CMJ 2005: A Riff Raff Addendum
KISS OF DEATH
CMJ Music Marathon: Detritus
I'm as sick of this as you are, but some final shout-outs, especially since my print job ran so tight:
Excepter Knitting Factory [9/16]
Download: "Stream 24"
Since the line-up change (they lost husband-wife bassist+vocalist Calder+Caitlyn), Excepter have dropped the so-called moancore shtick and moved into roundabout "Cone Toaster"-like exercises in beat. In other words, this is a hilarious convergence of Other Music employee band sounds, Excepter are moving into Jane territory, and as soon as Tralala drops its wall of gown, surely they'll move there too.
I worried that without Caitlyn the group would lose much of its post-post-punk pageantry. Turns out she may have been a distraction, too dominant, holding back frontman John Fell Ryan from developing his storylines. Midset Ryan saw he missed a text message, and in that oracular tongue BK par, he read it to us: "I'm outside, I can't get in." Excepter had another song planned, but Ryan took the first elsewhere. Hiding under a blanket he draped sloppily over himself backstage, he riffed off the SMS into visual Brooklyn noise meta-commentary--stomping on a blinking red LED curiously on stage--then literally--"A lotta bands are going around making noise loud. I think we need to turn it down." In as much as a blanket over one's head can make it so, this was prophecy.
The Constantines Northsix
Download: "Nightime/Anytime, It's All Right"
I'd never cared much for the Constantines; live the band's sound never reaches past the stage, and dude's voice struck me too Boss. But at the AAM Party they covered Talking Heads' "Thank You For Sending Me An Angel," faithfully though with a bit of rubato for the part two breakdown--the best I've ever heard the Constantines, big and wry and fun. The song helps, but I wonder whether the band's stuck in this no-shit brute shtick when all they want to be is be with the girls.
Plastic Constellations CBGB
Download: "We Came To Play" [left-click]
A new Frenchkiss sign, this Minneapolis band has more in common with 311 and the fucking The Starting Line than Les Savy Fav or the Hold Steady or Thunderbirds. I went though because I heard that the night before, someone had lifted their guitars out their van. To the rescue of these overgrown mall-punks came Gibson Guitars, who hooked the band up with sweet axes (PC's words) on the fly. The band openly acknowledged Gibson as their sponsor of sorts: "Visit Gibson.com," said more than a few times. Not that Gibson are McDonald's or anything, but just saying: more incongruous D-I-Y courtesy of CBGB, birthplace of punk.
Looker Ace of Clubs
Download: "Hope & Anchor"
This is the club beneath ACME, the Southern food place with the really good cinnamon-dusted sweet potato fries. Not the most hyped show, in (clearly) not the most conspicuous venue, and I can't imagine what the Wolf Parade boys would have done if the Bowery sound man screwed up and let the house music bleed through their first song (Radiohead, no less).
But what a bad-ass band, Looker--quick songs, in and out, there are slowies that aren't particularly great, but not many. A fiercer Tralala maybe (and actually, Stella from Tralala manages them, so there), the three girls in the front share vocal duties, each song taking shape to each's timbre. Nicole Greco runs the crunchier punk numbers down, Boshra Alsaadi works the Grease-y, rockabilly material, and Rachel Smith has the perfect blend voice, so the big harmonies don't scream "look, harmony!" like your campus's shittier a capella groups.
All's to say, it's a shame the CMJ badge system--limited badge entries per show, so if you want in to, say, the New Pornographers, you have to get to the club way early and stay there the whole night, no bumming around town from show to show--discourages people from exploring the smaller clubs and lesser-known acts. Here's a good one you missed.
Tom Vek Tribeca Grand @ FIXED
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