They call CMJ a marathon for good reason. At any point between Tuesday afternoon and Sunday, there are dozens of showcases and countless bands with buzz — from the local to the international — playing for a shot at being ‘picked up’ by the press or the music industry. Here, Metro spotlights the best of what we saw
Half of the battle is balancing a band’s sound with their stage presence and appearance. For Brooklyn psych rock act Spires, their expansive, muted pop cuts complement the four 20-somes’ long-haired, retro rocker look. Comparisons to ‘80s U.K. guitar pop legends The Stone Roses aren’t unfounded, but lead singer Matt Stevenson’s dreamy vocals and intricate guitar melodies make them the real deal.
24-year-old Aussie singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett projects her sultry voice with ease. Singing eloquently on narratives of the past, Barnett makes folk her own by tying together bluesy melodies with the Dylan-esque style of sing-talking. Loose, but well fit, rambling psychedelia backs Barnett’s tunes but it’s her unique vocal style that captivates.
With her electronically spacey take on R&B, Kelela's career seems promising. Her recently released mixtape "Cut 4 Me" has garnered well-deserved praise for its mix of flippant hip-hop crunk beats with honest R&B tellings and phrasings. Live, she's a charming mix of sweetness and attitude. "Now I'm gonna sing this not-so-nice song called 'Enemy,'" she said in presenting one of her tunes. In a sporty outfit with a miniminiminiskirt, transparent top, Nike bra and dreads, it was hard not to fall under the spell of the the L.A-based singer.
Glasser’s Cameron Mesirow's electronic, dreamy synth pop, floating beats and charismatic voice is reminiscent of strong female artists like Bjork and Kate Bush. Switching between flirty giggling and jungle drum dancing, it makes sense that Mesirow has already shared bills with the XX and Sigur Ros. Glasser offeres toe tickling beats, super cool old school graphic visuals on two screens and the most well equipped percussion set up we’ve seen in a while.