College Music Journal Music Marathon 2012 took place between October 16-20 at venues spread throughout NYC. Featuring some of the best up-and-coming artists of college radio, The Pace Press made sure to cover some artists we think you should know about.
Synth-funk musician Com Truise headlined a show at the Gramercy Theatre on Oct. 20. A stop on his fall 2012 tour the show coincided with the closing night of the College Music Journal Festival. Com Truise is the brainchild of Seth Haley who describes his work on this project as computing produced “mid-fi synth-wave, slow-motion funk.” During live performances Haley is accompanied by a live drummer who provides the rhythm and bass beats to Haley’s slick blends of 80’s inspired electro-wave melodies. Together the two seamlessly blend their talents to create dance inducing instrumentals.
The opening acts included Brazilian electronic musicians, Bonde do Role, and electro-funk band, Poolside. Bonde do Role is signed to Diplo’s Mad Decent label and their latest album Tropicalbacanal has gotten rave reviews, even featuring a few collaborations with Das Racist. Technical difficulties kept the California-based Poolside from starting their set for 45 minutes. When they finally began playing to an anxious crowd, the band opened with the tropical “Do You Believe?” The crowd grooved to their lengthy mellow set, warming up for the main event of the night.
At nearly 1:45 am Com Truise finally took the stage, opening with “5891” from his first EP Cyanide Sisters. Since his 2011 EP’s debut, Com Truise has released two full length albums. Feeding off the audience’s energy, he played improvised extended versions of songs from each album. Com Truise is truly a unique live experience in comparison to other electro-synth musicians because with the use of a live drummer the beats are truly able to come to life. At times some of the songs such as “Colorvision” resemble Drum and Bass style, which isn’t a stretch for Haley who was once a DJ for the dance genre.
As the night wore on in the stuffy sold out venue, it was clear Haley had intended on creating the perfect set list as he played hit songs such as “Controlpop” and “Brokendate” much to the crowd’s pleasure. After only a 40 minute set, Haley left the stage. Security and venue personnel tried to usher fans out before the venue’s strict 2:30 am curfew, but fans stood their ground as they demanded an encore. After a few minutes Haley returned to the stage with a short teaser of his remix of Daft Punk’s “Encom Part 2” featured on the TRON: Legacy official remix soundtrack TRON: Legacy Reconfigured. As if he did not expect an encore, Haley looked out to the audience for suggestions before deciding on closing out with an extended version of “BASF Ace” from his debut EP.
Although Haley’s Com Truise project is relatively new, it has garnered the attention of many, including friend and colleague Neon Indian who featured Com Truise’s music on his blog prior to the release of his first full length album. Com Truise’s fan base has grown significantly over the past year. At last year’s CMJ Festival Com Truise was added as an opening act at the last moment for Neon Indian’s sold out closing night showcase at Webster Hall. Few people knew the talented synth musician at the time, but in the course of a year Com Truise has managed to headline a tour sponsored by Scion, culminating in the headliner performance at the Gramercy Theatre. Fans proudly looked on as they witnessed Com Truise’s progress over the course of just a year, a clear indication that this musician is showing no signs of slowing down.
Warming up the stage for at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory as part of the venue’s Oct. 19 CMJ showcase was rock crooner Devin. Formerly performing under his full name Devin Therriault, he now goes by Devin alone. His stage showmanship is comparable that of great classic rockers bygone. Clad in a printed bowling shirt of The Rolling Stone’s Some Girls album cover, it was clear that the young rocker is definitely inspired by classic rockers like The Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground and perhaps even contemporaries like The Strokes. These comparisons can be seen in songs like “You’re Mine” which Devin opened with. This song was first released in an EP of the same name in 2011 and later rereleased in 2012 full-length debut album titled Romancing.
Devin’s stage presence is high energy with rockabilly chorus lines and even features bluesy rhythm guitar. During guitar solos, Devin would frantically walk about the stage before falling to his knees and lying down as he shredded to the end of a solo. The gritty voiced singer easily captured the audience with his theatrical hand and facial gestures. It’s refreshing to see that artists like Devin continue to keep the spirit of good old rock and roll alive as do fellow new-old school contemporaries like Fitz and the Tantrums, which Devin opened for last year. Devin is showing no signs of slowing down as his album Romancing has garnered attention from Rolling Stone magazine, NME, and even featured in a fashion spread in the digital magazine Topman Generation. Devin is definitely an artist fans of true grit rock and roll should keep on their radars.
Richmond, VA’s own Ki: Theory performed at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on Oct. 19 as part of the venue’s CMJ festival showcase. Lead by Joel Burleson, Ki: Theory features the accompaniment of a drummer during his live performances. Burleson’s sound, his genre being of the indie/electronic family, is reminiscent of Radiohead. As a multi-instrumentalist, Burleson switched from keyboard synthesizers to guitar throughout his dynamic performance. Burleson is a high-energy artist, constantly moving around the stage, entertaining the audience as he performs. He automatically captured the audience’s interest when he opened the show with his remix of Daft Punk’s “The Son of Flynn”, which is featured on the official remix album Tron Legacy: Reconfigured. Burleson, who has done extensive touring throughout the U.S., Canada, Korea, and Japan is widely known for his remixes. Aside from the Daft Punk remix, Burleson’s collection includes songs by Ladytron, Queens of the Stone Age, UNKLE, and Kings of Leon.
A few songs into the set, the sweat was dripping and the crowd was loving it as Burleson performed his haunting hit single “I Wanna Run”, which features Maura Davis of Denali. He also performed “Truth is Ruthless” off the album Arms for Legs. The song’s beginning is eerily similar to King’s of Leon’s “Crawl”, a song Ki: Theory remixed on his Remix EP 1. A crowd that was slightly spread out in the small venue quickly relocated as close to the stage as possible. Burleson jumped about the stage, gripping the microphone with both hands in a deep lunge as he belted out song after song, giving every track his all. He jumped on top of speakers much to the audience’s pleasure, while his drummer beat a clean set pumping up the crowd even more.
Burleson’s performed several songs from the various albums and EPs he’s released since 2006, making his memorable hit performance at CMJ one audiences won’t soon forget.
Hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland is 20-year-old sensation, Unicorn Kid. Born as Oliver Sabin, the chip/electronic musician created his act at the age of 16. His CMJ performance took place at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory on Oct. 19 and was hailed by many blogs as one of the must see shows of CMJ 2012. Chiptune, a style of synthesized electronic music that uses sound bits of classic video game consoles, arcade machines, old computers and other techniques as well, began in the late 1970’s-early 80’s. Unicorn Kid has helped spark a sort of revival of this genre of music. His style could also be classified as bouncy techno, rave music, and he has toured with the likes of Owl City and Major Lazer.
Sabin has been on BBC Radio 1, performed live with Vic Galloway, Rob da Bank, and was featured in a BBC Scotland documentary during his return visit to SXSW.
Oliver Sabin came onto the stage with a shy grin and bashful demeanor. Audience members can be quoted as calling the performer “cute” and “adorable.” As he was setting up his equipment, the crowd became electric. As he started his set, the audience was immediately in love and went insane when he played “True Love Fantasy” as the crowed yelled out the lyrics “we are the whisper of ecstasy dreams.” The motion of the room was non stop as the crowed danced wildly. Every once in a while Sabin would look out to the enthralled crowed and smirk. This made the audience grow crazier, and Sabin loved every minute of it. After his last track, Sabin gave a “cheers” to the crowed and walked off to a venue of fans yelling “encore!” When he returned to the stage for his last tune, he debuted his latest track “Need U,” thanked his fans, and even took the time to take a few pictures.