Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Afternoon in Williamsburg: Distiller Promo CMJ Marathon Day Party at The Knitting Factory

Around 3:45 p.m., we went over to The Knitting Factory for the second Distiller Promo CMJ Marathon Day Party.

Running from noon to around 6 p.m., the party had a lineup of eight bands. We got to see two great sets, starting with The R's from Brsscia, Italy, consisting of Pierluigi Ballarin (vocals, guitar), Gaetano Polignano (drums), and lead Pietro Paletti (bass, vocals).

Formerly The Records, they made their U.S. debut this spring here in the city and at SXSW and their new album is De Fauna Et Flora, which Indie Eye called "Un microcosmo raccontato in 13 storie di ordinaria follia, sia questa espressa dalla quotidianità della city o dall'accidia del vivere casalingo" (roughly: "13 stories told in a microcosm of ordinary madness, expressed in the everyday urban life of mundane sloth.")

The R's were a lot of fun: poppy, fizzy, a little wild and more than slightly off-kilter, making us smile with their songs about hipster disappointments and "juicy girls." Of the tracks from the new album, we especially liked "I Love My Family."

Next up was the estimable WATERS, the new project of Van Pierszalowski, formerly of Port O'Brien, whose debut record Out in the Light (TBD) is just out. Stereogum said "the material retains Van’s knack for scruffy and rambunctious, catchy melodies, but here with a high-gain college radio guitar and just one loud, rousing voice."

A month ago, WATERS' song "O Holy Break of Day" was Song of the Day on NPR, and it was great to hear it live. Will Butler called it "one of the slow-burners, simultaneously reveling in second chances and throwing caution to the wind. The song ends in a deluge of distortion, a downpour that can't help but sound like a fresh new start." That "deluge of distortion" was an incredible denouement and made us feel uncharacteristically optimistic on a gray and gloomy afternoon.

Spunk called WATERS' music "a mix of fuzzy, pealing guitars and crashing drums, and easy, alternately soaring and languid, indelible melodies." Our favorite song from their set today was "Mickey Mantle," whose tone of nostalgic wistfulness eventually gets eclipsed by a a kind of optimistic resignation.

There were about forty to fifty people in the back room at this all ages (16+) event, and they raffled off some prizes like Audible7 headphones and T-shirts from the skateboard magazine Thrasher. People won some of this stuff playing Indie Band Trivia answering questions like "What was the second Broken Social Scene album?" (asked after no one could name the first one) or what year REM's first album appeared (1983).

We're grateful to Distiller Promo and its co-sponsor of the event, Audible Treats, a Brooklyn-based entertainment marketing and publicity firm specializing in print and online media coverage. And we're sorry we couldn't be there for the whole party and see other bands: Yellow Ostrich, PUJOL, Lightouts, Radiation City, FIDLAR, and Superhuman Happiness. On our walk back home, we saw a beautiful new mural being finished on Union Avenue.

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