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Thursday, Oct 22, 2009
The CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival invades New York City this week. Here's the latest from PopMatters' writers on the beat. Words and Pictures by Jonathan Kosakow

The Bodega Girls
Piano’s, New York City
The Bodega Girls know how to throw a party.  Unfortunately, that’s about all they know how to do.  While three out of five in the mostly-male-group take turns yelling catch phrases into a microphone, dancing, and playing drums on a computer, only two members play actual instruments.  The face paint and general “we only came here to party” attitude did nothing but subvert any noticeable talent these guys had, only adding to the idea that sometimes a basement party should just stay in the basement.


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Thursday, Oct 22, 2009
The CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival invades New York City this week. Here's the latest from PopMatters' writers on the beat.

Suckers
Bowery Poetry Club, New York City
If there’s any way to graciously play 90’s alternative rock at this point, this would be it.  Kaleidoscopic projected visuals emulating quilts and snow-capped mountains give way to vaguely homosexual encounters between cartoon peacocks with harps for tails; meanwhile, the performers gradually move between emulating the Foo Fighters and the better aspects of Better Than Ezra (that last one is indeed meant as
praise.)  I’m as nostalgic for those days as anybody, but a contemporary glaze kept the word “retro” firmly at bay.  Good for them.



Fool’s Gold
Bowery Poetry Club, New York City
Driving this band is former soloist and current front man Luke Top—who recalls a young David Byrne in both looks and stage impact.  The proposition that a set like this is another example of indie-rock’s continuous co-opting of Afropop (also Byrne-like, actually) is perhaps a tenuous one in the wake of you-know-who, but it’s nevertheless pretty hard to resist.  The performance, that is, not the idea.  But yeah, that too.



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Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009
The CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival invades New York City this week. Here's the latest from PopMatters' writers on the beat.

Mon Khmer
Cameo Gallery, Brooklyn
A quintet of shoegazers, Mon Khmer were going somewhere in their music, but slowly.  So slowly that the sometimes beautiful sounds they crafted after layering two guitars and a pedal steel guitar never materialized.  The occasional coalescence of harmonies was further diminished, however, by muddled and confused vocals.  But whenever the group did seem to hit its stride (pulsating tom-tom rhythms under blending, repetitive guitar lines) the transformative capabilities of the pedal steel stalled, the player caught looking up and just admiring his own band mates.  Hunker down and join the party already!


Photo by Thomas Hauner

Photo by Thomas Hauner


Photo by Thomas Hauner

Photo by Thomas Hauner


Photo by Thomas Hauner

Photo by Thomas Hauner



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Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009
The CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival invades New York City this week. Here's the latest from PopMatters' writers on the beat.

Warpaint
Mercury Lounge, New York City
You probably wouldn’t say that the members of Warpaint came on stage looking ready for battle.  In fact, based on how they dressed on stage last night, you’d be more inclined to say they look ready for bed.  But put you to sleep is the last thing the mostly–female quartet did on Tuesday (three of four musicians are women).  Their haunting bass lines and drumbeats kept a steady groove as their ethereal guitar parts and vocal harmonies elevated above the room.  The juxtaposition between psychodelia and dark pop came together smoothly and left you wanting more.


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Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009
The CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival invades New York City this week. Here's the latest from PopMatters' writers on the beat.

Kingston
Red Bull Space, New York City
The sort of indie rock band that probably has no problem labeling itself as such, Kingston is led by a shaggy-haired frontman apparently so chosen more for his love of the attention than any other obvious qualifications.  Engaging drums, but between the words “thank” and “you” during that last climactic fill I somehow forgot literally all the lyrics and riffs from the songs they’d just performed (I know because I was trying to write this down at the time).  I give this two kiwis out of a possible five, but to be fair, I was getting pretty frustrated trying to figure out what this image had to do with New Zealand, CMJ, indie rock, or, you know, anything.



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