Latest Blog Posts

by Vijith Assar

23 Oct 2009

DFA Records Showcase
Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn
“We are the new stepchildren of DFA,” is how Jona Bechtolt put it, and he’s right on the money.  The guts and gusto of his band are at times obviously distilled from his label’s parental figure, LCD Soundsystem, but only some of those elements worked.  Chunky industrial kick drum sounds: yes; Travolta-in-Grease programming thereof: no.  Some of the group’s lineage here is questionable, and although mutts typically make great pets, that doesn’t mean you should bother trying to mate a lab with a marmot.


James Murphy
DFA Records Showcase
Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn
Uh oh, papa’s home.  I’m still a little astonished that I didn’t spend Murphy’s entire DJ set wishing it was an LCD Soundsystem performance
instead, but he arrived swinging hard with glitzy house, falsetto-laden nu-disco, and golden time capsule obscurities.  Montana Sextet, anybody?  Predictably, the younger contingent bum-rushed the door the moment he started upstaging his new protégés. Let’s hope they stick around next time. I’ll need a crowd for cover in order to get away with stealing his iPod.

by Thomas Hauner

22 Oct 2009

Free Energy
Santos Party House, New York City
“This is all we got tonight,” sang Free Energy in raggedy, homespun harmonies.  It was the sentiment, however, not the vocals, which resonated in their early set.  They played an agreeable synthesis of classic, at times psychedelic, rock (two raging, and dueling, Epiphone Les Pauls) and post-punk dance music (propulsive rhythms and a skinny, dancing front man), instantly becoming the best bar band around without even playing a cover.  Whether their sound could convince a dance floor is dubious, despite their tambourine and cowbell qualifications.  As new additions to the DFA family, though, I’m sure I’ll be proven wrong reasonably soon.

by Caroline Shadood

22 Oct 2009

Pete and the Pirates at Bell House, Brooklyn

Surf City
Bell House, Brooklyn
I hate to slap on labels like “buzz” or “bandwagon,” but when every song intro in some way replicates The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and then develops into a more Japandroids concoction, it’s hard not to.  The resurgence of, often over-calculated, garage music has fully breached Brooklyn boarders, and New Zealand’s Surf City is wallowing in the flood zone.  Though pleasant sounding they lacked innovation, making it harder to appreciate the soothing melodies and hints at surf rock that my ears usually welcome.

by Stephen Stirling

22 Oct 2009

Mercury Lounge, New York City
It’s tough to perform electronic music live.  The availability of reliable, touch-sensitive MIDI interfaces has made this somewhat easier, but still, if you don’t have a Daft Punk LED pyramid or a primo sound system it’s difficult to keep people interested if they’re not moving their feet.  But when Javelin began setting up their day-glo boom box collection—which they use to amplify their music using an old FM radio transmitter—I thought for sure they’d have a shot a bucking this trend.  Sadly, it wasn’t to be.  Javelin’s 45-minute set was plagued with sound problems that muddied their infectious brand of dance pop from the start.  Couple that with a dead audience and Tom Van Buskirk feeling the need to rap-sing over several songs that had no lyrics to begin with and I had had enough.  Javelin has a few more CMJ shows this year, but I think they need to take a mulligan on this one.

by Jonathan Kosakow

22 Oct 2009

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.

//Mixed media

Incubus Flies High and Left of the Flock at the Santa Barbara Bowl

// Notes from the Road

"Brandon Boyd’s wide-ranging metaphysical interests have long given Incubus a deeper thematic subtext than many of their alt-rock peers, so it’s no wonder the band is approaching their 25th anniversary next year.

READ the article