CMJ Day Two: Mumford & Sons, Twenty Seven Media showcase, & ABC News, Amplified showcase | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Sleigh Bells

CMJ 2009 Day Two

CMJ Day Two: Mumford & Sons, Twenty Seven Media showcase, and ABC News, October 21st, 2009

Oct 26, 2009 Web Exclusive Photography by Laura Leebove Bookmark and Share

Looking back on this week so far, I realized that the majority of the music I’ve seen has been near one of two extremes: folk, or electronics-fueled rock or pop. London outfit Mumford & Sons, who played Wednesday evening, was no exception (it won’t be the last folk band I see this week, either).

The quartet played a short but memorable set at the Lower East Side’s White Rabbit, a bar that served as a pop-up store for Glassnote Records (which just signed the band) and a few craft vendors. Frontman Marcus Mumford switched between acoustic guitar and mandolin and the rest of the group was comprised of an upright bass, accordion, and electric banjo. The set was centered on soulful four-part harmonies-a couple times done a cappella-with plenty of foot stomping and a tambourine played with a foot pedal. One of the guys said, “We’re enjoying this whole American thing,” which hopefully is a sign that they’ll be sticking around for a while.

Next it was back to Williamsburg’s Public Assembly for two showcases: Twenty Seven Media in the back and ABC News Amplified in the larger front space. In the back, Detroit’s Computer Perfection, featuring past members of Pas/Cal, played a pop-rock set with a slight psychedelic/experimental lean to it. The tunes were weren’t as strong as the recorded versions, and while the guys on keys and bass looked like they were having a blast, the lead vocalists looked less than enthused. A long jam session ended the set with a buildup of bleeps and electronic pedals.

Not long after wandering to the front of the venue, a woman came onto the stage wearing shiny, hot pink Spandex pants and a fringed black top, and started belting out a mix of chants, orgasm noises, and a little bit of melody, with a backing track and guitarist accompanying her. I soon learned that this duo was called Sleigh Bells, and you’ll likely be hearing them at every dance party in 2010. The sassy singer Alexis Krauss didn’t need crowd banter to own the stage, as she confidently danced to bump-and-grind beats amplified by guitarist Derek Miller’s blasts of distortion.

Keeping with the electronics-heavy lineup, Phantogram, whose debut LP Eyelid Movies will be out in February on Barsuk, played under red lights with a few bright colors flashing on either side of the stage. The duo’s music was dark and a bit sleepy, with Josh Carter on guitar and Sarah Barthel providing synths and electronics loops and beats. Much like with Computer Perfection earlier in the night, based on the promising tunes on the band’s MySpace, much of Phantogram’s music fares better recorded than in a live setting.


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January 10th 2011

The general feeling among the badge-holding brigade here in New York is that CMJ 09’s line-up is somewhat lacklustre. There does indeed seem to be a distinct lack of killer buzz-names and the must-sees of previous years have been replaced by mere should-sees. “Rolex Prices

Cheap Dissertation
April 16th 2012

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