The CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival invades New York City this week. Here's the latest from PopMatters' writers on the beat.
Partisan Records Showcase
Bowery Ballroom, New York City
The subtle, wiry tunes of David Strackany (aka Paleo) launched the Partisan Records showcase at the Bowery Ballroom last night. Reminiscent of the late Eliott Smith, Paleo’s warbly, delicate vocals stood out against his charmingly modest demeanor, also reminiscent of M. Ward or a less jarring Conor Oberst. Privileged onlookers parked themselves on the floor and were treated to an array of poetic acoustic sounds with torchy hints aplenty.
Quite Scientific Records Showcase
Spike Hill, Brooklyn
Painting an elegantly cryptic portrait of Michigan diaspora (which the band affectionately refers to as Orion town), Frontier Ruckus’ young folk music pays homage to classic bluegrass. Last year’s CMJ performance at Union Pool featured far more ruckus, but at Spike Hill last night their characteristically raw energy complimented a more mature sound. Striking the perfect balance between banjo, bass, and musical saw, and capped off by the milky harmonies of Matt Milia and Anna Burch, Frontier Ruckus’ layers of folk perfection resound with both mystery and delight. In addition to several newer songs, the band played tracks from November 2008’s The Orion Songbook and plans their next release for early 2010.