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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


On new single/music video November Girl gets stuck in the mud but sisterhood saves the day

Today we are honoured to premiere November Girl’s new single “Keychain” alongside an accompanying short film just be forewarned that if consumed together in one sitting the song and video could potentially melt your face clean off so maybe wear one of those full-protection virus visor thingies at the very least…

…a short film we’ve been informed is “a Car Stuck Girls-inspired music video directed by Lola Daehler” who’s also known as Death Recruiter but don’t let that or the closeness of her last name to “Dahmer” fool you because Lola only slays on stage (to our knowledge anyway!) as the frontperson/bassist for Homade and seeing as we’re entirely unfamiliar with “Car Stuck Girl” videos (*cough cough*) we reached out to November Girl's front girl Willa Beck and she was kind enough to explain it’s “a genre of pornography in which girls get their cars stuck” and you can probably guess the rest from there (insert chosen car pun here, or see below) or perhaps you can’t which is okay cuz we find it’s best not to make too many assumptions about the kids these days

…which as it turns out was the right call to make because November Girl and Ms. Daehler don’t take genre conventions for granted either seeing as by their own account the “Keychain” video flips the script on all those vehicle-based dirty (literally!) movies and instead to the contrary “ends up actually being quite wholesome” which is in keeping with how “everything November Girl does plays with this virgin / whore dichotomy” and now I’m beginning to see the light...

…but nonetheless having never been a November Girl nor a girl period virgin or whore or otherwise it’ll always be a stretch for me to fully understand so I reached out to Willa B. once again for further exegesis and she kindly spilled the beans when it comes to the “key” for unlocking “Keychain” so ya see it never hurts to ask:

“Keychain” is a song about sisterhood and the day-to-day mundanity of your teen-years and young adulthood actually becoming quite special and profound when you’re with your girls. There’s a certain admiration with which you look at your sisters, and “Keychain” captures this.

…all of which makes total sense now listening again tho’ admittedly the statement above makes it sound like the song is something like an update of Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” and hey maybe it is but “Keychain” is more fittingly slotted under “indie rock” than “girly pop” even tho’ you’ve still you’ve got elements of the latter with a sweet dream-poppy vibe overall and some pretty wispy backing vocals but also some harsher, more aggressive tones too not to mention a nicely buoyant-yet-down-in-it grungy chorus that’s got a whiff of Japanese Breakfast to it with extra wasabi...

…tho’ you could make just as strong a case for Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders just be aware this is all pure conjuncture on our part no doubt you’ll pick out your own musical touchstones and did you know it’s coming up on the 25th anniversary of Spice World which in this reviewer’s view is vastly underrated (both the film and the soundtrack!) not to mention quintessentially late ‘90s with cameos by Elvis Costello and Bob Geldof and Jennifer Saunders of Ab Fab fame alongside many more which just goes to show the Spice Girls were always way cooler than anyone gave them credit for at the time…

…and then as if that’s not enough toward the end of “Keychain” there’s a guitar solo that’s downright Robert Quine-like with its slashing angularity and fuzzy-headed tonality (see below!) an influential journeyman post-punk guitarist that I wouldn’t expect the kids today to know (I mean, sheesh, even the Spice Girls are a full generation removed from Gen Z today which is a little shocking for a Gen X’er to realize) but then again it’s best to take nothing for granted cuz the kids today are pretty damn savvy and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that November Girl is into Richard Hell or Lou Reed not to mention Marianne Faithfull or Tom Waits or heck even Fred Maher


…but we’ll have to investigate further on such matters and in the meantime we can tell you without hesitation November Girl has some very cool band-branded garments over at their online shop (which upon further examination looks like they’re all sold out but oh well the pictures themselves are pretty choice) and also one of more of its members are Scorpios which means they’re unsparing but also fiercely loyal with their friends which just brings home the whole “sisterhood” angle unlike those stubborn, uptight September Gurls haha just kidding all you Virgos and Libras we love ya…

…and finally don’t forget to head on over to the Deli Instagram page at your earliest convenience to view a bunch of exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from the “Keychain” music video shoot—a shoot that in part took place upstate at the music studio/animal farm/heavy petting sanctuary known as Holy Fang with BTS stills generously provided by Alexis K—shots all but guaranteed to get your goat but in a good way or we’ll refund your money assuming those upstate goats didn’t eat all those dead presidents already… (Jason Lee)

RIP Christine McVie


Alt Rock

Band name: 
The Dracu-Las
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
Venue name: 
Pet Shop
Band email: 

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