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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


Brooklyn's Wifeknife comes to Austin alongside Our Wicked Lady compatriots in bid to make Austin weird again

“Keep Austin Weird" is a pithy little dictum you’ll find emblazoned on bumper stickers and t-shirts and tattooed on the left butt cheek of the barista who seduced you last night with their flat whites (the coffee and/or the derriere) but what’s oft left unstated is how the truest essence of Austin’s weirdness has long resided with local musical folk and the various establishments they frequent...

...ranging from Armadillo World Headquarters to Antone’s not to mention Raul’s and Emo’s and nevermind Waterloo Records and Liberty Lunch and let’s not forget the Broken Spoke and none of these institutions had or have any known equivalent in the world and btw your loyal scribe spent lotsa time hangin' 'round Austin during its ‘90s golden-age Slacker-era glory days (fun fact: for the first half of the '90s the Lone Star State had a sharp-tonged liberal women as its governor, wut wut!?!?!) so not to be too immodest about it but I'd like to think I know weird from “weird”…

…but since the dawn of our current century at least the “capitol of quirk” has found itself under constant threat of de-weirdification from a deluge of tech bros, suicide girls, trust-fund hackysackers and NIMBY gentrifiers and real estate surveyors—nevermind the barista/aspiring influencer who practically just moved to your fair city and got a “Keep Austin Weird" tattoo a week later—so lets not mince words Austin you could probably use a little infusion of weirdness these days and Brooklyn is here to help…

…and sure it’s more than reasonable to reply it’s precisely too many Brooklynites and their hipster ilk relocating to your fair city that helped created the crisis in the first place but once again music can save the day and at the risk of messing with Texas we think what y'all really could use right now is a little help from the cream of the NYC musical crop to give Austin a shot of weirdness serum right in it’s collective left a$$cheek and boy oh boy have we got the SXSW showcase for you to help make this dream a reality…

…a showcase taking place this Friday, March 17th (tomorrow! or today! check your damn calendar!) at Springdale Station which is part of the “Austin EastCiders Collaboratory” which is about to get transformed into the “Austin EastCiders Shred-i-tory” on the afternoon and evening of the 17th when twelve of "Brooklyn’s finest and weirdest" as scientifically determined by the weirdos over at Our Wicked Lady (they oughta know!) will convene at the aforementioned location and heck one of ‘em's even got “shred” right there in their band name, e.g. Shred Flintstone, which is a pun on par with “EastCiders” after all...

…and just in case yr skeptical allow us to reassure you that the NYC live music scene is on the ascendent lately with one mind-melting savagely shredding musical combo after another to be found on nearly ever street corner to a degree not seen since the halcyon Meet Me in the Bathroom days except that in 2023 the bathroom in question is likely to be gender-neutral (is this even legal in Texas?) which makes things even more interesting in a city and a borough already known for being an oasis of anarchist, drag-queen-story-readin’ pansexual refugees from the rest of the country to begin with…

…all of which can be sampled ahead of time through the music videos found on this page, two of which were shot especially for the Deli and more specifically for our new Deli Mag Films imprint under the supervision of the Deli's official videographer/editor/director, featuring exclusive luminescent live footage of Wifeknife and Tetchy both savagely rockin' the f- out (and both at Our Wicked Lady no less!) and since we’re already posted a piece on the Tetchy live clip and their current Austin-or-bust-and-back tour here we'll instead focus our attentions on the attention-worthy Wifeknife

…a band made up of personnel and regular clientele from the aforementioned Bushwick-based bar/nightclub/rooftop-performance space known as Our Wicked Lady and while there's only one “lady” in the band as conventionally understood there’s more than enough wickedness in this five-piece to make up for it and really you should just go and listen to their debut double-sided single if there’s any doubt in your mind...

…one of which, the searing “Blackout,” can be found above in music video form, with the other single being “Dead Ringer” and if you wanna learn a little behind-the-scenes info on both songs you should maybe check out this piece penned by our blogging colleagues over at Bands Do BK and also you'll most surely wanna check out the interview with two members of Wifeknife foudn below at the end of this article… 

…both of which begin innocently enough with dreamy solo acoustic guitar/bass guitar which only lures you in for the fusillades of musical fury as they build and build to eye-crossing climaxes of guttural “shrinking in tongues” by front-person Sarah Hamilton and paroxysms of head-banging string-and-skin-based shreditude by the four instrumentalists: Ramsey Elliott (electric guitar, bartender), Marcello Ramirez (bass guitar, barback), Benny Oastler (electric guitar, bar regular, OLW live-streaming guru), and Keith Hamilton (drummer and see below)…

…and when it comes to “Blackout” in particular the world hasn’t seen or heard a power ballad with this much power since '80s-era Def Leppard with epic Bic-waving rippers along the lines of “Love Bites”, “Bringing’ on the Heartache” and “F-F-F-Foolin’” even if they’re today most closely associated “Pour Some Sugar on Me” much to the delight and/or chagrin of strip club pole-workers everywhere depending upon their musical inclinations…

…and one can only but wonder what the hard-working exotic dancers of Pumps Exotic Dancing would make of these two Wifeknife tracks cuz if the strip club DJ ever put either of ‘em on while they were working the pole I’d guess someone is gonna end up with a sprained groin seeing as the five weirdos of Wifeknife shred way more intensely than Phil Collen & Co. did back in the day…

while Sarah has an even wider vocal range than Joe Elliott did in the Reagan era moving fluidly between the sweet dulcet tones of her operatic upper range (Sarah is a trained thespian who’s resumé includes some musical theater) and the unrestrained, guttural, vocal-cord shredding rage of her feral alter-ego and here’s another fun fact: the freakin’ Devil him/her/itself makes a cameo appearance a little over 3 minutes into “Dead Ringer” so obv the Head of Helltown approves of Sarah’s tortured moans and ecstatic ululations on the record…

…so if this sounds your thing (and if it doesn't, we're impressed you read this far!) and if you're currently closer to “Bat City” than to Gotham we encourage you to hop on the train (or more likely the pedicab) and head straight to Springdale Station around 2pm and to stay for the duration cuz no doubt the rallying cry will be LET'S GET WEIRD AUSTIN!!!

…but don't stop reaing yet b/c after jump directly below there's an interview (big bonus!) with two of Wifeknife’s members who just happen to be husband-and-wife themselves (knife not included), namely, the aforementioned Sarah Hamilton who also works as Director of Social Media and Private Events at OWL aka Our Wicked Lady, and Keith Hamilton, Co-Founder/Owner and Managing Member (with Zach Glass) at OWL and hey if you start your own rock club and shred as hard as these two do you may be able to play one day at SXSW too… (Jason Lee)


The interview is currently being meticulously edited for length and clarity and will be posted in this space shortly so please check back at this page again soon…!!!



Band name: 
Mike Maurice
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
Venue name: 
The Triad Theater

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