Deli Magazine

CMJ Marathon 2013 - Runners' Diary: Kayla Day 1
- by Kayla Hay


Easy Tells

I started my first CMJ trip in Williamsburg at Spike Hill, and man was it a first good night. Let me just start off by saying that Spike Hill has some of the best audio for a venue of its size, surprising to say the place looked half its age for the sound it was blasting out, but hey more power to ya. The first band I got the pleasure of watching was the Easy Tells, the first song of the night began with drummer Keith Robinson setting what I thought would be the mood for the song, but when Matt Brandau hit his bass note the song started screaming with psychedelic percussions. Like for most psych rock bands, the guitar sound is this band's secret weapon. Too bad Charlie Sheen coined the phrase ‘Winning!’ because that is all the Easy Tells was doing on stage. The amount of emotion expressed by the vocals mesmerized the audience as lead singer Matthew Crosby roared that ‘the devil was dyin’ to take me out’. Take this band with you on a long drive - I know I’ll be enjoying them on my next trip out to Montauk, anyone want to join?

Handsome Lady Record Club

At the entrance of Spike Hill, band member Will Knox of Handsome Lady Record Club, also the collective/band hosting the shows that night, instantly greeted me. His beaming smile was refreshing, since after all, New Yorkers don’t exactlyhave the best reputation for being the friendliest people (I'm a West coast girl). Knox shook my hand and I introduced myself as he invited me to take as many samples of pop-chips, promotional fixes, CDs and stick on mustaches. Why the fake mustache? Because if you put one on a lady she’s handsome - therefore Handsome Lady Records. HLRC performed at 10:10 and put on a crowd-pleasing show filled with engulfing bass riffs, acoustic strums, tambourines and harmonica. The music felt like I was back in Michigan during the gusty summer nights, with instruments that remind me of my past but lyrics that tempt me to my future that’s “burning like a cold fire”. Such a charming ensemble of men and music had the whole crowd hypnotized when guitar player, Jake Hill took the mic. and switched the genres from alternative indie into folk-Americana . His rugged, deep, smokey voice was nostalgic.  A tape recorder and a microphone is all that is needed to create this band's music, and the diversity in their writing and vocals keeps things interesting throughout the set.

Danica Dora

At 12:15 Danica Dora got on the Spike Hill stage, but not before performing with the Easy Tells a song she co-wrote called ‘Even After All This Time’. From the delicate ensemble of piano and a few light guitars, came a touching and heartfelt song that mellowed me out completely. With her multifarious tone Danica sounded at times like Dolly Parton circa 1974, at other times like Lily Allen. Enough to hush the crowd, “I still want you after all this time, explain that to me”, I don’t know if I will be able to explain why, but I do know ill be listening to her some more.