NEW YORK — On Friday, we decided to switch things up a little bit and attend some of the afternoon showcases CMJ had to offer. Pianos, in particular, had a great lineup as part of the Planetary Group/Future Sounds Day Party.
The Jezabels: We wandered in just in time to see The Jezabels, a stellar four-piece from Sydney, Australia. Singer Hayley Mary sounds like a hybrid of Kate Bush and Sara Quin (and bears a strong resemblance to the latter). The band’s percussive, piano-laden atmospheric music swelled to fill the tiny performance space, and Mary alternately displayed swagger, prancing around the stage in a black leather jacket, and vulnerability through her high-pitched intonations.
Fake Problems: This quartet from Naples, Florida plays straightforward rock with a blues bent, a la The Gaslight Anthem. But they aren’t afraid to throw in a hook or even stray into pop-punk territory every now and then. Singer Chris Farren, clad in a tight-fitting polo shirt, gives off a boy next door vibe, but that doesn’t overshadow the passion behind his songs.
Two Hours Traffic: Closing out the afternoon performances was this band from Prince Edward Island, Canada. The group plays mostly Weezer-esque rock (without the nerd aesthetic), but when singer Liam Corcoran picks up an acoustic guitar, a couple of the songs border on country. Either way, the music is toe-tapping and catchy, with plenty of oohs and aahs. And when the members harmonize, they’re quite reminiscent of another clean-cut, good-looking (fab) foursome.
Photos by Sarah Be for Blast Magazine