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CMJ 2009: Day 2 - The Bodega Girls + Bang Bang Eche + These United States

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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.
Bang Bang Eche
Piano’s, New York City
New Zealand’s young dance punkers may at first seem like they lack structure—the absence of a set list perpetuates this perception—but give them a closer listen and you’ll find some method to the madness.  Heavy distortion and multiple vocal effects coupled with a driving bass-and-drums combo are all Bang Bang Eche needs to get a crowd moving.  Watch out though because more than one of these thrashing kids is apt to fly off stage at any moment in a musical fit.  But don’t worry, you WILL get an apology if you get knocked over.

These United States
Piano’s, New York City
These United States knows the value of pairing solid music with a good performance.  If you couldn’t tell by lead singer Jesse Elliott gasping for breath after only the second song, then perhaps the dozen roses thrown on stage by adoring fans provided a clue.  But ask for vanity roses they do not: these guys are on stage only for the music, and it’s the music that keeps them rolling.  Though rooted in southern rock their myriad influences (e.g. country, blues, gospel, psychedelic) may sometimes lack consistency.  Once they find their path, however, expect to see These United States in higher places.

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