The CMJ Music Marathon for 2010 is over. I spent three days at the five-day festival in New York and saw nearly 30 bands. I also made a point of videotaping one minute of every one of them. You can see each clip at the end of this post.
The College Music Journal puts on this event and scatters the music (and discussions of music) across lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.
As a journalist and as a fan, I try to catch only acts that I've never seen before, hoping to hear something that is, if not new, certainly intriguing, adventurous and fun.
My favorites included electronic musician Jon Hopkins. His solo performance as an opening act for Four Tet at Webster Hall may have been the best solo electronic music set I've ever seen. His palette of sounds was thrilling, and his flow didn't rely on the thump-thump-thump that makes me run screaming from a lot of other electronic dance music. I thought his set was better than the act for which he opened.
On the charming and fun side was First Aid Kit, a duo of sisters from Sweden. The best guitar-based band I saw was called Suuns (pronounced soons). The group was fierce and angular. At CMJ, I graze, meaning I get a taste of a band and, whether I like it or don't like it, I'll often be off to another show before the one I'm already at ends. Only a few times did I stay for an entire set. Suuns was one. The Kopecky Family Band was another. I also sat through entire sets by Random Recipe and Lower Dens; I liked Lower Dens' music so much I had to see and hear it twice.