It’s a disconcerting feeling, feeling the floor bounce to a four-four beat as the ceiling lights and disco ball above bob to an entirely different rhythm, neither of which are coming from the band on stage. But I guess that’s what’s to expect at the CMJ music marathon, with a near infinite amount of official and unofficial showcases throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan over six days. On Tuesday night, I hit the My Social List showcase in the Marlin Room of Webster Hall on the Lower East Side, featuring the likes of Bleeding Rainbow, Heavenly Beat and Mac Demarco.
Bleeding Rainbow went on first, and damn their show was heavier than expected. On their record, the band creates a sound where melody comes first, accented with noise of the shoegaze variety. But on-stage, the Philadelphia quartet wails with a passion, complete with equipment throwing and writhing-on-the-ground guitar solos. Earlier in the day, I talked with Bleeding Rainbow at the Atlas Café in Williamsburg.
KRTU Can you explain how the band came together?
Rob (BR) We started out four years ago, first with Sara and I playing a one-off show, 'cause our other band couldn't. We called it Reading Rainbow and had this conceptual idea for what all the songs were about and the aesthetic. Then we like this band more than our old band, so we started playing more shows.
Within the past two years, Sara and I started touring more extensively and on the recorded versions we tried to make them super thick sounding with lots of layers but that didn't fully translate live the way we wanted them to so we realized we needed more people in the band to make the live sound even larger.
KRTU How about the name change from Reading to Bleeding Rainbow?
Rob Earlier this year we tried to change our name -
Sara No, no, no. It was December 2011.
Rob Alright, late last year. But it kinda matches the sound we're going for.
KRTU Legal Reasons? Or aesthetic?
Rob Yea, pre-emptive.
Sara Nothing happened but it could have happened. [Note: Reading Rainbow was a kid's show on PBS with the dude with that visor-thing from Star Trek, airing from '83 to '06].
KRTU How about the recording process for Yeah Right, your debut album.
Al We actually recorded it twice. We started out at one studio in January and we handed that album in to the label [Kanine]. Then we went on tour, came back, decided to remix the record and in the course of remixing it we ended up re-tracking about 80% of it. After sitting on it for a while we came back with fresh ears and made everything a bit more, just gnarlier.
Rob The album comes out in January, we're gonna tour our asses off and either have another album come out the same year, or a long EP
KRTU What's your favorite part about making music in Philadelphia, or in other words, why haven't you moved up to NYC?
Greg It's a big city with a small music scene. It has its drawbacks, but everybody knows each other and that's cool.
Rob People still struggle there [laughs].
Sara It's not Disney Land like Brooklyn, where everybody's 30 or younger or looks like it.
Al Philly's just gnarly.
Sara It's got some scary ladies in pajama pants walking around -
Rob With deep voices.
Sara And it's the opposite. They're only 21 but look like they're 45. [Laughs] I think that's the biggest difference. The women are more ma-ture.
KRTU Thanks guys, I'll be sure to be on the lookout for some MC Hammer pajama pant wearing ladies next time I'm there.
Heavenly Beat came on next, creating an atmosphere in the room that was considerably more chill. The three pretty boys from the Captured Tracks label – two on guitar, the prettiest on bass – laid down some gorgeous melodies over Macbook beats laden with steel drums, tambourines and well-placed faux-snare hits. They’re of the new genre of indie pop dominated by The Weeknd and How to Dress Well that walks the line of Top 40 R&B and standard indie conventions. Their new record Talent came out earlier this summer.
Courtesy of Pitchfork and Ebru Yildiz
Courtesy of Pitchfork and Ebru Yildiz
The last act I caught was Mac Demarco, a twenty-two-year-old rock n’ roller from Montreal who introduced his band simply as “Wussssssssup.” Mac then ran through a quick set of his old school named (e.x. New York Rock and Roll Club, Baby Wears Blue Jeans) new school sounding cuts from his debut release Mac Demarco II. Not only did the band sound tight, but Mac was hilarious, speaking in between songs like Michael Keaton from Beetlejuice, introducing guitar solos with lines like “Check this out!” and comping everything from Richard Hell to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” from The Lion King and finally, a quasi-cover of The Police. In the closing song, a ballad called Together, Mac jumped into the crowd and slobbered all over his lady. Just a slimy, grimy dude with a gap-tooth grin who wants to get down.