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Josh's Top 3 NYC bands from CMJ 2012: Wilsen, Blonds, The Nightmare River Band

Josh run The Deli's CMJ Music Marathon last weeks (consisting in blogging about 26 emerging bands based in The Deli's 12 local scenes - but mostly NYC). Here's his top 3. We'll have a list of honorable mentions tomorrow.

WARNING: Josh was our "guy/mellow/folky" runner. Tracy - the "girl/upbeat/punky" marathoner - was covering noisier bands, stay tuned for her selection.

1. Wilsen "When the forlornly whistling of the lead singer, the eponymous Wislen, coincided with striking crash of a cymbal, I can’t imagine there was a spine in the room left sans-shivered".

2. Blonds "With their commanding take of an already strong catalog, Blonds proved to be the highlight of CMJ Tuesday."

3. The Nightmare River Band (pictured) "The Nightmare River Band played a great set filled with some rather awesome rock n’ roll songs."


Josh's CMJ Day 4: Wilsen, The Bengsons, Ma'am, A Brief View Of The Hudson, Field Mouse

There ain’t no rest for the weary as my CMJ Friday starts bright and early at noon at the Rockwood Music Hall. Why would I voluntarily begin my day so early? So I can see two folk acts featuring guy-girl vocal harmonies, which is essentially catnip to me. First up was A Brief View of the Hudson, a five-piece band centered on the vocals of Ann Enzminger and Nick Nace. Read Josh Johnson's report of CMJ's Day 3-4 here. - In the picture and Streaming: Wilsen.

NYC artist to watch at CMJ: Wilsen, Rockwood, 10.18

Wilsen, not to be confused with the inexplicably ubiquitous Wilson Phillips, will be playing the Rockwood Music on October 19th as a part of the CMJ Music Marathon. The singer-songwriter's debut album, “Sirens” is a gorgeous integration of folk and dream-pop, resulting in what those in the genre-making business like us call “dream folk.” A particularly notable track off “Sirens” is “Anahita,” which combines Wilsen’s truly haunting voice with a guitar melody reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky’s work on “Friday Night Lights.” The strikingly engaging song is both devastating and celebratory; evocative of both death and a last-second Matt Saracen touchdown. Check out the video for “Anahita” here, and single "Dusk" streaming below. - "Dusk" was added to our NYC Roots Music and Mellow Core SoundCloud Playlists. - Josh Johnson

September 2012

Much has been made of Wilsen’s unique combination of dream pop and folk, which has been dubbed as “dream folk.” Yet there is a much easier way to describe the NYC-based singer-songwriter: really, really talented. Her debut album, “Sirens,” is eerie, confident, and a fantastic first step for this bright artist.

“Sirens” opens with “House On a Hill,” which is highlighted by some strangely ominous whistling over a melodic guitar line. Wilsen then moves to her folk roots with “Dusk.” Here, her vocals softly shine while even softer instrumentation ornaments the dueling senses of comfort and apprehension.

Throughout the album, Wilsen experiments with different sounds and styles, although her overall sound keeps faith to early Leonard Cohen's sparse, pensive approach. The guitar work on “Lady Jane” has an almost Middle Eastern feel, while the vocals on “Springtime” bounce with a jazzy swagger.

Closing “Sirens” is the ten and a half minute epic, “Anahita” (see the video here). I’ve already sung the praises of this track, yet its breathtaking power cannot be overstated. The moment halfway through the song when the stunning guitar line gives way to aural chaos is one of the best recorded musical instances of the year. - Josh S. Johnson

NYC dream-folk Wilsen release debut CD - Union Pool, 07.25

The magic hour is that one time of day when shadows get sharper, light gets more intense, and everything is perfect to take great photos. The debut video for Wilsen’s first release seems to recall this mood in its sharp instrumentation and dizzying lights. Shot in the band’s rehearsal space, ‘Dusk’ highlights the differing shapes and sizes this time of day creates. From Tamsin Wilson, a singer/songwriter usually associated with country twang, comes a surprisingly commanding voice backed by an ambitious folk trio. The song channels the heavens in its haunting refrain “dusk is rolling in,” and I’m excited to see what vision develops from here. Check it yourself when they play their debut album release show at Union Pool on July 25th. - Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets)


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