Become a Writer Advertise With Us

The 2012 CMJ Music Marathon continues to take over New York City, as hundreds of college-radio staff members and aspiring music journalists try to see as many musical acts as possible while also attempting to find time to attend daytime panels covering the music (and radio) industry. It is not easy. That’s especially true for the attendees who come from out of town and might not ever have the chance to see the international artists who seldom tour America. Since we’re in NYC, though, we’re kind of spoiled with seeing all kinds of musical acts. To us, the real fun is in seeking out the hopefully rising stars who fill up the early bills and the very late slots. Check out our review of Night #1 here. Here’s who won us over in our travels last night…

Sean Anonymous

We’re not too crazy about nerdy white rappers like MC Lars, since their success can be measured by Cartoon Network references instead of sharp beats. Sean Anonymous, however, lives up to his hype and transcends his hipster guise. The Minnesota rapper was just kicking off a long bill from the basement of the Delancey, but he had some dedicated followers and a smooth flow that proved he wasn’t playing for laughs. He isn’t above some cheap laughs, but there’s nothing painful or precious about Sean’s trippy hip-hop.

Doe Paoro

We were heartbroken to learn that Bertrand Burgalat had postponed his CMJ appearance, since we’ve got a pretty short list of favorite modern-day French dance-pop icons. Fortunately, all that meant is that we spun the chamber on some CMJ Russian Roulette, and discovered Doe Paoro at The Living Room–which seemed like a big break after what we’d heard about her previous night’s show at the Bowery Hotel. Doe’s a Brooklyn gal, so it’s not like we couldn’t have caught up with her, but she seemed especially inspired for CMJ. Doe certainly made a great case for the commercial potential of her dark diva ways. She’s soulful, sultry, and seems to have a lot of money backing her. That’s good, since Doe likes to package her lushly danceable sound in dramatic settings. Check her out in what’s actually kind of a restrained video for her:

Local H

Then it was time to race uptown for a proper oldies act over at the Union Square Ballroom–which is currently serving as a lounge for CMJ during the Music Marathon. Scott Lucas has been fronting Local H for 25 years now, and he’s only had to change out his drummer once–which is really convenient, since Local H first got attention in the ’90s for being a simple guitar & drums duo. Those were pretty rare back then. Local H has a new politically-themed album out called Hallelujah! I’m a Bum, but we were first won over by 2008’s Twelve AngryMonths. That one was the very personal album that was also Local H’s first release after finally being abandoned by the major labels. The new record’s pretty good, but here’s our idea of classic Local H:

Black Light Dinner Party

Then we wandered back to downtown Manhattan for Black Light Dinner Party at Pianos. As usual, the ambitious band–comprised of four producers collaborating across America–had drawn a crowd of hardcore hipsters. We had to try and blend in while enjoying shimmering tunes that ranged from stark greatness to dreamy pop. It was a little more fun when BLDP made a big deal out of hiding their identities, but the act’s been drawing the kinds of crowds that make it hard to be unknown. Here’s a favorite track, but it’s not easy to define a band where all the members are major talents…

And that was the fashionable end to our night. Now we feel bad for seeing a band as popular as Black Light Dinner Party. If you’re in town for CMJ, feel free to post your own favorite acts and help us get back to the obscure. After all, there are only three nights left!