Tag Archives: CMJ Music Marathon

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Shoegaze Pioneers Slowdive Reunited and Sounding Fresh

October 27th, 2014

Slowdive – Terminal 5 – October 25, 2014

Slowdive – Terminal 5 – October 25, 2014
The first of many shoegaze moments occurred near the beginning of Slowdive’s sold-out Terminal 5 show on Saturday night. The group—pioneers of a sound that combines loud, fuzzy guitars and ethereal vocals, now emulated by a plethora of contemporary bands—recently reunited after disbanding in the mid-’90s. While strobe lights flickered around them, Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell began to sing “Catch the Breeze” from 1991’s Just for a Day. As the song progressed, all band members (minus the drummer) were focused intently on their guitars, bass and effects pedals, necks craned downward, rocking gently back and forth amid the dreamy chords—the classic shoegaze stance and sound.

As Slowdive played precise and lovely versions of crowd favorites like “Crazy for You,” “Machine Gun” and “Souvlaki Space Station,” they cycled through an impressive lineup of guitars, even taking a moment to give a nod of appreciation to their guitar tech, a constant onstage presence between songs, swapping and receiving and replacing armfuls of guitars. To their credit, for a band with such intricate guitar arrangements and dynamics, Slowdive’s songs sounded bright and clean, never muddy or muddled, often classic shoegaze stumbling blocks.

“This is a pop song, kind of,” proclaimed Halstead before the band played what may have been the night’s crowd favorite, “Alison.” Indeed, a catchy song on the surface with moderately morose lyrics, it’s a prime example of Slowdive’s signature subtle hypnotic power, a sound that was exhilarating to experience live. By giving us a taste of their classic shoegaze, Slowdive managed to also feel completely modern and fresh—a very successful reunion indeed. —Alena Kastin

Photos courtesy of Adela Loconte | adelaloconte.com

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The Kills – The Bowery Ballroom – October 23, 2014

October 24th, 2014

The Kills - The Bowery Ballroom - October 23, 2014

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Cold War Kids Headline Diverse CMJ Lineup at Rough Trade NYC

October 23rd, 2014

Cold War Kids – Rough Trade NYC – October 22, 2014

Cold War Kids – Rough Trade NYC – October 22, 2014
Rough Trade NYC hosted a flock of impressive acts last night, and concertgoers who caught this show on the second night of CMJ 2014 lucked out, as the lineup provided such a satisfying variety befitting the festival’s spirit. Fresh off tours supporting Sylvan Esso and My Brightest Diamond, Brooklyn native Doe Paoro and her band entranced early arrivals with celestial electro soul. Australia’s Little May followed with their subdued rock sensibilities. The band had many an audience member swooning with material from their self-titled debut album. Little May’s gorgeous, resonant sound is full of husky whispers and hook-y choruses, and they played up their songs’ melancholic beauty throughout their set.

Moses Sumney took the stage next and quickly mesmerized the crowd with his velvety voice and artful looping skills. The Los Angeleno stood alone onstage and built vast choral phrases out of lilting, angelic tones and subtle beat-boxing. Sumney could sing every word in the dictionary and make it sound interesting—his voice is just that good.  The 20-year-old electro rocker Elliot Moss and his band continued the night with a dynamic set of songs from Moss’s 2013 album, Highspeeds. His music is mercurial, with elements of Radiohead, James Blake and Bon Iver popping up here and there. Having successfully wooed the audience to move superclose, Moss and Co. graciously left the stage to make way for the night’s headliners.

The much-loved members of Cold War Kids meandered onto the stage as the audience roared with excitement. The band’s career has spanned nearly a decade, and the five-piece has some serious discography to show for it. From their 2006 debut record, Robbers and Cowards, to the just released Hold My Home, the band has made a big impression on their fans. The gentleman barreled through an extensive set featuring songs from all over their repertoire. Nathan Willett’s valiant vocals drove “All This Could Be Yours” and “Miracle Mile” at the top of the set. All-time favorites like “Hang Me Up to Dry” and “Hospital Beds” got the crowd howling. The guys in Cold War Kids have an astounding sense of synchronicity. They’re constantly making contact with one another, whether it’s a hand on a shoulder or an intense glance during a chorus. Their set was a spectacular burst of energy, proving that Cold War Kids aren’t losing steam. Rather, they’re louder than ever. —Schuyler Rooth

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com

(Cold War Kids play Terminal 5 on 3/20.)

(Elliot Moss plays Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday and Terminal 5 on 3/20.)

(Moses Sumney plays Rough Trade NYC tonight.)

(Little May play Mercury Lounge tomorrow and Pianos on Saturday.)

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Bombay Bicycle Club – Terminal 5 – October 22, 2014

October 23rd, 2014

Bombay Bicycle Club - Terminal 5 - October 22, 2014

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Slowdive on 10/25

October 21st, 2014

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Atmospheric-rock band Slowdive play a sold-out CMJ Music Marathon show at Terminal 5 on Saturday night. And even if you don’t already have tickets, you still might be able to go because The House List is giving away two of them. Want them to be yours? Then try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your name, full e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Slowdive, 10/25) and a brief message explaining which band you’re most excited to see at CMJ (other than this UK five-piece). Eddie Bruiser, a music-festival lover, will notify the winner by Friday.

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CMJ Music Marathon Kicks Off Today

October 21st, 2014

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For more than three decades the annual CMJ Music Marathon has been one of the most important outlets for shining the spotlight on new music from across the country and even around the world. The five-day (and night) festival kicks off today, which means the city’s venues—traditional and otherwise—will be jam packed with stacked lineups and fans chasing bands that might possibly become the next big thing. And, of course, The Bowery Presents has plenty of great shows, big and small:

Today
1. Tom Vek and Olga Bell at Mercury Lounge EARLY SHOW
2. Oh Land, Walking Shapes, Corbu, Sons of an Illustrious Father at The Bowery Ballroom
3. the Crookes, Money, Spring King and Longfellow at Rough Trade NYC FREE
4. Cold War Kids, Aurora, Chief Scout, the Big P.A. at Brooklyn Bowl
5. Ming City Rockers, Made Violent, Slothrust, Børns at Mercury Lounge LATE SHOW
6. the Horrors and Moon Duo at Stage 48

Wednesday
1. Spookyland and Mighty Oaks at Mercury Lounge EARLY SHOW
2. Ryn Weaver, Circa Waves, Public Access T.V., Step Rockets and Sway Clarke II at The Bowery Ballroom
3. Teen Daze, Mothxr, Vérité, Carousel, Ayer and guest DJ Dart Party at Brooklyn Bowl
4. Bombay Bicycle Club, Milo Greene and Luxley at Terminal 5
5. Cold War Kids, Elliot Moss, Moses Sumney, Little May and Doe Paoro at Rough Trade NYC SOLD OUT
6. Young Magic, Saint Pepsi, Popstrangers, Dog Bite and Chandos at Mercury Lounge LATE SHOW

Thursday
1. Twin Peaks, Happyness, the Wytches, Spring King and Nai Harvest at Rough Trade NYC FREE DAYTIME SHOW
2. Heat, Avid Dancer, Trixie Whitley, Cheerleader, Tor Miller, Bully and Bee Caves at Mercury Lounge EARLY SHOW
3. Beach Fossils and Small Black at Brooklyn Bowl
4. RAC, the Kooks and Speak at Terminal 5
5. the Kills, Moon Duo, Nuns and Slothrust at The Bowery Ballroom SOLD OUT
6. Moses Sumney, Adult Jazz, J. Fernandez and George Maple at Rough Trade NYC
7. the Big Sleep and Haven at Mercury Lounge FREE LATE SHOW

Friday
1. Special Guest TBA, Oscar, Pinact and September Girls FREE DAYTIME SHOW
2. Mexican Golden Girls, DMA’s, Bear’s Den, Peter Matthew Bauer, Little May, Chief Scout and Colony House at Mercury Lounge EARLY SHOW
3. Kevin Morby (full band), Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, Twin Peaks, Springtime Carnivore, Modern Vices, Ryley Walker, Geronimo Getty and guest DJ Mondo Boys at Rough Trade NYC

Saturday
1. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, the Wytches, Circa Waves, Water Liars, DMA’s, Springtime Carnivore, Public Access T.V., Spookyland, Amason, Little May, the Bright Light Social Hour and Ryley Walker at Pianos FREE DAYTIME SHOW
2. the Paperhead, Ultimate Painting, Doug Tuttle, Estrogen Highs and Negative Scanner at Rough Trade NYC FREE DAYTIME SHOW
3. Teen Commandments, Sphynx, the Ocean Blues, Wild Adriatic, Walker Lukens, Saskwatch, Pree, New Myths and No Way Josie at Mercury Lounge
4. A Place to Bury Strangers, White Fence, Moon Duo, Prince Rama, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Wampire, Young Magic, No Ningen, Spires, the Wytches and the Paperhead at Rough Trade NYC
5. DJ Dodger Stadium, Special Guest TBA, Blue Hawaii, Adult Jazz, Aurora and Casual Sex at Brooklyn Bowl
6. Slowdive and Low at Terminal 5 SOLD OUT
7. Sam Roberts Band, Water Liars, Springtime Carnivore, Dilly Dally and Knox Hamilton at The Bowery Ballroom

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The Bar Is Set High on the First Night of CMJ Music Marathon

October 16th, 2013

NONONO/Panama Wedding/Mystery Skulls – Mercury Lounge – October 15, 2013


Mercury Lounge was bursting at the seams last night, the first night of CMJ Music Marathon 2013, for a highly anticipated sold-out show with three viral, enigmatic acts—NONONO, Panama Wedding and Mystery Skulls—that sent my standard for live music through the roof. Mystery Skulls (aka Luis Dubuc) took the stage solo. His sound is best described as electronic dance music mixed with funk. Purposeful lyrics and smooth vocals accompany bold beats, and the result is infectious. I danced the entire time Dubuc was casually chatting and dropping beats.

Afterward, a gaggle of people flooded the tiny stage for Panama Wedding’s set. They’ve only released one excellent song, “All of the People,” prior to playing a slew of CMJ showcases. Needless to say, everyone was curious to hear how this performance would unfold. The band played a short, tight set that I could listen to again and again. Panama Wedding’s poppy sound is distinctly uplifting. Pointed lyrics anchor the bubbly beats to create a musical fairytale.

NONONO swiftly took the stage and launched into their very first live set in North America with a triumphant opening song we hadn’t heard yet. The Swedish trio’s defiant music fits perfectly in a live setting. Frontwoman Stina Wappling’s vocals swooped and soared atop Astma & Rocwell’s masterful arrangements. The set consisted of the entirety of the band’s EP and some songs to be released on their upcoming full-length album. Wappling giggled and said, “Hey ho, let’s go! This is our first single!” before the trio wrapped up their set with “Pumpin Blood.” I’m positive NONONO will be playing to arena audiences in the not-too-distant future, and I’m glad I caught them up close and personal. Seeing NONONO live: highly recommended. —Schuyler Rooth

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Real Estate on 10/17

October 15th, 2013

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Popular New Jersey quintet Real Estate play The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday night. And despite all the craziness involved with this week’s CMJ Music Marathon, the show sold out quickly. But The House List just so happens to be giving away two tickets. So if you’d like to Grow a Pair of them for a free night out, just complete the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Real Estate, 10/17) and a brief message explaining which band playing a CMJ you’re most excited to see. Eddie Bruiser, who lives for this week, will notify the winner by Thursday. Good luck.

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Two Nights of Savages Next Week

March 14th, 2013

The post-punk quartet Savages—Jehnny Beth (vocals), Ayse Hassan (bass), Fay Milton (drums) and Gemma Thompson (guitar)—have only been together for little more than a year. But their blistering guitar-fueled sound, “indestructible and musically solid, written for the stage, designed with enough nuances to provide a wide range of emotions,” drew the four ladies from London plenty of attention during last year’s CMJ Music Marathon. Find out why when Savages (above, doing “Husbands” on Later … with Jools Holland) play The Bowery Ballroom on Monday and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tuesday.

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Mumford & Sons Soar in Brooklyn

February 13th, 2013

Mumford & Sons – Barclays Center – February 12, 2013

(Photo: Joe Papeo)

Mumford & Sons began to break in the United States with a run of shows during the 2009 CMJ Music Marathon, including a memorably half-full show at Music Hall of Williamsburg. How little we all knew then. A few months later they appeared on our TVs at the Grammy Awards. Last night, in their second grand return to the borough in as many weeks, this time on the heels of their Grammy win for Album of the Year, the four-piece Mumford & Sons, the band that launched a thousand banjos, took the stage at a sold-out Barclays Center. As the curtain whipped away, the band launched into “Babel,” a song that bears at least nominal reference to the moment in Biblical history when man was unified and spoke a common language.

And it was in this temple of unity, the Barclays Center, the big tent of eminent domain and gentrification, microbrewed beers, suspenders and beards, that Mumford opened with a string of songs off their recent Grammy-winning album, Babel. After the band soared through the album’s title track, they moved on to “I Will Wait,” “Winter Winds,” a first-album favorite, and “Below My Feet.” It was equal parts elegy and ebullience as the general-admission floor alternated between silence and carbonated bouncing, and the sections near the rafters produced reverence and reverie. This, of course, marked the brilliance and mainstream appeal of Mumford: to package the unremembered kitsch and nostalgia of folk melodies with explosive, life-affirming moments of musical elevation. The quartet then switched between the collective, quiet appeal of “Timshel” and the unstoppable, “Little Lion Man,” which first launched this band into the hearts and minds of many of these assembled thousands.

The middle of the set was highlighted by “Lover of the Light,” which sounds a great deal like a sustainably raised, NPR-listening Dave Matthews Band song in its latter half, and comprised both elements of the somber and the celebratory—its final banjo line and lyrics transformed into the screaming marching orders. The main set closed with “Whispers in the Dark” and “Dust Bowl Dance,” the former a song with which the band closed their 2009 Music Hall performance. It was then unrecorded: “Something from the next album,” they said that night. But last night, things were in sharper focus, the benefit of time and perspective. “Whispers” was the second track off a hit album, its edict of “live while we’re young” repeated and screamed back from a basketball arena of adoring fans. It was about unity to be sure, a moment of mass collective experience before the band receded into the darkness of stage left and the empire built on a tower of four-part harmonies and emotive evocation. It wasn’t a night about prayer, a common complaint about the band, but it was about rebuilding the temple and speaking in one voice. —Geoff Nelson

Photo courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

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Influential Label Showcases Talent

October 19th, 2012

Merge Records Showcase – Mercury Lounge – October 18, 2012

Mount Moriah (Photo: Dan Rickershauser)

One could argue that no other independent label from the past 20 years has released as many instant classics as Merge Records. After all, they gave the OK for the Magnetic Fields to put out a three-album collection of 69 love songs, they introduced bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Arcade Fire to the world and they gave a rock act by the name of Spoon a second chance. So it’s safe to say that Merge is on a bit of a hot streak that might not be cooling off anytime soon. While any given day of the CMJ Music Marathon is a somewhat frantic race to absorb as much great music as possible, last night’s Merge showcase at Mercury Lounge, spanning almost seven hours and six different acts, was something of a cruel temptation and a great excuse for ruining the following workday by staying out past 2 a.m.

“It’s kind of hard to follow your label boss, though I’m sure he’d hate to be called that,” said Eleanor Friedberger, taking the stage after a set from Superchunk frontman and Merge Records cofounder Mac McCaughan. Friedberger played a solo acoustic set with some “in the works” new material that could come out early next year. She was followed by a searing set from Mount Moriah. “We’re Mount Moriah. We’re from Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and we’re really excited to put some records out on Merge,” said lead singer Heather McEntire. The set sampled songs off their self-titled debut, as well as some new tunes from their upcoming album. The band’s sound is familiar yet unique, a strange combination of all genres Americana (blues, rock, country, soul, gospel).

It makes sense that as of September they’re sharing a label with acts like Lambchop, self-proclaimed “Nashville’s most fucked-up country band.” Between Mount Moriah and another recent Merge signee (and show opener), William Tyler, it will be interesting to see if the label can continue to push the boundaries of country music, bringing this strange new iteration of the genre to music fans usually repulsed by the word country. “We’ve been listening to a lot of the Allman Brothers Band—I don’t know if you could tell,” said McEntire after firing through a particularly bluesy-rock new song. You could tell, but this was a very good thing. If the past is any indicator, 2013 should be a huge year for some or even all of these bands. And if the performances last night are any indicator, it probably will be. —Dan Rickershauser

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Exorcising Musical Demons

October 17th, 2012

Aquarium Drunkard: No Jacket Required Showcase – Mercury Lounge – October 16, 2012


It’s that time of year again, when the weather gets cooler, the leaves start to turn and I somehow deceive myself into thinking I have the willpower to stay away from the candy corn I bought for Halloween. You guessed it—the CMJ Music Marathon is back, and artists from around the world have already begun to descend upon us for the most glorious five days of music New York City has to offer. Here’s what CMJ entails: bands play a slew of shows, trying to squeeze in as many gigs as possible into the short period of time that CMJ runs. In response, venues endeavor to stuff as many sets as possible onto one bill. Bands get onstage, play their 20- to 30-minute set and move on to the next venue. And that can be frustrating; just as you start to warm up to a group you like, they pull the plug and exit the stage as fast as possible.

But at Aquarium Drunkard’s No Jacket Required showcase last night at Mercury Lounge, Foxygen found a way to skirt the rules. After a solid set by Calvin Love, the talented solo act from Edmonton, Alta., Foxygen set up their equipment in a flash and hit the stage a full 15 minutes before their slotted set time. That eagerness epitomizes their energetic showmanship: If their most recent record, Take the Kids Off Broadway, sounds like a shaken-up bottle of soda ready to explode, their live show is what happens when someone finally unscrews the cap. Sonically, they resemble your dad’s favorite classic-rock compilation but reinterpreted in a highly frenetic, almost hardcore vein. It’s incredibly familiar while being undeniably fresh, and it came together perfectly in the intimate setting.

Lead singer Sam France’s mania emanated throughout the venue—he screamed, gestured and shook as if he had been possessed by some sort of rock and roll demon. At one point he asked, “Is it satanic?” about New York City. And judging by how riled up everyone was, it very well might have been. His band and the enraptured audience fed off of each other, and even stage banter received hearty applause and various yips from appreciative concertgoers. By the end of the set, after several full-fledged musical freak-outs, the demon of New York City had apparently been exorcised from France’s body—but I wouldn’t be surprised if it appears again later this week. —Alex Kapelman

(Foxygen play The Bowery Ballroom on Friday, our FREE CMJ show at Pianos on Saturday and Webster Hall on 12/11.)

 

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Kimbra on 10/19

October 16th, 2012

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While you may have first become aware of New Zealand singer-songwriter Kimbra performing a duet with Gotye on “Somebody That I Used to Know,” she’s since blown up in a big way. And so when she plays Webster Hall this week, on Friday and Saturday, she’ll do it before a packed house each night. But even if you don’t already have tickets, you’ve still got a chance to see here live because The House List is offering two ducats to Friday’s show. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Kimbra, 10/19) and a brief message explaining what you think the best part of the CMJ Music Marathon is. Eddie Bruiser, who intends to see as many bands as humanly possible, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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CMJ Music Marathon Starts Tomorrow

October 15th, 2012

Here in New York City, it’s the most musical time of the year because the CMJ Music Marathon, tomorrow through Saturday, is upon us (check out a selection of the bands you can see, above): five days and nights jam packed with bands playing in all sorts of places, including those you wouldn’t normally think would have a concert, plus plenty of the usual suspects. The Bowery Ballroom hosts CMJ lineups on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Mercury Lounge welcomes the Aquarium Drunkard: No Jacket Required lineup tomorrow, the Windish Showcase on Wednesday, the Merge Records Showcase on Thursday, a FREE late-night show with Ratking on Friday and the MezzoForte Showcase on Saturday. And, of course, Music Hall of Williamsburg is on in this, too, with the Captured Tracks Showcase on Thursday and the Fat Wreck/Rocks Off Showcase on Friday. And once again we’re throwing our annual day party at Pianos with seven bands downstairs and six upstairs on Saturday. Get involved with a whole day of great tunes plus bloody marys and margaritas.

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Windish Agency Bands Play Mercury Lounge

October 24th, 2011

The Windish Agency Showcase – Mercury Lounge – October 21, 2011


Friday night of CMJ, with everyone a little worse for wear, found Mercury Lounge as the home to the Windish Agency showcase, although it may as well have been an echo chamber. The reverberated Gauntlet Hair took the stage in the 9 o’clock slot. The latest of the blog-to-label bands, they parlayed a snapping first single, “I Was Thinking” into an album featuring their trademark high-fret guitar-board strums and slamming drums and bass. Looking a bit like kids who might have run around in a fixed-gear bicycle gang at your liberal arts college, the band played material from their self-titled debut LP, including stunners “Keep Time” and “Top Bunk,” like Dirty Projects cuts that got dropped to the bottom of a backyard swimming pool, all glittering guitars and troubling echoes.

Up next the surprisingly charming Teen (good luck searching for them on the Internet), an all-female five-piece, claimed to be three-fifths sisters and 100 percent Canadian. Now playing in and around Brooklyn, the band was dressed to kill, eliciting drunken commentary from some grungy looking guys in the middle of the crowd, which the quintet handled and dismissed with the deftness of a stand-up comedian. Playing a tight set of dream pop, the band felt like one part Stars, one part Wilson Phillips and one part School of Seven Bells. Seeming to build converts with each passing song (the yelling dudes were now loudly proclaiming their love for the lead singer or maybe the bassist or perhaps both), the ladies in their evening wear proved to be the type of pleasant surprise that CMJ still provides.

We Barbarians, with a considerably smaller sound check and a considerably larger sound, took the stage at 11 as the most energetic three-piece of the festival. Trafficking in the kind of sound that might have kept We Are Scientists from getting kicked off Virgin/EMI, We Barbarians opened with the shimmering “Headspace,” full of banging drums and soaring guitars. Lead singer Dave Quon is a force of nature, even on the allegedly more thoughtful tracks of the band’s most recent EP, Headspace. A drummer sweating through his beard and a singer sweating through his shirt aren’t new semiotics in rock music, but there is something in We Barbarians that feels singular, loud and important. The bands would move on, perhaps to the rest of their tours or to even later showcases, and the echoes of the second-to-last evening of another CMJ would ring out without the help of a delay pedal. —Geoff Nelson