CMJ Day Two: The KSCR folk were able to wake a little earlier, a sign that we are adjusting to the time difference. I trekked on over to Cake Shop in the lower east side, which is a two-floored bar that also serves vegan pastries. Terrorbird's showcase included Frontier Ruckus, Rainbow Arabia, Starfucker, Shugo Tokumaru, Faunts, Tobacco, Women, Takka Takka, Marine Stern, and School of Seven Bells.

Cake Shop is sort of a cruddy place to see bands. The visibility is horrible, such that if you are 8 rows back you can't see anything. I pushed and slid my way through the crowd, only to catch a slight glimpse of someone in the band.

Shugo Tokumaru was a highlight of the show AND of the day for me. Their music would make an excellent soundtrack to just about any foreign film. The combination of Japanese vocals, French-pop-ish accordions and elements of folk/bluegrass was really something striking. Shugo Tokumaru's vocals weren't dominating, nor detracting from the music. I'm sure the parallel has been drawn with Beirut, although the two are quite different (no horns, for one). The pacing was really compelling: he and his band made beautiful, nostalgic music go fast!

Tobacco was exactly what I expected, and a little more. Musically, the set was not much different from the album. Perhaps aware that watching people do a little ditty on the keyboard ain't the most exciting thing to watch, the band set up a corresponding video show with grandmas eating ice cream, a montage of women in pornos (without nudity), vintage exercise videos, and girls blowing bubbles. The two members were hilarious to watch, sporting black hoodies and serious faces (which broke later with a sound gaffe).

All in all, I was totally satisfied with the Terrorbird event (yeah, free Sparks) and took a little break before the Carpark/Paw Tracks showcase at Le Poisson Rouge (I think it means red fish). I am still recovering from the event, and deciphering my notes which indicate that I had very strong (negative) feelings about the bands. Rings was the worst thing I have ever put myself through. To say something broad, and keep in mind I left after four acts, the show was filled with experimental bands who couldn't quite justify the use of cacophany and painful pitches OR were simple because they were unskilled.

Tickley Feather was a disappointment, and I was underwhelmed. Annie's vocals were the highlight: delicate, ultra-feminine, and very bird-like. She channeled a very eerie and whimsical mood, and it was hard to imagine those sounds coming out of a person and not a keyboard. Overall, though, the product was pretty and not beautiful, and the show was unique but not special. Of course, it was enjoyable but very much lacking depth and variety; I could not imagine where else they could go with this.

So, I couldn't wait for Beach House, but I'm sure I'll see them around. Pictures and interviews soon, when I'm not blogging from an Internet Cafe.

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