CMJ starts today! Last week, I shared a brief, North Brooklyn-centric preview of some bands and shows I’m looking forward to checking out. One must-see is the showcase that Greenpointers is proudly co-sponsoring along with Supercrush Studios and CaraBella Presents. It takes place Friday, October 18 at Matchless (557 Manhattan Avenue), it starts at 8:00 PM, and it costs $5 – unless you have a CMJ pass. Then it’s free.
The showcase features six great bands, three from Brooklyn and three from out of town. They are Shark Week, Invisible Days, Shy Hunters, Andre Obin, Rarechild, and Ra Ra Rasputin. There will be three DJ sets to follow, with Dead_Beat_Dad, Spiritual Abuse, and Post-Paint Boy ready to spin late into the night. It’s going to be a lot of fun. You can RSVP here at the Facebook event page.
Lest you think we are biased and tooting our own horn, here’s a chance to get to know each band better. I was able to talk with several of them, so check out a few interesting facts plus links to their latest music.
Shark Week (8:15 PM)
This band from DC is going to start the night off strong, I just know it. They have a catchy, energetic sound steeped in vintage surf, garage, and blues rock, with a nice dash of doo wop harmonies. It should translate to a live context well. I am excited about hearing the snarl of “I’m not like everybody else” in their song “Baby Maybe.”
Invisible Days (9:00 PM)
They are a band of three friends who have been playing music together for years before finding “an arrangement that stuck.” They are the first on the bill from Brooklyn, and what they dig most about the area is how many great venues there are and the slightly cheaper beer – compared to Manhattan, anyways. If you’re in attendance, expect to be blanketed in the warm waves of their shoegaze sound. For a preview, check out “Fortress.” I asked the guys what they consider music of refuge or to get lost in, and they responded with The Cure Disintegration, Lilys In the Presence of Nothing and Ride Nowhere.
Shy Hunters (9:45 PM)
Another Brooklyn-based act, Shy Hunters is a duo of Indigo Street and Sam Levin. Mixing strong, beat-driven percussion, jagged guitar, and rich, haunting vocals, Shy Hunters will appeal to those that want to be rocked and those who want to dance. One thing that impresses me is how their music sounds so much bigger than what I tend to expect from a duo. Listen to “Time Bomb” to see what I mean.
Andre Obin (10:30 PM)
Andre is a musician from Boston. He played with a variety of electronic and rock bands and is now more focused on his solo music, though lately he’s been performing with a live drummer and a synth/bassist. Andre has played at CMJ and the city in general quite frequently, considering it a “second home,” and he encourages the love between here and his hometown. He has a degree in electro-acoustic composition and he “tries to create a unique cinematic and emotive world within track.” “Blue Powder” is a track where all of that feels particularly evident. It’s also dreamlike and immersive. I asked about his inspirations in this regard and some include Monet, Joanie Lemercier, and Arovane.
Rarechild (11:15 PM)
Our final Brooklyn performer, this is the alias of Michael Aaron (you may know him from the band Rahim). Like Andre, Michael’s music is evocative and electronic. It is heavy on the percussion, which can range from a very machine-like approach to something more organic and tribal – usually mixed and layered together, in fact. Layering occurs vocally as well. A fellow Greenpointer who loves the neighborhood, Michael met me for a drink at The Diamond. We discussed the strong thematic elements of ambiguity and duality in his music, whether between genders or man and machine.
“I don’t think the binaries work well for most people, it boxes them in,” he says. Michael likes exploring “fractured identity and looking at how we form selves…the masks we wear to make it through.” He carries that through his creative process, his music, and his videos. But it’s not all cerebral; he also wants you to dance. He balances it well. Songs like “Hybrid” appeal to both the head and the body.
Ra Ra Rasputin (12:00 AM)
The last act on the bill is another hailing from DC, a four piece band. This will mark their second straight year playing a CMJ set at Matchless. They had a good time last year and are looking forward to the “energetic and fun” crowds of NYC once again. If you didn’t notice, the second half of this show is pretty dance heavy, and Ra Ra Rasputin will certainly keep that going. They’ve been honing their craft since 2007, and their tightness is clear upon listening, though the band describes this evolution as “tough but rewarding.” They’ve mixed a variety of genres and touchstones including post-punk, Italian and European disco and house, and DFA for their own sound, not to mention merging synths and drum machines into a live band. Yet I think based on a song like “Living Room,” it’s quite striking how they bring dance and rock together so cohesively.
Yes, it’s going to be an awesome showcase. Remember, after these six bands play, three DJs will also have sets. Once again, you can find the Facebook event page here. Hope you come party with us on Friday!