More CMJ

I wrote a piece about the Gibson/KEXP CMJ Thursday night showcase at Brooklyn’s Public Assembly for Gibson’s website. The show featured The Little Death NYC (a band that includes Moby), Danish rockers The Blue Van and Oregon’s Stars of Track and Field. You can read it here.

On Friday I caught “flower punks” the Black Lips and California’s Japanese Motors at a Williamsburg warehouse space. Toyota sponsored the show, so it was pretty odd to see the Lips rocking out in front of a giant corporate logo, especially considering their past history of raucous shows (pissing, vomiting, general outrageousness). But free entry and an open bar made it hard to complain, and, corporate involvement or not, the Black Lips were great. King Khan even joined the band and sang a song. Japanese Motors were a solid opener, coming off like Californified, beach bum cousins of the Black Lips’. This makes sense, because apparently one of the dudes is also a pro surfer. The biggest question of the night, though: Did Toyota ask Japanese Motors to play the event because of their name??

Friday I headed Bowery Ballroom, where I caught the end of Marnie Stern‘s set, Vivian Girls, Crystal Antlers, and the beginning of A Place To Bury Strangers. The few songs of Stern’s that I heard sounded good. Vivian Girls were fun, though it was a bit hard to distinguish their melodies through the wash of reverb. Crystal Antlers impressed me much more than they did when I saw them at SXSW, but I’m still not that excited by them. Something just doesn’t click. A Place To Bury Strangers did the shoegaze and feedback thing well, but it was late so I enjoyed them for a bit and then headed home.

Overall, a good weekend of music. I feel like I only dipped by toe into the musical ocean of CMJ, though, and thus I eluded the exhaustion that seems to have come over most of the more avid fest-goers. Next year I’ll try to step it up a bit.

[Photo: Black Lips in Brooklyn]

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