Friday, 30 October 2009

CMJ Report: Day 3 (Afternoon Shows)

Thursday at CMJ saw another opportunity to get back out amongst the day shows, many of which centred around the Ludlow St combination of Piano's and Cake Shop, more or less neighbours on this stretch. It was at the former that I started day 3, hitting up one of the many Brooklyn Vegan parties.

Having actually touched on Surfer Blood (right) earlier this week here, I'll simply say that their sound is better than this viewing suggested. The room was packed, however, and I did only catch half the set. Definitely one I need to see again for a proper look. After them, UK boys from the East Midlands, Lovvers, took the stage in front of a much more manageable crowd. Launching into their ramshackle blend of raw garage rock, laced with a dose of punk spirit, it's clear they're somewhat detached from the performance.


True to this perception, the singer is quick to classify those assembled into the 'boring fuck' category. Potentially justified, given the lack of movement (even head bobs) and early afternoon time slot, but equally galling coming from a man wearing a cardigan onstage. Away from the pleasantries, the music is sloppy and nondescript, played with aggression but with no apparent direction for the vehemence. If anyone attended this to find the next punk heroes, they left sorely disappointed.

Feeling the need to cleanse my rock palette with some real music with attitude, I moved over to the long dark basement of the Cake Shop for the more other-worldy tones emanating from the Tee Pee Records day show. Wading into Naam's set proved to be the perfect tonic, as the Brooklyn-based psychedelic rockers assault the small venue's sound system for all it's worth. With an enormous sound and long, powerful riff sequences, theirs is a formidable performance and points to exciting developments to come.

Naam - Kingdom - Live at Death By Audio from Lawrence Scaduto on Vimeo.

Hot on the heels of Naam, the reason I became aware of this show begins to set up in the shape of LA's exceedingly retro Nebula. Again heavy on the psych, having formed from the ranks of Fu Manchu over a decade ago the trio have significant experience in the stoner rock game. Unfortunately, whereas Naam succeeded in impressing by bludgeoning the venue PA into submission, Nebula's approach requires a clearer sound in order to emphasise their more defined song structures. Something that the muddy mix and limited sonics simply don't allow for. As a result, much of what makes the band special - the finely honed riffs, laconic vocals, and throwback atmosphere - is lost in the wall of sound. Best check out their new album, aptly entitled 'Heavy Psych', for a more in-depth understanding of their quality.

MP3: Nebula - The Dagger

Leaving this one marked the midpoint of the marathon, so I sensibly retired for a bite to eat before hitting the evening hard. Which is where we shall shortly resume.......

Now playing: Yeasayer - Ambling Alp
via FoxyTunes

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