Live music is my drug, it’s why I moved here to New York City. Sure, there are nights when I get out of work and just want to crash in front of the TV, but as soon as I set foot inside one of my favorite NYC venues; Webster Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Mercury Lounge, Rough Trade, Music Hall of Williamsburg (take your pick!)—a surge of energy pulses through me and I snap back to life.
Next Tuesday marks the beginning of CMJ 2015, an annual event more geared towards students than anyone else, but if you live in New York City and are on the pulse of pop music, you have no excuse NOT to check out a showcase here and there. Last year I only went to one showcase, but managed to catch impressive performances by some of today’s most buzzed about and promising new acts—Vérité, Seinabo Sey, Zella Day, Kate Boy—to name a few. This year, possibly to my own detriment, I am not limiting myself to just one showcase (oh no sir!). Rather, I am going to be attending 3 showcases – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. BAM! Now, let’s see if I survive!
Tuesday October 13th is the official start of CMJ 2015 and I got myself a ticket to BalconyTV‘s ‘Official CMJ Kick-Off‘ showcase (tickets), featuring Mansions on the Moon, French Horn Rebellion, Femme, Alex Winston, Ryan Egan and more! While I’m always excited to expand my music-listening horizons, the main draws for me here were British alt-pop artisté FEMME, ethereal-sounding indie-pop singer/songwriter Alex Winston and NYC-based synthpop singer/songwriter Ryan Egan.
FEMME (real name: Laura Bettinson) is a talented singer/songwriter/producer from the UK. Her latest single, “S.O.S.” is out now (iTunes | Spotify). “S.O.S.” is a feisty mid-tempo synthpop track with gritty rock sensibilities certain to satisfy genre-snobs who might otherwise shun something classified as “pop.” Following it’s unveiling, the song quickly started to gain traction, reaching No. 1 on the Twitter Hype Charts and topping VEVO’s Viral Charts. So far the video has amassed over 330K views on YouTube. Before hitting up CMJ this week, FEMME stopped off in Los Angeles to play with Hercules and the Love Affair October 8th at the Regent. If you’re in NYC, be sure and check her out, either Tuesday at the Marlin Room at Webster Hall (tickets) or on Saturday, October 17th at SoFar Sounds CMJ. Can’t wait to see her do her thing live!
Alex Winston is an artist I’ve been trying to see live now for a while, but for one reason or another (cancelled dates due to a vocal hemorrhage , my being sick and unable to make her rescheduled date, etc.) luck has not been on my side. Hopefully, come Tuesday this will all change, as Alex is slated to perform at the BalconyTV showcase at the Marlin Room at Webster Hall. Back in December of last year I called Alex Winston ‘One to Watch,’ thanks in large part to her “Careless,” the song that made me head-over-heels for her unique voice and skills as a songwriter. 2015 has been quite the busy year for Winston, who in addition to joining Neon Trees on tour across North America ALSO put out a new EP—The Day I Died (iTunes / Spotify) via 300 Entertainment and is currently prepping for the release of her second LP, entitled This Ain’t Luck, due out “early 2016,” a record which she calls “very personal” in a new interview with Cliché Magazine. To say I’m excited to FINALLY see this talented lady perform would be an understatement. Check out “Down Low,” a beautiful synthful ballad (and her favorite song to perform on stage) taken from her new EP, The Day I Died.
Admittedly, NYC-based singer/songwriter Ryan Egan is an artist I know very little about. He first came to my attention, thanks to a Tweet and blog post from Neon Gold, THE premiere NYC boutique record label, tastemakers extraordinaire and general purveyors of supreme quality pop music you’ve never heard. They called Ryan “NYC’s latest future perfect troubadour” and after hearing his latest release, the STUNNING Postures EP (iTunes / Spotify) I’m inclined to agree. One of the EP’s standouts is a lush synthpop ballad called “Watercolor,” produced by Luca Buccellati (listen to his collaboration with Tei Shi, “Best On“), which you can listen to below. Egan’s vibe is a mix of smooth R&B and mellow electronic production. Beautiful melodies float over slick modern production allowing ample opportunity for Ryan to showcase his impressive vocal range. He talks about his sound and influences in an interview with Clash, explaining how he loves “to think constantly of achieving a sound somewhere between the worlds of Radiohead and Prince” and how his debut EP, Postures helps achieve this vision. Looking forward to catching Ryan Egan‘s debut performance tomorrow night at Webster Hall.