This year’s CMJ was nothing short of spectacular for Cougar Microbes. Braving the cold weather and the rain, we meandered through the downtown Manhattan and East Brooklyn areas to see as many of the new up and coming artists as possible. From the coveted SoFar Sounds showcases and The Kills, to the late night dance parties with Made In Heights and Saint Pepsi, to catching the promising performances by BORNS, we covered it all. As always, we were left tired, happy, and wanting more, thanks again CMJ!
Fresh off the release of their latest album, Future Tense, AM Aesthetic was building the heat with their single, “I Can Tell.” The standout element in this indierock trio was the percussionist, whose vigorous drumming was clearly the driving force behind the performance. Despite the dark, poignant nature of their music, lead singer Rob Sucheki’s boyish charm kept their stage presence lighthearted, and their fans begging for more.
Mostly a well known name because of her collaboration with Flume, it was exciting to see George Maple as a solo act. Wearing some gold beading in her dark brown hair and perfect bangs to match, she graced the stage looking like Cleopatra, and lowered the energy for some laid back indie R&B. With a thumping bass under her sultry vocals, she lured her audience in with fresh new tracks and her popular single, “Fixed.”
Plenty of acts at CMJ fall under the title of “internet sensation,” and with a couple of Hype Machine charting electro-pop tunes under her belt such as “Weekend,” and “Strange Enough,” VÉRITÉ of course fit the bill. Unfortunately, she gave a very generic performance. There’s nothing more boring to me than a band that never goes off-script. Not to say this was a bad performance, I just wanted more from this clearly rising star.
Easily the best band I saw throughout all of CMJ would have to be BØRNS. With California indierock vibes emanating out of their music already, their look and general aura matched their sound impeccably. Lead singer Gregory Borns dons long curly hair with the relaxed vibe of the 70s and a pair of skinny jeans painted onto his body. Second in command was very clearly the chick on keyboards handling the shimmering synths while also providing dulcet vocal harmonies. This band has solidified their sound, while still maintaining unique tracks, playing with a cappella intros, just as much as synthpop beats – I cannot wait to hear more.
Detroit trio Jamaican Queens are a band that bases a lot of what it does both lyrically and melodically on shifting highs and lows. Backed by synthesizer fed beats frontman Ryan Spencer multitasks while singing in his own unique style. The results tonight are often quite beautiful.
Words by Amanda Jabes and Boaz.