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CMJ 2011

CMJ Interview with Peter Peter

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Over the years the CMJ Music Marathon has turned into an annual proving ground for emerging artists. With all of the buzz surrounding the event and the multitude of industry professionals who descend on New York City for the week, it would be fair to say that the artists may feel a bit of pressure to make it one of their best performances.

One might think that the possibility of no one in the crowd understanding a single word that you sing might add to those pressures, but for francophone singer-songwriter Peter Peter the thought didn’t even cross his mind, “Didn’t even think about it, thanks for bringing that up [laughs]. But, speaking for myself, and what I’ve experienced, pretending English is my first language would hinder my music from travelling way more than singing in French.”

Being in the audience for his set at Arlene’s Grocery we witnessed firsthand that Peter’s ability to connect with the crowd was not hindered whatsoever by any language barriers. Peter draws on his experiences of watching other artists as a basis for his live sets. For him a good live show is one that is, “A fine blend between promiscuity and irreverence. I always feel pleased when an artist succeeds at giving the best he can without making me believe I am his personal friend.”

Even with the pressure of CMJ, the objective was still the same– to deliver an engaging set and rock out just as hard as he does back home in Montreal. After the show Peter said of his CMJ experience that, “Since I started promoting my album, going outside Montreal always meant going smaller places. We were clearly more excited than usual when we got in the van to New York City, but it didn’t make any difference when we played. I tried to set the amp up as loud as I could to make sure the French wouldn’t be an issue [laughs].”

Peter’s debut self-titled album which was produced by Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) is available now, and I highly recommend that you pick up a copy. In our last question to Peter we asked what it was like to work with the legendary Bilerman– “I was so nervous… I thought to myself, what if the magic doesn’t show up? What if I screw the opportunity of a lifetime by doing bad in such a great place? It’s a normal feeling… I think… The magic did show up because Howard knew how to bring the songs back to their initial feelings when I got lost and confused. It happened all the time, I am lost all the time. God bless Bilerman!”

CMJ Interview with The New Limb

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If you took our advice before the CMJ Music Marathon this year then you were at Arlene’s Grocery on Friday night to see The New Limb. Like us, the band is still in the process of recovering from CMJ, but we were able to catch Joey (lead vocals and guitar), Dan (guitar and vocals), Lauren (keys and vocals), Adam (drums and vocals) and Dave (bass) for a few questions. Read on below for the full interview to see what they have to say about playing in New York, their new EP and some advice for all of those aspiring hipsters out there.

M&T: I know you had mentioned during your set that it was the first time in New York City for a few of you, what was it like to be a part of such a huge festival in your first visit?

Dave: Defintlely exciting, a bit hectic.  I loved the intensity of the city, and our schedule just magnified that.
Dan: I fell in love. The energy that CMJ injected into the city was incredible. We flew in Friday night and went straight to a couple spots where shows were going on, it was magical.
Adam: I was here years ago, But it definitely wasn’t as cool as playing for such a great festival. And hopefully we’ll be able to come back next year and get to stay longer.
Lauren: I kind of feel like we might move there someday.

M&T: Did you get a chance to catch any other bands at CMJ? Who really caught your attention?

Lauren: Unfortunately, we arrived in New York at 1AM on Friday night, woke up at 2pm on Saturday, wandered our way around the city, struggled to get cabs to pick us up with our gear, and barely made it to our show at 9PM on Saturday… So I don’t think we really got to experience CMJ yet. We did get to hear a bit of Skizzy Mars (he played after us at Arlene’s) and he’s pretty dope.

M&T: You closed out your set at CMJ with a new track called “Work I’ve Done,” which we featured in our CMJ preview coverage, could you tell us about what else we can expect from the new EP?

Joey: Our previous record had a wide range of styles from song to song. Now we’re trying to melt down our natural inclination for diversity into something that is more focused and hopefully even more us.  It’ll probably still be more of a stew than a soup though.

M&T: Any plans to tour once the new EP has come out?

Joey: We’re planning on touring until we hate each other so much that we fall back in love with each other.

M&T: At M&T we are always wondering what the bands we love to listen to have on their iPods, what is on heavy rotation for you guys right now?

Dave: Carole King, Active Child, SBTRKT, Beatles, Joni Mitchell
Dan: On Spotify my top 6 artists are James Blake, Eminem, Jay Z, Simon & Garfunkel, Radiohead and Interpol.
Adam: I’ve been listening to a lot of Sugarcubes, XX, Interpol, FleetFfoxes, Four Tet, Bjork, Holy Ghost, etc.
Lauren: I haven’t stopped listening to James Blake in months.
Joey: I’ve been listening to the Tron soundtrack by Daft Punk a lot and Infinite Arms by Band of Horses.

M&T: Any words of advice for all of the little hipsters out there who dream of playing CMJ one day?

Dave: “Listen to your heart. That’s what I do.” – N. Dynomite
Dan: Bring roadies, and an entourage.
Adam: Work hard to make an original and accessible contribution to music.
Lauren: Be nice, work hard, make real contributions to music, don’t give up.
Joey: Try to find bandmates that are huge and muscular so they can carry all of your gear across New York for you.  Subways are great but not ideal when you’re carrying pedal boards and such.

CMJ Interview with Passwords

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Between running around from showcase to showcase at CMJ I had a chance to catch up with one of our favorite acts from the weekend—Passwords. I got to know the band over lunch and learned a few interesting tidbits about the Canadian group like how lead singer Tom L’Allier used to play in a Rolling Stones cover band and that most families from Montreal to do their summer vacationing on Cape Cod, who knew?

Aside from vacation plans I also spoke with the band about their experience at CMJ and going to the studio to work on their next release (you heard it here first people). Read on below for the full interview and make sure to check back for more details on Passwords’ next release.

Maimed & Tamed: You have the self-titled release out now, what can we expect next in terms of recording?

Passwords: We’re going for more of a live approach on the new recording, off the floor kind of stuff. We’d like to have a really straight forward, more “poppy” kind of record, focusing mainly on synths and fuzz guitar hooks.

M&T: What has been the best part about playing CMJ?

Passwords: Hanging out in New York City and meeting new people.

M&T: Who else have you been able to check out this weekend?

Passwords: A cool band from Boston (!) called Friendly People and fellow Montrealers TOPS, Miracle Fortress, The Barr Brothers, Pat Jordache

M&T: The showcase you played at Arlene’s featured a variety of acts out of Montreal, what other artists from your home city should our readers know about?

Passwords: Organ Mood, Beaver Shepherd, Technical Kidman, Sean Nicholas Savage, The Loodies.

M&T: What is your favorite venue to play in Montreal?

Passwords: The Sala Rossa and the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art.

M&T: Where can our fans catch you next if they didn’t take my advice (their loss) and missed the CMJ showcase?

Passwords: We are playing November 11 at the Mod Club in Toronto.

CMJ 2011 Wrap-Up

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It was a whirlwind trip to New York for this year’s CMJ festivities, but it was certainly a worthwhile one. We spent the weekend criss-crossing the city moving from club to club trying to take in as much music as possible and we have compiled the highlights for you below–

M for Montreal Showcase at Arlene’s Grocery– We were there to see Passwords, but were pleasantly surprised by the francophone artists who opened up the showcase, most notably Peter Peter. The Montreal native delivered a raucous set showing off his skills on the looping pedal and his knack for a little showmanship when he ended the set by completely de-tuning his guitar and getting down on his knees to attack his pedal board with his hands.

Santos Party House on Friday Night– Friday night at Santos’ had it all, Will Johnson aka Gordon Voidwell announced that he and his whole band had performed on LSD all week, French Horn Rebellion rocked the downstairs stage with a weirdly satisfying blend of synth and french horn, Walk The Moon covered Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal” and had half the crowd covered in their signature face paint and all of this came even before Australian indie-pop superstar Gotye took the stage. I think it’s safe to say that it was a pretty good night.

Andrew Keoghan at The Living Room– One of the best things about CMJ is being able to see foreign artists who don’t tour in the United States regularly. We featured Keoghan’s violin looping skills on the site over the summer, so we jumped at the chance to see him at The Living Room. His set certainly didn’t disappoint as Keoghan switched from guitar to violin to end his set with “Every Orchid Offering” and “Gloria.” Here’s to hoping the New Zealand native won’t be a stranger in the States in 2012.

With CMJ behind us, it doesn’t mean that the fun is going to slow down as we head back to Boston for a full slate of shows this week. Make sure to check in all this week for some concert previews, reviews, and CMJ interviews, but in the meantime take a listen to some music from some of our CMJ 2011 favorites.

 

 

Top 5 Weekend Picks for CMJ 2011

Posted on by Eric in CMJ 2011 | 1 Comment

Although we can only make it for Friday and Saturday we are still very excited to be heading down to New York City for the CMJ Music Marathon. CMJ has always been a place where up-and-coming artists get a chance to showcase their potential in front of gawking hipsters and industry professionals alike. It is physically impossible to see the 1000+ bands who will be performing at various clubs throughout NYC during the week, but we made our picks for the 5 must-see acts of the weekend and in no particular order, here is what we came up with–

PASSWORDS– This band was one of our favorite groups of the summer and if you have read M&T before you know how much we loved their debut LP. Their sound seems to change with each track and since I have yet to see them live I can only imagine that their set at CMJ will be as versatile as their record. The Canadian band will be a part of the M is for Montreal showcase at Arlene’s Grocery and they will take the stage at 745pm on Friday, a great way to kick off your CMJ weekend.

Radiation City– Based out of Portland, the group is led by Cameron Spies and Lizzy Ellison who also run Apes Tapes, the cassette tape label behind the band.  Smooth harmonies and nostalgic melodies are the name of the game here and lucky for you Radiation City will be playing two weekend showcases. After catching a little preview of what is to come at O’Brien’s in Allston last night, I can tell you that you won’t want to miss either of their showcases at Lit Lounge at midnight on Friday or Spike Hill at 3pm on Saturday.

Hallelujah the Hills– Now it might not make the most sense to travel to CMJ to see a local Boston band, but Hallelujah the Hills has been turning heads left and right since their debut in 2007 with a sound that has been compared to Bright Eyes and Spoon among others. Along with drummer Eric Meyer, lead singer and primary songwriter Ryan Walsh previously led Boston indie heroes The Stairs, and following their break-up they began creating catchy melodies infused with strings and horns for Hallelujah the Hills. HtH is playing just one showcase this weekend so make sure that you catch them at 1045pm on Friday at Rock Shop.

WATERS– Former Port O’Brien frontman Van Pierszalowski is the force behind this lo-fi ’90s style rock group. After the break-up of his previous band, Pierszalowski shipped out to Oslo and put together a band of Norwegians to back his newest project. On the WATERS website Pierszalowski explains that, “The record is about waking up. It is about getting out of a situation that seems endless, and realizing you’re not too old to make dramatic and sudden changes in your life. It is about starting over.”

In its young career the band has already played a few dates with M&T favorite Vetiver and will be travelling to Europe to support their new record next month. Out In The Light is available now and you can catch the band playing tunes from their record at Union Hall on Friday at 10pm.

The New LimbThis California based alternative group will be making their first visit to CMJ as part of No Pulp Music‘s showcase series. Their debut album Sounds People Can Hear was released in 2010 and the best way for me to describe it is simply– indie-pop bliss. Now the band has gone back to the studio to work on a new EP and you can get a preview of that release with the video below for “Work I’ve Done.” If you want to catch some fresh tracks from The New Limb this weekend (which we highly advise) then head over to Arlene’s Grocery at 915pm on Saturday.