Time check: 1:21 PM and things are off to a relatively quiet start for the CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival 2010 at Pianos on Manhattan’s Lower East Side for the Music Slut showcase on Tuesday afternoon.  As Canadian trio Yukon Blonde finished up their set in the performance space downstairs, I hit the bar for the party’s generous happy hour.

Coming off like a hot-fun-in-the-summertime Strokes with frontman Jeffrey Innes’ sunny vocals, Brandon Scott’s crunchy guitar work and Graham Jones’ powerful percussive wallops, Yukon Blonde made a compelling, garage-rocking racket in comparison to the Alice in Chains that blared above my parking space at the bar. The vodka-Red Bull equivalent I’m drinking tastes like Fruit Loops-flavored Gatorade. Maybe it’s too early for vodka, I surmise. Maybe it’s too early in the day to slink into what is always the longest week of my year. As more excited CMJ’ers arrive, I count the beers on the wall (14-ish). Sitting alone like this I feel like Betty Draper with her pretty little vodka gimlet.

 

Local boys, the fast-rising Hooray for Earth, thankfully commanded a larger audience for what surely was one of Tuesday’s best sets. Formed in 2006 and currently based in NYC, the self-professed purveyors of “doom pop” delivered a kicky, utterly mesmerizing set of psych-rock jawbusters, even though lead singer Noel Heroux bashfully admitted he was “out of tune.” Frequent collaborators and friends Cristi Jo and Jessica Zambri were in the house, cheerleading and dancing on the front lines. They would later be brought up for the last song of the performance, the ever rousing “Rolling/Nectarine” off of this summer’s Momo.

Within no less than three songs, I gleaned upon reading the “Aww, hells bells, Trudy!” faces of the gobsmacked music lovers (and bloggers as it were) around me that Hooray for Earth was indeed “killing it,” as the kids say, with their ace blend of Peter Gabriel’s emotive and experimental leanings, and Beach Boys on acid headscrew electro melodrama.

“Is anybody into port wine?” Heroux asked of the crowd toward the end of HFE’s set. “I drank a shitload of $7 port last night. It’s like my thing now.”

 

Also riding the psychedelic ‘60s-influenced pop wave was Electric Tickle Machine who delivered a jangly, crazed tambourine, feel-good time upstairs. That they consider themselves to make “neo-cowboy surrender music,” this NYC trio should fast become a live favorite if there is any justice that results from their several CMJ 2010 appearances.

Back downstairs, the hotly tipped Brooklyn-by-way-of-Tacoma quartet Oberhofer played to a packed room, slaying with a perfect afternoon cocktail of infectious and punky romp and stomp. After looking around at the dancing bodies and palpable excitement, I imagined this is how people felt the first time they saw The Kooks take New York, or the fever-pitch that chased Fanfarlo all around town last year.

One of the thematic takeaways from Broadway musical Cabaret is that “In here life is beautiful,” and so it was too for the scene that awaited 22-year-old New Zealand upstart Zowie (aka Zoe Fleury). Clad in a tight-fitting leather dress and shiny red boots with the lights turned low to create an atmosphere not unlike a secret loft party in Shoreditch at 3:00 AM on a boozy Thursday morning, Zowie’s potent mix of PJ Harvey meets Kate Nash whip appeal, dirty electro, heavy breathing and knee-knocking beats was a killer introduction to the young and beguiling ingénue. Current single “Broken Machine” went off without a hitch and likely snapped a few necks. Remember the buzz that surrounded the gorgeous MNDR after CMJ 2009, or La Roux all year? Pay attention now to this little minx. She might as well have a jetpack strapped on. Lit match, fire.

–Carrie Alison. Hooray for Earth photos by Carrie Alison. Electric Tickle Machine photos by Teresa Sampson. Oberhofer, Zowie photos by Jeffre Dene.

Brooklyn indie-electro band BRAHMS closed out the Music Slut party with a bravura set. Blending synth-pop, new wave and dance with a heavy dose of guitars and percussion, the band’s groovy, upbeat tunes had quite a few in the audience moving their feet. The trio, Cale Parks on vocals and percussion, Eric Lodwick on bass, Drew Robinson on guitars (and all three on keyboards), has just finished recording their debut album (due out in 2011), and the lively set marked the premiere of three new songs: “Add It Up,” “Repeat It” and “In My Hand.” –Teresa Sampson, Photos by Teresa Sampson

 
  1. Freaking photos!

    The Glimmer Gimlets (this band name is not yet taken)

    [Reply]

  2. Zowie is my new girl crush!

    [Reply]

  3. [...] Yukon Blonde, Hooray for Earth, Electric Tickle Machine, Oberhofer … Time check: 1:21 PM and things are off to a relatively quiet start for the CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival 2010 at Pianos on Manhattan's Lower East Side for the Music Slut showcase on Tuesday afternoon. [...]

  4. [...] Hooray for Earth, thankfully commanded a larger audience for what surely was one of Tuesday’s best sets. Formed in 2006 and currently based in NYC, the self-professed purveyors of “doom pop” [...]