Welcome back to the second installment of Speak Into My Good Eye’s CMJ diary. Moving from Manhattan’s lower east side, across the East River, and out onto the Bedford Avenue subway platform, there was a palpable buzz churning as everyone above ground in Williamsburg seemed to be fast-walking their way to a showcase with hopes of not getting stuck in a non moving line. I made my way back towards the river and into Brooklyn Bowl for the first of two consecutive The Hype Machine sponsored and tailored lineups.
The night started with an indie-pop supergroup of sorts as singer Z Berg (The Like), James Valentine (Maroon 5), Jason Boesel (Rilo Kiley/Bright Eyes), Alex Greenwald (Phantom Planet), and Michael Runion are making a coast to coast splash all together as JJAMZ. After playing an airport earlier in the day, according to Berg, the shimmering melodies and traditional pop-rock progressions came across in a live setting like fellow LA-ers Grouplove with a young Debbie Harry at center-stage. Although Berg handles most of the vocal duties, JJAMZ as a collective featured their versatility on cuts like “Cleverly Disguised” and “Poolside” which featured lush, powerful harmonies. Look for them to turn up on your FM dial in the very near future.
Copenhagen’s Søren Løkke Juul otherwise known as Indians rode a tidal wave of momentum into Brooklyn Bowl with a slew of CMJ performances already behind him and even more still to come. Despite only making his live debut in February, and with no released album to his credit Juul has already played with Beirut, Bear In Heaven, and Lower Dens with a tour supporting Perfume Genius already lined up. It doesn’t get much buzzier than that. Juul pored over a litany of different electronics and instruments throughout his set with his acoustic guitar led songs allowing his delicate croon to shine brightest. Although the crowd noise and the crash of bowled over pins may not have served Indians all that well, Juul still managed to win over a good portion of those paying attention. It’ll interesting to see whether or not Indians returns after a debut album with a fleshed out live band.
As Brooklyn Bowl began to fill up to capacity the California five piece The Neighbourhood took the stage and demanded attention with an arresting stage presence. While in the middle of a tour opening for The Temper Trap the band took some deserved time off on their own with a southern U.S. swing still to go. The Neighbourhood managed to stretch their 5 track EP I’m Sorry into a haunting, soulful set reminiscent of the early days of Cold War Kids. With all the requisite hype, one can expect The Neighbourhood’s first full length to be among the most anticipated debut’s of 2013.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
SIMGE readers may remember when Unknown Mortal Orchestra played a bowling alley much closer to our home base of operations back in June with fellow CMJ-ers DIIV. So it was no surprise to see members of the latter band taking a breather from their marathon run of gigs to catch UMO bring a veteran by comparison, polished performance to Brooklyn Bowl. As personal space became a luxury, many in the crowd could be caught singing along for the first time all night to the fuzzy psychedelia from UMO’s eponymous LP. New track “Swim and Sleep” offered up a slice of what to expect as the band, led by Ruban Nielson, progress onwards and upwards.
Sadly, the confines of a two hour plus NJ Transit commute did not permit me to catch The Virgins performance later on. Day two down, the marathon marches on…