There were other cool “non official” CMJ happenings that took place over the past week (this not being one of them) or so that didn’t involve Pitchfork Media or Todd P., although all bands involved in the shows that I caught have gotten shout outs from one or the other at some point in time. Myopenbar.com, one of my favorite resources for free booze and interesting times in this and a few other cities, also happens to throw great parties and shows from time to time, one of which went down just as CMJ was kicking off at Manhattan’s sprawling but sometimes not awful Webster Hall. The show line up included Beach Fossils, Woods, Titus Andronicus and Here We Go Magic. The event was free to those who R.S.V.Peed and although there was no free (or even discounted!) booze at the event, the line up was good enough not to scoff. Strangely, Here We Go Magic was headlining the night, even though they were the least exciting name on the bill. My friends have all assured me that so far Here We Go Magic’s music hasn’t been used on a popular teen TV show or film so I can’t really understand what’s going on here, but I guess they have a lot of New Yorkers who are really into them since the show continued to get more and more crowded as the evening moved on towards their performance. Needless to say I didn’t stick around for them to play. I also left before Titus Andronicus did their thing, since I’m trying not to kill my interest in them while I still like what they’re doing and I’ve seen them play an embarrassing amount of times since moving to New York two years ago. I focused my evening instead on Woods who I hadn’t seen play in a good six or seven months and on Beach Fossils, a newer Woodsist/Captured Tracks band that I’ve been really into lately and one that I’ve been trying to catch live for a while.
While I was visiting Portland Oregon,( home of the countries largest and smallest city parks) for the first time ever a few weeks ago, I happened to catch Titus Andronicus play as part of MFNW and managed to take some pictures.
I’ve been following this band since I saw them open for Yo La Tengo back at the last pool party (in the McCarren Park Pool) ever. During that show, lead singer Patrick Stickles (doesn’t that last name make him sound like a Roger Hargreaves book? ) shaved his huge ass mountain beard off mid set and sang into the microphone like a banshee with a master plan. In no time at all, I was sold. I have since picked up their record The Airing of Grievances and seen them play a few times since. Every time I do I find myself impressed by how good these guys continue to get. Though many members have changed out since the first time I saw them play and the backing band is now more attractive and charismatic than their first seen incarnation, they also now play with an agility and ownership that their recording showed them more than capable of. Portland I learned very early on, doesn’t seem to get down too hard. They love their rock music but it takes a bit to get them dancing. This seemed to be thrown out the window when Titus took the stage though. Kids started throwing each other around and the set ended with Stickles (…) being thrown above our heads and into the air. Although they were the only band I saw while in Portland ( a guy has to take a break sometime folks) it was a great time and Titus has yet again upped the ante for my standards of them. Though I don’t know when a new record is on the horizon, I am eagerly awaiting its manifestation and I recommend checking the band out live and on record if you consider yourself a fan of real balls the the wall rock and roll. Whatever that means…
Here are a few pictures from that nights performance:
Vulture Whale is one of the better finds we stumbled upon at SXSW a few months ago. Brokenbrooklyn and myself were smoking a joint and scowling at the dreadful Vivian Girls when Wes McDonald (singer for Vulture Whale) asked us if we knew who was playing that awful “pussy rock”. Embarrassed that we knew, we told him and passed him our joint. Quickly we all agreed we were at the show to see Ponytail, they were coming on after Titus Andronicus. After ensuring Wes that Titus Andronicus was far removed from the drudgery we were withstanding, we got to talking and he told us about his band Vulture Whale.
Fast forward a couple months and I received an awesome package in the mail from Wes with a CD and links to videos:
Words by Popejohnpaul12 and Brokenbrooklyn
Pictures by Brokenbrooklyn
We started at Urban Outfitters (Which is totally like, our favorite store ever!!) near University of Texas at Austin for the free party they were throwing that afternoon. The first band we to play was Crystal Stilts who I guess are okay; if a) you are looking for Velvet Underground/ Suicide esq background music for a heroin induced orgy, b) you listen to aesthetic choices and atmosphere in your pop songs more than melody and lyrics or c) you like kind of boring music. It’s not that they are a bad band, they are totally inoffensive and fine, but there is nothing innovative here and no real sense of urgency or showmanship to make up for that.