CMJ Day Five

Emanuel and the Fear @ The Delancy rooftop, Afternoon Scores

Emanuel and the Fear CMJ @ The Delancey

Emanuel Ayvas’ brought an ensemble of four and delivered lush scores with tabulators and music stands in place. His poetic writing and emotionally delivered vocals accompanied by violin, cello and guitar created a toned down but perfect acoustic orchestral pop and afternoon score for a roof garden space.Their set was a smaller representation of a group that performs with eleven.

Listening to Emanuel and the Fear recordings exemplifies the lush ambitious arrangements full of complexities and swelling of orchestral passages with smart lyrically emotionally delivered vocals.

Bryan Vaughan founder of their label Paper Garden Records has a passion for music he loves and believes in so I was remiss in not following through and hearing them sooner.

Flickr Set

Drink Up Buttercup @ The Delancey rooftop, Acoustic Muscle

Drink Up Buttercup CMJ @ The Delancey

Drink Up Buttercup is a very different band in the early afternoon. But this is not Drink Up Buttercup Lite, anything but. Although they abandoned their drums, amps, garbage cans and kinesthetic body contortions they highlighted the muscle of their vocal muscle. They stretched their harmonic layering of show stopping standards adding detailed appendages. Showing off their incredible versatility and giving the tired genre "Barbershop" a vibrato edge.

Flickr Set

Cale Parks 2 The Delaney Warmth to Techno

Cale Parks CMJ @ The Delancey

Cale Parks brings warmth to Techno, blending cascading dance beats, looping of original music with synth and drum machine. Live Cale Parks drumsticks twirl through the air and hit his mark. The baton twirler, soft crooner, and synth composer does it with precision and finesse. Adding two new players on guitar, bass and keys to his live line-up. Performing, as a one-man band is hard he said as he introduced his new band mates saying “how nice it was not do this alone”. The packed dank basement at the Delancey was the perfect setting to be transformed to another place. Cale Parks and Company took me there.

Flickr Set


CMJ Day Three

Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned @ Zebulon, Word of Choice Amazing

Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned CMJ @ Zebulon

Sgt. Dunbar and The Hobo Banned packed the house and the stage with eight musicians and every imaginable brass and string instrument. I love the Hobos and have seen them several times. Their instruments were in full force featuring many songs off their new EP. They played the title track "A March Through Charles Mingus' Garbage" that featured a vibrant mix of Folk and Jazz a direction they are forging ahead with. The two new songs they debuted forecast a vital and original direction.

The musicianship is something to behold they have become a much tighter entity without loosing their energy and heart displaying the joy of playing together. What is also fascinating is the seamless exchange of instruments throught the set. Whether blowing, singing or strumming everything works. This is a democratic collective where various members share the lead vocal helm adding diversity to the mix.

Sgt. Dunbar and The Hobo Banned were full of bite. All the instruments and vocals united and filled the space with joy and substance. When the set was over I walked through the crowd and the word or choice was amazing.

Flickr Set

Pink Noise @ Zebulon Invigorating Smart Noise

Pink Noise @ CMJ Zebulon

Pink Noise makes lots of noise from metal shredding guitar and bass, pounding drums but could not drown out the heafty and soulful vocals of Sharon Sulami This was a set of pure intensity with incredible exchanges between instruments. Noise of exhilaration and contrast played with the force of unpredictability. Invigorating smart noise.

Flickr Set

Little Teeth form San Francisco @ Zebulon Scrabbled Experimentation

Little Teeth CMJ @ Zebulon

To say I was delighted to see Little Teeth is an understatement. The twosome of Sofia Bell and Dannie Murrie recently added Sean Real to their inner circle. Their very original music is Folk as an art form played with a conviction of sensibility and spirit. Their all out abandon of song structure focused on experimentation, strange but beguiling harmonies and escalating emphasis of vocals, drumming, cello or banjo.

I was outside socializing when the band set up and was flabbergasted when I moved to the front to find the most intricate found object drum set dejour including a small xylophone. Dani Murrie strapped on an assortment of shells and bells from ankle to knee.

During the set they brought out some additional homemade contraptions. The traditional instruments were plucked and bowed with attitude adding to the disjointed samplings of sound that fried my brain from overdrive of the unexpected. The drummer Sean Real has a passion for playing. A joy to watch.

the music sounds like a much looser Coco Rosie or The Roaches scrabbled. They bring it on with guts, punk and moxie. Halfway through their fifty state tour they stated, “We showered tonight”. Everyone cheered.

Little Teeth CMJ @ Zebulon

Flickr Set

I would be remiss not mention how much I enjoyed Zebulon. I loved the music played between sets, food and all around great staff!


CMJ Day One

Blood Warrior @ Piano’s, Edgy Twist to Folk

Blood Warrior CMJ Piano's

Blood Warrior's brand of Folk is weighty with a thump stomping percussion, great choral harmonies and the vocal awesomeness of Greg Jamie. The music can sooth like a lullaby but don’t get too comfortable because these gentle warrior’s can bring up the volume. Their voices swell; electric guitar leads and acoustic strumming intertwine with shakers and emphasized bass drum, giving traditional Folk an edgy twist.

Max Vernon @ Kenny's Castaways, Master of Design

Max Vernon CMJ 09

Making a fashion statement at CMJ is an anomaly, but Max Vernon's intention is to please both visually and sonically. He walked onto the stage wearing asymmetrical googly eye ensemble of his own design.

He started the set by saying "please excuse my unnecessary banter, I have to fill this forty minute set" and fill he did. Max Vernon's verbal acuity does wonders for in between songs but that gift translates well to songwriting.

Standing confidently at 6’4 behind his keyboard and almost strutting he played complex pop / jazz arrangements. His vocals were daring going from low to falsetto adding unexpected touches to his recorded material. What I found the most fascinating was his ability to seamlessly create the backup vocals as well. In between he played three songs on the guitar.

A highlight was "Around Your Finger" with friend Emily to sing the chorus / I hate to tell you / that I had more fun / When you were hooked on drugs /. "Psycho Bitch" a new one is a song in the same vain. His second new offering had a haunting juxtaposition between and irregular chord repetition and a beautiful vocal. He ended with a Liz Phair cover "Canary".

Flickr Set

Download a slew of songs here


Got Lots To Say CMJ soon....

Some Shot offerings from my brief schedule of events at CMJ. Hey I got a full time job so this was fun but ain't easy. Almost done writing about the bands below. Check back or home, scroll and check labels on this site.

Blood Warrior @ Piano's

Max Vernon CMJ

Max Vernon @ Kenny's Castaway

Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned CMJ @ Zebulon

Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned @ Zebulon

Pink Noise @ Zebulon

Little Teeth CMJ @ Zebulon

Little Teeth @ Zebulon

Emanuel & Fear CMJ @ The Delancey

Emanuel and Fear @ The Delancey

Drink Up Buttercup @ The Delancey

Cale Parks CMJ @ The Delancey

Cale Parks @ The Delancey


Catch Sgt. Dunbar and The Hobo Banned CMJ

Great set planned by the awesome eight piece band Sgt Dunbar and the Hobo Banned. They are They are planning on playing eleven songs with one and possibly two songs never played in public, tomorrow at 9:00 @ Zebulon. All Things Considered Blog made CMJ 09 recommendations of several bands and the Hobos are included.

Everything Is Pt II from Tom Muro on Vimeo.

Catch Drink Up Buttercup CMJ

There are four more stops. Catch the mayhem. This latest video Drink Up Buttercup performs Heavy Hand live on East Village Radio for the CMJ Festival. Believe me this is restrained.


Max Vernon CMJ Debut Tomorrow

Photo Credit Jacqueline Zaccor

Max Vernon reached out to me about a year ago and I've been hooked ever since. He will be performing tomorrow at Kenny's Castaway, his first CMJ

Max Vernon has a vocal instrument that is deep and resonating, its clear tonality has reach and depth of maturity. With a signature voice he delivers piano driven melodies with a broad lyrical palette of intelligence. At twenty years old he composes music that can move in many ways like the Woody Guthrie of Pop to make a bold comparison. OCM 2/ 09 Here

Below is a sweet taste of his music in one of many homemade video entries!!!