Blood Red Shoes is a rock n' roll band from Brighton, England, made up of the duo of Laura-Mary Carter on guitar and Steven Ansell on drums, with both contributing vocals. Big riffs, impossible drumming, and epic pop songs about mortality, alienation, escape, and hope, all bolstered by a fierce live show and a dry sense of humor, have grown the band's reputation over the past few years. Here they play a few songs and chat with Maia about an encounter with the Rolling Stones, among other things.
Twin Peaks is a Chicago-based band comprised of Cadien, Clay, Connor, and Jack -- four young dudes blasting out fuzzy rock 'n roll. Catchy hooks, a pile of effects, and blasts of attitude have brought a whole lot of attention to this foursome, based on their demos and hard-touring. After trying to hang it up and go to school, the guys realized they were destined (or doomed?) to rock, and headed right back into their own world of honest garage rock.
Courtney Barnett lives in Melbourne, plays guitar, and writes songs. As vague as that sounds, it's the absolute truth. She even releases her records via her own label, Milk! Records. What we're not telling you is that there's something very special about her songwriting -- something almost nostalgic and definitely timeless, akin to the folk and psych of the 60s. Once you hear her songs, you'll want to keep her your own little secret, too.
Austin's Mirror Travel had a previous music life as the popular band Follow That Bird. Label issues and perhaps some "big" bird issues were all factors in the new moniker, which also set the band off in a newer, more focused direction. Their music is dreamy garage pop, and totally fun. The band, made up of Lauren Green (guitar/vocals), Paul Brinkley (bass/vocals), and Tiffanie Lanmon (drums), stopped by to play some tunes and talk a bit about their history and recent recording experience.
Grandchildren are a Philadelphia-based band with lots of a drums, keyboards, horns, and mind-boggling arrangements. This six member-strong group (Russell Brodie, Adam Katz, Aleks Martray, Tristan Palazzolo, Roman Salcic, and John Vogel) uses a collage style to weave together their unique electro-acoustic orchestral pop. They crammed themselves into our studio to play some tunes, swap instruments, and chat about how they pull this whole wonderful menagerie together.
Joanna Gruesome is an irresistible noise pop five-piece from Cardiff, UK. During the 2013 CMJ Music Marathon, the band took some time from their packed show schedule -- where they seemed to make fans of nearly everyone who saw them -- to drop by for this session. Full of catchy pop melodies, full-on walls of shoegaze noise, teen angst, and punk drum beats, they exude energy from every pore, both in the studio and onstage. Lead singer Alanna has a ferocious power that comes out in playful, sweet whispers and dark, abrasive screams that match the intensity of the fuzzed-out guitars. It only makes (too much?) sense that the band met in an anger management group and didn't even get along at first -- how else could you explain such perfect musical chemistry?
Beginning as a synth-pop duo in London, Lovelife (aka LVLF) sure have gotten around. After spending some time in Brooklyn, they're now based in L.A., where they continue to work on new music. With tight, exquisitely-crafted pop songs full of lush production and heavy on the electronics, it's easy to assume these hits are full of loops and automation, when in reality there are talented musicians playing live behind it all. Add in that the group has done official remixes for some of the biggest international rock and pop bands and it's easy to get confused -- but seeing the foursome in action here should be more than enough to convince anyone that their smooth crooning, sexy pop songs, and perfect aesthetic (just take a look at their Instagram account if you don't believe us) is all truly impressive.
traumahelikopter (lowercase intentional) have got it figured out: play short, fast, loud songs, and do it faster, louder, and more intensely than anyone else. This Dutch band from Groningen Noord is a trio, but with two guitars (no bass) and a minimal drum kit, they're anything but traditional. Their unique setup and infinite energy give these punk anthems a fresh angle on the genre. They stopped by during CMJ to blast through some jams and chat about their music.
Duologue are a 5-piece band from London. With a rich falsetto sitting neatly on top of a finely-crafted web of electronics and stringed instruments, they build memorable pop tunes that deserve repeated listens. Programmed loops and breakbeats blend perfectly with ambient, folk, and pop elements, making for an immersive sonic experience. The band stopped by to share some songs and to chat with Maia about making music without a drummer and going undercover while traveling.