New York City’s CMJ Music Marathon celebrated it’s 31st festivity last week. Scattering over 1,200 acts across venues throughout the boroughs, CMJ lures industry professionals and scenesters to the city for five days in October. Originally a showcase for college radio, the addition of a film festival to its slate over a decade ago brought wider relevance.
Today CMJ continues featuring up and coming acts from NYC and elsewhere. Panel discussions, movie premieres and parties fill the schedule. Passes are available for the week, allowing venue hopping, but single show tickets are still trafficked for the less ambitious.
Fontana’s sits on the lower east side of Manhattan, between Chinatown and the Bowery. Two rooms, a raised dj sprawl, Ghostbusters projected on the wall. One band, set complete, trooped their gear out through the crowd on the way in. No roadies for the aspiring.
Trains took longer than expected, arrival hours after the start of the show. $10 to enter the basement wasn’t mentioned in cyberwaste. The last act halfway finished, a $3 rolling rock procured instead.
Catching some breath, awash in the babble of youth. A flier from a black leather jacket. Free afterparty with the act that prompted attendance. Life works out sometimes.
T-shaped basement, stage at the junction with a bar tucked into a wall at the far end. The sound man bumped Gorillaz while the band readied.
New Moods describes their work as post-world. The foursome produces newer wave synth built on engineer Sean Maffucci’s electronic sounds. Ethereal and haunting at times, reverbed vocals play back and forth between guitarists Billy Jones and Melati Malay. Drummer Steve Garofano fills out the sound base, allowing Jones’ echoing voice to soar above the electro rock construction.
Typical New York crowd enjoyed, a few women dancing to the sounds up front. A bouncer guarded the bathrooms, forgetting himself to momentarily move with the beat from time to time. A couch lined wall sat full as well, a bespectacled unconscious surrounded by empty glasses and conversation. White light sprinkled in circles from the disco ball.
Drawing its members from a number of previous and current projects, New Moods originally paired the song writing of Jones with Maffucci’s experience as a producer and engineer with a number of acts. The growth from two members to four allowed an expansion of possibility apparent throughout their live performance. An appearance at SXSW already under their belt, their path lays ahead, prospects awaiting discovery.
The headliner disappointed after New Moods shimmering set. Wandered back into the night, home toward temporary accommodations at liberty plaza. The city based quartet proved worth the subway rides. You can check out their sounds here: