CMJ 2012: Who’s On My Hot List to See This Year

Believe it or not, this will be the 11th CMJ I’ve attended (yes, that’s right, I started going to CMJ when I was 11 years old. Amazing, I know). During the time I first started attending the annual event, things were very different. CMJ felt really really important to me at the time — this was the age of Napster, and the Velvet Rope message board, and loads of other stuff that will make me feel old to remember them. This was before SXSW blew up and Coachella was a two-week affair. It was where I was introduced to bands like the Walkmen, Interpol, Ida Maria, Hospitality, and more recently, bands like Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Grimes, and Purity Ring, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

So every year, without fail, I dust off my old lady body and try to stay up late with the kids for a few nights. Here are the bands worth me dragging my lazy behind out the door and into the brisk NYC fall weather:


I’ve been keen on this Kiwi outfit since catching their album, Electric Hawaii, on the Rdio new releases list. The collaboration between Kody Nielson and Bic Runga has produced some wonderfully beachy, laid-back tunes that in their poppier moments remind me of the opening credit soundtrack for a 1960s screwball romantic comedy.

10/18 – Pianos: 9pm
10/20 – Pianos: 4pm (Free Bowery Presents CMJ showcase)
10/20 – Cakeshop: 9:45pm

Sky Ferreira

My knowledge of Sky Ferreira extended to her being some model who somehow always seems to end up in Terry Richardson’s photos, so I was honestly surprised to find out that she also (apparently) has a budding music career, with an EP coming out on Capitol Records this week. I was even more amazed that the single “Everything Is Embarrassing” is actually very very good — with its seductive ’80s sensitive pop ballad throw-back vibe.

10/18 – Bowery Ballroom: 8pm
10/20 – Pianos: 5pm (Free!)

Psychic Twin

This two-person songwriting team (Erin Fein and Brett Sanderson) produces music that leans synth-mysterious (I realize that’s not a real musical genre). For some reason they sound like Warpaint meets Neon Indian.

Night of 10/16 – Pianos: 1:20am
10/20 – Pianos: 9:45pm
BTW, the CMJ schedule is totally wrong, they are on at 1:20am according to this tweet from Lefse Records:

Little Green Cars

This group of Dubliners have got a pleasing toe-tapping quality to their fellow Glassnote Records labelmates, Mumford and Sons. Their pedigree is impressive, having worked on recording their debut album this summer with producer Markus Dravs (who has also worked with Mumford and Sons, Coldplay). This month will be the first time they will be performing in the US. Looking forward to see them live!

October 16: New York, NY – The Living Room (WFUV Presents)
October 17: New York, NY – The Slipper Room (Glassnote Official Showcase)
October 18: New York, NY – Openhouse Gallery (GOOGLE MUSICIANS GALLERY)
October 20: New York, NY – Pianos (Bowery Presents)


Fellow Montreal native GRIMES is a fan, so I think you can imagine what they sound like. I saw somewhere on the internet someone describe them as the XX, but happier, and it’s a pretty fair assessment.

10/17 – Shea Stadium
10/19 – Arlene’s Grocery
10/20 – Death by Audio

What would a CMJ be nowadays without a superband performing? This time the collage of talent comes from a California base — comprised of Jason Boesel (Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes), James Valentine (Maroon 5), Alex Greenwald (Phantom Planet), Michael Runion (solo) and Z Berg (The Like). Their resume’s are impressive. Expect solid pop music to please your ears.

October 17 @ The Brooklyn Bowl (The Hype Machine Showcase) – 7 PM
October 18 @ The Bowery Electric (The Audio Perv Showcase) – 9:20 PM
October 19 @ The Studio at Webster Hall (CAA Showcase) – 10 PM (headlining)
October 20 @ Spike Hill in Williamsburg (Baeble Music Showcase) – 9 PM

Jack White Show Goes On Without a Hitch @ Second Radio City Show: September 30, 2012

Wow. Can you believe it? Everyone made it through the second night of Jack White‘s two-gig stint at New York City’s famed Radio City Music Hall.

No one got yelled at! No one got booed at! No one got stabbed! No one got shot! No one got called a NPR listener! An amazing, heroic job by all. I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty sure everyone who was there will be nominated for a Nobel Peace Price. *Buffs nails on shoulder* Just sayin’. Is group Catholic sainthood even a thing? Because it should be after this show.

All kidding aside, tonight’s show went very different than last night’s 50 minute set/mini-audience riot. This one went on with no incident for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Jack and his lady band (the Peacocks) played about an hour long regular set, went off stage for 5 mins and promptly came back to bang out another 15 minutes or so, ending the night just around 10:30pm.

As soon as Jack set foot on the stage, the audience rose to their feet and did not sit down the entire time. A clap-along began during “We’re Going to Be Friends” but slowly petered out half way. The crowd was re-energized by the hard rockin’ ditties “Freedom at 21” and “Sixteen Saltines.”

Jack said not one word to the audience except for “Thank you” right before he and the band too their final bows. I found this a bit strange — he normally does do a little bit of banter, and almost always introduces the band — but none of that tonight. It was strictly business as they powered through the set, with gusto and precision, but lacking that special something that separates the good shows from the great shows.

When I saw Jack and the Buzzards before a few months ago at the Wiltern in LA, Jack was whizzing and whirling around the stage, sliding to his knees, jumping on top of the bass drum, and chatting every once and again to the crowd. Tonight it seemed like he was a little bit more reserved — towards the end of the set on classic jams like “Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground” and “Ball and a Biscuit,” he would add a little flair to his guitar solos, but not nearly the level of swagger I’m accustomed to seeing.

Got to admit, I was a little nervous when Jack and co went offstage after the regular set:

I started getting even more paranoid when I thought I heard the slightest hint of booing (probably me projecting).

But luckily they came back!

All in all a solid show, well worth the price of admission. It was TB’s very first Jack White show (and first show at Radio City!) and he really enjoyed it, saying “that’s just awesome” when Jack was on piano, and commenting how great of a musician he is. Success!

I’m pretty sure I saw Jack do this as he left the stage:

Continue reading “Jack White Show Goes On Without a Hitch @ Second Radio City Show: September 30, 2012”

Jack White Plays for 50 Minutes at 1st Radio City Show: Angry Hipsters Throw Hissy Fits

Uh oh. Sounds like the sh*t went down. On the first night of his two night stand at Radio City Music Hall, Jack White and his band played a 50 minute set, at the end of which they left the stage…and did not return. After about 30 minutes of trying to get an encore, the announcer came on stage and told the show-goers that the gig was over and that they should leave. That is when people started freaking out, chanting “F*ck you, Jack!” and “We like Meg better anyway!”

Needless to say, the angry masses took to Twitter with their protests, typing out all types of snarky swipes (some more eloquent than others) and venting their boiling, uncontainable rage for the GALL of Jack White to only play a 50 minute set. Has everyone completely lost their minds and forgotten that a normal White Stripes set could be just over one hour?

I too would be disappointed that the show had not been longer, but people, since when was it a rule that a performer come back to the stage if he doesn’t want to? Last time I checked it was a free country.

This quote gives you a little hint as to why he did not come back:

Which I would interpret in Jack-speak to mean “This crowd is horrible and sitting there with their arms folded, seemingly not enjoying anything and/or using their cell phones even though we’ve asked them not to.”

Later someone else tweeted that he heard that Jack was not happy with the sound at the venue and didn’t want to continue. I would guess that’s it could have been a combination of both.

As White Stripes fans know — Jack has a long history of calling fans out on bad behavior/vibes. (Remember when he called a bunch of guys at a White Stripes Roseland show “frat f*ckers”? Classic. Or how about when he berated the crowd at Bowery Ballroom in 2002 for being “too cool for school”?)

But honestly folks, if you were in his shoes, and you were unhappy with either the crowd or the sound, would you really feel obligated to go out there and but on a brave face in the midst of crappy conditions? I know people are disappointed, but what they have to understand is that Jack does not do this at EVERY show — when I saw him play at the Wiltern in LA a few months back, he was in a great mood and the show was really really awesome.

And seriously, we all know that the second night of a Jack White show is always better than the first. NEVER GO TO THE FIRST SHOW (if you can only go to one). Have we ALL forgotten the lessons that we’ve learned over the years? It was only a few months ago that Jack did something very special the second night of his two-night series at Roseland. How soon we forget…

I know I’m sounding like I’m blaming the “victims” but really, you are not victims if you have enough discretionary income to blow some mildly mad stacks on a fancy concert. News flash: you are angry privileged people. Get over it.

Well, tomorrow night will be interesting. Hopefully everyone will be in better spirits. Including the crowd.
Continue reading “Jack White Plays for 50 Minutes at 1st Radio City Show: Angry Hipsters Throw Hissy Fits”

Nelly Furtado: Still Can Do No Wrong

My long-standing girl crush on Nelly Furtado has been renewed with the release of her new album, The Spirit Indestructible. She’s totally underrated by music critics for some reason (perhaps Randall Roberts of the LA Times is right — she’d get more buzz if her dad was a Sri Lankan rebel), but I’m always excited when this lady drops an album.

“Big Hoops” and “Bucket List” are already on my favorite’s playlist, as well as this little ditty, “Parking Lot”:

Sing it, girl!

VIDEO: Some British Dude Ruins “Last Nite” on X Factor UK

Hold me, I’m scared. Up until now I’ve been spared witnessing The Strokes being sung on one of those reality shows because most regular 18 year old Americans have no idea who the Strokes are other than “that band that the Killers really liked.” But unfortunately in Britain, it’s a different story, and last week a young lad by the name of “Eddie String” (nee the decidedly less rock ‘n’ roll Eddie Wilkinson) took to the “X Factor” stage in London and beat “Last Nite” into submission within inches of its life.

Surprisingly, the judges had nothing but positive things to say. Which only goes to show you, British people will fall for anything vaguely resembling the New York cool — they’ll even take a two-bit, scary tone-deaf version of it. One judge described him as “a little bit Mika, a little bit Russell Brand” — which I think was meant as a complement.

Witness the horror:

White Stripes First Ever Live Performance Vinyl to Be Released!!

File this under “amazing”:

Vault Package #13 also includes a red vinyl 7″ of the White Stripes first ever live performance recording from an open mic night at the Gold Dollar on July 14, 1997 and a tote bag featuring the iconic peppermint logo.

Relive the memories of Jack and Meg TOGETHER, with this clip from Under the Great White Northern Lights:

Jack White Tries to Get Into Guinness Book of World Records with “Most Metaphors in a Single Concert”

As you may have heard, Jack White has recently revealed some beef he has with the Guinness Book of World Records folks over the White Stripes’ record for “Shortest Musical Concert” , which was recognized in the 2009 edition, but removed in subsequent additions.

Guinness says that since publishing the record, which was set with their 2007 one-note concert at St John’s in Newfoundland, Canada, others have challenged its validity — some claiming that just appearing on stage was enough to break the record.

As a result, Jackie has taken the piss out of the whole situation and decided to very seriously attempt to set a new record of “Most metaphors in a single concert.”

Concert-goers of his upcoming tour are encouraged not to “interfere or interject with any metaphors that they witness” during the show “as to not disqualify or worse yet, trivialize the metaphor in question. Audience members are encouraged to “entice as many metaphors to occur during the show… as long as they don’t’ endanger themselves or Mr. White.”

Methinks this is going to make for an interesting concert tour.

Full press release below:
Continue reading “Jack White Tries to Get Into Guinness Book of World Records with “Most Metaphors in a Single Concert””

Step Into DJ John Peel’s Legendary Record Collection

This is pretty much the coolest thing ever. In a partnership between John Peel’s family, The John Peel Centre for the Creative Arts, Eye Film and TV, and website company Klik, and sponsored by the BBC and Arts Council England, the record collection of famed BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel will be available for the world at large to peruse via the interwebs.

John Peel's record collection

The beloved disc jockey, who died in October 2004, was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of music of all genres and his supremely cool music tastes. Mr. Peel was an early supporter of The White Stripes and helped introduce them to a wider audience by having them on his show multiple times in 2001 and was a huge collector of their vinyl.

His family have given exclusive access to the collection which includes 25,000 LPs, 40,000 singles and many thousands of CDs.

You can browse the collection at, complete with the album covers and John’s hand-typed index reference cards for each album.

Please also check out this awesome documentary done on John Peel in 2005 on Channel 4 about John Peel’s “Record Box” which included his favorite records ever:

I’m looking forward to discovering some great music!