irving Plaza
24. Earl Greyhound - 9:40 PM - Filmore at Irving Plaza
Saturday 10/20
25. Nous Non Plus - 7:00 PM - Indaba Loft
26. Matt & Kim - 12:00 AM - Music Hall of Williamsburg


Indaba Loft - 16th 2:00PM - all ages
Union Pool - 16th - 6:30 - All ages
Dragons of Zynth
Tall Firs
Effi Briest
Pianos - 17th - 12:00PM - 21+
Essie Jain
Joan As Policewoman
Team Robespierre
Matchless - 17th - 8:00PM - 21+
Goes Cube

Man In Gray
Unsacred Hearts

The Delancey - 18th - 2:00PM - 21+
Gramercy Theatre - 18th - 6:00PM - 16+
Cake Shop - 18th - 8:00PM
Knitting Factory - 19th - 7PM - all ages
Club Midway - 20th - 12PM - 21+
Bear Hands
The Pierces
The Morning Pages
Alphabet Lounge - 20th - 7PM - 21+
The Attorneys
Bear Claws
Zebulon - 20th - 10:00 - 21+
Burnt Sugar