Much has been said of Matthew E. White’s consistent big-ups to his over-30-handed crew from Richmond, Virginia, where he and the rest of his “regional music” kind incubated his debut record two months ago, Big Inner. White made sure to hammer it again at a midnight swing through the second day of CMJ yesterday under the shadows of the BQE at Union Pool, citing a kind of thanks-be-to-the-music-Gods for the safety of the eight of them assembled for the tour, arriving in front of everyone intact, proposing a toast to their van, plainly saying “it feels great to be alive.”
Which is a beautiful way to wrap your head around what he and his Virginia boys brought to the stage that night – a spiritual golden soul session just happy to be, often mentioning love (“Will You Love Me”), often mentioning the soul (“One of These Days”) and always humble to see where it took them (“Steady Pace”). Horns would bellow, makeshift whisky bottles clanged, songs would meander into 10-minute stretches, all the while White rolling out soft-spoken sentiments like M.Ward channeling the spirit of Curtis Mayfield, from the vessel of J. Mascis when the moment came to let loose, congas and vocal harmonies swathing around him to share an “only love can do that” chorus. If this is what 2012 has done to “regional music,” we are but very blessed music culture.
Apparently everyone and their skinny-jeaned mother wanted to see Echo and the Bunnymen protégées IO Echo at Glasslands, including us, of course. 20-minutes later in a line that wouldn’t move to get into the damn place, we headed next door to a pop-up space showcasing burgeoning Brooklyn hip hop label Young One Records, where a duo dubbed Weekend Money tore up a laptronica-pronged assault on some young minds, marauding pop-culture with wonky-aggressive rhymes about “coke and coffee” and fuck-the-police-esque “Impala” chest-thumps. Words came via MC Ne$$, who was entertaining in his own right, stopping mid-set to take off his “Darth Vader” robe, lacing Biggie “Hypnotize” melodies over as much NYC love as he could spit out. While the beat-mining half of the team, Brooklyn-via-Iraq producer Baghdaddy, dude was never not hot-stepping in American-Flag pants and a wolf shirt, even taking the mic at one point to unleash a Passion Pit wall of reverb soul, wailing something about being “left open” and “broken.” That track was called “Open,” and though ruined by a shoddy rhyme from Ne$$ about a Facebook relationship status change and a “call” missed after seeing “comments on your wall,” its 80s synth warmth hinted at s legit reach for the lo-fi tapestries of hip hop that are changing games these days.