CMJ 2010 Report Part 1 of 10.

This past October, sorry, Rocktober, New York hosted its yearly CMJ (College Music Journal) Music Marathon. As the name indicates, The CMJ Music Marathon is a massive concentration of 100s of bands that descend on NYC like locusts and swarm every NYC venue over the course of a week. It is not out of the realm of possibility to see 20 bands at 10 different venues over a single CMJ marathon weekend. There are those out there that like to believe that it is a window into the current state of music in the good ole’ U-S-of-A as well as indicator of the stylistic forces that will drive major musical themes for the coming years. In years past, themes included the obligatory turntable in every band (Faithless, Bis, Whole Grand Royal Catalog, etc), the return of 60s garage rock (Strokes, White Stripes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs), neo-folk resurgence (Bright Eyes, Joanna Newsome, Devandra Banhart), etc. This year, based on the bands I saw, seems a continuation of the new ‘wave’ of keyboard driven synth pop that is already fairly prevalent these days.

I have found that it is always worth the chaos and trouble it takes to really quaff deeply from the CMJ trough. This year was no exception. The most notable bands caught at CMJ 2010 are: Savoir Adore, Alex Winston, Octant, Candy Claws, Kisses, Titus Andronicus, Holy Ghost!, Mathew Dear, Dean and Britta, Crocodiles, The Blow, and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Other bands caught were: Invisible Kid, Eklin, Samuel, Buke and Gass, Gold Panda, and a few others. The most notable will be featured here on TSOI as part of a 10 part series so be sure to check back daily!

The faithful TSOI reader will have noted that there has been a recent outcropping of synth bands, Hot Chip, Cut Copy [Both of which played CMJ 2005], Dragonette, Ting Tings, Glass Candy, La Roux, etc, and many others that are enjoying fairly wide-spread success. If CMJ 2010 is a harbringer of things to come, then we are in for a lot more of these sorts of keyboard centric configurations. Brooklyn’s Holy Ghost! and LA’s Kisses were among the better examples during CMJ2010. Holy Ghost! hem fairly close to Cut Copy but with more of an early Shriekback vibe rather than the New Order rework that is Cut Copy. Resurrecting New Wave sounds of the 70s and 80s is a well mined area, but I have to hand it to Holy Ghost! for dusting off absolutely virgin territory with the early Shriekback take. I am dying with curiosity if this is intentional or exceptionally good luck.

Download: HolyGhost!: Unknown Track (Live)

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  1. Definitely some good stuff coming up. Some of us (ahem! me) at TSOI are pretty slow about getting the CMJ 2010 posts up and running. Better late than never, right!

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