Well CMJ 2011 has finally wrapped up and the good news is Carina survived! Thanks to her hard work and ability to live with much alcohol and not much sleep, we were able to provide our 1st coverage of this amazing experience ever. Here are all the posts she did, in one spot, so you now have officially no excuse not to be caught up. You can also check out our Top 20 Picks Part One and Part Two, along with our Spotify playlists: Spotify Playlist 1 Spotify Playlist 2 Spotify Playlist 3
CMJ 2011 Day 1 Recap
First off, let me give a brief history of what CMJ is. College Music Journal (CMJ) is an annual festival in NYC. It is a weekly magazine aimed at the music industry and college radio station. Over 1000 musicians play in various small venues throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Wednesday was my first time at CMJ. I had no clue what to expect. One thing to note, sets are 30-45 minutes, tops. They start on time and end promptly. This is perfect if you have ADHD. It was a rainy Wednesday morning – which put a small damper on the day, but CMJ must go on!
Zola Jesus @ the Ace Hotel
Have you ever seen a band play in a hotel lobby? Me neither, until today. I walked in fairly late for this performance. For being a tiny girl dressed in a light pink dress, Zola Jesus (real name Nika Roza Danilova) had the crowd moving at 10:45am. I am upset I missed majority of her set, but I did catch her powerful performance of “Vessel”‘ from the new album Conatus. Hopefully I can see her perform again during CMJ!
We Are Augustines @ the Ace Hotel
KEXP Seattle is hosting the events at the Ace Hotel all week. The performances are live on the radio. Billy McCarthy, Eric Sanderson, and Rob Allen of We Are Augustines took the stage to perform tracks from their new album, Rise Ye Sunken Ships. McCarthy dripped with sweat by the end of the short 30 minute set. Their performance was impressive. If you were not a fan going in, you certainly left one.
Portugal. The Man @ the Ace Hotel
It has been a busy year for Portugal. The Man, playing at SXSW, Bonnaroo, and Lollapolooza (remember their gear was stolen). I was actually surprised to see a band this popular on the on the bill for this years CMJ. Lead singer John Gourley and Co calmy played to a maxed out hotel lobby. The acoustic set was a nice mix from all their albums. They played the old fan favorite, “People Say” as well as, “Got it All (This Can’t Be Living Now)” from their newest album.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ the Ace Hotel
The Ace Hotel was officially at capacity for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I know because my friend was apart of the press and was not allowed back in. Majority of their set was from their new album, Hysterical. They opened with Hysterical‘s album opener, “Same Mistake”. “Ketamine and Ecstasy” was the most memorable song from the bunch. I left their set early in hopes to catch Sleeper Agent across town.
Jenny Owen Youngs @ Rockwood Music Hall
I am not sure what made me want to go see Jenny Owens Young play, but I am glad I did. It was a nice chance of scene from a hotel lobby to a small bar with a stage. The past bands did not talk much to the crowd. Jenny interacted with the crowd and told the meanings to some of the songs she was about to perform. Jenny Owen Youngs was the best performance of the day.
- Clean Brick
- Full of Fever
- Last Person
- Your Apartment
- Drinking Song
- Why You Fall
- Led To The Sea
- Start + Stop
- Love For Long
The day started early and ended early. Thursday will start off with Givers and Dum Dum Girls. I will also be checking out Tristen, Grimes, Caveman, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Emily Greene…and more. Here is some video of We Are Augustines, Portugal.The Man and Jenny Owen Youngs:
CMJ 2011 Day 2 Recap
CMJ is almost over it seems! Confession: I thought I would see more artists!
Givers @ Ace Hotel
The crowd started to gather in the lobby of the Ace Hotel Thursday at noon. Givers took the stage for the live broadcast for KEXP. Taylor Guarisco joked that he will have to censor the word “fuck“, which he thought he accidentally said on air. “2 minutes until we are live” a voice yelled out at the band. Taylor quickly goes to mic and tells the audience they have 2 minutes to go pee pee. It was a nice change from the other Ace Hotel events where most of the artists just played their songs and left the stage. Taylor Guarisco and Tiffany Lamson joked around and jumped around on stage. They started the set with “Up Up Up“, and continued with “Meantime” and “Saw You First“. Givers put on the most refreshing and exciting performance at CMJ so far.
Dum Dum Girls @ Ace Hotel
California band, Dum Dum Girls, also had a packed lobby for their set. They took advantage of the large crowd and played songs from their newest album. They officially opened their set with “He Gets Me High“, and later played “Wasted Away“, and “Heartbeat“. I enjoyed the performance and look forward to post CMJ, where I can really take a listen to them.
Grimes @ Pianos
I had hopes to go see Tristen right next door, but her set was starting late. It was a priority to see Grimes today. Pianos is that place you think is just a bar, but once you go deeper you discover there is a small intimate venue inside. I first saw Grimes open for Lykke Li and left rather intrigued.
After taking a listen to her whole discography, I knew I had to see her perform again. She told the audience this would be her first time performing a few of the songs, so to bare with her. I am not sure how she does her performances solo. At one point she had 3 microphones in her hand. After the show, I chatted with her for a bit. I plan on seeing her at the Fader Fort on Friday. She says that performance will be better. People will be drunk and want to dance.
Caveman @ Pianos
Caveman might be playing close to 15 shows during CMJ. Every time I see them, I like them more and more. The guys are very nice and will probably be that band that plays every festival next summer. They opened up with “Vampirer“, and “Old Friend“. Pianos was packed from wall to wall for their entire set. The audience seemed to take them in pretty well. Who could blame them?
I had to leave the show early, but did get to hear ‘Thankful’ which was their second to last song. Later that night they would be DJing at Pianos upstairs. I am sure I will find a way to see them again during CMJ.
Emily Greene @ Rockwood Music Hall
I love Emily Greene. I saw her open for Eliza Doolittle and she killed it. She was a required performance for me to see at CMJ this week. The bar was completely dark besides a few back lights and white Christmas lights that wrapped around her keyboard. She joked with the crowd about hat hair and advised everyone to reply to text messages and not be an asshole. Although the set was CMJ short, she did play some favorites: “Ocean and Waves” about a long distance relationship, and “Just Fine“. Keep an eye out for Emily Greene. She is talented, beautiful and has a great personality.
CMJ The Final Days Recap
I have a CMJ Hangover. I can honestly tell you it is a real thing. Friday and Saturday were dedicated to the Fader Fort. The line-up was diverse and rather decent, plus there would be free whiskey and beer. After the Young the Giant MTV Unplugged taping, I went around the corner to the Fader Fort where Unknown Mortal Orchestra was already on stage. I wish I caught their whole set, next time.
Grimes came on stage and I was glad I saw her again. I could not tell you if her set list was the same as the day before, but this performance seemed more confident. She started her performance with “I have to pee, but oh well”. I like her honesty! I did run into her outside the venue for a second and congratulated her on her impressive performance. We talked about Snoop Dogg, ASAP Rocky, and The Game, then went our separate ways.
King Krule was next. Is anyone in that band over the age of 16? They all looked so young. It was not my favorite performance, but CMJ is about discovering new artists and music. I made the mistake of leaving the venue thinking I could easily get back in again. I got back in line to find out the venue was now at capacity and at least an hour wait.
Saturday I headed over to the Fader Fort in time for the “special guest”, which turned out to be Future performing earlier than scheduled. The rap duo had the diverse crowd dancing and spilling their Bushmill and sodas. I swear they had a song mentioning ‘Aquafina’. Once they left the stage with their crew, the Fader Fort seemed to empty out a bit. Denver’s Gauntlet Hair took the stage then Polica. Polica was my favorite of the two and I plan on researching more about them. I already swallowed down several whiskey and sierra mists and met a few friends.
Purity Ring ended my CMJ experience and what way to end it. The girl/boy duo had a very unique performance. The crowd swayed and danced with each other, as Corrin Roddick hit musical pipes and Megan James slammed the huge drum next to her. I left CMJ with a few bands to research post CMJ hangover. It was a fantastic experience. It was my first time, but I already feel seasoned and learned a lot. Peace out CMJ 2011… until next year.