While the rest of KZSC labors for your love this this week, I’ve been dispatched to New York City, New York for the College Music Journal (CMJ) Music Marathon: a week of panels, parties, open bars, and shows shows shows. Come back to the blog often this week, as I’ll reporting back on the music, the people, and the hangovers of CMJ2010.
Last night I celebrated CMJ eve–the marathon officially kicks off today–at an AOL office, where, to my delight, the caterers were serving complimentary basil hard lemonade and 4 oz. pours of whiskey. The libations quickly put me at ease, and after locating the bathroom and emergency exits, I began introducing myself to anyone that didn’t look like a banker. Hoping to meet some radio dj’s, I targeted the scruffiest of the bunch. Unable to locate any other dj’s or music directors, I made sure that any promoter with an intriguing lineup got one of my Kate Bush business cards.
Halfway through my second cocktail, I was corralled into a television studio for a set by Gold Panda. He performed three tracks off his new Ghostly International release, Lucky Shiner, named after his grandma. Gold Panda’s sample-heavy electro dance pop has the potential to get people moving, but I and others spent the set distracted by painfully bright studio lights and a jib camera that, without warning, would swing out and grace the one or two hairs standing akimbo from the rest of these beautiful coiffures!
Opting to preserve my eyes and my scalp, I watched the Jamie Lidell set that followed on the half dozen LCD screens outside the studio. Lidell’s experimental soul pop felt like a revival gathering in a submarine, echoing with distorted vocal samples and junky percussion. And, of course, the camera shots were slick.
Hopping a turnstile with two armloads of luggage, I subwayed to Rebel for a promotion company showcase. The stand-out performance came from Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. The duo’s cascading harmonies and crisp samples contrast adorably with their embroidered NASCAR jackets and Old Glory set pieces. Their fuzzed-up version of “Nothing But Our Love” from the Horsepower EP concluded with them singing “We get more than we deserve. Maybe everyone has some worth”–a fitting commencement for a week when over 1300 bands are hoping this year’s CMJ deems them worthy.