October is a lot of things. It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's Halloween decorations. It's Pumpkin Spice everything. And in New York for the last 34 years, it's meant the start of the CMJ Music Marathon. The fest features information industry events, parties, and above all, over a thousand performances over nearly 100 venues throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. It's exciting. It's crazy. Such was the case last week when the fest took over, all over (like the Drakkar Noir splatted on my neck throughout middle school) and made many an ear dance with joy. From the CMJ Press Lounge in the Penthouse of Hotel on Rivington, A-Sides snagged four artists who tickled its proverbial fancy. Watch the videos below (filmed by a man who goes by Plotkin), and support live music.
The Houston-based Featherface have gained momentum by performing in various fests including SXSW 2014 and X Games Austin. Currently touring in support of their track "Make U Mine," the band hit CMJ like a ton of pop rock music bricks. What are pop rock music bricks? Absolutely nothing, but I wanted to work in their genre and a cliched phrase together.
Like Featherface, Somebody's Darling hail from the land of the Bushes. The Dallas group are notorious for hitting the road repeatedly over the last five years. According to their press notes, they've played over 500 shows and supported artists like Lucero and Divine Fits. They were recently honored by Red Bull Music and invited to become an official Red Bull Sound Select Artist. Watch below, and pick up their Adult Roommates like, now.
Chicago pop-rock folksters The Future Laureates' are set to drop their forthcoming EP, Here and After,soon, and it's really going to be the cat's pajamas. Find me a cat, by the way, wearing said pajamas and I'll buy you a Coke. In any event, the band, whose album was produced by Chris Grainger (Wilco, Switchfoot, Sixpence None the Richer, and Kopecky Family Band), played CMJ and played a track for A-Sides. You will enjoy it, yes?
Everybody loves a good danish. OK, that's a terrible way of introducing Nabiha (Bensouda), a Danish singer/songwriter whose unique vocal styling made her a standout at CMJ. Three albums in, she performed title track "Animals" and made me wish I had even 1/79 of her musical talent. Anyway, press play below.
As announced Oct. 1, A-Sides is in the midst of its own "challenge" to the viral masses - a la ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, A-Sides' Sing Away Cancer Challenge is asking musicians and all walks of life to create a short video of themselves singing any popular song's chorus but with anti-cancer and/or cure-geared inspiring lyrics. All I ask is for you to donate to a cancer-related charity of your choice, tag your video "#singawaycancer" and denote on your donation somewhere "sing away cancer." It's so important to know if this would-be viral campaign will work, and it's so not important if you can carry a tune or not. There are so many worth causes to donate to.
A-Sides "Delve Into Twelve" Countdown
Each week A-Sides unleashes its Top 12 tracks of the week AKA the "Delve Into Twelve"based on the following contributing factors: songs I'm playing out that particular week NO MATTER WHEN THEY WERE RELEASED (think overlooked songs, unreleased tracks, and old favorites), songs various publicists are trying to get me to listen to that I did and dug a bunch, posts and trends I've noticed on my friends' Facebook walls, and -- most importantly -- the songs my two-year-old-plus son gravitates toward by stomping his feet in approval. Yeah, you read that right. This weeks follows below (LW= last week's rank).
12. "One Beat" (retro cut) - Sleater-Kinney
11. "The Morning After" (debut) - Meg Myers
10. "Crazy for You" (debut) - Scars on 45 (Watch their exclusive A-Sides performance here!)
9. "First" (debut) - Cold War Kids (Coming soon to A-Sides!)
8. "Shut Up And Dance" (LW-10) - Walk The Moon
7. "Geronimo" (LW-7) - Sheppard
6. "Mess is Mine" (debut) - Vance Joy (Watch his exclusive performance of the song for A-Sides here!)
5. "Iris" (LW-4) - U2
4. "Home" (LW-3) - Dotan
3. "Champions of Red Wine" (LW-5) - The New Pornographers
2. "Inside Out" (LW-1) - Spoon
1. "Beggin For Thread" (LW-2) - Banks
About A-Sides Music
Jon Chattman's "A-Sides Music" series was established in August 2011 and usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing. Artists have included: fun, Courtney Love, Air Supply, Birdy, Sleigh Bells, Aretha Franklin, Alice Cooper, Echosmith, Charli XCX, Jake Miller, American Authors, Imagine Dragons, Gary Clark Jr., and more! A-Sides theme written and performed by Blondfire.