Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CMJ 2010: Family Portrait, Street Chant, Ecstatic Sunshine, Fluffy Lumbers and Pigeons Played Shea Stadium

I finally made it over to Shea Stadium, one of the many D.I.Y. concerts venues in Bushwick, for last Friday's Microphone Memory Emotion and Rose Quartz showcase. Though it wasn't an official CMJ event, I wasn't familiar with any of the bands, and that's good enough for me to count it as part of the marathon. The venue is really cool, with Mets paraphernalia, homemade lights, and some couches. It's a nice, intimate size, although everyone's ears were aching a bit afterwards.

Pigeons started things off with a pleasant, ethereal haze, with the singer sounding like a doppelganger for Asobi Seksu's Yuki Chikudate on the first song I heard. The band meandered in the best way, saturating the room with pretty vocals and shoegazey instruments. There was even some French lyrics at the end, à mon excitation.

Fluffy Lumbers weathered some technical problems - singer Samuel Franklin's voice was a bit buried under the guitars - but they played a satisfying, hard-hitting set. Guitarist (and former WNYU DJ) Alex Craig would play a few chords from various classic rock songs during lulls, and while Fluffy Lumbers comes from a scrappier sort of indie inspiration, they had some guitar chops for sure. The band will be playing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (!) on Nov. 3 as part of the John Baldessari event, and while Franklin said they needed practice, they should be fine, judging from what I heard.

Ecstatic Sunshine was next. The band is just Matthew Papich now, with old member Dustin Wong leaving to focus on Ponytail and his solo stuff, and I'll admit it was a little jarring going from a Fluffy Lumbers' full-out sound to Papich's electronic textures. Wong is a guitarist, and there was still some six-string residue coming out of Papich's machines, which danced between ambient washes and more song-based structure. The visuals were particularly cool here, with two women swirling liquid over a projector. Talk about D.I.Y.!

Here are two tracks, courtesy of Last.fm.

MP3: Ecstatic Sunshine - Hello Money
MP3: Ecstatic Sunshine - No Future I'm Dead

Street Chant, from New Zealand, are a lean three-piece that evoke Sleater-Kinney. They played a straightforward, no-frills set, although there was some nice harmonizing between the two singers. But for the most part, it was brisk song after song, and judging from the few girls dancing vigorously in front of the stage, that was just fine.

Family Portrait were loud. The singing was pretty tuneful, but the guitars and synth were what was etched - literally - into my eardrums. It was hard to pick out distinct elements under the blasts, but there was some interesting stuff going on under the fuzz.

Unfortunately I had to head out before Andrew Cedermark, but it was still a great show, and I'll try to get back to Shea soon.

Rest of the photos after the jump.


Fluffy Lumbers

Ecstatic Sunshine

Street Chant

Family Portrait

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