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CMJ Marathon 2013 - Runners' Diary: John Day 4
- by John McGovern


DAY FOUR I am more than half through my CMJ marathon. Going to see bands play all night has become such a routine that I am starting to believe that this will be my life for a long time. I have subsisted off a diet of falafel sandwiches from Oasis and beer plus well shot deals. Not a bad way to live. After seeing 6+ bands for the previous three days, day four was a relatively light day for me - I had hoped to get some rest for the final day.

The first band of the night was Brooklyn’s Honduras (pictured on the right). If I hadn’t known any better, I would’ve guessed that they were from England. The U.K.’s youth culture always seems to be a step ahead of the U.S.’s (think of the British Invasion, the origins of punk, and, more recently, electronic music), and U.K. bands provide a lot of inspiring fodder for bands. Honduras triggered memories of listening to a bunch of the best English punk/post-punk bands like Gang of Four, Wire, and even The Clash (but that might just be because their frontman kind of looks like Joe Strummer). Like a lot of good post-punk music (which usually means more than just “after punk,” implying that the music is more artistically ambitious than traditional punk music), all of the band members played an integral role in their tight sound.

Over at Cloud City, ADVAETA played a distinct form of shoegazing dream pop. I talked before about bands whose music seems to create their own world, and ADVAETA is one of these bands. To lure the listeners into your musical world you must have some ability to hypnotize, to put them in a trance and make them forget about everything else in the world. That’s one of the reasons people listen to music: to escape. And what’s better than losing yourself in a performance? ADVAETA brought the required noise and transcendence.

Over at 252 Norman Ave Turnip King played a great set that is best described by their bandcamp description, a lo-fi psych punk basement extravaganza. Turnip King also cites a bunch of great bands as influences on their page. Usually when I see someone cite a Bobbie Dylan or a Radiohead as an influence I yawn. But Turnip King accomplished the difficult task of actually learning from their cited influences. They're not just name-dropping to sound alt; they're the real deal. The riffs are sprawling and intricate, the vocals are lackadaisical, and they change direction with a delicate caprice. The band is just honing their chops, and based on what I heard, they’re heading in the right direction.

The days have been going by fast, and I needed this short day to stop and look around so that I wouldn’t miss it. Ferris Bueller said something like that. Did my attempt to savor the moment pay off or did I end up making a huge mistake? Stay tuned for day five.