Sunday, November 12, 2006

Some Musics

I’ve always dreamed of having a free CMJ pass—imagining myself gallivanting around the city seeing all the bands I’ve ever wanted to see made me believe in a higher power. In effect, my vision was skewed a bit. The way it worked out, I got tickets to the weakest CMJ in recent memory. Even the Sub Pop showcase was fairly weak (I didn’t go). It gave me a chance to concentrate on some of my favorite bands from a few years ago and some new ones. Here’s a wrap-up of some of my favorite performances.

Photo Credit: Rich Merritt via

Hello Sir Records Showcase

Having multiple drummers used to be an obscure idea unless you were Paul Simon or Santana. Now, the idea is burgeoning into a full scale movement. Among the advocates are Fugazi (live only), the Melvins, Del Rey, and a slew of up and coming acts. Cinemechanica put on the loudest and most emphatic act I saw at CMJ this year.

Cinemechanica has always left me dazed after their shows. It used the video-game atmosphere—the back and forth note crammed guitars playing off of one another, the angry lyricists, the seeming importance of their dedication to being technically superior. Now, after a lineup change that includes a second drummer and new bassist, they leave me confused. Gone are the lyrics and shouting, and entered are the (longer darker louder) instrumental sequences. Gone are the days of sing along pointing and clapping. Enter the maturation process.

This doesn’t mean they’ve left behind the edginess or given up on their old sound. In fact, you can still hear their desire for showmanship. As their drummers roll through fill after fill, you can feel the energy the percussion gives to the crowd and the players themselves. It would seem that with the advent of their additions, they’ve subtracted their preposterousness and become the band they were destined to be: better than nearly everyone around them. It’s what they’ve
strived for, and they are close. I am lucky enough to have witnessed the transformation.

Each song better than the last and a buildup to the finale—an 8 plus minute rock out—this was the performance that kept me from seeing The Shins. Admittedly, I was pissed the entire night, but ready to support old friends. By the end, I was completely overwhelmed. I had watched the beginning of what should be the pinnacle of a fantastic band. This was much better than seeing some new songs from their old sound. Cinemechanica, in effect, proved themselves by hyperextending their more comfortable dynamic—expanding the limits of so-called “nerd” rock to become impossibly overwrought. I mean that in the best way possible. Afterwards, they were haggard and spent; ready to cut everyone in half to see if we were alive. If we were, it was thanks to them.

You can hear them on or you can find them on Do it.


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