define( 'AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL', 300 ); define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5 ); define( 'EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS', 7 ); define( 'WP_CRON_LOCK_TIMEOUT', 120 ); CMJ 2009: Tuesday 20 October

CMJ 2009: Tuesday 20 October

I was awake early again and checking my email. Our friend Peej who contributes to the Dear Scotland blog had sent me a copy of Vic Galloway‘s preview for our CMJ shows and it was a real confidence boost. Thanks Vic:

“One of Edinburgh’s, Scotland’s and possibly the World’s most underrated bands, FOUND return to the U.S. of A. with an exclusive performance at the annual CMJ Music Marathon which celebrates it’s 30th Anniversary this year across New York City’s coolest clubs and venues.

If the right people actually see FOUND, I sincerely hope they are offered an enormous record deal with complete artistic control, as they have more ideas in one song than most people have on an entire LP! Imagine the wonky psychedelia of The Beta Band, experimental electronica, 60’s beat-pop, old-skool hip-hop and a whole heap of funk coming together within a 5-headed beast!

FOUND manage to be one of the few bands who successfully marry technology and tradition, using samples in a genuinely inventive way while holding down a groove with guitar, bass, drums, keys and harmony vocals. Don’t miss the chance to see these true innovators in NYC before they justly become a huge Scottish success story!”

Tuesday was the first day of CMJ and we had to register at a church on Washington Square in Manhattan. But Kev and I were also moving on to our next sofa bed, another friend of a friend who lives in off Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, so we went via Monika’s place an dumped our bags. We met Tam and his girlfriend Elize at registration then Tam and I went off to meet a girl called Kate Landau who manages Bella Union band The Low Anthem. Once again Kev and Ziggy got to take the easy route and sat and ate a hearty breakfast in the sun. Tam was keen that I try and get some advice from Ms Landau on how a small UK band might start the process of building themselves up in the US. Kate’s dad is Springsteen’s manager so she’s got some hefty industry roots. She was very friendly and generous with her time but I don’t think she was interested in FOUND. Oh well, you’ve got to try these things.

After the meeting I finally got to eat some breakfast then we were off again – Kev, Zig and I went to find a recording studio called the Cutting Room where the Seattle college station KEXP run their CMJ live broadcasts from. We were meeting a KEXP DJ there called Shannon Sauter who happens to be friends with my good friend Vicky. Shannon is something of a fan of Scottish music and had recently been hanging out with The Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit and We Were Promised Jetpacks in Portland, Oregon. I’d been pestering her on Facebook in the hope that she might be able to swing us a live session on KEXP but sadly they were long since booked up with more established bands. We met Shannon in the foyer of the studios and chatted away to her. She then took us into the control room where we watched and listened to a live session from girl / boy two piece electronica band Phantogram (one of the buzz bands of the week). Like a lot of people, Shannon was staying in Williamsburg so we told her about our show there that night and she agreed to come along. By this point it was already time to head back over the bridge and begin getting things ready for the evening.

Kev and I took our bags up to our new home for the next few days. We were going to be staying with Jonny and Elspeth (friends of friends who used to live in Edinburgh and had kindly agreed to put us up, like Dana they’d never actually met us before). We found their flat, said a quick hello and then back out to find the venue we were playing in known as Monster Island Basement.

monster#7
Monster Island is a an arts space on the corner of River Street, which is unsurprisingly right next to the river and we were playing in the basement which has also recently become home to an excellent little record store known as the Record Grouch (named in honour of it’s owner). The Grouch had a great collection at very reasonable prices and Kev picked up some nice dub 7″s.

Kev looks through the reckids in Record Grouch
Monster Island is a quirky place operated by an arts collective and it’s Edinburgh equivalent would probably be a cross between Forest Cafe and the old Bongo Club on New Street. When we arrived we were met by Lisa’s husband Hamish who was loading in backline. We helped him build the PA and soundcheck. It was a very DIY affair, but that suits us well and the gig had a distinctly ‘Fency’ vibe to it. Home from home for us.

Setting up the PA in Monster Island Basement
The first act up was Theo Angell who played an acoustic set somewhere along the lines of Devendra Banhart. And then it was us. We were playing as a three piece, Kev on sampler and percussion, me on bass and Ziggy on guitar and vocals (Alan was arriving the following day). The set went quite well, although the atmosphere was a little odd and it was difficult to judge whether the crowd were into us or not. It seems like they were and after we’d finished Pete Kember (aka Sonic Boom) and Ben Goldwasser (one half of MGMT) came up and asked us for CDs.

Pete and Ben played an improvised noise set featuring an array of analogue synths and effects. They were joined by Lisa on bass, Hamish on drums and percussion and Hamish’s friend (who’s name I didn’t catch) on whistle and metal chair. It was very much a jam which isn’t always as fun for the audience to listen to as it is for the musicians to play but there were moments of real beauty particularly the interplay between Pete and Ben’s synths.

Bierhall
After they’d finished we decided we’d had enough music for the evening and a drink was in order. Ziggy’s friend Monika took us too a beer hall round the corner called Radegast and we enjoyed some German biers. Pete Kember and the others joined us there later. Pete entertained us with stories about the recording of MGMT‘s new album and tunes off two iPods played through a yellow lego block speaker. Ziggy quizzed him about how he’d put together his recent, excellent compilation, Spacelines. Pete also sat there smoking a high-tech Japanese tobacco vaporiser, the end of which illuminates just like a real cigarette but produces no smoke so you’re allowed to use it almost anywhere. Apparently he frequently uses it on planes much to the annoyance and bemusement of the flight attendants.

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