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CMJ 2009: Day 1 - Warpaint + Josh Mease + Clare & the Reasons

Jonathan Kosakow

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


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.

Josh Mease

Mercury Lounge, New York City

Josh Mease brings a subtle variety of musical influences to his brand of folk rock, from lounge jazz to country and blues. His unassuming vocals lead the way to a world free from the hustle and bustle of New York City streets, and the instrumentalists providing his backup make him more than just another Brooklyn singer/songwriter. Though his stage performance leaves something to be desired, the songs he writes serve many purposes, and you may end up humming the melodies to more than one of his tunes on your way to grab a drink at the bar.

Photo by Jonathan Kosakow

Clare & the Reasons

Mercury Lounge, New York City

What do you get when you cross 1950’s swooning with contemporary classical compositions, modern rock and a quirky sense of humor? Clare & the Reasons came armed with a multitude of instruments not often found at CMJ (a recorder for one, a glockenspiel for another), intricately woven songs covering subjects ranging from sleepiness to our grandparents falling in love, and a stage decorated as a leafless forest to captivate a delighted crowd. Clare’s fragile, beautiful voice was a perfect send off from the Mercury Lounge's early set Tuesday night.

Photo by Jonathan Kosakow

Photo by Jonathan Kosakow

Photo by Jonathan Kosakow

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