cmj

Toronto pop duo K.I.D. plays CMJ + tours

Some band names have the power to inhibit your "clicking" will, and, admittedly, the band called K.I.D. (akronim for "Kid In Dehad precisely that effect. But sometimes you've gotta get past first impressions... Our self-discipline triumphed though, and the consequent, reluctant clicking was rewarded with some really cool electronic rock-pop by a Toronto duo that's currently in NYC for the CMJ music festival. Check out their recent video for single "New Emotion," which showcases singer Kara's noteworthy vocal talent and presence, and the band's propensity for radio friendly melodies. After their appearance at CMJ, K.I.D. will come back to Canada for a brief East Coast tour. 

Portland artists playing CMJ: teenage phenomenon Grace Mitchell

The CMJ festival is currently on in NYC, and we stumbled upon a Portland artists that's taking part in it we never covered before: Grace Mitchell. The 18 year old certainly sounds a lot older and wiser than her age in her blues-electro-pop sophomore EP "Raceday," which was released just a few weeks ago. Her tracks certainly don't belong to the widespread "intimate female songwriter" category, but on the contrary possess almost invariably a bombastic pop element. It's really hard to believe a teenager can have a vocal delivery as confident as hers. 

Isabel's CMJ Day 3: Timbre, Siblings, and Kendra Morris

For my last night of CMJ, I started at Alphabet Lounge to see Timbre and Siblings. Timbre, a harpist from Nashville, Tennessee, took the stage accompanied by a violinist and drummer - her sound was unparalleled. Seamlessly increasing and decreasing in both dynamics and tempo, Timbre defied what I believed to be true about the harp. Each song had a driving momentum that contrasted with Timbre’s almost angelic voice floating above the instrumentation. Next at Alphabet Lounge was the NYC-based band, Sibling.  Sibling is comprised of six musicians: a guitarist, bassist, saxophonist, drummer, and two vocalists. As a larger group, their music crosses and blends genres; they merge the melodies and articulations of jazz and funk, while the vocalists blend R&B and rap. Although many of their tracks sounded similar, Siblings music undoubtedly makes you groove. From Alphabet Lounge, I headed to Drom and there I saw another NYC-based artist: Kendra Morris (pictured). Morris’ music, a fusion of soul and rock, was sung with control while still demonstrating her expansive range. Luckily, Morris’ voice, an odd mixture of operatic and Amy Winehouse rasp, was enough to distract from her backing track and the one other musician on stage. Nevertheless, there was a command of the space, and audience, that has been rare the past three days of CMJ. - Isabel Rolston

Zach's CMJ Day 3: Second Child, Ezra Furman, The Grasping Straws, and French Horn Rebellion

Wednesday night at The Bitter End in the West Village started with the understated majesty of New York/Philadelphia quartet Second Child (pictured). Playing warm, folk-inflected songs that found notable beauty with the harmonizing of lead singer Alex DeSimine and bassist Alex Tremitiere, the band subtly moved the listener but didn't forget to straight-up thrill; their funked-up cover of David Bowie's "Fame" enlivened the previously focused crowd, several hoots and shouts flying out. While Dirty Projectors are probably more similar to them, it's exciting to see that Second Child can get loose like The Thin White Duke did on some of his earlier tracks. At Le Poisson Rouge, Oakland/Chicago rocker Ezra Furman finished his set with a gloriously riotous rendition of Arcade Fire's "Crown of Love," the gradual nature of that 'Funeral' standout reverting into sax-backed wildness and the green-haired Furman's lightning-quick guitar picks. Back at the End, New York four-piece The Grasping Straws drifted into slow, drum-marched songs that, particularly with frontwoman Mallory Feuer's drawn-out and bluesy vocals, recalled the lo-fi glory of early Cat Power. Taking their time rather than rushing towards easy shock, these tracks intrigued with their very patience and calm and, perhaps most importantly, were ultimately moving, their tumbling quality enabling the audience to both engage and reflect. Down on the Lower East Side, Brooklyn's French Horn Rebellion sent the evening out with feel-good dance tracks full of both jittering electronics and rubbery horns. Brothers Robert Perlick-Molinari and David Perlick-Molinari wore matching Glasslands T-shirts and, with their hip sways and head bobs, they seemed to throw a party not just for that lost venue but for the institution of live music itself. - Zach Weg  

 

Isabel's CMJ Day 2: Mackenzie Shivers, Lance Breakfast, Kenyon Phillips & The Ladies in Waiting, and Cardiknox

My second night of CMJ started at DROM in the East Village. The lineup consisted it three NYC-based artists: Mackenzie Shivers, Lance Breakfast, and Kenyon Phillips & The Ladies in Waiting. Shivers started the night at the piano. Her music can be classified as folk pop, but listening closely, both country and celtic influences animate her melodies. During her track, “Fourth of July,” Shivers' voice, harmonizing with another singer, swamped the venue in a sound that was emotional and authentically beautiful. She was also the pianist for the next two acts: Lance Breakfast stepped onto the stage wearing an NYU t-shirt and strumming on a baby blue guitar - or was that an electric Ukulele? Breakfast’s music floated between genres. His voice, gruff and weighty, suggested folk, but his band's instrumentation, which was clear, organized, and hard-hitting, leaned towards rock n’ roll and blues. Although most of his tracks were consistently up-tempo, I appreciated Breakfast’s slower, quieter, moments. It was only then I could hear his lyrics. Progressing through the night, each act amped up the volume and tempo. So, by the time Kenyon Phillips & The Ladies in Waiting hit the stage, the audience was ready for some punch. Phillips commanded the stage with wide-eyed theatricalism; while watching him sing track “Born to Be Famous” I couldn't help but think that he made a good case for it. Towards the end the night, I headed west to The Studio at Webster Hall. Up next was Cardiknox, (pictured, who recently moved from NYC to LA) and it was the most fun set of the night. Lead singer, Lonnie Angle, bounced around the stage, and her performance energized me and the audience. Angle’s singing is ethereal and amplified by backup vocals, but there is nothing dreamy about Cardiknox. Almost midnight, Angle yelled into the microphone, “Let’s keep fucking doing this.” Their synth-driven anthems were so energetic and empowering, no one at Webster Hall was wishing they were asleep. - Isabel Rolston

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