My personal music marathon started out with the Seattle-based upstarts, Beat Connection, who were fresh off the red-eye from the Left Coast. Their set started off with a bit of a bumpy start — with the laptop not cooperating just a couple songs in. While the band waited for the Mac to kick back in, they explained that they were super excited to be at CMJ, because it was their first time ever at the festival (as performers or attendees). Awww!
The next band I was excited to see was Guards, the brainchild of Richie Follin (brother of Cults singer Madeline Follin). Like Cults, Guards has the obligatory waifish, winsome girl with long dark hair paired with a tall skinny dude with equally long locks (Follin), but in Guards case, it’s the dude who does the lead vocals.
The band kind of sounds like the slightly more psychedelic-rock lovin’ brother of Cults mixed in with a bit of Beatles Revolver era and MGMT. They even did a pretty rockin’ cover of M.I.A.’s “Born Free.”
The other main act of interest at the showcase was Grimes, aka – Claire Boucher. The blonde Montrealer has an ethreal, child-like voice which is laid on top of sometimes “grimey,” beats and synths. Onstage Boucher mans all the machines and instruments, volleying back and forth between her keyboard and table set up with her effects consoles, cradling the microphone between her ear and shoulder.
Musically some of the songs can be a bit repetitive, but there is no doubt, there is something compelling about Boucher — She’s like a beautiful synth pop alty-ragamuffin, with a mismatched outfit of a skirt with a pullover, paired with some field hockey-style striped athletic socks and slightly gothic necklaces and rings. On top of all of that, girlfriend was wearing an elastic headband with her hair pulled into a bun by a black scrunchie. Yes, a scrunchie. (See aforementioned note about her being an alty-ragamuffin.)
There is something sexy, yet sweet about her. In the setups between songs, her stage banter is punctuated by girly giggling and smiles, clearly winning over the majority of the Dude Central-type crowd (which included members of the NYC music wunderkid band, Oberhofer). If this girl is able to produce a couple of hotly produced tracks, she will definitely be going places. Total star in the making.
Some other bands I managed to catch, below:
Like the Tapes ‘n Tapes before them, Caveman is music for dudes who like music written by dudes for dudes but slightly more Tom Petty-ish. They informed the crowd that they were stoked to be playing at Pianos since the venue gave them a chance to play a lot of shows there, making it where they first really got started as a band, and then commenting that their up-coming three sets of shows there was also what was going to kill them.