CMJ Music Marathon | 10.19.12

cmj2012 lnd_thumbThe crowd at Brooklyn Bowl was fantastically supportive, dancing and singing along to Born Ruffians and Icona Pop.


CMJ Anya-Skidan_500
Anya Skidan

The rain came in NYC pretty heavily during Friday of CMJ weekend, but that definitely didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. Several venues were having day parties and showcases, but only a few of them were truly memorable for me. I started out much later in the afternoon than the other CMJ-ers, spending the afternoon on the Upper East Side hiding from the rain at The Met and taking quite a long lunch at Pick a Bagel on Lexington and 77th. After my afternoon of New York’s version of R&R, I took the 6 down to Soho, and found myself at Piano’s on Ludlow Street for the Deli Magazine showcase.

Brooklyn band Shy Hunters were on at 6:15, and despite their somewhat new feel to the scene (Facebook tells me they started out in 2012), their indie pop sound and the front woman’s death stare into the crowd were emotionally compelling. I sat next to Britney Boras of New Myths during the Shy Hunters set, chatting casually while she waited for her other two members to arrive. Also from New York, New Myths had a unique sound—part electronic, part rock—however, it was troublesome hearing them over the loud cheers and talking surrounding the bar area of Pianos upstairs. It’s an intimate venue as far as space is concerned, but almost too intimate when someone’s conversation gets loud and exciting.

Following New Myths was Anya Skidan, the vocalist and keyboard player in a red and black lacy get-up and shoulder length wavy hair; the rest of the band also eccentrically dressed. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the set, primarily because of the amount of times that the singer asked the sound guy for “more keyboard,” “more guitar,” “more vocal,” “less keyboard,”—it just became excessive after a while. The music wasn’t altogether bad—I even tapped my foot along to a few songs—but the vibe wasn’t necessarily there.

CMJ Icono-Pop_300After realizing that my time at Pianos made me miss YACHT at Terminal 5, I walked off the disappointment to Sidewalk Café, where Deli Magazine had another CMJ showcase. At the Sidewalk, I met the members of Kung Fu Crimewave and was able to interview them, learning how their Brooklyn family band made 11th in a Deli Magazine poll of emerging artists. Our interview was over the largest burger I’d ever seen in my life, but we both made it out alive.

Finally, the real excitement of the night was when I took the L to Brooklyn. Born Ruffians (right), Icona Pop, Free 

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Energy, and Penguin Prison were doing a Windish Agency CMJ show at Brooklyn Bowl, and I was all too eager to see some of this year’s CMJ superstars shine. Swedish duo Icona Pop had been getting some buzz since their first CMJ showcase, so I was eager to see if they warranted all the hype surrounding them. By the time I got there, a line was forming around Brooklyn Bowl and even CMJ badge wearers without their name on the guest list had a hard time getting in; I had made sure to email the PR person weeks before the event, so I got in with ease.

The crowd at Brooklyn Bowl was fantastically supportive, dancing and singing along to Born Ruffians, a Canadian indie rock band that’s been around since 2004. The indie rock sound engulfed the crowd; people were just excited to even be in the presence of the band. Next on was Icona Pop (left), and while they were about 10 minutes later than expected, the Swedish duo pulled the crowd in, raising their glasses of beer, and grabbing hold of their microphones. Technical difficulties ensued involving the drum machine, so best friends Aino and Caroline quickly switched to an extended version of almost-wildly popular song “I Love It,” which had everyone going for the duration of the song. Their energy was noted; more importantly, you could tell that they loved making music, but even more than that, loved making music with each other.

Penguin Prison was set to come on around 1 a.m., but as I had to make it back to Manhattan and then another hour to Crown Heights from the Lower East Side, I departed the Brooklyn Bowl, excited but also disappointed that I missed the DJ set. | Kristyn Potter

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