Oct 27, 2010
A Suffolk 'n' Cool special this week from New York where the music world and his performing dog is recovering from a frantic CMJ2010 and where I'm still having a ball and working my socks off.
The sound quality isn't up to the usual studio standard and is made worse by the fact that my headset is falling apart. Sorry.
My eyes to see - Alcoholic Faith Mission (Copenhagen, Denmark)
I've played them on the show before and I was severely impressed by their live performance at Fat Baby here in New York on Saturday.
Ariel Hyatt who runs Cyber PR, helping artists gain traction on the slippery slope to getting noticed and building a sustainable music career has made me so welcome this week and I am more grateful than you can imagine.
You'll find Ariel at: http://arielpublicity.com/
With up to five artists to catch per night (always in different venues) as well as a full programme of panel sessions during the day it has been all consuming.
But the leg-work has been so worthwhile, I've found some remarkable artists that I hope you'll enjoy as much as I have.
Immigrant hands - Will Knox (Astoria, New York)
Raised in Hammersmith, London, songwriter/troubadour Will Knox is now very much a New Yorker. Armed only with a pen and notebook, he’d ride the subway for hours, observing this new, rich, frenetic underground world—or as one track on his debut album "The Matador and the Acrobat" describes it, the “Belly of the Beast.”
I caught Will last Saturday night at Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side and was immediately captivated by his writing and beautifully presented songs; as was the audience. The room fell totally silent.
There will be a larger Suffolk'n'Cool feature based on the interview, recorded in Central Park, coming soon. He's that good!
Sons and Daughters - Sherlock's Daughter (Australia and Brooklyn)
Tanya (singer / writer) is a New Zealander who formed the band in Sydney.
They have a debut EP that was released in Australia (only) last year. They performed at CMJ 2009 and went on to have a residency at Pianos for the month of November 2009. During the residency producer John Agnello saw the band play after being tipped off by Thurston Moore.
They returned to Australia for summer festivals (Big Day Out, Parklife etc) and were invited to play at SxSW 2010 where the band decided to relocate to NYC.
Arrived in New York and started recording debut album with John Agnello while touring and playing shows with Warpaint, Freelance Whales, School of Seven Bells, Metric, Neon Indian and The Charlatans UK.
Shayna Zaid and the Catch - interview
Bonita - Shayna Zaid and The Catch (New York)
Blending elements of folk, jazz, indie pop and cabaret, Shayna Zaid's melodically inclined lyrical work leaves traces of solace, reflection and affection. The combination of Zaid's dynamic stage presence, her powerful smoky voice and her playful jazzy swagger lends an enchanting display.
I found you - Luluc (Melborne / New York)
Although from Melbourne, Zoe Randell and Steve Hassett are now based in Brooklyn.
With the release of their debut album, Dear Hamlyn, Luluc has become a quiet sensation. Songs pared down to an essential core, the music of Zoë Randell and Steve Hassett is of austere and unadorned beauty.
Since their album's release, they have achieved much, playing major Australian & Canadian festivals and being hand picked to tour with Fleet Foxes, Jose Gonzalez and Lucinda Williams.
Relocating from Melbourne, Australia, to Brooklyn in 2010, coincided with wide exposure for Luluc, with two songs, 'I Found You' and 'One Day Soon' featured in ABC TV series Grey's Anatomy.
Like a whisper or a caress, Luluc hold their audiences entranced. Zoë’s unique alto is central and provides a strikingly beautiful counterpoint to her nylon guitar. Exquisite melodies are accentuated by Steve's close vocal harmony and guitar accompaniment. Together they create a rich and deeply affecting sound.
Sounds of New York
Drumming on subway and Ron Raffle
Insincerely Yours - Shayfer James (New Jersey)
The Villain King of New Jersey’s underground noir-pop music scene, Mr. James is devilishly captivating and deliciously unusual.
When Shayfer James approaches the piano, there is a certain power and mischievous charm that surrounds him. A bewitching sense of foreboding builds as his fingers touch the keys, and as he begins to sing, we are immersed in his darkly lyrical and evocative stories. His wry poetry is stitched seamlessly to peculiar arrangements that are simultaneously unsettling and familiar.
Mr. James lures us into a devious world where the gods tear wings from angels and every man has a siren waiting to devour him.
I met up with Shayfer at Ariel Hyatt's CMJ party in Park Slope, Brooklyn Take it from me, this is one hard working band.
Picture of Sarah and her saw at http://tinyurl.com/2e9b9ny do check out the rest of Ariel's CMJ pix.
Crazy Car - Ólöf Arnalds (Iceland)
A remarkable find at CMJ. My initial reaction was so-so but then Ólöf's voice found it's way in. It felt as though she had no more choice about singing than she has about breathing. And what a voice. For me like a gentle wind blowing across an empty landscape under northern sky.
Ólöf Arnalds is an Icelandic singer and multi-instrumentalist. Classically educated on the violin, viola and self-taught on guitar and charango, Ólöf’s most distinctive asset is, nonetheless, her voice. A voice of instantly captivating, spring water chasteness possessed of a magical, otherworldly quality that is simultaneously innocent yet ancient (“somewhere between a child and an old woman” according to no less an authority than Björk).
Ólöf’s approach to making music remains highly individual: playful but intimate; accessible and uplifting, yet deeply personal and suffused with a timeless mystique that goes beyond the puckish inscrutability of her native tongue. Ólöf has also quickly proved herself as a magnetic, utterly self-assured stage performer, reliant as much on screwball humour, vaudevillian charm and even outright bawdiness, as much as the contrasting delicacy of her song delivery.
Check out the video for this track at:
Take it easy (from Summer of Saadi Mixtape) - SAADI (East Village, New York)
Just a taster for this week from one of the most intriguing artists I've come across this week. Saadi (Boshra AlSaadi) is based in New York and seems to be in that fine old Greenwich Village tradition of breaking new ground.
I saw her at R Bar the other night and met up again at the party on Sunday. I'll have more for you in the next week or two after we've recorded a conversation and (hopefully a live acoustic song) this evening.
A tiring week? Hell yes, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world and everyone has been so hospitable.
My particular thanks to Ariel Hyatt who has been absolutely instrumental in my meeting some remarkable talented individuals and a lot of very influential people in this wonderful city and from around the world.
"Game changer" isn't too strong an expression.
There will be more from CMJ over the next few weeks with focus on particular artists. Join me then. Meanwhile I'm off for one last foray on the D train into Manhattan from the Brooklyn apartment.
There are some pictures from CMJ/NYC on Flickr at http://tinyurl.com/2524w7h