Exploding in Sound Records can put on a show. Around Brooklyn, the perfunctory “thank you, Dan Goldin,” has evolved into a mantra of sorts, like the family prayer before a meal. Thankfully, this week is no exception, with EIS taking on CMJ in the label’s usual fashion: loud.
In this morning’s profile of Exploding in Sound ringleader Dan Goldin, we highlighted some of the shows he’s put together for this year’s CMJ Marathon, all of which will display some of the top talent from his label and beyond. The first of these shows went down last night at dark Bushwick music den Palisades, with Washer, Heliotropes, Celestial Shore, and Roomrunner.
Separate, the fine (and loud) EP that Roomrunner released yesterday, is a pummeling follow-up to the band’s hook-fueled 2013 record, Ideal Cities. Denny Bowen (formerly of Double Dagger) leads the Maryland outfit, who’ve only grown brighter and tighter since taking a small hiatus this year. But before Roomrunner made their triumphant return, Brooklyn duo Washer got things going, delivering an impressive and diverse set.
Tracks like the uber-melodic “Fleas” could be lost Weezer b-sides, just imbued with new energy, with singer Mike Quigley evoking the same charm as a young, sheepish Rivers Cuomo.
“Rot,” the anthemic single from the band’s upcoming 7” split with Big Ups, highlights Kieran McShane’s subtle, shifting beats, which can often range from fine to ferocious. Without a doubt, these two are producing some of the best garage rock coming out of Brooklyn, and despite their early slot, the sizable crowd seemed to agree.
At last year’s CMJ, local mainstays Heliotropes—then an all-girl quartet—were responsible for many of the marathon’s most face-shredding sets. Now, armed with a brand new lineup (and a guest saxophone player), the band are more expansive, presenting a much gentler style of thrashy guitar play. It’s an interesting evolution, but when frontwoman Jessica Numsuwankijkul ditched her polite stance for some signature head-banging, it was much appreciated by the audience.
Next up was Celestial Shore, another Brooklyn band that serves a slightly wonkier take on the traditional punk sound. Theirs is a heavy, raw sound, with weighty melodies and trance-inducing rhythms; solid, mind-numbing sorta stuff.By the time Roomrunner took the stage, the crowd had thinned slightly, but the night’s energy was intensified. Only the truest of followers remained, which meant polite head-bobbing turned swiftly into dedicated fans joyously romping about. Between intense, shockingly impressive new tracks (which perhaps had a slight nu-metal vibe), Bowen’s self-deprecating humor kept the audience begging for more. A quick, lively encore and their set was complete, but luckily, there are more opportunities to catch Roomrunner and others this week.
On Friday, October 24, The Trash Bar hosts the aptly titled Exploding In Sound “Trashsgiving,” with EIS bands Krill, Two Inch Astronaut, Geronimo! and Kal Marks joined by Flagland, Ex-Breathers, Lost Boy? and Dirty Dishes. On Saturday at the Silent Barn, it’s the third annual Exploding in Sound Birthday Party, where Roomrunner return alongside an insane slew of labelmates like Pile, Palehound, Ovlov and others. Worthy of note is the much awaited reunion of Boston band Grass Is Green, and one of the last-ever shows from Chicago vets Geronimo! As per usual, Exploding in Sound knows what’s up this year. Just don’t forget your earplugs.