I used to be a music writer. Worked for Northwestern's college music radio station -- for the campus as a whole and in my dorm. I was married to a musician and sound guy. My last roommate worked for Filter. I know music pretty well. But CMJ? I don't know dick about.
Thank God for Jessica Delfino. She's like Flight of the Conchords if Flight of the Conchords were a sexy chick who would cut a bitch.
She combines two of my favorite things in the world (which probably shouldn't go together but somehow she manages it): music and comedy. (She also introduces me to magical witches like Dame Darcy, but that's just a bonus. And she found her badass fiancee on Craiglist. Amazing.)
She dragged me out of the hot mess of my life in Long Island City (I still have to move in two weeks but I found a place! in Bushwick! no more wallowing! and I haven't been smoking! or slutting it up! go me!) to check out the Little Green Cars and Daughter showcase at Slipper Room last night. I immediately had an ear-gasm when I heard both bands as it's exactly the shit I like: music that makes me feel and has a sense of urgency. That's all I look for in music. It could be Jay-Z. It could be the most pretentious indie shit ever written. If it evokes something in me, I'm a goner.
When I bugged Jessica for how to get into any of the shows (something she excels at) she shared a few of her secrets and also told me which acts are the next Arcade Fire or Surfer Blood (two acts to blow up out of CMJ) that she's heard industry rumblings about or checked out herself.
"Local Natives crushed it at their surprise late-night show at the Bowery Ballroom," she said. "Alex Winston was on fire, Ballroom Jacks might be the sleeper of CMJ. Hank and Cupcakes were good. The Indecent were pretty fucking decent, and St. Lucia I also liked."
So I know none of these bands, but I didn't know Surfer Blood before she told me about them so I trust this lady.
As for her show, it's actually kind of a big deal in that it's the first time CMJ will ever feature a comedy music showcase. It will be at a venue I really like (and once moderated a panel for the New York Comedy Festival for, and had a blast doing) over at Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre East at 153 East 3rd Street at 7 p.m.
"We were able to get into the festival because of the success of the NY Funny Songs Fest last year that I think we were able to slip into CMJ this year," she says. "We're also doing a show in the NY Comedy Festival, another first for comedy music and big festivals. It's been a good year for NYC comedy musicians. I'm expecting some VIP comedy industry type people, and the best-case scenario? We get a TV show out of this show. The worst-case scenario? We play an awesome show to a full room of cool people who are as disgusting, fun and honestly open to the fuckedupedness of life as we are."
Oh, and her best tip for getting into CMJ parties that you're not on the list for?
"I have two God-given gifts," Jessica says. "One is the gift of music -- I can play any instrument, I can memorize and repeat a song melody in five seconds. My other is the gift of gaining admittance to any party in the world, ever, anywhere, any time. Of course there is always a way for people to get into parties and shows if they're not doing the festival. The parties, honestly, are probably where most of the real deal record business shit goes down, not in sweaty rooms full of hipsters Insta-G-ing everything. Where there's a will, there's a way. The tools I use are a good outfit, a good-looking friend and a vote of self-confidence never hurt. As a back up, have a name to drop. They are key factors in breaking in to any good party."
What I love most about Jessica is her total satirization of musical Jewel-style zombie convention bullshit.
Or as she puts it, "I have mixed feeling about music because I feel like so many of every kind of song has already been written. I'm really into dub step and bro step right now about five years late because I'm from Maine so I'm naturally behind on everything because that shit sounds weird and freaky and different to me, and if I never hear another 'You belong to me' or 'Why aren't you with me' or 'Where did you go' or 'I love you' muttered in another song, I'll be OK with that."
Check out her new video below, and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about -- and maybe see you at 7 p.m. tonight -- get your tickets early.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.