CMJ - or College Music Journal - is a weekly print publication and website that looks at the College Music scene, as well as throwing an annual music industry festival in New York in October. Always keen to discover new music, the folks behind CMJ have been kind enough to exclusively share their favourite new artists with the AU review every month. Kicking off the second installment of this series, the Editor-in-Chief of CMJ takes us to California...
Deap Vally by Lisa Hresko, Editor-in-Chief
Throaty blues from Anglenos in cowboy boots has never made sounding like a gritty honky-tonk queen quite so undeniably attractive. Despite their punny name, these aren't Amy Heckerling's, like, Valley girls of the '90s: the stripped-down guitar-and-drum duo can holler loud enough to wake the entire San Fernando Valley.
Starring by Dan Jackson, Assistant Editor
Starring is an orchestral prog-rock group out of Brooklyn that turns virtuosity into an afterthought instead of a primary selling point. They certainly know their music history: 70s free-jazz, Krautrock, minimalism, noise, Middle Eastern violin textures, and ’90s post-rock all get a chance to sign on their excellent (but absurdly titled) new LP ABCDEFG-HIJKLMNOP-QRSTUV-WXYZ. Front-woman Clara Hunter keeps the band centered when they threaten to drift away into jam-friendly excess with her ethereal vocal delivery and drummer Matt Marlin anchors each song with his dynamic playing. While progressive rock generally gets an (unnecessary) bad rap for being bloated or self-serious, Starring proves that the best prog can still be fun despite the complexity.
Diarrhea Planet by Dan Jackson, Assistant editor
Diarrhea Planet is named Diarrhea Planet. For some people that will be reason enough to never listen to the band and avoid them like a diarrhea plague, but they'd be missing out on some great garage punk songs. A six-piece band out of Nashville that's just as comfortable with Van Halen cheese as it is with Ramones style intensity, Diarrhea Planet brings a sticky, sweaty pop pulse to even the scrappiest songs. It's simplistic beer party music imbued with a charming communal spirit and a winking sense of humor. Plus, they have song titles like "Get Stimulated!" "Coral Beard Harris!" and "Ghost With A Boner!" Yes, a band called Diarrhea Planet has a song named "Ghost With A Boner!" because why not?
New Look by Christine Werthman, Managing Editor
Adam Pavao and Sarah Ruba are the husband-and-wife team behind the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Canada electro-pop project New Look. The fashion world beat out music nerds on getting the scoop on the band last year, mostly because Ruba is a former model. But don't let that fool you into thinking she's just another pretty face. While Pavao stands behind the boards as sound wizard and producer, Ruba coos R&B-infused melodies in a voice that suggests the girl listened to a lot of Mariah Carey in the 1990s.
Field Report by Christine Werthman, Managing Editor
Chris Porterfield used to play in DeYarmond Edison with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and members of Megafaun in the early 2000s. He left the group when it defected to Raleigh, NC, and he dropped off from the music scene for a couple of years shy of a decade. But now he's back as Field Report, making folksy, acoustic-guitar-driven music whose narrative lyrics make you feel more like you're listening to an audio book than a song. Fun fact: Field Report is a rearrangement of the letters of Porterfield's last name. I tried to think of other name options using these letters, but I think Field Report was a better choice than "Free Lit Drop" or "Lite Fred Pro."
Learn more about CMJ at http://www.cmj.com/