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Isabel's CMJ Day 2: Mackenzie Shivers, Lance Breakfast, Kenyon Phillips & The Ladies in Waiting, and Cardiknox

My second night of CMJ started at DROM in the East Village. The lineup consisted it three NYC-based artists: Mackenzie Shivers, Lance Breakfast, and Kenyon Phillips & The Ladies in Waiting. Shivers started the night at the piano. Her music can be classified as folk pop, but listening closely, both country and celtic influences animate her melodies. During her track, “Fourth of July,” Shivers' voice, harmonizing with another singer, swamped the venue in a sound that was emotional and authentically beautiful. She was also the pianist for the next two acts: Lance Breakfast stepped onto the stage wearing an NYU t-shirt and strumming on a baby blue guitar - or was that an electric Ukulele? Breakfast’s music floated between genres. His voice, gruff and weighty, suggested folk, but his band's instrumentation, which was clear, organized, and hard-hitting, leaned towards rock n’ roll and blues. Although most of his tracks were consistently up-tempo, I appreciated Breakfast’s slower, quieter, moments. It was only then I could hear his lyrics. Progressing through the night, each act amped up the volume and tempo. So, by the time Kenyon Phillips & The Ladies in Waiting hit the stage, the audience was ready for some punch. Phillips commanded the stage with wide-eyed theatricalism; while watching him sing track “Born to Be Famous” I couldn't help but think that he made a good case for it. Towards the end the night, I headed west to The Studio at Webster Hall. Up next was Cardiknox, (pictured, who recently moved from NYC to LA) and it was the most fun set of the night. Lead singer, Lonnie Angle, bounced around the stage, and her performance energized me and the audience. Angle’s singing is ethereal and amplified by backup vocals, but there is nothing dreamy about Cardiknox. Almost midnight, Angle yelled into the microphone, “Let’s keep fucking doing this.” Their synth-driven anthems were so energetic and empowering, no one at Webster Hall was wishing they were asleep. - Isabel Rolston





Zach's CMJ Day 2: The Glazzies, Bird Dog, Owel, Controller and Tesha

Wednesday night on the Lower East Side started with unabashed energy as Sag Harbor, New York-hailing duo The Glazzies performed its guitar-stormed tracks at Pianos' Upstairs Lounge. Along with drummer Dave Horn, whose Johnny Cash T-shirt added to the room's ominous yet warm aura, singer Peter Landi broke into tight songs that conveyed the passionate angst of Nirvana while burning the mirror-paneled stage with its own punk fire. Just across the street at Arlene's Grocery, New Jersey quintet Owel delivered a shinier but no less fiery sound, frontman Jay Sakong and his bandmates playing soaring, violin-girded cuts that recalled the grand-rock of Muse but glowed in a unique halo of ferocity and sonority. Fellow five-piece Controller (pictured, scheduled to play our Pianos indie show on Friday) took the bustling Arlene's next, jumping into pop-bubbled rock pieces that almost sounded like Bruce Springsteen beside a synth station. There was also something of '80s dance in these delightfully loud songs, as vividly seen in lead vocalist Jon Bellinger's elastic sways and swoons, the movements of a bashful master of ceremonies. Back at Pianos, the five mustached men of Los Angeles' Bird Dog brought things down to a somewhat calmer notch, their folk-inflected rock songs reaching particular beauty with gliding harmonies and topping the high-ceilinged hall with western sun. New York-via-Israel musician Tesha closed the evening a few blocks away at Fat Baby. Before a wall that had pictures of such hip-hop masters as Tupac, the computer-decked artist dipped into subtly moving fantasias of skipping beats and sputtering synths, almost holding time in a bewitchingly nocturnal instant and then releasing it back into the wee hours of the morning. - Zach Weg

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TONIGHT! The Deli's Pop CMJ stage at The Living Room

Last CMJ 2015 show! It's pop time, who doesn't like pop? C'mon everybody - there will be FREE SWEETWATER BEER from 7 to 8pm!!!

Check out this awesome compilation with a track by each artist performing tonight.

The Deli NYC's Folks

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Isabel's CMJ Day 1: Ron Gallo, Wet Leather, Caged Animals, and Weekend Money

My first CMJ day started at Arlene's Grocery with Wet Leather, an NYC based band. The quintet filled the venue with their soulful and memorable alt pop. You can hear an 80’s influence (dominating synth & funky basslines) in their music, but it isn’t gimmicky. Performing alongside, “Yours and Mine,” a track of theirs with anthem potential, Wet Leather also premiered their new track, “Shame,” which had just been premiered on Consequence of Sound. Continuing my night at Cake Shop, Caged Animals were a highlight. The group makes dreamy alt pop so momentous, I forgot I was in the Lower East Side of Manhattan; with introspective lyrics, Vincent Cacchione’s voice, often harmonizing with Magali Francoise, soared over the tightly organized instrumentation. Ending the set with their song, “Teflon Heart,” the track’s catchy melody and vocal hook followed me the rest of the night. To finish the night, I headed back around the corner to Arlene’s Grocery to see local Hip Hop duo (via Philly and Iraq!) Weekend Money perform (pictured). Lead singer Ne$$ was bold in every way, shouting into the crowd, “This ain’t spoken word, wake the fuck up!” Accompanied by Baghdaddy, the two made the audience bounce, but it was Ne$$’s lyrics that were most affecting. Performing their track “Yellow,” he exclaimed to the NYC audience, “Piggy piggy piggies, all I see/Roll around in NYC/And I just try to stay out their way/ We get money in Manhattan take it back to BK.”

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Zach's CMJ Day 1: Captain Baby, Rosy Street, Henry Hall, and Ron Gallo at Arlene's Grocery

The dimly-lit Arlene's Grocery may have been rather empty yesterday afternoon (tough to fill up a NYC venue on an early Tuesday pm!) but it held several intriguing, strangely beautiful acts, booked by NYC promoters Siren Sounds. First up was the Brooklyn six-piece Captain Baby whose heavy guitars and warbled vocals conjured a darkly electric atmosphere, like something out of Gotham City. The Asher Rogers-led band also displayed a warmer side, though, their drum-pulsed last track (presumably from their debut album 'Sugar Ox') being catchy and even sexy. Next to take the disco ball-fronted stage were fellow Brooklyners Rosy Street. Down to frontman Kyle Avallone's skinny black jeans and deep vocal rasp, the rock quartet was something out of filmmaker Jim Jarmusch's universe, its ominous yet serene tracks of thin guitars and tumbling drums creating a spectral warmth. Afterwards came Henry Hall, a beguiling singer-songwriter whose hometown on his Facebook page amusingly states: "JFK//LAX." Along with his bassist Robby Caplan and drummer (apparently Nate Mondschein), Hall broke into the guitar-fuzzed songs (off his eponymous EP released earlier this year) that intriguingly sunk mellow R&B in hard rock, his virtuosic voice at times recalling Jack Black and at others Destiny's Child and always commanding the room. Philadelphia-based rock trio Ron Gallo closed the afternoon with classic rock force, its thunderous guitar cuts (off a forthcoming album) fondly recalling Led Zeppelin and Cream while proving, as many of the songs from the previous groups did, that thrilling, committed music can occur at all hours of the day. - Zach Weg

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