A lot of our friends from the College Radio scene are hitting NYC this week for the annual CMJ Music Marathon and are kindly sending us some excellent reviews of what’s happening on the ground for this week’s Required Listening. CMJ is always a look into the future of music so hop into the DeLorean.
From Tom Steffes, Radio K Digital Media Producer at Pitchfork’s CMJ Showcase >>
Friday night’s Pitchfork showcase was one of the most buzzed-about events of CMJ in 2012, and it delivered on all fronts. Hundreds lined up around the block at Villain in Williamsburg hoping to gain entry to one of the most eclectic line-ups at the festival this year, official or otherwise. A photobooth and plethora of free drinks greeted guests upon entry. Acts such as Le1f, Hundred Waters and Merchandise got the show off to a proper start, but it wasn’t until METZ took the stage that the venue became alive.
The Canadian trio blasted through choice cuts from their new self-titled record to a sizable mosh pit. British producer Holy Other, whose newest full-length Held is easily one of the most slept-on records of the year so far, followed with a rare performance. Local rapper Joey Bada$$ was warmly received in his hometown and the massively buzzy DIIV performed a surprisingly spirited set reminiscent of early Stone Roses with is psychedelic grooves. Considering their typical classification as a dream pop group I was surprised to see a small pit had formed for them – could have been all the free drinks, but it is definitely true that performances from this group were some of the most anticipated of the festival. Taking the stage at 2:20 a.m. was Sacramento’s Death Grips who delivered not just one of the best performances I saw at CMJ but all year. Despite the fact that they were missing Andy “Flatlander” Morin on keyboards and samples, the group still delivered an outrageously exhilarating set. They blasted through selections from all three of their full-lengths without a single pause between any of the tracks, playing out like one massive and relentless medley. The group’s intensity was positively unparalleled on numbers like “No Love”, “Takyon (Death Yon)”, and “The Fever (Aye Aye)”. I’ve seen death metal and punk shows with less moshing and aggression. Not a word was said to the crowd other than frontman MC Ride uttering a quick “thank you” after dropping the microphone once the final song had finished. He then put his hoodie back on and calmly started to pack up their gear, as if he hadn’t just completely lit up the most anticipated showcase at the entire festival. Dude.