The CMJ Show Not To Be Missed...Unless You Want To Go To Something Else...Then We Forgive You - Oh My Rockness

Recommended Show
October 13, 2004
This is a helluva week to force Rockness to pick only one recommended show. But then again, no one is really forcing us except ourselves since we're our own boss. Boom! Wednesday marks the start of CMJ and that means hundreds of bands descending upon us. And probably 60% of those bands are good. Ok, maybe 50%, but that's still a lot of quality shows. So what we did was look for the show with the best bands from opener to headliner. And Rockness decided the winner is...TV on the Radio, Pinback, Battles, Whirlwind Heat and Tara Jane O'Neil at Irving Plaza. Hellz yeah.

Brooklyn's TV on the Radio are well known by now. I was almost suffocated by a few thousand hipsters when I tried to see them at Siren Fest. I was outta there faster than you can say, "4 chili-cheese bacon Nathan's please." But there's a reason kids risk asphyxiation to see TV on the Radio play. Their live show produces a bigger and better sound than what was captured on their album. Yes, front man Tunde Adebimpe starts every single song humming in falsetto, but that's just to warm up his soulful voice before rocking your lights out as he leads the gospel-indie rock-revival. You got bombastic bass-lines, a killer guitar player/Yeah Yeah Yeahs producer, utterly complex drumming and a whole lot of handclaps. Handclaps and indie rock are the stuff legends are made of (Ted Leo, I'm looking in your direction.)

Everyone loves San Diego's Pinback (especially the ladies for some reason -- I doubt this is due to their looks). Rob Crow (ex-Heavy Vegetable, Thingy) and Armistead (Zach) Burwell Smith IV (ex-Three Mile Pilot) have established themselves as the Kings of Quirk-Pop. Pinback's music is rooted, first and foremost, in melody. Whatever oft-kilter, discordant direction their four-minute songs take, that sweeping melody never dissipates. This is swirling, lush music with an abundance of delicate harmonies and a little bit of computer geek love. A note of warning: Pinback play looooong sets. So be sure to rest up because once you hear them, you're definitely gonna want to stand for it all.

Hot Damn, Battles be playin' on this bill too? Battles is Ian Williams of Don Caballero, David Konopka of Lynx, John Stainer of Helmet and Tyondai Braxton (get his split with Parts & Labor!). They play beeps and clicks, angular style. There's some dub, some groove, some spazz-funk and a whole lot of jaw-dropping rhythm cut-ups. Their live show should be highly entertaining and full of "antics," as they say. This band is definitely the rockness.

There're a lot more bands... Whirlwind Heat, a Jack White protege project, brings their whatever-you-call-it brand of "what the hell are they doing" music similar to Liars. They're not an easy listen, but if it were easy everyone would be doing it, right? And lest we forget the mighty Tara Jane O' big deal she was just in Rodan, one of the greatest bands that EVER LIVED, not to mention Retsin and The Sonora Pine. Her highly personal lo-fi solo work is haunting in its honesty and makes for a completely hypnotic listen.

But this, of course, is just one show out of many. Go to as many shows as you can. We want a full report in the morning after your hangover wears off.

TV on the Radio, Pinback, Battles, Whirlwind Heat and Tara Jane O'Neil play Friday, October 15th at Irving Plaza.


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