Jake's CMJ Day 3: Malatese, Life Size Maps, Haybaby, Homeshake, LeRug, No One and the Somebodies

Jake feels right at hom on Day 3

By: Jake Saunders

October 26, 2014

" Somehow I ended up seeing all the bands I see play all the time, which might not be in the spirit of CMJ but, whatever (fuck you by the way for criticizing me). "

Day 3 ended up being my Brooklyn band day. Somehow I ended up seeing all the bands I see play all the time, which might not be in the spirit of CMJ but, whatever (fuck you by the way for criticizing me).  I did get to see a bunch of bands I had been meaning to see for a long time; I'll stop talking now lets just get on with it already.

First band was not however from Brooklyn; Malatese from Harrisonberg, Virgina at Bowery Electric was my first stop.

Malatese makes post-no-wave-pre-post-pre-punk music.  Their melodies/jams/grooves/whatever you wanna call 'em are dissonant and aggressive, drowned under a wave of distortion and Travis' noisy vocals.  Their music is already a little strange and head-tilt inducing, but Travis adds this extra little element of weird that brings it to a level of ingenuity.  First of all, he runs his vocals through a 404 sampler, using all the weird delay or pitch bending effects to add this monstrous ambience.  He's also got a generally hilarious stage presence, what with this funny shake dance that he does, all the weird noises he randomly spews out and the funny faces. He's not afraid to look like a little stupid up there because he's having good ol' tortured fun, which in turn means I'm having fun; if he brought it to an even further level of crazy he could be a regular Iggy Pop.  

Next was good ol' Life Size Maps.  Now I'm going to be brutally honest, and I feel a little better about it because I said this to their singer/principal song writer Mike McKeever yesterday, this is not the kind of music I would normally be down for.  Despite this, every time I see Life Size Maps they take up a little more room in my music appreciating heart.  They're songs are infectious ear-worms, dangerous almost, as I will be singing those melodies preceeding literally every LSM show I've seen.  The description I've taken to give to people who ask me about LSM is "digital shoe-gaze"… actually Mike might have said that to me so I'm totally ok with that description.  It's a very computerized synth-driven project, and despite technology being cold sometimes, Mike's got a warm energy up there, something I always appreciate.  Rob Karpay (of Scherzo) also rocks the synth, no lie.  

Next was Haybaby.  A band I've known has existed for a long time, but never actually ended up seeing.  I've been to their house for Christ's sake (they put on shows there), but never seen them play.  Anyways, this band is great, really awesome minimal melodies, also really loud…like a lot louder than I expected. Leslie Hong has a great voice, Sam Yield kills it on bass, just a great rock band; kind of like if The XX and early Yeah Yeah Yeahs had a (hay)baby.  I just love how this band does a lot with a little; no flashy rock star flair, just a really simple yet incredibly stylish sound.  I can't get over this up and down groove on "Pretty Hair", mmm it gives me the tingles.  

OK, after this is where I made my big CMJ day 3 mistake.  That was when I left that show and went to Baby's All Right.  OK, I guess it was just half a mistake; I went to see Montreal's Homeshake, aka Peter Sagar (Mac Demarco's old guitarist), but I got there only for the last two and a half songs and had to hang around the Captured Tracks people for the rest of the evening.  I won't say much about Homeshake because they're probably going to get a lot more attention from people who are bigger deals than me, but it's fuckin' awesome; really great jazzy grooves, they make me dance, I love bands that make me dance.  It sounds a little like Mac Demarco but honestly a little more complex and deep if you ask me.  No shit against Mac, he's the man, but I love Homeshake because it has everything I love about Mac DeMarco but I also get to indulge my jazzy disco side too.

Ok went home to recuperate from a long day, then headed out to Muchmore's to catch Brooklyn legends, Le Rug and No One and the Somebodies.  Both veteran bands that have been around way longer than your band, and two bands that have influenced so many people including myself.  

Before I talk about those guys shout out to The Everymen, a dope dance-pop party band with a sick sax player, and shout out to Native America, the rock band from New Orleans who rocked da shit out of my pants.  Also bass player in Native America has a sick band called Woozy, check dat shit. 

Le Rug is the ongoing project of madman Ray Weiss, [from here on, Paolo tkes over, in Italics] a guy with a reputation for driving people crazy. The band was supposed to play The Deli's show at Spike Hill on CMJ Wednesday, but Ray emailed Paolo (who put the bill together) two days before saying that he had to leave "for Bangkok that night for a job." But there he was playing Muchmore that same night... that's very rock'n'roll, by the way, (the douchbagness of it all), in a 1977 NYC punk scene kind of way. But that doesn't mean we admire him for that, quite the opporite actually. Anyway, the man has been putting out quality music for about 10 years, and that's all our inner critic cares about in the end. That's a really long time, so give him your props dammit!  It's just straight up good indie rock jams, Sammy Weisberg kills it on guitar and J Boxer (who is in every single band ever) shreds the bass.  Ray has a great energy on stage, he's passionate about what he does, and that's important.  I remember back in high school when I would jam out to Bleenex,  such a great album.

Next was the highlight for everyone that night.  No One and the Somebodies (in the big picture on top of the page) are Brooklyn legends, four brothers from Westchester/The Bronx who released their first album in 2004, and I was ready to pop my NOATS cherry after so long.  When Steve Yankou pulled out the metal guard rail, stood on it and used it as a drum by banging it against the floor with one foot and pounding it with two mallets simultaneously (I knew this would be really hard to describe), it was confirmed how special this band is.  They're all such great musicians, really talented on all their instruments, weaving great pop melodies with wildly outrageous outbursts of math and punk rock.  Their lyrics are all so intricately woven and clearly stated, passionate, often subtly political, and a little bit cheesy. They preach love and solidarity and the good in all people.  They make people happy, they make me happy, let's just be happy.

"Steal my bike and fuck me up. Slash my face and stab my gut. And gouge out my eyes. I’ll still find my way home. Cuz the trains here run all night, and the strangers hope you’re alright. They’re not so mean. They know what it means to be human."