If it seems there’s a glut of good shows around town this week, that’s because hundreds of bands have converged on the Northeast for New York’s answer to South by Southwest, the CMJ Music Marathon, which wraps up this weekend. When looking over the list of this year’s performers, we noticed a trend: it seems that when it comes to band names, cinema is the new animal kingdom — filmic appellations outnumber formerly in-vogue “wolf” and “horse” names two to one. We’ll be damned. We checked out four of these apparently cinematic CMJ bands on MySpace at random and this is what we found.
The Films, “Strange Hands”
These stylish young gents from Somewhere, USA (their MySpace page doesn’t specify and their Web site’s no help), play straightforward rock and roll that’ll sound familiar to anyone who’s heard Bowie or the Strokes — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On this taut track from their yet-to-be-released Warner Bros. debut, the band cram an ascending guitar line that servers as the song’s repeating main hook, a couple of tambo-and-tom-tom verses with the vocals set to scratchy Julian Casablancas disaffection, an itchy, catchy chorus, and a perfectly placed bridge straight out of Ziggy Stardust into two minutes and 20 seconds.
The City on Film, “Insomnia”
Following the break-up of Hey Mercedes last year, frontman Robert Nanna, who’s probably best known for fronting the influential Midwestern post-hardcore band Braid in the ’90s, started a solo project called the City on Film. This song, a gently pleasant finger-picked ode to the title condition — actually makes for great music to fall asleep to.
Cinema, Cinema, “Born in NYC”
On their MySpace page, this Brooklyn threesome claim to “stroke a new brush to indie rock.” We’re not exactly sure what that means, but we’re pretty certain they’re wrong, unless they’re talking about stroking listeners to sleep with white-bread guitar leads and irritating, utterly unmemorable vocal melodies (if you can even call them that).
The Cinematics, “Keep Forgetting”
Ugh. Yet another lifeless attempt at disco-beat post-punk from the UK. The chorus of this dreadful song by the Glasgow four-piece goes, “There’s something I keep forgetting.” Well, here’s a reminder: this shit is spent and has been for like two decades. Give it up. Seriously.
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