NYC duo Tempers went on beguilingly early, before 9pm, to open the Panache Booking CMJ 2012 showcase in the moody back room of Public Assembly on Wednesday night. But someone’s got to be the first on, and Tempers did it with aplomb and a sexy start. We hadn’t seen these minimal art-synth rockers since one of their first shows in an obscure setting last spring, an art book gallery opening, tucked away in a nondescript Tribeca area office loft building.
Tonight’s CMJ 2012 appearance was one of their first “proper venue shows” since then. Jasmine Golestaneh and Eddie Cooper have upped their tempo and their ante since the art show gig. They succeeded in setting the stage for tonight’s overall mood, conjuring up red songs of sultry decadence and lust in the dust, cut with shadowy, post-punk guitar flourishes. Golestaneh’s sensual vocals, wild tresses and torpedo brassiere-topped sheath dress made for quite the captivating statement, the embodiment, dare I say, of Tempers’ sinewy sound.
Brooklyn’s “cosmic synth” act Forma, a trio with fresh, scholarly faces behind their synths and equipment, added some Krautrock steam to the lineup, with heady pieces based on cyclical rhythms and floating, mathy synth jams, taking on the crowd’s collective mind like bursts of helium to the brain.
Arca was on next in the spot when Gary War was supposed to play, but all for the best. The NYC dj’s set was a tour-de-force of cerebral drum-n-haze, a post-trip hop 3-step, unpredictable journey, and so spot on for the chill and moody night.
Von Haze, new Pendu NYC label signees who played the first S!CK parties and who’ve just returned Stateside after taking up long-term residence in London with friends/tour-mates Death in Vegas, arrived just in time to take the stage for CMJ. Travis Caine and Katherine Kin are old souls that seem sprung from a land of ancient, British mysteries.
Their songs summon a symbolist, romantic melancholy with a slow build of guitar/synth intensity from the gut that is equal parts force and tenderness. Just watch their UK Tour Diary video to feel it for yourself.
–Von Haze, Forma and Arca photos courtesy of Lauren Naefe; Tempers photos by Dmitri Zabatay. Sadly, we missed Physical Therapy on this night but he’s awesome nonetheless.