Saturday, October 30, 2010

(Not) CMJ 2010: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Ty Segall, Javelin, Active Child, and Cults Played #Offline

Madeline Follin of Cults

Rushing over from the BrooklynVegan day party last Saturday, I arrived at Brooklyn Bowl and saw a line for Pitchfork's #Offline Festival. Frowning, and hoping I didn't miss Cults, I took my spot and pondered the likelihood of the venue being packed already (it was around 4 pm). Thankfully, things moved relatively quickly, and no, it wasn't crowded inside at all.

Which is really a shame, because Cults is quite good. They won me over easily a few weeks back with the nostalgic, swooning "Go Outside," its harpsichord twinkle and Madeline Follin's sky-high vocals proving irresistible. But as their recent Daytrotter session suggested, there's more to the band than just the two figures on the cover art of their first single (I'm not even sure if those are members of the band). Indeed, Cults set up as a six-piece, and the plethora of guitars made for a full sound. Still, Follin was the centerpiece in space and sound, perpetually swaying. Judging from the amount of new material I heard, we should expect a full length shortly.

Until then, grab some songs from their' 7'' over at Bandcamp. You'll be glad you did.

Next, Active Child's Pat Grossi made an immediate impression, sitting with a harp and filling the room with his soaring voice. He's said that he's a former member of a boy's choir, and that choral influence really suffused his music, even when he switched over to synth for the second half of his set. Harps inevitably make me think of Joanna Newsom, but Grossi has a more technological vibe, although both of them have pretty distinct voices. If anything, I'd say Active Child aspires to some of M83's more cinematic moments, although with less bombast. Another pretty good indicator, as previously mentioned, is the band's remix of tourmates School of Seven Bells, which brings an operatic quality to the vocals.

MP3: School of Seven Bells - Heart Is Strange (Active Child Remix)

A very entertaining Javelin gave the crowd a strong workout, with Tom van Buskirk supplying the goofy, stream-of-conscious rapping and George Langford pounding the drum kit. In the background were projections of various sports, and van Buskirk said at one point that he was inspired by middle school dancers. They sampled a variety of sources, from video game bleeps to old school hip hop, and apparently broadcast through a bunch of boomboxes, which is all sorts of awesome. I really liked Javelin's mix of live instruments and crate-digging, and it made for a spontaneous-sounding good time. Javelin also regularly posts mixes on their colorful website, and here's one.

MP3: Javelin - Andrean Ocean Tape

Ty Segall was up next, and I think it was a case where the live mix had guitars burying the vocals, and I couldn't really distinguish them from your typical indie rock band, aside from a cover of what I believe was "Crazy Train." Listening to their recorded stuff now, I can get a better feel for the band's grungy, fuzzed out sound, which admittedly isn't my favorite sort of music, but there's also a decent dose of melody as well. Anyhow, the crowd absolutely ate them up, even moshing at times, and Segall returned the love, giving the mic to a knot of people up front for part of one song. Good times.

Grab Ty Segall's "Standing at the Station" over at RCRD LBL.

I had seen the Pains of Being Pure At Heart twice in outdoor spaces - first at the South Street Seaport, then at this year's Village Voice Siren Festival - and I've been impressed with the fullness of their sound. Two guitars, a bass, synth and drums can really do wonders, and they were a blast once again. Kip Berman's vox was a bit quiet, but those glorious, jangly hooks were tremendous. The Pains played some new tracks, which didn't seem to deviate too much, but if ain't broke, don't fix it.

MP3: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Everything With You

Footage of "Young Adult Friction," courtesy of Plastic Impossible, and rest of the photos after the jump.


Active Child


Ty Segall

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

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