CMJ Day Five: AAM showcase, October 24, 2009 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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CMJ 2009 Day Five

AAM showcase, October 24, 2009,

Oct 29, 2009 Web Exclusive Photography by Laura Leebove Bookmark and Share


“It’s early for everyone, I think,” said Jesse Lortz, guitarist and vocalist for Seattle’s the Dutchess and the Duke at 2-something on Saturday afternoon. After almost a straight week of shows and parties, it was about time for CMJ-goers’ collective hangover to kick in if it hadn’t already. At AAM’s day party at Music Hall of Williamsburg, the band’s brand of laidback, retro tunes—with maracas and tambourines in place of a traditional drum set—was just the right vibe for the last day of the CMJ Music Marathon. Lortz and Kimberly Morrison (who celebrated her birthday that day) traded vocal duties while playing tracks from 2008’s She’s the Dutchess, He’s the Duke and their recent release Sunset/Sunrise.

The Champaign, Ill., quartet Headlights played earlier on, their pop-rock being an appropriate match for the crowd made up largely of college radio kids. Vocals were slightly drowned out, but singer/keyboardist Erin Fein’s airy alto managed to come through most of the time, especially in tracks such as “Cherry Tulips” from 2008’s Some Racing, Some Stopping. Certainly for an early-afternoon slot on the last day of CMJ, the energy was high and the band didn’t disappoint.

Later in the afternoon, LA group The Dum Dum Girls played a modest set of fuzzed-out, shoegazey songs with hints of ‘60s girl-group flavor and a hazy sound similar to that of The Raveonettes. The four ladies dressed in patterned tights and short, short skirts, which, unfortunately, might make some a little skeptical of them at first glance. But, they sounded great and the set got me quite excited for the band’s debut on Sub Pop next year. Their biggest fault was the complete lack of crowd banter: The set ended abruptly without a warning that it’d be the last song, and no one even mentioned the name of the group.

Lightspeed Champion closed the set and my CMJ adventure with a funky performance that will go down as one of the most visually memorable sets of the week, as frontman Devonte Hynes spent the entire set dressed as a wizard, complete with a flowing white beard. The music wasn’t anything particularly special, but any wizard dancing around and shredding on the guitar is OK in my book.

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