This year cmj went above and beyond with its bountiful interludes of brilliant sounds to experience.
Let me break it down, out of the five music filled days I managed to see over 40 bands. Thankfully the CMJ app and website are filled with informative information that helped to map out my plan of attack. Without the CMJ app things wouldn’t have ran as smooth as they did and so much amazing music would have probably fallen through the cracks.
The two weeks leading up to CMJ I took the time to listen to one song from every band on the lineup. (Well at least the bands that had a link to their music on their page) Granted this is a bit time consuming but the app made it easy to stream songs and check mark the ones I liked. When the show times were posted I could easily navigate my personal lineup for each evening.
Most of the music I saw was fantastic and well worth the effort. As with any music festival there are the standout performances as well as a few lack luster shows. Each evening consisted of anywhere from 7-15 bands that saw, and each evening had at least two brilliant shows.
A few standouts for me from CMJ were:
COSMO SHELDRAKE – I reference him as a musical savant. Listed under Experimental, it’s always hit or miss when it says experimental, you never know what you’re really going to get. To say I was blown away is an understatement. It was just one man with a table that held a laptop, beat machine and some keyboard looking contraptions. He started off almost like a Dj mixing sounds and songs. He then began to breakdown some of the sounds that intertwined together to create his music. Explaining that this sound was what the sun sounds like when rising and recorded by a physicist and sped up by 40000x and converted into an audio file. Another sound was sheep walking up a mountain in Bulgaria. Watching him create a song by layering sounds was a brilliant experience! A must see if you have the opportunity. This is someone I would have loved to have had the time to sit down for a cup of coffee, if only to minutely begin to understand the inter workings of his musical brilliance.
ALEX VARGAS – Another standout performance was from Alex Vargas. Not only is he easy on the eyes but his voice is uniquely beautiful. His songs ranged from him, the microphone and a guitar belting a out soulful sound. Where other songs layered keyboards, guitar, deep pounding dirty beats and catchy vocals. Emotionally poetic versatile talent will blow your mind.
SAFIA- Australia really represented again this year bring us a multitude of absolutely fantastic bands, SAFIA being one of them. If I were to categorize them the closest would be, it sounds in the realm of indie electro pop. It’s a unique take on the Australian electro sound. They’ve been in high demand in Australia and once you hear them you’ll know exactly why. This is one of those bands you see reaching mass stardom. I’m a bit surprised they haven’t already..
LEGS – this band has been on repeat in my play list since the first time I heard them. It’s a sound that you can’t help but to you’re your body and dance a little. With a mixture of some modern indie pop while twisting together with Stax-worthy hooks. The leads vocal range and unbeatable onstage chemistry, you’re guaranteed to have a blast at one of their shows. Once you hear them you’ll put this band at the top of any playlist. Representing Brooklyn in all its glory!
METHEL ETHAL – Again with another stellar Australian band bring mad talent. By first glance you would never guess the unexpected voice that comes from the lead singer. It’s a fun show to see with a catchy indie pop sound.
MOBELY – By utter accident I stumbled down the basement of the Delancey with all intentions of killing and hour before heading to another show. I was completely blown away by MOBELY’s performance. This one-man wonder was pure musical talent. His songs made you want to move your body and the performance would keep the most cynical entertained. He played guitar, a drum, a piano/keyboards as well as a computer with what must be a plethora of music programs. He would move from one side of the small stage to the other while seamlessly blending vocals with a multitude of instruments over 3 different microphones while never missing a beat. At one point he places a drum down where the crowd was, telling everyone to come closer and began to hand out drumsticks to random people in the crowd. With about 7 people gathered around this one drum he tells us to play along to his song. Of course I was mortified knowing I can’t keep a beat to save my life but trying with all my might I went along. By the end of the song I came to the conclusion that no matter what I did it was sounding fanflippingtastic and no one was the wiser to my deafening lack of drumming skills. Super fun show to see and so happy I randomly stumbled upon this amazing talent.
There were so many more fantastic bands that I had the pleasure of experiencing.
Elliot & The Ghost
Stone Cold Fox
Corsica Arts Club
Fire Department Club
Gracie And Rachel
Kenyon Phillips & the Ladies in Waiting
Lewis Del Mar
Dessy Di Lauro
Sunbeam Sound Machine
Of Clocks and clouds
Slim Twig – Slippin’ Slidin’
Now enjoy my Spotify play list of songs from almost every band I had the chance to see live. Along with music videos from a handful of artist.!