School of Seven Bells
Studio at Webster Hall
Thinking about the cache of bands information-hungry writers see and don’t write about. My count, as of Saturday morning: the Mighty Minnie Mouse–fronted Ponytail, twice; a Canadian band called the Carps, a Nine Inch Nails-esque drama-club two-piece whose idea of anti-gun violence song was to stage a hypothetical convenience store shooting in which the black drummer ‘shot’ the white guitarist; a Doug Aitken opening at which Lichens and White Rainbow performed; High Places at Less Artists More Condos, a venue that is in fact a fairly lovely, if unfairly subdivided, condo in the West Village; this entire Mission of Burma show; and the Young Lords at Webster Hall’s Studio, a band I saw six month ago and didn’t write about then, either.
CMJ-candy School of Seven Bells, meanwhile, will now get their own paragraph: ex-Secret Machines Fader-boosted three piece plays Fader Fort Friday night to widespread muted approval; a less perfectionist M83 maybe, and another band I believed to have something to do with the ’60s but turn out, by virtue of an electronic rhythm section, to be nothing of the sort. SoSB are pretty and easy and feature vocal harmonies, they push that wistful Massive Attack button without leaning on it, they’re highly agreeable, which makes them archetypal festival fodder.
An hour later I’m watching Lissy Trullie’s band and wondering why their “Ready For the Floor” cover isn’t some kind of New York craze. Downtown kids who probably all live within spitting distance of nine out of ten major NYC venues, LT I guess are stuck on the afterparty circuit, probably cause Trullie’s at least half a model and that makes kids uncomfortable. But their Velvets/Television pre-punk clean-tone three-chord stuff is more polished than you might’ve thought: they may be the one band I’ve seen all week to actually have hooks, which is almost bizarre if you think about it. (Also: one of them was in Saves the Day?)
Novelty rules, sure: hence the first graf elisions, for news-you-don’t-need-to-know, like that High Places are on NYC’s biggest tear and that the Carps are headed back to Canada, never to be heard from again. Chester French, meanwhile, aren’t going anywhere. People say CMJ is unreal, a fishbowl; the weird truth is that mostly it’s a week in which a town comes to terms with the (depressing, sometimes exciting) reality of what comes next.