Josh's CMJ 2012 day 1: Blonds, Laura Stevenson, The Nightmare River Band, Sean0Sean, sami.the.great, Brainstorm, Everest Cale


Running the CMJ Marathon 2012 - Day 1 - by Josh S. Johnson
Blonds, Laura Stevenson, The Nightmare River Band, Sean0Sean, sami.the.great, Brainstorm, Everest Cale

The second best part of CMJ, after of course the opportunity to see tons of great bands for five straight nights in the greatest city for music, is the process of sorting through the seemingly endless list of bands in order to meticulously plan your personal schedule down to the minute. That feeling of invincibility concerning the laws of time and space is an awful like the one you get when you develop grand plans to start exercising and working out.  That brief sensation of euphoria lasts right up to the minute you told yourself you were going to start. Then you realize you already walked something like three flights of stairs that day, so really there’s no need to exercise.

Similarly, that confidence in a CMJ strategy lasts for the all too brief period between the schedule’s release and when the first band you see doesn’t start or finish on time. Suddenly those hours of planning turn are for naught as you blindly choose a venue to visit next. Yet the chaos of CMJ is part of its undeniable charm. As my uncle once said to me while my dad tried to figure out how he forgot to turn the lights off in the now-non-starting rental car we were driving through the middle of Alabama: “It’s part of the adventure.”

My CMJ adventure started with an example of the aforementioned scheduling hassles. I arrived at The Rock Shop around 7:30 with the intention of catching Brooklyn’s Howth, who released a solid indie-rock album, “Newkirk” earlier this year, at 7:45.  However, I soon learned that the band that was supposed to play at 7, Sean0Sean, was just beginning their set. Not wanting to leave Brooklyn empty handed, I stuck around and declared Sean0Sean, led by Brooklyn-born Sean Kiely, my first band of CMJ 2012.

Not only did Sean0Sean’s Rock Shop gig break the band’s CMJ virginity, it was their first gig, period. Hearing that, I felt that there wasn’t a better way to begin my week of researching upcoming bands than with a band that has never played a show before. When I arrived, the band consisted of only a guitarist and a bassist, but I was optimistic since I love the Flight of the Conchords. Well, Sean0Sean weren’t quite as entertaining Bret and Jemaine (and Murray, present), but they did bring a sort of straight-out-of-the-garage charm. Eventually a drummer joined the duo, and the newly formed trio banged out some solid garage-rock tunes.

brainstormAfter a brief excursion in Brooklyn, I made my way back to the East Village, where I spent the remainder of the night. First up was Portland, Oregon trio BRAINSTORM at the Lit Lounge. BRAINSTORM was certainly fun to watch and listen to, mostly due to the drummer/singer’s energy and the guitarist’s oscillation between psych distortion and the fluttery cleanliness of indie-rock. Also, the guitarist frequently put his instrument aside to grab a tuba, so that was neat.

nightmare river

I then made a quick walk to the Bowery Electric, where I caught the last couple songs of pop artist Sami Akbari, aka sami.the.great. Sami’s performance of Cyndi Lauper-like pop songs was enjoyable to watch and listen to, but it wasn’t particularly my cup of tea. However, the next act up at the Electric, The Nightmare River Band (pictured), was right up my alley.

The Nightmare River Band is the most aptly named band I’ve seen so far at CMJ. Many of their songs possess that sort of romantic notion that if the boat is sinking, then fuck it and party while you still can, specifically “Last Goodbye.” Ironically, they opened with “Last Goodbye,” which, at least by looking at its title, would seem like the perfect closing song. Instead, the band closed with an inspired cover of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers, which was somehow an even bouncier version than the original. The dueling guitar and bass solos certainly helped. Overall, the Nightmare River Band a great set filled with some rather awesome rock n’ roll songs.

Returning to my home turf, I set up shop at the Delancey to see Blonds (top of page picture) perform at the Deli's Rootsy showcase. I had high expectations for the duo, who performed as a five-piece live, and they were undoubtedly exceeded. Singer Cari Rae began the show with her smoky, sultry vocals. Just as you start to view Rae as an angel from heaven, the instrumentation, led by guitarist Jordy Asher, knocks you off the side of the earth down into hell. Rae’s smile turns to a snarl, and her swagger rises as the controlled chaos builds around her. Every song took on new power live. While the studio version of “Mr. E” embodies the suaveness of James Bond, then the live take sounds like what happens when you replace 007’s martini with an assault rifle. With their commanding take of an already strong catalog, Blonds proved to be the highlight of CMJ Tuesday.


After a misguided attempt to squeeze in seeing a band at Fontanas, I returned to the Delancy just in time for the tail end of Laura Stevenson & the Cans. Stevenson commanded the packed room with her confident folk-rock.


After Laura, I ended my first night of CMJ 2012 with Everest Cale The strength of Everest Cale’s debut EP, “Beast,” comes from Brett Treacy’s fantastic voice, which, at times, sounds like the late, great Layne Staley. While Treacy did howl like the eponymous beast, the star of the band’s performance at the Delancey was guitarist Jeremy Kolmin. Kolmin would rip off blistering solos while bending notes to new heights. With Treacy’s vocals and Kolmin’s guitar, Everest Cale delivered a high-quality performance. Plus, they won the coveted “Best Line of Stage Banter Award” with this gem: “You drunk assholes go fuck yourselves” (said jokingly, of course).






The Deli's CMJ Shows 2012






Deli readers in bands,

Every year, The Deli's Year End Polls highlight hundreds of the best emerging artists in the 11 local US scenes we cover - and reward them with prizes from our sponsors.

As you may know, the winner of the NYC poll will grace the cover of the spring issue of The Deli.

Now established artists like Local Natives, Yeasayer, Twin Shadow, Vampire Weekends, Vivian Girls, Ra Ra Riot, Girls, Kurt Vile, Baths, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Blank Dogs, Buke and Gass and many others won or did well in our polls months if not years before getting international recognition.

The end of the 2011 is quickly approaching and we are ready to go through the painstaking 2 month process involved in selecting the artists and processing the various votes. We are already asking our local jurors (mostly venue promoters, bloggers, record store and radio personnel) to cast their vote for their favorite local emerging artists. But of course, our polls are open to all bands who want to be considered: free submissions are open from now until December 4th HERE - after that date we'll have $5 submissions through SonicBids for another couple of weeks. All these submissions will be grouped by genre and filtered by The Deli's local editors and some Deli writers.

To submit for consideration and for more info about our year end polls please go

Good Luck
The Deli's Staff



At The Delancey on Tuesday 10.18 we'll have a truly fantastic bill with 9 NYC based electro-pop bands - and it's going to be free!. 21+ - $8.
Full listings of the Deli's CMJ shows here. See below for the Dream Pop and Alt Rock stages that same night in the same venue (downstairs).

P.S. If you are into Pedal Effects, don't miss The Deli's STOMP BOX EXHIBIT at CMJ on Friday and Saturday!!!


7.00 - The Casualty Process

7.40 - Illuminator
8.20 - Tiny Victor ies
9.00 - Mitten
9.40 - Computer Magic

10.20 - Psychobuildings

11.00 - Pretty Good Dance Moves

11.40 - Caged Animals

12.20 - Slam Donahue



Band name: 
Sky Creature
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...):
Venue name: 
Band email: 

Dotia's "Misery" makes good company for peripatetic seekers and dreamers

The artist known as Dotia (aka Jamie McVicker) is what you could call a peripatetic artist, “peripatetic” being a term you may wanna learn for your SATs if you happen to fall in the younger end of the Deli demographic. Which is to say Dotia’s done a good deal of traveling in the span of her twenty-and-not-so-many-something years much like the traveling minstrels of yore. 

To wit: the now Brooklyn-based-singer-songwriter-pianist-guitarist first moved to NYC from her native Naples, Florida in Fall of 2016 to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Drama Division, before leaving in December 2017 to pursue music, moving to Detroit and forming a band and playing local gigs, then moving on to Vermont to live in an old family home, recording four singles and her first EP with Andrew Koss, and then back to Florida to ride out the pandemic where she ended up writing and playing music with musician/audio engineer/newfound friend Ian Horrocks who’d traveled East from Atlanta to do seasonal farm work and ended up being her bandmate and record producer, and after nearly decamping to Copenhagen to join her friend Emme in the City of Spires, Jamie instead made her way back to NYC with another friend who was also returning to Gotham. Got it? Good!

 So it’s no wonder that Dotia’s songs have a restless unwilling-to-be-hemmed-in quality. Or that on her new EP, titled Misery (out today!), the cover image depicts a cluster of brightly-colored balloons straining skyward but thwarted by a heavy lead weight attached to their dangly bits which pretty much explains the source of the misery in question.

 Or, if you still can’t figure it out from the cover image and the aforementioned details, the first song on the EP (“Lilith”) should do the trick because it’s named after the first woman on Earth who soon got tired of Adam hogging the TV remote and declared the Garden of Eden to be a crashing bore thus hitting the road for bigger and better things which made her beau Adam none too pleased (ergo, Eve) and ditto The Great Patriarch in the Sky who shape-shifted Lilith into a demon and an Eve-trolling Garden Snake (typical patriarchal move: pitting one woman against another even when only two of them exist on the entire planet!) but still she continued to outmaneuver the The Most High, fully owning her newfound “demonic” identity as the very embodiment of the Divine Feminine and a moon-lovin’ phase-shifting fertility goddess who was eventually written out of the Bible of course.

Or as Dotia puts it herself, “Lilith in this song represents the rebellious feminine spirit and has no desire to be contained or overlooked” and from its opening strains you can feel the otherworld atmospherics wash over you that you’d expect from a deity-defying moon goddess who looks over all the world's “beatific consorts / creeping among living things” and who “chooses separation / over constraint any day” and hey I’m not trying to set the bar too impossibly high here but the song does make me think of “Sara”-era Stevie Nicks crossed with the modern day magical mystery psych folk of a group like Still Corners

Dotia · <Singles> May 202And I haven’t even mentioned yet how “Lilith” contains a couple of my favorite couplets of late: 1) “Do not tempt her / she’s got long legs and a short temper”; and 2) “Blind dragon viper of the night / drinking all the dregs of the wine (yeah we’re the dregs of the wine)” so clearly you don’t wanna mess with Lilith unless you really mean it, imbued as she is with the serpentine intensity of your traditional “film noir” siren like equal parts Lana Turner and Lana Del Rey.

And I haven’t even mentioned yet how “Lilith” contains a couple of my favorite couplets of late: 1) “Do not tempt her / she’s got long legs and a short temper”; and 2) “Blind dragon viper of the night / drinking all the dregs of the wine (yeah we’re the dregs of the wine)” so clearly you don’t wanna mess with Lilith unless you really mean it, imbued as she is with the serpentine intensity of your traditional film noir siren like equal parts Lana Turner and Lana Del Rey.

The next song on the EP is the title track “Misery” and basically it’s like the flip side to “Lilith” describing how a mortal woman deals with outside forces trying to hold her down (Dotia: “[it’s] a closure song written to reassure oneself that a previous lover was going to be nothing but miserable company and a black hole that takes everyone down with them”) and therefore it makes sense for its mystical vibes to be mixed with a more Sheryl Crow-ish kind of groove (“You laced my dreams with expired antihistamines”) building up a nice head of steam in the instrumental outro of the song. 

And hey before I forget lemme roll the not-quite-final-credits as provided by Dotia herself: the Misery EP was recorded in Naples and Atlanta with songs written and recorded by Jamie/Dotia and Ian Horrocks producing and contributing various instrumental parts. There’s also live drums played by Hunter Keslar and additional lead guitar by Darickson Gonzalez. The EP was mixed by Ezra Pounds and mastered by Danny Kalb.

And finally, spiritual assistance was provided by Shit Show Studios, a New York City multi-media creative collaborative co-founded by Jamie/Dotia and her friend Emme Kerj (see above, Copenhagen) under the guiding principle of “Come As You Are” designed to provide artists of various stripes the freedom to explore free of inhibitions: “By making room for spontaneity and open-mindedness…voices or subtle messages become legible; by allowing chaos and mess to come and go as they please, true beauty begins to stand out and oppose the non-important elements."

Which all segues nicely into the last two songs on Misery which allow for a more un-Lilith-like relinquishing of control. “Shy Fruit” is about a relationship “forbidden by present circumstances and hidden by an obstructed view,” a song of waiting in vain that floats wistfully by over its three-and-a-half-minute running time (“My shy fruit are you ripe yet?”) with “Exit 3” serving as a flip-side extension of the same theme, a “diary-like…angrier ending to the previous sweeter/softer song” that sees a potential paramour missing every exit to his destination, driving off into the night but never fully escaping. And how perfect is it for a record inspired by a peripatetic’s misery at being locked down—literally and metaphorically—to end on an endless highway to who knows where…? (Jason Lee)