CMJ Day 1: Wednesday
14 September 2005
Still trying to figure out the most user-friendly or even fun format to present the ten billion CMJ jams I saw last night. By band seems about right for now, any sequencing beyond that (shitty to awesome; skinny to fat) is entirely coincidental.
These dolts made quite the dolt stink when Piano’s sound man pulled their ho-hum slightly-less-slacker mallboy rock a song early. Here’s an idea: Instead of talking for ten minutes between songs, and shit, not even doing that sometimes, you could be playing whatever it is you think you play. Better, you could let Oxford Collapse play–they were the band I wanted to see anyway.
Oxford Collapse Download: “Proofreading“
Two awesome things: (1) The Four Volts drummer breathes in through his nose and out through his mouth like he’s running (but he was drumming). (2) If you weren’t paying close attention, it looked like the drummer was running.
The Octopus Project
Austin’s Octopus Project have one pretty good song called “Tuxedo Hat.” I don’t think they played it. Instead these good ole boys (and girl) got caught in perpetual vamp, fluffing the crowd for something big, some monstrous entrance of some indie Jake or Elwood, then never making good on their rawhide. Chicken wire? When the guitarist started trying to snap his neck, and when the Octopus girl started with that over-diligent war of the worlds theremin zip-zap, I gave up on holding my tongue: Octopus Project are an instrumental Go! Team, no melodies, no truly interesting grooves to compensate. Even then, not saying much; I think that Ninja chick is terrible!
Really, one of only a few bands worth paying attention to at CMJ this year, if not because they’re good, because they’re so perpetually out-of-place. Klezmer carnie love songs, misfit toy national anthems, Waits and Beefheart and Zappa but better than all three–Philly’s Man Man hear all this about their songs, all pretty accurate.
Tonight they played 85% new stuff, which makes more sense than not since 85% of the band seemed to be new last night too (including Chris Powell, drummer from Need New Body). Singer-Wurlitzist Honus Honus’s sound check consisted of him screaming into the mic at varying lengths and screechtones; the others throw their tantrums on command, and Man Man’s set, in a way, was an exercise in controlled chaos–a performance turned inside-out. Most bands we’re thrilled if they even act like they’re into it; Man Man we’re smitten when they’re not. (And we laugh when Honus Honus overplays his reception bell in half-mock of earlier theremin drama.)
To that effect: What’s the Kanye line? “Bitch is you smokin reefer?/ Can’t you see that we hurt?” Something like that? The same applies for really outlandish shit like Man Man too. For a half-hour they curl up as one mass of guitarless gutter-grotesque celebrity, and then finally they show their face in the form of a bittersweet break-up song. “Nothing is the only thing you’ll ever have,” sings Honus Honus on the refrain, or something juvenile like that, but the way his melody proceeds over the crooked piano accompaniment, you could mistake the creep for crying. It’s like that part of the System Of A Down video when you finally tell yourself it’d be fine to give a hug to one of screwed-up face kids, maybe even kiss one on his screwed-up forehead.
Visit: Feist Homepage
I only caught the last song, but I didn’t really understand why people call Feist a hipster Norah Jones until last night. Down the line: Where Jones would wear pearls around her neck, Feist wore a masquerade ball mask; when Jones would hire a trumpet player, Jones got a hipster trumpet (a fluegelhorn); when Jones would have Mick Jagger or one of the Interpol guys to play guitar for her, Feist hired a guy who looked like my dad, who himself looks like Skinner from WWF.
Purple Ribbon Showcase with Big Boi, Killer Mike, Sleepy Brown, C-Bone, and Rok-D)
Real Media Stream: “Kryptonite“
The first hip-hop show I’ve ever been to that started perfectly on time, there was barely a chance to enjoy the Man Man LP that mysteriously came on over loud in the first floor bar, or for Status Ain’t Hood to drink beer from stray bottles, a thing he apparently he has no qualms doing.
Big Boi’s Purple Ribbon crew most thought would dominate the proceedings, leaving little time for the label head to rip through the self-described “weirdo type funk shit.” Instead, they all came out and did new single “Kryptonite,” Killer Mike tuckered out after “A.D.I.D.A.S.” and retreated to catch his breath behind the group’s Lou Reed-looking bodyguard, Sleepy Brown hugged the water bottle table with 1.5 songs between, and the other guys took turns pinching at their shirts all sexy-like, not doing much else. So yes, inexplicably, a straight-up all Big Boi set, “The Way You Move” maybe the best only because then the guys weren’t so distracted by the monitor feedback off the pre-recorded vocals.
Most Perplexing Moment of The Night
During “A.D.I.D.A.S.”, Killer Mike asked the crowd, “Do you believe in having sex?” Believe what about it, exactly?
More CMJ Coverage at Status Ain’t Hood