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Running the CMJ Marathon 2012 - Day 1 - by Josh S. Johnson
Blonds, Laura Stevenson, The Nightmare River Band, Sean0Sean, sami.the.great, Brainstorm, Everest Cale

The second best part of CMJ, after of course the opportunity to see tons of great bands for five straight nights in the greatest city for music, is the process of sorting through the seemingly endless list of bands in order to meticulously plan your personal schedule down to the minute. That feeling of invincibility concerning the laws of time and space is an awful like the one you get when you develop grand plans to start exercising and working out.  That brief sensation of euphoria lasts right up to the minute you told yourself you were going to start. Then you realize you already walked something like three flights of stairs that day, so really there’s no need to exercise.

Similarly, that confidence in a CMJ strategy lasts for the all too brief period between the schedule’s release and when the first band you see doesn’t start or finish on time. Suddenly those hours of planning turn are for naught as you blindly choose a venue to visit next. Yet the chaos of CMJ is part of its undeniable charm. As my uncle once said to me while my dad tried to figure out how he forgot to turn the lights off in the now-non-starting rental car we were driving through the middle of Alabama: “It’s part of the adventure.”

My CMJ adventure started with an example of the aforementioned scheduling hassles. I arrived at The Rock Shop around 7:30 with the intention of catching Brooklyn’s Howth, who released a solid indie-rock album, “Newkirk” earlier this year, at 7:45.  However, I soon learned that the band that was supposed to play at 7, Sean0Sean, was just beginning their set. Not wanting to leave Brooklyn empty handed, I stuck around and declared Sean0Sean, led by Brooklyn-born Sean Kiely, my first band of CMJ 2012.

Not only did Sean0Sean’s Rock Shop gig break the band’s CMJ virginity, it was their first gig, period. Hearing that, I felt that there wasn’t a better way to begin my week of researching upcoming bands than with a band that has never played a show before. When I arrived, the band consisted of only a guitarist and a bassist, but I was optimistic since I love the Flight of the Conchords. Well, Sean0Sean weren’t quite as entertaining Bret and Jemaine (and Murray, present), but they did bring a sort of straight-out-of-the-garage charm. Eventually a drummer joined the duo, and the newly formed trio banged out some solid garage-rock tunes.

brainstormAfter a brief excursion in Brooklyn, I made my way back to the East Village, where I spent the remainder of the night. First up was Portland, Oregon trio BRAINSTORM at the Lit Lounge. BRAINSTORM was certainly fun to watch and listen to, mostly due to the drummer/singer’s energy and the guitarist’s oscillation between psych distortion and the fluttery cleanliness of indie-rock. Also, the guitarist frequently put his instrument aside to grab a tuba, so that was neat.

nightmare river

I then made a quick walk to the Bowery Electric, where I caught the last couple songs of pop artist Sami Akbari, aka sami.the.great. Sami’s performance of Cyndi Lauper-like pop songs was enjoyable to watch and listen to, but it wasn’t particularly my cup of tea. However, the next act up at the Electric, The Nightmare River Band (pictured), was right up my alley.

The Nightmare River Band is the most aptly named band I’ve seen so far at CMJ. Many of their songs possess that sort of romantic notion that if the boat is sinking, then fuck it and party while you still can, specifically “Last Goodbye.” Ironically, they opened with “Last Goodbye,” which, at least by looking at its title, would seem like the perfect closing song. Instead, the band closed with an inspired cover of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers, which was somehow an even bouncier version than the original. The dueling guitar and bass solos certainly helped. Overall, the Nightmare River Band a great set filled with some rather awesome rock n’ roll songs.

Returning to my home turf, I set up shop at the Delancey to see Blonds (top of page picture) perform at the Deli's Rootsy showcase. I had high expectations for the duo, who performed as a five-piece live, and they were undoubtedly exceeded. Singer Cari Rae began the show with her smoky, sultry vocals. Just as you start to view Rae as an angel from heaven, the instrumentation, led by guitarist Jordy Asher, knocks you off the side of the earth down into hell. Rae’s smile turns to a snarl, and her swagger rises as the controlled chaos builds around her. Every song took on new power live. While the studio version of “Mr. E” embodies the suaveness of James Bond, then the live take sounds like what happens when you replace 007’s martini with an assault rifle. With their commanding take of an already strong catalog, Blonds proved to be the highlight of CMJ Tuesday.


After a misguided attempt to squeeze in seeing a band at Fontanas, I returned to the Delancy just in time for the tail end of Laura Stevenson & the Cans. Stevenson commanded the packed room with her confident folk-rock.


After Laura, I ended my first night of CMJ 2012 with Everest Cale The strength of Everest Cale’s debut EP, “Beast,” comes from Brett Treacy’s fantastic voice, which, at times, sounds like the late, great Layne Staley. While Treacy did howl like the eponymous beast, the star of the band’s performance at the Delancey was guitarist Jeremy Kolmin. Kolmin would rip off blistering solos while bending notes to new heights. With Treacy’s vocals and Kolmin’s guitar, Everest Cale delivered a high-quality performance. Plus, they won the coveted “Best Line of Stage Banter Award” with this gem: “You drunk assholes go fuck yourselves” (said jokingly, of course).






The Deli's CMJ Shows 2012





Deli readers in bands,

Every year, The Deli's Year End Polls highlight hundreds of the best emerging artists in the 11 local US scenes we cover - and reward them with prizes from our sponsors.

As you may know, the winner of the NYC poll will grace the cover of the spring issue of The Deli.

Now established artists like Local Natives, Yeasayer, Twin Shadow, Vampire Weekends, Vivian Girls, Ra Ra Riot, Girls, Kurt Vile, Baths, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Blank Dogs, Buke and Gass and many others won or did well in our polls months if not years before getting international recognition.

The end of the 2011 is quickly approaching and we are ready to go through the painstaking 2 month process involved in selecting the artists and processing the various votes. We are already asking our local jurors (mostly venue promoters, bloggers, record store and radio personnel) to cast their vote for their favorite local emerging artists. But of course, our polls are open to all bands who want to be considered: free submissions are open from now until December 4th HERE - after that date we'll have $5 submissions through SonicBids for another couple of weeks. All these submissions will be grouped by genre and filtered by The Deli's local editors and some Deli writers.

To submit for consideration and for more info about our year end polls please go

Good Luck
The Deli's Staff



At The Delancey on Tuesday 10.18 we'll have a truly fantastic bill with 9 NYC based electro-pop bands - and it's going to be free!. 21+ - $8.
Full listings of the Deli's CMJ shows here. See below for the Dream Pop and Alt Rock stages that same night in the same venue (downstairs).

P.S. If you are into Pedal Effects, don't miss The Deli's STOMP BOX EXHIBIT at CMJ on Friday and Saturday!!!


7.00 - The Casualty Process

7.40 - Illuminator
8.20 - Tiny Victor ies
9.00 - Mitten
9.40 - Computer Magic

10.20 - Psychobuildings

11.00 - Pretty Good Dance Moves

11.40 - Caged Animals

12.20 - Slam Donahue


Alt Rock

Band name: 
TV Moms
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
Venue name: 
Hart Bar
Band email: 

Proto-grunge ‘80s underground rockers Das Damen set to re-release debut EP in reworked/remastered/expanded form

As recently announced by Dromedary Records, iconic underground rock band Das Damen is reissuing their eponymous debut EP, retitled 1986: KEEPS ME WILDalongside a new issue of drummer Lyle Hysen’s fanzine, Damaged Goods (also the name of Hysen’s record label) featuring a comprehensive timeline of the band, show flyers, oral history, and words from Thurston Moore, Tom Sharpling, and more.

The reissue includes a few new demos and reworked tracks featuring a few other rock legends: Dez Cadena of Black Flag, Thalia Zedek of Come, Gary Lee Conner of Screaming Trees, The Fluid’s John Robinson, and A Girl Called Eddy. After being out of print for decades, these tracks will be back in action on September the 8th, 2023.

The first single off the project, “Trick Question" is available for streaming now, along with an official music video (see above). Listening to this song is about all you need, while walking around the city—especially if pumped through the 'phones of a portable CD player—to feel like it’s 1986 again and to pretend the East Village hasn’t become a bit of a frat house. It was in this legendary, filthy scene, that Das Damen got their start as little punk NYU students, back when NYU students could be punk. Listening to this record smells like the streets of the 1980’s downtown scene.

“Trick Question” is among the six songs found on the original EP, expanded to a whopping 17 tracks for 1986: Keeps Me Wild. To this day, the original EP represents a vital piece of the downtown NYC underground music scene—a sound that got built upon and built upon until today, when the indie scene has evolved greatly, but is very much still alive and kickin’. Basically, they walked so later bands like the Strokes could run.

In other words, this collection of songs is truly a time capsule into the history of New York’s downtown music scene, a scene with which I personally am involved, and a scene, I presume if you’re reading this, that you care a bit about! Let the history lesson begin...

“The six anthemic songs contained therein remain as fist-pumpingly huge and evocative as ever, dripping with the grit, grime, chaos, and sludge of the 1980s downtown scene where the band members first converged as fledgling teenage punks attending New York University. But while Das Damen certainly shared an affinity for jacked-to-11 amps and ear-busting volume akin to peers like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., songs like “Trick Question,” “Slave Bird” and “How Do You Measure” stand-alone with otherworldly singalong harmonies, tasty hooks, monster riffs, and miles and miles of paisley-draped, hair-exploding style.” publicist, Ken Weinstein

Das Damen was conceived of in 1984 when singer/guitarist Jim Walters, guitarist Alex Totino, EIGHT-STRING Bassist Phil Leopold Von Trapp (what a name!), and drummer Lyle Hysen joined forces, playing clubs in the East Village and absolutely crushing crowds with their hardcore mixture of punk, metal, and alternative rock. 

“When we got the tapes baked several years ago, upon listening to them we discovered we had a few unfinished alternative takes from the original EP sessions,” says drummer Lyle Hysen. “We didn’t feel we could bring the same ‘1986 enthusiasm’ to finishing the tapes but by bringing in a few people who we respect or are pals from back then, the re-imaginings would have a new energy of their own.” – quote grabbed from BigHassle Press Release

This band, and in particular, this body of work, represents a moment in time, a pillar of NYC music, having been originally recorded with noted noise-rock producer Wharton Tiers (Sonic Youth, Glenn Branca, Pussy Galore), in his famed Fun City Studios.

“The EP’s ecstatic maelstrom expertly mirrored the tension, frenzy, and white noise…earned Das Damen a reputation as a mind-blowingly epic live band, as heard on tours alongside Nirvana, Soundgarden, Black Flag, Green River, Screaming Trees, and DC3, amongst other like-minded luminaries.” The upcoming remastered EP, augmented from the original Ecstatic Peace! Tapes will add a little bit of glimmer and shine to their trademarked grit. Sean Glonek at SRG Studios made sure of that when he took a stab at the tapes, overseen by Walters, Hysen, and best-selling author/producer Tom Beaujour.

And as if that’s not enough, the East Village Punk OG’s have announced their first live date in over three decades at the Drom30 Festival on September 16th, 2023, which will take place in the picturesque, magical place that isthe  Hudson Valley. The EP arrives digitally through Dromedary Records the week prior, on September 8th, followed by a Vinyl release in October. 

In conclusion: A little nostalgia never hurt nobody, and I, for one, enjoy a little mood curation courtesy of some mid 1980’s punk rock music. And if you do too, be sure to check out Das Damen in 2023…



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