CMJ Musicfest 2003

Check cmj.com for details, cancellations, and scheduling changes.


[WEDNESDAY 10/22]

ALTERNATIVE TV+ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN+MANDA & THE MARBLES
CBGB, 315 Bowery, 212.982.4052

A double "television" bill of punk legends but sadly no Tom Verlaine in sight. ATV have proven adept with leader Mark Perry getting a jones to rock again. Electric Frankenstein aren't exactly progeny but do give off a good metal buzz for them that needs it. As for Manda and Co., Liz Phair should be taking notes. Also: Amen, TV Smith, Bantam. At 8. GROSS


THE BLOOD BROTHERS+JR EWING+THE ANNIVERSARY
Northsix, 66 N 6th, Bklyn, 718.599.5103

Art-damaged rather than simply damaged (like some older bands also from Seattle who we won't mention), the Blood Brothers are simply the most inventive and possibly least listenable screamo act out there (and I do mean out there). Norway's JR Ewing thrash in the great tradition of their Scandinavian forebears the Refused. The Anniversary's boy-gal-voxed emo-pop should at least provide a breather. Also: the Vexers, Red Light Sting. At 7:30. CATUCCI


DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE+NADA SURF
Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Pl, 212.777.6800

Thank Washington's Death Cab for Cutie and Brooklyn's Nada Surf for the two prettiest indie rock albums of the year. Benjamin Gibbard and Matthew Caws, the bands' respective lead dreamers, massage their post-grad deep thoughts and teen-centric romantic mewing into something akin to revelation, while their crack bands spin sweet guitar-curlicued nothings and drop chorus drama around them. Also: the Long Winters, Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter, Kind of Like Spitting. At 8. DCC also play Sun and Mon at Bowery Ballroom. CATUCCI


LES SAVY FAV+HOLD STEADY+S PRCSS
Knitting Factory Main Space, 74 Leonard, 212.219.3006

They jump around, they rock out, they get looney: Les Savy Fav don't just rule, they rool. The Hold Steady just finished recording their debut; if it's half as good as any of Lifter Puller's albums it'll probably make my top 10 whenever it comes out. S PRCSS MKS MNML LCTRO-RK W/LTL FUS 'R DRMATX. THT'S A GD THNG. Also: Ex Models, Cause for Applause. At 8. MATOS


THE NEW DEAL+MY MORNING JACKET+ KILLING JOKE+VHS OR BETA+ BLACK BOX RECORDER+THE FEVER
Webster Hall, 125 E 11th, 212.353.1600
See the Short List. At 8.


THE SHINS
Maxwell's, 1039 Washington St, NJ, 201.653.1703

After a pithy debut of melancholic pop, the Shins return with the even tighter and more varied Chutes Too Narrow. Bandleader James Mercer emerges from vocal effects on songs that are neither garage nor power-pop, yet still apropos; their sound remembers the new wave that reared them and the '60s pop that honed them. With Timanderic.com, All Night Radio, and the Fiery Furnaces (see Thu). At 8. Also, Sat, Bowery Ballroom. KIM


[THURSDAY 10/23]

BLACK BOX RECORDER
Maxwell's, 1039 Washington St, NJ, 201.653.1703

Sometime Auteur Luke Haines and former Jesus and Mary Chainer John Moore write spare, synth-based pop songs for one-time mime Sarah Nixey, who intones them in a crystalline whisper. Pay attention now—the songs usually reward it, although less so on the new album they'll be pumping. With Kinesis. At 9. Also, Wed, Webster Hall. CHRISTGAU


THE CAPITOL YEARS+THE REALISTICS+THE DETACHMENT KIT+BUCK 65
Northsix, 66 N 6th, Bklyn, 718.599.5103

Halfway down a bill topped by three moderately buzzed bands—the Capitol Years (sardonic modern pop), the Realistics (punk/new wave as roots music), and the Detachment Kit (domesticated industrial)—comes my choice for the greatest find of CMJ: a rapper from Nova Scotia I would call a raconteur if he didn't concoct powerful mixbeats and lead a band with a steel guitar in it and would compare to Tom Waits if he had more cynicism in him. With Read Yellow, Kicked in the Head, and the Sounds (see Mon in the Music listings). At 7:30. CHRISTGAU


DRUNK HORSE+CHERRY VALANCE+HIGH ON FIRE+ON TRIAL
Southpaw, 125 Fifth Ave, Bklyn, 718.230.0236

San Franciscans Drunk Horse are either the most ZZ Top-influenced prog band or most Stones-influenced stoner band around, not to mention fairly legitimate heirs to the Pink Fairies and early Urge Overkill. Cherry Valance's more straightforwardly obvious '70s-riff shtick comes closer to later Urge Overkill. Comic book and abominable snowman fans High on Fire do Blue Cheer ear-attacks as post-Neurosis ambience. And Denmark's On Trial take 13th-floor-elevated psychedelic punk on a journey to the center of your mind. With Tom Collins. At 8. EDDY


ADAM GREEN+FIERY FURNACES+BRITISH SEA POWER
Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey, 212.533.2111

Rough Trade presents three artists: Moldy Peach Adam Green plays wry, potty-mouthed anti-folk with debatable sincerity. Fiery Furnaces spark bluesy garage rock with a frontwoman who's got Björk's quirk and Crissie Hynde's soul. And British Sea Power blow them both out of the water with their aggressive mix between glam rock and new wave. For those who like Bowie/the Smiths/Echo and the Bunnymen/(insert '80s band here). With the Kills. At 8. KIM


PHARCYDE+PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS+ PROZACK TURNER
S.O.B.'s, 204 Varick, 212.243.4940

Back in the early '90s, the Pharcyde were the palatable ambassadors of LA's kinetic hip-hop underground. Sadly, though, their optimism got telegraphed as naïveté to later acts like People Under the Stairs and Foreign Legion, which featured silly whiteboy Prozack Turner. With CunninLynguists and Brassmunk. At 8. CARAMANICA


RAINER MARIA+MATES OF STATE
Knitting Factory Main Space, 74 Leonard, 212.219.3006

Quirky, skewed pop label Polyvinyl signs bands who wear their weird wounded hearts on their sleeves. Rainer Maria wrap their gender politics in a sweeping swirl of guitars and melody. Mates of State are a married couple who use a keyboard and drums to craft bewitching and infectious pop songs. With Aloha. At 11. ROSEN


[FRIDAY 10/24]

DEATH COMET CREW+ROGERS SISTERS+GLASS CANDY
Knitting Factory Main Space, 74 Leonard, 212.219.3006
See the Short List. At 7:30.


'GIRLZ GARAGE TOUR': NORTHERN STATE+LILLIX+THE START+CANDY ASS+BRASSY
Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Pl, 212.777.6800

Bubblegum in several different musical varieties, but only one color: pink. Local favorites Northern State are bubble-rap, Candian sisters Lillix are bubble-pop, Warped Tour vets the Start are bubble-punk, Don Hill's regulars Candy Ass are bubble-metal, Jon Spencer's sister's band Brassy are bubble-Beck. Metal Mike Saunders noticed that the Girlz Garage logo looks like the New York Dolls'. He's right. At 6. PHILLIPS


JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS+ANDREW WK
Warsaw, 261 Driggs Ave, Bklyn, 718.387.0505

Sometimes, proof of God's existence is overwhelming. Example: Rock 'n' Roll's King (Joan Jett) and Little Prince (AWK) are appearing on the same bill. After worshiping the party of life with AWK's zany power metal, Joan Jett will bring the masses to their knees with consecrated psalms of rock. I get wet, for reals. Also: Juliette Lewis & the Licks, the Eyeliners, Christiansen. At 8. FURY


'KILL ROCK STARS PRESENTS': HELLA+GRAVY TRAIN!!!!+ SEMIAUTOMATIC+CASUAL DOTS
Luxx, 256 Grand St, Bklyn, 718.599.1000

KRS still leads the indie label pack in terms of quality and integrity after all these years. Hella play incredibly dense, technical spazzcore, Gravy Train!!!! make deliciously nasty lo-fi booty-bass jams, Semiautomatic do experimental punk songs about dogs, drugs and Slushee machines, while Casual Dots are a new band featuring Christina Billotte of Quix*o*tic and Kathi Wilcox of Bikini Kill. At 9. PHILLIPS


TED LEO/PHARMACISTS+THE REPUTATION
CBGB, 315 Bowery, 212.982.4052

The former Chisel frontman and his Pharmacists hit their stride on their most recent album Hearts of Oak—this collection of Thin Lizzy-meets-Elvis Costello nuggets is damn near a power-pop-rock masterpiece. Not nearly as exciting is the Reputation, which features Elizabeth Elmore, former singer/guitarist for Sarge. Simply put, her new band is pretty generic—'90s-inspired indie rock that's striving to be radio-friendly alterna-rock. Also: Your Enemies Friends, Small Brown Bike, Washdown, Communique, Evening. At 7. SWITZER


THE MARS VOLTA+THE RAPTURE
Roseland Ballroom, 239 W 52nd, 212.247.0200

The Mars Volta (At the Drive-In's better half and friends) have been known to incorporate bass solos into their shows, but what do you expect from this millennium's greatest prog-rock punks—a laser light show? Brooklyn rock poster boys the Rapture will bring their own glorious mess, leaping from spring-loaded guitar shards to pounding house beats to cowbell boogie. With Enon and Recover. At 7. CATUCCI


THE MICROPHONES+THE BLOW
Tribeca, 16 Warren, 212.766.1070

Practically the entire K Records roster is playing, but the highlights are the Microphones (Phil Elvrum and his dazed high-concept/high-layering psychedelia, in their "Mount Eerie" incarnation) and the Blow (Khaela Maricich, a performance artist whose work involves scary little songs as a central element). With VVRSSNN, Landing, Mirah, Dennis Driscoll, C.O.C.O., Karl Blau, and Old Time Relijun. At 8. The Microphones also play Sat at Maxwell's. WOLK


RADIO 4+ELEFANT+STARS+BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE
Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey, 212.533.2111

Skip the local buzz-generators; you can see Elefant and Radio 4 any time, and they're both overrated. Come for the personnel-sharing Canadian bands. Stars' heartbreakingly beautiful coed synth-pop sounds like swooning teenagers in love, while Broken Social Scene are a glorious mess of a collective whose sprawling space-rock adventures are kept grounded by a healthy pop sensibility. Also: Jason Collett, DJ Kit Chaps, DJ Carlos D. The Stars play Fri and BSS play Sat at Hilton Hotel. At 7. PHILLIPS


SUBTITLE+ASPERA+KILL ME TOMORROW
Lit, 93 Second Ave, 212.777.7987

Blurred by groggy studio fog, L.A. bongsmoke-rap up-and-comer Subtitle's arrogance-free vocals never reach out and grab, but his tape fuck-ups can be fun. Fruity-voiced, Philly-rooted, acid-backwashed, formerly shoegazey space cadets Aspera lately combine early-Bowie falsettos with Berlin-Bowie atmospheres. KMT are an engagingly songful (odd, considering they avoid actual songs) early-Fall-influenced San Diego punk-plus-synth trio who cover Suicide amid plenty of totally fucked-and-clogged found sound and dense dub space. Also: Square Johns, Vaz, Red Eyed Legends, Ghost Orchids. At 8. EDDY


THROTTLEROD+FIVE HORSE JOHNSON+HALFWAY TO GONE
CBGB's Downstairs Lounge, 313 Bowery, 212.677.0455
See the Short List. At 8. EDDY


ZEA+CAESAR+VOICST+BETTIE SERVEERT
Sin-é, 148-150 Attorney, 212.388.0077

A showcase of Dutch bands: Zea is a fun, easy to dance to, jokey duo that would fit right in on a bill with BS2000. Caesar are textured and pretty, and when they get going, you can almost hear hints of Radiohead. Voicst are poppy as hell and huge-sounding and great—they suggest a collaboration between Queen, Yes, and Ted Nugent in the grungy '90s. Bettie Serveert have been around for awhile, and they've never sounded better—their beautiful, melancholy, indie rock-inspired tunes are balanced off perfectly by pleasing, melodic, pop gems. With zZz and Seedling. At 8. SWITZER


[SATURDAY 10/25]

'BLOODSHOT RECORDS BBQ': BOBBY BARE JR.+PAUL BURCH+WAYNE HANCOCK+SPLIT LIP RAYFIELD
Union Pool, 484 Union Ave, Bklyn, 718.609.0484

Much brand new material is being unleashed from the Bloodshot Records gang—from both the twang-tradition bending side (ace indy rocker Bare, retro-pomo master Burch, party-time honky tonker Hancock) and the tradition busting end. Bluegrass busters Split Lip Rayfield return after a couple of years worth of hiatus. Also: Waco Brothers, Trailer Bride, Th' Legendary Shack *Shakers, Dollar Store. At 1 p.m. Also, Fri, Tonic. MAZOR


ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN+THE STILLS
Webster Hall, 125 E 11th, 212.353.1600

For all the new wave leftovers (like my brother) and their younger sisters who shoulda been born in the early-'70s (like me), Ian McCullough (the Echo) and his Bunnymen play a 25th Anniversary Tour. Their neo-psychedelic gloom has more to do with '90s alt-rock than they get credited for. Listen up for "The Killing Moon" and other Ocean Rain classics to see what I mean. Opening are their likeminded progeny, the Stills, four good-looking lads from Montreal, who are better than Schminterpol. At 8. The Stills also play Wed at Hilton Hotel. KIM


'KILL ROCK STARS PRESENTS': SLUMBER PARTY+THE DECEMBERISTS
Luxx, 256 Grand St, Bklyn, 718.599.1000

On 3, the Detroit chicks of Slumber Party wear their love of Brill Building girl-group-isms and the Velvet Underground on their faded flannel PJs' sleeves. Beneath their grand orchestrations and English accents, the Decemberists' lyrics include "you're escorted through the foyer" and "I can see your undies." Also: Jeff Hanson and the experimentally inclined Indiana garage band John Wilkes Booze. At 9. WOLK


PHAROAHE MONCH+MASTA ACE
Makor, 25 W 67th, 212.601.1000

Two icons of the early new school, or late old school, who've been kept afloat by the hip-hop underground. Monch is as deadly as ever, and along with Talib Kweli, gives the struggling Rawkus reason to hope. Ace has been reliably churning out hits for 15 years, from the Cold Chillin' era to recent self-doubting backpack numbers. Also: Wordsworth (see Fri in Music listings), Hezekiah, Lone Catalyst, Asheru, Family Tree, Doujah Raze, Kice of Course, Binkis, 00 Agents. At 8. CARAMANICA


PLASTIKMAN+JOSH WINK
Avalon, 47 W 20th, 212.807.7780
See the Club Crawl. At 9.


PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES+DANCE DISASTER MOVEMENT
Knitting Factory Main Space, 74 Leonard, 212.219.3006

Seattle's Pretty Girls Make Graves, fronted by fireball singer Andrea Zollo play sinewy energetic post-punk. Their most recent album has been criticized for being too glossy, but live they're all raw volatility. The strangely fetching Dance Disaster Movement are two guys with disco last names and stylized stage getups who played damaged, jittery, pulsing electronic music. Also: the Gossip, Young People, Cobra High, Panthers. At 9. ROSEN


THE SHINS+THE THERMALS+THE CONSTANTINES+MICHAEL YONKERS BAND
Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey, 212.533.2111
See the Short List. Also: Arlo, All Night Radio. At 8. WOLK


SHONEN KNIFE+THE GORE GORE GIRLS+THE PAYBACKS
Southpaw, 125 Fifth Ave, Bklyn, 718.230.0236

A bill of estrogen ecstatics. You might remember the headliners' early-'90s song, "Catnip Dream" ("Catnip is a kitty cat drug"/"Meow Meow"). Last year, the Japanese power-pop duo released Heavy Songs, which ran a gamut of styles like Cibo Matto's Stereotype A. Like CM, Shonen Knife are derivative but that doesn't mean they aren't fun. Meanwhile, the Gore Gore Girls and the Paybacks are garage rock from Detroit fronted by women. Hear them roar. With the Hentchmen and Newborn Naturals. At 8. Shonen Knife also play Sun and Mon at Knitting Factory. KIM


THE WEAKERTHANS+MICO
CBGB, 315 Bowery, 212.982.4052

The Weakerthans are four Canadian boys who recently ditched politico-punk in favor of tuneful, laid-back character sketches and twentysomething philosophizing, with a fine helping of pedal steel on the side and indie boy drawl. Mico's handful of good tunes and instrumentals are weighed down by drab art-rock touches and meandering instrumentals. With Bad Wizard, Don Caballero, Maritime, Copperpot, and Pitty Sing. At 7. Also, Tue, Knitting Factory. HOARD

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