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Zach's CMJ Day 4: Anna Haas + The Effect, Animal Reporters, Ferrari Truck, Cousin Earth, The Amigos

Last night at The Bitter End in Greenwich Village was a refreshingly feel-good, mostly funk affair. First on the neon-lit stage was Nashville/New York quartet Anna Haas + The Effect whose loud, rollicking tracks fondly recalled such iconic bands as The Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac but burst to their own life with frontwoman Haas. With her rock-strong voice and fluid dance moves, she wasn't so much the head of a band as much as the bearer of a flickering rock torch. New York five-piece Animal Reporters were next, performing similarly funk-influenced songs of jumping keys and virtuosic guitars that, at one point, surprisingly yet thrillingly dipped into psych-rock. The group’s funked-up cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff,” a song that is perhaps reinterpreted too much, also proved intriguing. A somewhat more ominous funk hit the room next with Brooklyn quintet Ferrari Truck. Beginning with a slow, stormy song that reminded one of The Doors’ darker cuts, the Flatbush-rooted group then went into a warm, blues-inflected track that sounded like something The Dude would zone out to. As heard in their guitar-fuzzed, poignantly-titled track “Whispering You,” though, the band seemed keen to move as well as thrill the listener. Fellow Brooklyn five-piece Cousin Earth (pictured) took the stage next, beginning their set with an unabashedly glorious rendition of Jackie Wilson's “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher," lead singer Terry Brennan using a mini mouthpiece to simulate that track’s perky instrumentation. Then, after playing one of the loopy, effects-oriented songs from their forthcoming new album (due 11.20), the band segued into an amusing yet rocking medley of what seemed to be Kermit the Frog and a reggae-tinged version of “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” displaying this group’s fun-loving nature. Over at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1, New York quartet The Amigos ended the night with its bluegrass-inflected, accordion-based tracks that blasted the longing of the blues in a pleasantly sunny way. – Zach Weg





Toronto pop duo K.I.D. plays CMJ + tours

Some band names have the power to inhibit your "clicking" will, and, admittedly, the band called K.I.D. (akronim for "Kid In Dehad precisely that effect. But sometimes you've gotta get past first impressions... Our self-discipline triumphed though, and the consequent, reluctant clicking was rewarded with some really cool electronic rock-pop by a Toronto duo that's currently in NYC for the CMJ music festival. Check out their recent video for single "New Emotion," which showcases singer Kara's noteworthy vocal talent and presence, and the band's propensity for radio friendly melodies. After their appearance at CMJ, K.I.D. will come back to Canada for a brief East Coast tour. 

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Portland artists playing CMJ: teenage phenomenon Grace Mitchell

The CMJ festival is currently on in NYC, and we stumbled upon a Portland artists that's taking part in it we never covered before: Grace Mitchell. The 18 year old certainly sounds a lot older and wiser than her age in her blues-electro-pop sophomore EP "Raceday," which was released just a few weeks ago. Her tracks certainly don't belong to the widespread "intimate female songwriter" category, but on the contrary possess almost invariably a bombastic pop element. It's really hard to believe a teenager can have a vocal delivery as confident as hers. 





Isabel's CMJ Day 3: Timbre, Siblings, and Kendra Morris

For my last night of CMJ, I started at Alphabet Lounge to see Timbre and Siblings. Timbre, a harpist from Nashville, Tennessee, took the stage accompanied by a violinist and drummer - her sound was unparalleled. Seamlessly increasing and decreasing in both dynamics and tempo, Timbre defied what I believed to be true about the harp. Each song had a driving momentum that contrasted with Timbre’s almost angelic voice floating above the instrumentation. Next at Alphabet Lounge was the NYC-based band, Sibling.  Sibling is comprised of six musicians: a guitarist, bassist, saxophonist, drummer, and two vocalists. As a larger group, their music crosses and blends genres; they merge the melodies and articulations of jazz and funk, while the vocalists blend R&B and rap. Although many of their tracks sounded similar, Siblings music undoubtedly makes you groove. From Alphabet Lounge, I headed to Drom and there I saw another NYC-based artist: Kendra Morris (pictured). Morris’ music, a fusion of soul and rock, was sung with control while still demonstrating her expansive range. Luckily, Morris’ voice, an odd mixture of operatic and Amy Winehouse rasp, was enough to distract from her backing track and the one other musician on stage. Nevertheless, there was a command of the space, and audience, that has been rare the past three days of CMJ. - Isabel Rolston

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Zach's CMJ Day 3: Second Child, Ezra Furman, The Grasping Straws, and French Horn Rebellion

Wednesday night at The Bitter End in the West Village started with the understated majesty of New York/Philadelphia quartet Second Child (pictured). Playing warm, folk-inflected songs that found notable beauty with the harmonizing of lead singer Alex DeSimine and bassist Alex Tremitiere, the band subtly moved the listener but didn't forget to straight-up thrill; their funked-up cover of David Bowie's "Fame" enlivened the previously focused crowd, several hoots and shouts flying out. While Dirty Projectors are probably more similar to them, it's exciting to see that Second Child can get loose like The Thin White Duke did on some of his earlier tracks. At Le Poisson Rouge, Oakland/Chicago rocker Ezra Furman finished his set with a gloriously riotous rendition of Arcade Fire's "Crown of Love," the gradual nature of that 'Funeral' standout reverting into sax-backed wildness and the green-haired Furman's lightning-quick guitar picks. Back at the End, New York four-piece The Grasping Straws drifted into slow, drum-marched songs that, particularly with frontwoman Mallory Feuer's drawn-out and bluesy vocals, recalled the lo-fi glory of early Cat Power. Taking their time rather than rushing towards easy shock, these tracks intrigued with their very patience and calm and, perhaps most importantly, were ultimately moving, their tumbling quality enabling the audience to both engage and reflect. Down on the Lower East Side, Brooklyn's French Horn Rebellion sent the evening out with feel-good dance tracks full of both jittering electronics and rubbery horns. Brothers Robert Perlick-Molinari and David Perlick-Molinari wore matching Glasslands T-shirts and, with their hip sways and head bobs, they seemed to throw a party not just for that lost venue but for the institution of live music itself. - Zach Weg  

 

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