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Running the CMJ Marathon 2012 - Day 1 - by Josh S. Johnson
Blonds, Laura Stevenson, The Nightmare River Band, Sean0Sean, sami.the.great, Brainstorm, Everest Cale

The second best part of CMJ, after of course the opportunity to see tons of great bands for five straight nights in the greatest city for music, is the process of sorting through the seemingly endless list of bands in order to meticulously plan your personal schedule down to the minute. That feeling of invincibility concerning the laws of time and space is an awful like the one you get when you develop grand plans to start exercising and working out.  That brief sensation of euphoria lasts right up to the minute you told yourself you were going to start. Then you realize you already walked something like three flights of stairs that day, so really there’s no need to exercise.

Similarly, that confidence in a CMJ strategy lasts for the all too brief period between the schedule’s release and when the first band you see doesn’t start or finish on time. Suddenly those hours of planning turn are for naught as you blindly choose a venue to visit next. Yet the chaos of CMJ is part of its undeniable charm. As my uncle once said to me while my dad tried to figure out how he forgot to turn the lights off in the now-non-starting rental car we were driving through the middle of Alabama: “It’s part of the adventure.”

My CMJ adventure started with an example of the aforementioned scheduling hassles. I arrived at The Rock Shop around 7:30 with the intention of catching Brooklyn’s Howth, who released a solid indie-rock album, “Newkirk” earlier this year, at 7:45.  However, I soon learned that the band that was supposed to play at 7, Sean0Sean, was just beginning their set. Not wanting to leave Brooklyn empty handed, I stuck around and declared Sean0Sean, led by Brooklyn-born Sean Kiely, my first band of CMJ 2012.

Not only did Sean0Sean’s Rock Shop gig break the band’s CMJ virginity, it was their first gig, period. Hearing that, I felt that there wasn’t a better way to begin my week of researching upcoming bands than with a band that has never played a show before. When I arrived, the band consisted of only a guitarist and a bassist, but I was optimistic since I love the Flight of the Conchords. Well, Sean0Sean weren’t quite as entertaining Bret and Jemaine (and Murray, present), but they did bring a sort of straight-out-of-the-garage charm. Eventually a drummer joined the duo, and the newly formed trio banged out some solid garage-rock tunes.

brainstormAfter a brief excursion in Brooklyn, I made my way back to the East Village, where I spent the remainder of the night. First up was Portland, Oregon trio BRAINSTORM at the Lit Lounge. BRAINSTORM was certainly fun to watch and listen to, mostly due to the drummer/singer’s energy and the guitarist’s oscillation between psych distortion and the fluttery cleanliness of indie-rock. Also, the guitarist frequently put his instrument aside to grab a tuba, so that was neat.

nightmare river

I then made a quick walk to the Bowery Electric, where I caught the last couple songs of pop artist Sami Akbari, aka sami.the.great. Sami’s performance of Cyndi Lauper-like pop songs was enjoyable to watch and listen to, but it wasn’t particularly my cup of tea. However, the next act up at the Electric, The Nightmare River Band (pictured), was right up my alley.

The Nightmare River Band is the most aptly named band I’ve seen so far at CMJ. Many of their songs possess that sort of romantic notion that if the boat is sinking, then fuck it and party while you still can, specifically “Last Goodbye.” Ironically, they opened with “Last Goodbye,” which, at least by looking at its title, would seem like the perfect closing song. Instead, the band closed with an inspired cover of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers, which was somehow an even bouncier version than the original. The dueling guitar and bass solos certainly helped. Overall, the Nightmare River Band a great set filled with some rather awesome rock n’ roll songs.

Returning to my home turf, I set up shop at the Delancey to see Blonds (top of page picture) perform at the Deli's Rootsy showcase. I had high expectations for the duo, who performed as a five-piece live, and they were undoubtedly exceeded. Singer Cari Rae began the show with her smoky, sultry vocals. Just as you start to view Rae as an angel from heaven, the instrumentation, led by guitarist Jordy Asher, knocks you off the side of the earth down into hell. Rae’s smile turns to a snarl, and her swagger rises as the controlled chaos builds around her. Every song took on new power live. While the studio version of “Mr. E” embodies the suaveness of James Bond, then the live take sounds like what happens when you replace 007’s martini with an assault rifle. With their commanding take of an already strong catalog, Blonds proved to be the highlight of CMJ Tuesday.


After a misguided attempt to squeeze in seeing a band at Fontanas, I returned to the Delancy just in time for the tail end of Laura Stevenson & the Cans. Stevenson commanded the packed room with her confident folk-rock.


After Laura, I ended my first night of CMJ 2012 with Everest Cale The strength of Everest Cale’s debut EP, “Beast,” comes from Brett Treacy’s fantastic voice, which, at times, sounds like the late, great Layne Staley. While Treacy did howl like the eponymous beast, the star of the band’s performance at the Delancey was guitarist Jeremy Kolmin. Kolmin would rip off blistering solos while bending notes to new heights. With Treacy’s vocals and Kolmin’s guitar, Everest Cale delivered a high-quality performance. Plus, they won the coveted “Best Line of Stage Banter Award” with this gem: “You drunk assholes go fuck yourselves” (said jokingly, of course).






The Deli's CMJ Shows 2012





Deli readers in bands,

Every year, The Deli's Year End Polls highlight hundreds of the best emerging artists in the 11 local US scenes we cover - and reward them with prizes from our sponsors.

As you may know, the winner of the NYC poll will grace the cover of the spring issue of The Deli.

Now established artists like Local Natives, Yeasayer, Twin Shadow, Vampire Weekends, Vivian Girls, Ra Ra Riot, Girls, Kurt Vile, Baths, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Blank Dogs, Buke and Gass and many others won or did well in our polls months if not years before getting international recognition.

The end of the 2011 is quickly approaching and we are ready to go through the painstaking 2 month process involved in selecting the artists and processing the various votes. We are already asking our local jurors (mostly venue promoters, bloggers, record store and radio personnel) to cast their vote for their favorite local emerging artists. But of course, our polls are open to all bands who want to be considered: free submissions are open from now until December 4th HERE - after that date we'll have $5 submissions through SonicBids for another couple of weeks. All these submissions will be grouped by genre and filtered by The Deli's local editors and some Deli writers.

To submit for consideration and for more info about our year end polls please go

Good Luck
The Deli's Staff



At The Delancey on Tuesday 10.18 we'll have a truly fantastic bill with 9 NYC based electro-pop bands - and it's going to be free!. 21+ - $8.
Full listings of the Deli's CMJ shows here. See below for the Dream Pop and Alt Rock stages that same night in the same venue (downstairs).

P.S. If you are into Pedal Effects, don't miss The Deli's STOMP BOX EXHIBIT at CMJ on Friday and Saturday!!!


7.00 - The Casualty Process

7.40 - Illuminator
8.20 - Tiny Victor ies
9.00 - Mitten
9.40 - Computer Magic

10.20 - Psychobuildings

11.00 - Pretty Good Dance Moves

11.40 - Caged Animals

12.20 - Slam Donahue


NERO//FLESH emerge in appealingly miasmatic form on "Disposition of Intimacy"

NERO//FLESH is a band we admittedly know very little about—and would know nothing about if not for a brief email from a relation of the band with an advance SoundCloud link to their debut full length Disposition of Intimacy released this last Friday—but sometimes that’s a good thing which is easy enough to forget in today’s media-saturated Debordian society of the spectacle in which it’s not unusual for an upstart band to come armed with a slick electronic press kit ("EPK" to all you bizzy insiders) and a TikTok page full of would-be memable content involving cats (of course) and doubloons, biscuits n liquid silver ladies none of which makes a lick of sense tho’ we respect the hustle...

…but if you really wanna stop making sense, it can make even more sense to go the opposing direction by daring to remain more than a little enigmatic if not outright inscrutable which is a pretty neat trick to pull off in this day and age when your average Joe or Joesephine leaves a detailed digital footprint practically from birth (or literally from birth if your parents livestreamed your exit from the womb) comprised largely of drunken selfies and massage parlor Yelp reviews…

…and it doesn’t hurt to write songs full of gauzy, smudged melodies and hypnotically pulsating “tribal” rhythms and ambient, swirling timbres and reverb-laden-drifting-in-outer-space vocals veiled in spiderwebs of chiming bells (“Fragile Replacements”) and synth swells (“Random Hold”) and lush harp arpeggios (“The Ritual of Seasons”) and sepulchral piano tones (“Loose Change”) with influences sounding like they likely range from This Mortal Coil to Massive Attack to Saint Etienne with carefully sculpted arrangements giving the whole thing an Eno-esque Music For Films quality…

…which is exactly what NERO//FLESH do and they’re smart enough to understand nothing spoils the mood of a gloriously introspective dark-hued dreampop/triphop/shoegaze song more than looking the listener directly in the eye (ergo “shoegaze”) whether figuratively or literally so it’s just as well they keep the biographical details and representational visual imagery to a minimum with the latter geared more to a Vaughan Oliver-esque “use of texture, shapes, and mood in an overall disorienting yet cohesive manner” aesthetic…

…which is exactly how the “Flesh” from NERO//FLESH (a.k.a. Richard Flesh, a.k.a. Richard Penzone) describes his own visual art on his webpage—Richard’s other projects include Color Film, Immaterial Heat, and Head Automatica plus the occasional “Ketamine assisted psychotherapy” natch—and yeah I said "on his webpage" so there is a little info floating out there in cyberspace tho' ultimately I decided, assisted by laziness, not to attempt to solicit any more hard facts from or about the band outside of M. Flesh’s thumbnail profile…

…cuz I’d rather just assume lead singer Lucy Nero (good luck finding any info at all on Lucy Nero and tho’ I’ve since found out her “real” name I’m not sharing it here, so there) whose breathy delivery (“Asphyxiation”) doesn’t mean she can’t let loose with a bone-chilling scream when called upon (“Random Hold”) suffers from Cat Power/Hope Sandoval levels of stage fright and performs with her back to the audience even though for all I know both Lucy and Richard are unapologetically loud-talking, mouth-breathing, endlessly blabbering extroverts (tho’ somehow I doubt it) but anyway there's no reason for us to know either way and potentially ruin the cloud-castle majesty of their music…

…cuz even just learning that lead-off track/lead-off single “Sayings In Slow Motion” is “a deep dive into an area of extreme spiritual and sexual repression from the point of view of someone approaching the early stages of adulthood through an abstract and contradicting lens [in a] cinematically atmospheric fashion” would feel like a violation of our non-existent non-disclosure agreement if it weren't for the description not making a lick of sense to me which is just as it should be because music as immersive and enveloping, as sumptuous and mysterious as that found on Disposition of Intimacy doesn’t need to be explained even if I just spent six paragraphs not explaining it… (Jason Lee)


Indie Rock

Band name: 
The Pretty Bitchin
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
Venue name: 
Arlene's Grocery
Band email: 

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