CMJ is upon us, which translates to either the arrival of a complete shit show or (if you’re not really the observant type) venues suddenly appearing slightly more crowded with douchery than usual. Regardless of whether you’re in touch with the less-than-ideal reality for regular show-goers, or prefer to put on chakra glasses and render all those grayscale suits as rainbow zombies, you still gotta plan out this week just a little better than usual– having your friends drag you out of a cab, splash beer on your face, and carefully deposit your lifeless body at your favorite venue’s doorstep isn’t gonna fly. Instead, you’ll need PMA, advanced tickets, and whatever lies beyond this line.
Perfect Pussy, Protomartyr, Downtown Boys, Dilly Dally, Shopping, Yak, Seratones, and many more…
Wednesday, Oct. 14, 7:30 at Santos Party House: $15
This “two-floor rager” might very well be the way to go if you’re just gonna hit one CMJ show and go into hiding until the dust has settled, not only because there’s plenty of room to flap your elbow wildly at the Party Haus but for the sheer variety of acts they’ve booked. Also, it’s legit going to cost you $1.36 per band if you catch each and every one of them. If you’re a self-identified dealsman, roll up a fatty and hole up poolside coz there’s a serious concentration of sweet rock indulgence and pop-worthy indie garage talent at this one.
Perhaps most see-worthy is Protomartyr, the Detroit band that’s blowing up in a big way. Their last album, Under Color of Official Right, was a major departure for the fedora-loving band, but The Agent Intellect (Pitchfork called it “harrowing”) hovers halfway between the newer sound and the old Protomartyr I’ve seen play at Jumbo’s every Xmas for as long as I’ve been away from my home state. “I Forgive You” finds them once again comparing notes with The Fall and achieving more than you ever thought possible in a song with no beginning, middle, or end. But the single they unleashed upon the hypists back in July, “Why Does It Shake?”, is a surprising slow burner with Joe Casey multiplied variously through his own echoing, repeating, looping call and response mantra. I mean, this show is worth going to for Protomartyr’s new material alone, but I’ll press on.
The Dilly Dally squad sure know how to capitalize on ’90s nostalgia, or maybe they’re just as wooed by the decade of (presumably) their childhood as every other #millennial seems to be. Either way, hand me something that sounds like Hole circa Live Through This, and I’ll gobble it right up. Honorable mentions: Downtown Boys (saxophone empowerment punk with equal parts Fugazi and Morphine– just don’t call it ska, please) and Shopping (whispery, whip worthy new wave no wave freak outs brought to you by a threesome from London– the Raincoats, anyone?!).
Conscious Coupling: The Homecoming
Sunday, Oct. 18, 3 pm at Palisades: $8
Call me a hound dog, but this Father/Daughter Records (SF) and Miscreant Records collaborative effort had me at “Bloody Mary & Doughnut bar,” though hopefully that doesn’t mean they’re one in the same. Bless the organizers of this showcase, because anyone attending one of these things is gonna need all the doughnuts and booze they can get their grubby fingers on– lord knows struggling to see bands through hoards of unlikely visitors burns untold calories. And to keep the masses engaged, they’re throwing in a photo booth and “homecoming court coronation,” whatever that means.
We’re looking forward to hearing from Nicholas Nicholas (contemporary, benzo’d-out elevator meditations) and PWR BTTM (short-on-vowels indie rock, super cute angst-riddled songs about cute boys, pill popping, and being not quite there). We’re also warming up to Hiccup, masters of a familiar frenetic pop punk sound without the commonplace vocal trappings of the genre.
Destruction Unit, Latishia’s Skull Drawing, Pawns, Horoscope
Saturday, Oct. 17, 8 pm at Alphaville: $10
Yo– everybody and their brother’s heard about the Ad Hoc Car Wash show happening on Saturday. Hell, even The New Yorker got wind of it. Tbh, this non-CMJ-during-CMJ daytime happening is probably gonna be the best party all weekend. I mean, Protomartyr? Sheer Mag? And Destruction Unit? And a buttload of other bands all playing inside a car wash on Lorimer? Sold, sold, and sold. It’s gonna smell great in there we imagine and we really hope they’ve found a way to make use of those unmistakable car wash lights. Who knows, maybe AdHoc’s got a foam party up their sleeves.
Of course, not all of us can be so lucky. Some of us are gonna be predisposed during the brunching hours. Don’t fret, you’ll have a chance to see Destruction Unit play again come evening time. They’ll be joined by Pawns, the usual suspects of a sort too, but both are indisputably great and worthy checking out again and again (we’ve listed them at least a million times).
But there’s a set happening here to sweeten the deal for the night owls, brought to you by a certain band skilled at dishing out filthy rotten noise punk– it’s sonically closer to a pile of hideous rubble than whatever one might call “music–” which is to say: bless the boys of Latishia’s Skull Drawing. There’s a reason why this seemingly unknown band that appeared out of nowhere is so dang good at what they do– do the words “supergroup” and “members of Cult Ritual” mean anything to you?
Panache CMJ Showcase: The Men, Destruction Unit, Michael Rault, and More
Friday, Oct. 16, 7 pm at Baby’s All Right: $12
LOL so I know I just mentioned that I’ve been all over Destruction Unit’s junk for the last time immemorial, but whatever– I need, need, need to list this show, DU’s presence be damned (or not be damned, I mean why not go see them twice, thrice, whatever in one week? Such is the nature of the CMJ beast). Why? Coz dangit The Men are headlining, that’s why.
If you understandably can’t stand the crowds this week, then get in line for The Men’s show with PC Worship coming up November. But if you’re thinking this year is finally the year that you’re not going to suffer from an agoraphobic nosebleed when you leave your apartment, then onward through the CMJ darkness.
We’re also loving Dirty Ghosts, who write bee-boppy keyboard rock worthy of the soundtrack to Saved by the Bell if that show was actually edgy or cool. Usually any new music that consists of white guy’s first name/last name spells bore-ing and I shy away, but Michael Rault‘s aight. He’s got the voice of a little baby angel for one, and knows how to write riffs and sing glowing, ethereal-like as if he’s George Harrison’s youngest nephew or something (or just someone influenced by Paul McCartney’s early solo stuff for that matter). He’s a pop song “maker”, if you will, and good at what he does– also he’s from Canada so that makes him slightly less offensive.