It’s Friday morning, and what a week WMSE has had at CMJ in New York, so far! Pretty much nonstop, so there’s a lot of ground to cover. Highlights!
Wednesday, October 19th:
Dodging raindrops all day, it was a welcome respite to hang out at New York University’s Kimmel Center for some panels, including a great one on engineering and production and its history and current waves and changes. What’s the best vocal mic to use? What do engineers use…PC versus Mac? All was fair game, but technology wasn’t boo-ed quite as much as one might think. Bottom line — if it goes over the air, it needs to sound good.
Later that evening, we attended the showcase for Jagjaguwar/Dead Oceans/Secretly Canadian Records at Union Pool in Brooklyn to catch Milwaukee drummer Joe Wong play for Jagjaguwar band, Parts & Labor. The band reveled in their signature prog-y synth manipulations and dual vocal harmonies, making for an energetic show. Newly-signed Dead Oceans quartet, Gauntlet Hair, played next. The Colorado band tweaked and tweaked their sound, but the wait was absolutely worth it, for their reverb-laden sound owned the room, cavernous vocals hovering over angular and glimmering guitar notes. Finale-ers, A Place to Bury Strangers were a delightful audio assault, their feedback squeals and crunchy guitar hits as impactful as the Jesus & Mary Chain turned up to full effect.
Thursday, October 20th:
Kicking off the day at NYU for CMJ’s official College Day, we participated in the Music Director’s Summit, where MD’s from college stations across the country (and Canada) joined in on asking questions and getting feedback about radio and digitally-submitted music, promoter and music director relationships and the always present problem of evening out the listener connection of students and the community. We met up with many, many promoters and MDs and got some great feedback regarding what WMSE does compared to the rest, and went on to cheer many of those promoters and MDs on at the following annual CMJ Awards.
Later that evening, we headed to Local 269 on Houston to check out Aim Low. Aim Low’s members feature volunteers from CJLO in Montreal and lots of fellow college radio people came out to cheer the band on. Aim Low kept everyone intent with their squalling versus droning feedback loops. A couple blocks away, we scooted over to Mercury Lounge just in time to catch a languidly pretty set from Sub Pop Records’ Memoryhouse, who filled the large club with dripping reverb and honeyed-up keys and guitars. Big-time co-headliner, J Mascis, played opposites, taking the stage for an acoustic set with only a flautist for accompaniment. Even with the minimalism, the crowd wildly cheered after each song as if he’d brawled into his Dino Jr. material of yore.
What’s in store for Friday? We’ll keep you posted! All we know is that it involves NYU, taking lots of notes and checking out Wisconsin/New York band Yellow Ostrich among many, many other things…