On the ‘Rader:’ CMJ takes music to next level
This year’s College Music Journal festival lived up to its hype as the world’s one-stop-shop for aspiring musicians, die hard musical venues and live broadcasts for fans of all kinds.
Bands to watch:
Little Green Cars: This Ireland-rooted quintet mixes the lore of indie rock with sound almost like The Beach Boys’ vocal unity of passionate singing, sincere lyric writing and a wide display of instrumental talent. The female vocalist breaks up the deeper pitches, reminiscent of a newer Grace Slick. Featured on Seattle’s KEXP radio live from CMJ broadcast last Thursday, the band has an album coming out with Glassnote Records,
hitting stores early 2013.
The Trouble with Templeton: The Australian group surges new life into melancholy acoustic folk. Their songs are angry without being violent, emotional without being sad, and subtle without being mundane. Although only one of the five members made it to CMJ, singer-songwriter Thomas Calder’s erupting vocals displayed just how unique the band’s sound is. Their EP, “I Wrote A Novel,” is on iTunes now.
Ava Luna: New York City’s Ava Luna commands attention with R&B-influenced Motown soul, shaken up into the neo-punk nuance of the 90s. A texture distinct as it is seductive, they absolutely rocked CMJ and will do the same in all forms of headphones and speakers. For those who must see to believe, Ava Luna will play live at The Mercury Lounge in Manhattan on Feb. 24.
The Honey Brothers: “Entourage” star Adrian Grenier performed Saturday night with The Honey Brothers, showcasing a bluegrass-influenced sub-pop. To put it in perspective: Vampire Weekend meets The Avett Brothers. Grenier’s tightly knit drum style rhythmically kicked and slapped the audience with the enthusiasm of his counter ego: Vincent Chase. Check out their album “Time Flies Like a Peach.”
Young Magic: An experimental electronic-noise with an air of psychedelic freedom, the multi-cultured trio now settled in Brooklyn gracefully melded philosophy into sound at CMJ. Their performances demanded the spotlight during last year’s festival so much that the band teamed up with Carpark Records for their first major album “Melt,” released last February. They pulled it off again this year, and will no doubt continue to.
Venues to visit:
Pianos: A dimly lit two story lounge located in New York’s Lower East Side. The venue offers an extremely intimate setting both in the more typical stage on the first floor and in the personal living room on the second. Due to the close proximity of the music it is advised to snag a couch in the back for easier listening. Supporting New York City’s local talent, the bar and restaurant was one of the highlights of this year’s CMJ.
Sullivan Hall: Squared away in New York’s Greenwich Village, Sullivan Hall offers a diverse and friendly arena for local music. Sensitive ears need not attend, as the venue gets loud, yet the acoustics remain solid, producing quality sound. The covers are cheap, and the crowds are dedicated. The menu is a tad overpriced, so make this a music-only stop. Still, the mixed bag of artists displayed allows for one of the best compilations of CMJ 2012.