Posts in CMJ
[Night Out] OMG CMJ 2014 Day Two: Oh Cassius!, Pompeya, François Ier, The Kickdrums

Oh Cassius! @ Bowery Electric 10/22/14If I'm honest, none of the day shows really seemed worthwhile to me. I decided to try and take it somewhat easy until nightfall. While I was prepping for who I was going to check out on Wednesday I also made the decision to try to see as many bands that are super far away from NYC because duh I live here.

First show of the evening was a quick bite of Bridgeport band Oh Cassius! over at Bowery Electric. If I hadn't been so determined to make it out to Cameo Gallery by 8 I would have definitely stuck it out for their entire performance. The band is fronted by a fun little vocal duo who really play off of each others energy super well. I had to bounce about halfway through their set, but I intend to put them into my regular rotation very soon, specifically songs like, "Carpenter".

Now you may be asking me, "Kibbe, if you had been bitching about the rain so much on Twitter, WHY would you trekk all the way to Cameo Gallery in a cab when a perfectly good lineup was right before you at Bowery Electric!?"

Well I'll tell you why: I've never had a favorite band from Moscow before and now I do so stfu.

I knew the second that singer Daniiil Brod took the stage and said something to the effect of, "Hey. We're gonna play six songs and then we're gonna go" that Pompeya were the kind of dudes that I'd like to have a beer with because they're not too fussy about what they do. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, but I did ruin a few good shots because I kept involuntarily swaying and moving my hips around. I really take Sprout for granted in that regard because she normally does all the snapping and I do all the dancing.

Pompeya @ Cameo Gallery 10/22/14I wasn't familiar with their material other than their single, "Does", but you'll find their music is really easy to get on board with. The second I hit 'publish'on this post I will begin nagging for their upcoming album, Real so I can give you plenty of reasons to pick it up when it drops on February 17th of next year. For now, you can grab their Night EP over on iTunes.

I debated sticking around for Walking Shapes since they were up next, but they're Brooklyn based and that was against the rules for the day. I will probably have to check them out at their next show on October 25th at Spike Hill though.

Instead, I thought I'd outsmart the rain and train it on down to Le Baron to check out François Ier at the France Rocks Party down in Chinatown. I checked out his Neptune EP over the weekend and was thoroughly impressed so I thought I'd experience some of it live.

When I arrived François was treating a bunch of ungrateful French implants who were talking over his lush rhythms about lord only knows what because it has been over a decade now since I was in a French class. They had this poor kid shoved in the corner while they were getting things ready for the next full band that followed him. That felt a little bit disrespectful to me, but I guess I get it. At any rate, I wanted to stay longer, but after experiecning my first $14 well drink in over 3 years and realizing that with the rain that it was going to take me longer to get to Arlene's for my last show of the night, I said "Au Revoire!" and headed back towards the LES.

Nobody should be François Ier in the corner, but they did at Le Baron 10/22/14I know I had the whole, "only bands from really far from NYC" rule for the night, but after trudging through the rain back and forth from Manhattan and Brooklyn all evening, I really just needed a dose of familiarity and awesomeness. That was obviously going to be The Kickdrums at Arlene's Grocery. I've grabbed coffee with Fitts a couple of times in the past year, but it had been awhile since I had seen them perform. It was definitely before they dropped their last album, Thinking Out Loud, which came out over a year ago. Eek! So yeah, obvi long overdue but I am happy to report that the band is aging like a fine wine. They played cuts from all but one of their albums (which happens to be my favorite one, Just A Game). It was certainly a showcase of how much their sound has developed over the years.

None of us were down to party after the show, so Fitts, Jeff, and I walked over to Sugar for a tea and a chat before I wrote the majority of this blog post on my 40 minute subway ride back to Harlem. You can check out more photos from my night out in the slideshow below.

[Night Out] OMG CMJ 2014 Day One: Son Little

Day one CMJ is always a slow start for me and this year was so exception to that rule. I had to endure the day job before my 3 day vacation of bands, booze, and badge friends forever officially kicked off. All that said, you bet your sweet ass the second that 5:30pm rolled around that I was out the door running as fast I could to meet up with Sprout who was patiently waiting for me at our safe harbor that folks like to call No Fun. When the time came for us to treat our earholes we sauntered our way down to Rockwood Music Hall stage 2. The room was reasonably full, enough for Sprout to dart around fairly easily to take some snaps.

The last time I saw Aaron Livingston sing in person it was with RJD2 for their project Icebird. As much as I enjoyed The Abandoned Lullaby, there were some moments where it felt like Livingston's vocals were an afterthought to what was going on in the production. That was fortunately not the case for his new solo project, Son Little. His voice rang out loud and strong to the red velvety backdrop that are the walls of Rockwood Stage 2. His accompanyment were a keyboardist/bassist and drummer, who elevated the emotional twangs in Livingston's voice. In addition to playing cuts I had heard before like, "The River", "Cross My Heart", and the heartwrenching "Your Love Will Blow Me Away When My Heart Aches", he played some new tracks that will appear on his upcoming debut album that is coming "soon" (his words).

We should have stayed around after the show to try and pry more info from him, but between us being starving and me thinking that I was going to a French nightclub for a showcase that I ended up being a day early for, that didn't happen. Needless to say, it was the best way to start OMG CMJ 2014.

Have a listen to "Your Love Will Blow Me Away When My Heart Aches" below.

[News] CMJ Music Marathon Reveals Initial Lineup

From October 16-20th, New York City will once again play host to CMJ Music Marathon, a festival that sees over 1,300 artists from around the world performing at over 80 venues across the city. The festival organizers have unveiled the first batch of artists set to perform, including GZA, Kimbra, The Walkmen, Killer Mike, OFF!, The Presets, Pig Destroyer, Talib Kweli, DIIV, Twerps, Prince Rama, The Love Language, Young Magic, King Tuff, Com Truise, Bear Hands, Main Attrakionz, Dusted, Poolside, The Stepkids, Daughn Gibson, Beacon, The Jezabels, and more.

Expect more lineup announcements to arrive in the coming weeks, and make sure to check out the official CMJ website for more information on artists as well as various panels. Badges and tickets are also available via the CMJ website.

[CMJ 2011 x Interview] Gabriel Stark

Over the past year, Bronx-based musician/producer Gabriel Stark has gone from a well known New York producer to a fully fledged artist in his own right. With six releases being put out in one year, Mr. Stark has one clear goal, and that is to consistently hit the studio and improve during every second of studio time. His motivation hasn't gone to waste, though, with each new release improving on the last. With his latest album Thank You Starky, which you can listen to here, Stark has improved his lyrical abilities, production techniques, and, above all, his confidence. It's perfectly that he's going to keep working hard, and won't stop anytime soon.

During CMJ Music Marathon, Gabriel and I met up to talk about all things Starky, going a little more in-depth into his everyday life, his constant improvement, and what the future holds. You can listen to the interview below, and make sure to follow him on Twitter, as well as add him as a friend on Facebook. Also, you can download all of Stark's albums and mixtapes at his official website.

Gabriel Stark Interview by Some Kind of Awesome

[CMJ 2011 x Interview] The Static Jacks

Indie rock band The Static Jacks have gone from being the little known New Jersey-based band Waterdown Clockwise to touring alongside Tokyo Police Club, White Denim, Biffy Clyro and Titus Andronicus. Since changing their name, the band was named Breakthrough Artist of the Day by NME on July 23, 2010, and this year, the New Jersey rockers were signed to Fearless Records. Since then, they've released their debut album If You're Young, and are currently on a U.S. tour supporting The Wombats. The band was also one of six bands to perform at SKoA and The Audio Perv's very own CMJ day party.

During this years CMJ Music Marathon, I had the opportunity of interviewing the band's lead singer Ian Devaney over the phone. We discussed everything from the formation of the band, touring, and much more. You can listen to the interview in its entirety below.

The Static Jacks Interview by Some Kind of Awesome

[CMJ 2011 x Interview] Sleeper Agent

Bowling Green, KY rock band Sleeper Agent have risen quickly over the past year, going from a duo, to a full fledged band, to putting out their debut album in no time at all. From touring alongside Cage The Elephant and Company of Thieves, to recording with producer Jay Joyce, it's clear that the Kentucky group has big aspirations. The band, who just wrapped up their U.S. headling tour, made a stop at this year's CMJ Music Marathon to perform at SKoA's very own CMJ showcase. During the showcase, I had the chance to talk with the band's leading lady Alex Kandel about all things Sleeper Agent. You can read the interview in its entirety after the jump.

As well, Sleeper Agent's debut LP Celebrasions digitally in August and physically last month, so if you haven't picked it up, head over to iTunes and grab a copy.

Some Kind of Awesome: Tony [Smith] and Justin [Wilson] started the band as a duo, and then discovered you, Alex, working as a waitress.

Alex Kandel: Someone somewhere along the line printed it as "waitress," but I was actually working as a barista making espresso drinks and not getting tips. Sometimes we would have open mic nights there and all these people would come and play for the people there, and they would say "Alex, pick up your guitar and go sing some songs." So, I was just doing that kind of stuff, and then we got a song recorded online. So, we played that at the coffee shop I was working at and I played a few songs on my break. Justin came and was very quiet, 'cause Justin takes a while to warm up to, and he just kind of watched. But then, after that, we started working together and writing together.

SKoA: After that, the band started to grow. Tell me about the early days of the band, and how it came to be what it is.

AK: They had a lineup, they had been a band since 2008, and the lineup kind of left them to perform in other bands. You know, for whatever reasons, I think there were some egos involved. But, then Justin and Tony decided to just do their own thing, then they kind of recruited me, and we just started liking what we were writing. We thought we would just kind of experiment, and once that happened we decided we would just record eight songs in Nashville on our own. You know, save up some money and do it. We had a friend who owed us a favour who helped, and so we did that. Our friends came, heard it, were really excited about it, and it fell into the hands of the right people.

SKoA: Your debut LP, Celebrasion, was released digitally in August and physically in September. Describe the recording process. Were there any difficulties? What were the highlights?

AK: The recording process clicked so well, you know, our producer, Jay [Joyce], I consider him a father almost. The way that he works and the way that we play, the way that we sound, and everything was recorded live. You know, you focus on a song a day, and you'll sit there and you'll do fourteen takes of the same song until you find the right one. And, everyone's doing it all together at once live and that's a take, and you'll build your vocals up around that. When we do a track live, I do vocals over, also, so there's always a scratch track and sometimes that come out better. They're often so good that we'll keep them. So, a lot of it is in the pure sense live.

The cool thing is Jay records everything on tape, and for someone to still do that is great, you can hear it on the record. We don't want to try to make our live sounds reflect what the records are reflecting. That's what I love about the band, the whole live experience. The live experience is so dependent on our energy, and sometimes there will be a show that's just the perfect storm, and we'll play at venues where we can see that we've built an audience. Those fans have been so overwhelming, and I can't believe these kids like our music. They think that we tour in a bus, 'cause they have this idea of how big we are. But, it's like, oh no, we're in a tiny van, I'm moving back in with my mom soon (laughs).

SKoA: Speaking of fan reception, how has the reception of the album been? How has critical reception of the album been?

AK: It's almost creeping me out how little bad press we've got, and I'm waiting for it. But, it's been so overwhelmingly positive. And, in terms of the fans, they've been overwhelmingly enthusiastic, too, and any time we can do something for them, we'll do it. You know, if we have any guests passes left over for shows, we'll just give them away.

SKoA: Being at CMJ, what is your overall opinion of it? What are your impressions? And, why did you ultimately decide to perform here?

AK: To be honest, I probably have the smallest view of CMJ. We're on tour right now, and, at the last minute, we were like, "Why aren't we playing CMJ?" I mean, it makes sense, since we're here anyways. Plus, we love New York. But, I honestly have no idea what the CMJ experience is like, although I got to hang out at Nylon Magazine, which was fun (laughs). I can see CMJ being very similar to SXSW in a lot of ways.

SKoA: You're currently touring around the U.S., including two shows alongside Cage The Elephant and Company of Thieves this December. What are your impressions of touring? And what have been your favourite or least favourite moments?

AK: We've been touring pretty much non-stop since February, and I think being back on the road with Cage [The Elephant] is super exciting because they're like our family. It's always so much fun when we're together, and I miss those guys so much. We talked to Brad [Shultz] the other day, and he said, "Everyday when we pull up to an event he asks 'Where they at?'"

In terms of the December shows, it's going to be like a huge reunion. I mean, Genevieve [Schatz] is the nicest person, like so nice that she makes you feel like a bad person, like one of those people. I actually still have stuff that she's given me, like all the make-up I use is stuff she's given me (laughs). She got this box of make-up and told me, "Oh, take what you want." She had to literally force me to take all this free, awesome make-up.

SKoA: The December shows will be taking place in Chicago and Milwaukee, have you performed in either city before?

AK: Yeah, we've played Chicago before we had a label or anything. It was at The Elbow Room, and we've played at The Vic twice with Cage [The Elephant]. We've also played Schubas once, and that was the last time we hit Chicago. I'm so excited to go back, 'cause we've always kind of called it our home away from home, and we all feel so comfortable in Chicago. It's easily one of my favourite cities. My mom always knew I would love Chicago, and she always made a push. She took me to New York for the first time, 'cause she never wanted me to have that small town mentality (laughs). We were from Champion, OH so I called it the "Champion Bubble" that people get trapped in. But, now, my mom misses me because I travel too much (laughs).

SKoA: What have been your highlights, or your favourite moments? Least favourite moments?

AK: You know, there's always ups and downs to every day. My favourite moment today was that I got to go hang out at my favourite magazine of all time, Nylon. I mean, I've loved that magazine forever. But, there's downsides too, like it took forever to find parking, so it varies.

I think the lowest point I've ever hit, though, was spending my 19th birthday on the interstate. It was so awful because our trailer, the bearing on the tire came completely off. The only thing holding it in place was the weight of the trailer, and sparks were flying and we all thought it was going to start a grease fire. So, we called a mechanic—Vinny's Auto near Fosford, Maryland—that place sucks, and they ripped us off for every cent we had. That was the lowest point, but there have been way more high points.

[CMJ 2011] Cold War Kids, Datarock, Active Child, Mike Relm and Figo Perform at Hyundai Presents Re:Mix Labs

After previewing the trailer for Amir Bar-Lev's music documentary Re:Generation last thursday, Hyundai and Re:Mix Lab continued to bring their love of music to New York's CMJ Music Marathon. With events having taken place in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and Chicago, it was hard to avoid their presence.

On Saturday night, they brought together huge names in music to put on another night of awesome performances. The fourth night of the Re:Mix Labs series featured none other than Cold War Kids as the headliner for the evenings performances, followed by Active Child, as well as DJ sets from Norwegian electronic duo Datarock, American turntablist Mike Relm and New York City electro punk band Figo. There's no denying it was a night full of great music and fantastic performances.

For more information on Re:Mix Labs, head here, and look forward to the release of the Re:Generation documentary in February 2012. The documentary sees five of the hottest DJs in music, inlcuding DJ Premier, Skrillex, Pretty Lights, Mark Ronson, and The Crystal Method, collaborating in genres that are out of their element, and the five tracks recorded for the documentary will be given away for free via a DJ Mixer App, which launches in November.

[CMJ 2011 x Interview] Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

During this years CMJ Music Marathon, I had a chance to chat with Detroit-based indie rockers Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Meeting up with the duo, which consists of Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein, at New York's Le Poisson Rouge venue, we talked about the band's influences, how they formed, the origins of the name Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and much more. You can listen to the interview in its entirety in the player below.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.'s debut album It's A Corporate World was released on June 7th via Warner Bros./Quite Scientific, and if you haven't heard the album you can listen to the full stream here

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Interview by Some Kind of Awesome