CMJ is almost in the back of our minds (almost!), but we’d be remiss if we didn’t let our bright-eyed, swag-laden videographer Alex Goldberg weigh in on what he saw when he wasn’t out harassing people over fake band names. So we commissioned him to put together a video of his favorite performances from the week; his praise is fleshed out after the jump.
What is there to say about CMJ that hasn’t been already? The weather went from being too cold to too hot, and then somehow became too cold and too hot at the same time. Tons of shows were sold out, which meant that a CMJ badge possessed as much power as a Metrocard. But there were three bands that stood out to me:
• Biffy Clyro is huge in Scotland, but hasn’t seemed to break in the States. Their show was easily one of the most intense and intricate I’d ever seen; their songs combine devastating walls of sound with quiet, exacting guitar parts.
• One of the more hyped bands was Cut Off Your Hands, who paired their pre-show buzz with a grueling schedule that consisted of four shows in one day. Despite my skepticism, I was pleasantly surprised by their incredibly fun, infectious post-punk that made me dance–or attempt to–for their whole set. Enough has been said about their intense frontman, but what I haven’t seen mentioned are the simple, yet well-crafted basslines and riffs that make this band so endlessly danceable.
• I figured I wouldn’t be able to see Islands because they were one of this year’s bigger bands, but Todd P saved the day with a free show in the skater haven Continental Army Plaza. The show was incredible for multiple reasons: It was free, it was outdoors on a nice day during a sunset, and Islands played a ton of new material resulting in a decent-sized drool puddle on my v-neck tee. I’ve heard from multiple people that Islands’ forefathers Unicorns were awful live (maybe it had something to do with having Arcade Fire open for them?), but this was most certainly not the case during this glorious afternoon show.
So that was my CMJ: Some great swag and a couple of great performances.