CMJ Day Four: Idolator Goes Back To Spain, Gets Carded
After much begging, pleading, questioning of press credentials, and discussion of karma, the doorman at The Annex mercifully let me–and my hands, each of which was decorated with a massive “X”–into Friday’s “Sounds of Spain” showcase. I went in expecting to find mostly mediocre psychedelia and mumbly alt-rock (Spain’s genres of choice), and came out pleasantly surprised. I’d like to dedicate this post to that reluctant but accommodating door man; he was the only one to let me in anywhere on Friday. Join me after the jump for hot Spanish dudes and the unfortunate experience of being an actual 20-year-old college student at CMJ.
I am happy to report that I marked off the “mutton chops” square in my game of CMJ Bingo. And they were Spanish mutton chops, so I think I should receive some form of extra points.
Unfortunately for me the showcase apparently started promptly at 1:00, so the time I arrived I’d already missed Underwater Tea Party.
“The Untold Story about Mary and Nick”
For those who read Spanish, their blog is adorable.
So the first band I saw was Cuchillo. When they started their set I was skeptical because it definitely did have the retro psychedelia vibe that mars so much of Spanish rock, but they grew on me as a result of some of their more shoegazey tendencies.
As you can see, they have lots of fun tricks like live recording and layering and playing the drums with maracas.
Next up was Aaron Thomas, who’s from Australia but now based in Madrid. He was pretty standard singer/songwriter fare, but good at it at least, and he had a great band. His music wasn’t compelling or cutting edge, but it was boppy and catchy and entertaining to watch live; kind of the musical equivalent of a boring sweater that you know is drab and kind of ugly but comfortable, and you like it anyway.
“Wasted or Crazy”
And the last band I saw before I had to leave was Depedro. This was the closest I saw to a truly “Spanish” band in the more traditional sense. They had a nice blend of rock and folksier Spanish genres (forgive me, despite my experience with the country I know virtually nothing about its musical history–but I believe they’re borrowing some elements from more traditional sounds; please correct me if I’m wrong). More than anything, their appeal was in their general loveliness.
“La memoria”At the beginning of this video he says he was looking to create music which “transmits heat and hooks people.” I think that’s a pretty apt way to describe it.
I had to leave one song into The Right Ons‘ set (out of obligation, not disgust). They seemed like an OK rock band, albeit one that shares Spain’s slightly irksome obsession with ’60s rock. I also missed We Are Standard.
Just as I was about to set out for round two, I got a text from a friend I was originally planning to meet at the New York Noise showcase at Cake Shop about how they were strictly enforcing the 21+ rule at the door, so I thought I’d be cute and check out the hardcore/death metal showcase at Bowery Poetry Club. But when I got there a fight had just broken out. People were bleeding, so I decided that novelty metal coverage was not worth bodily harm and headed over to the nearby Lit Lounge, where I was informed by the doorman that the NYPD was cracking down, and no I could not get in, no not even with Xs on my hands, no not even with a press pass. Still determined, I walked down to the Lower East Side and tried to get into Arlene Grocery, mistakenly believing that it might actually be a grocery store with no door policy. I was wrong on both accounts. I thought for a moment about trying out Music Hall of Williamsburg to see Dungen and Late of the Pier, but then decided I was too tired and weary for such a hypefest, so I got some ice cream and went home.