CMJ Day One: Sneak Attack/Music Slut party and BrooklynVegan showcase, October 20th, 2009 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Laura Marling

CMJ 2009 Day One

CMJ Day One: Sneak Attack/Music Slut party and BrooklynVegan showcase,

Oct 22, 2009 Web Exclusive Photography by Laura Leebove Bookmark and Share


I started my first real day of CMJ with the Sneak Attack Media/Music Slut showcase at Pianos on the Lower East Side and walked upstairs just in time to catch the end of Javelin. The electro-dance duo plinked out carnival-sounding synth tunes and banged on electronic drum kits while slides of outdoor landscapes flashed on a screen behind them. Later in the afternoon, recent Merge signees The Love Language (who have about as many shows this week as Fanfarlo) brought energetic lo-fi with three guitars, a bass, two keyboardists, and a drummer. One of the guitarists/vocalists also took on tambourine, maraca and tom drum duties, and at least four of the members chimed in with vocals. The band’s sound is slightly psychedelic at times, and many songs were filled with bright “ahhhs” behind the lead vocals. The band’s Merge debut will be out sometime next year.

In the evening I headed to Music Hall of Williamsburg for BrooklynVegan’s showcase, which began with the oddball outfit Think About Life. The Montréal-based quartet played dance music that sometimes channeled TV on the Radio, but more often than not was filled with singing over funky, disco-tinged backing tracks. The group was a little bit over the top with choreographed dance moves and lyrics such as “Radio DJ, play my song/All night long I want to sing along.” Nonetheless, the group was entertaining and a fitting wakeup call to anyone tired from running around the city all day.

After a folk/country-rock set from The Walter Schreifels Band (whose crowd banter might have fared better than the music), Nathaniel Rateliff and The Wheel came on for a calm but captivating acoustic set accented with harmonica, a string bass, violin, and light keyboard work. The band’s MySpace page says it’s currently unsigned, but hopefully Rateliff and company will be snatched up soonit probably won’t be long.

Laura Marling took the last acoustic-folk spot on the bill with a set mostly made up of songs that will be on her sophomore album, due sometime in 2010. Marling used to be a member of fellow Brit act Noah and the Whale, and her solo debut, 2008’s Alas, I Cannot Swim, established her as a powerhouse with songwriting chops way beyond her years (she’s 19 now). Her new tracks are in the same vein as her first record, with themes of God, love, and hope, one of them with the lyrics “We deal with God far too young/Before you know it, your life has run away.” A friend provided vocal harmonies and accompanied Marling’s acoustic fingerpicking with a cello lugged all the way from England (“That cello is worth more than I am,” Marling mused). Marling’s soulful alto was slightly reminiscent of Carole King, more so live than it comes across recorded, and she seemed surprised at how well her performance was received in the neighborhood she said might be one of her favorite places on the planet.

Someone from one of The Walter Schreifels band provided comedic relief before warning, “Get ready to have your ass handed to you by The Antlers.” The Brooklyn trio significantly upped the noise factor to blow minds with tracks from one of this year’s most lauded releases, Hospice (Frenchkiss). Vocalist/guitarist Peter Silberman passionately and confidently stomped along to his guitar, Darby Cicci blasted ears with the sonic buildup of keyboards and electronic effects, and drummer Michael Lerner held them together. The band started with Hospice’s second and third tracks, “Kettering” and “Sylvia,” followed by “Bear,” which had music box-like key plinks and took the tempo up a notch. I skipped out early to avoid L train construction, but almost immediately realized that was a poor decision. While I wasn’t immediately into the band as much as others have been, hearing it live makes me appreciate the album a hell of a lot more.




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Mark Ewans
March 3rd 2010
6:35am

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Nausicrate
January 10th 2011
4:19pm

Think About Life. The Montréal-based quartet played dance music that sometimes channeled TV on the Radio, but more often than not was filled with singing over funky, disco-tinged backing tracks. “Rolex Prices