CMJ Music Marathon Showcase, October 24

By
Margot Edwards
September 25, 2009
Sex!
Zigmat
Nini & Ben
Man on Earth
The Fast Romantics
Nathan Reich
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist

Berklee College of Music, Heavy Rotation Records (HRR), and Berkleemusic.com present their third annual CMJ Music Marathon showcase of alumni and student artists on Saturday, October 24, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Bowery Poetry Club. The showcase features rock, indie-pop, electronica, folk, blues, and experimental music by Sex! (HRR), Zigmat, Nini & Ben (HRR), Man on Earth, the Fast Romantics, and Nathan Reich (HRR). 

Berklee's showcase is all-ages and open to both CMJ badge holders and the general public free of charge. For more information, call 212 614-0505. Bowery Poetry Club is located at 308 Bowery, New York, NY (between Houston and Bleecker, F train to 2nd Avenue, 6 to Bleecker). Now in its 29th year, the CMJ Music Marathon is New York's largest music event, attracting bands, fans, and music industry professionals from around the world.   

The showcase will be MC'd by Berklee alumna Andrea Setaro, who hosts a monthly show for New York alumni at the Bowery Poetry Club. The event also includes free raffles for a badge to attend next year's CMJ Music Marathon or a Berkleemusic online course. Free copies will also be given away of student-run label HRR's latest CD, Dorm Sessions 6, featuring showcase artists Sex!, Nini & Ben, and Nathan Reich.

About the artists:

Sex! is composed of Berklee alumni Kyle VandeKerkhoff (guitar), Andrew Burri (vocals), John Adams (drums), and Skye Handler (guitar), and student Josh Hari (bass). Sex! combines old school rock 'n' roll and modern grooves to produce a hard-hitting, raw show that leaves audiences excited and exhausted. The band's music is a potent mix of rock, blues, r&b, and soul, aiming to recapture the essence of the early days of rock. Sex! was the very first band to perform on stage at the new House of Blues Boston when it opened in February, and they recently won the first Rockus Battle of the Bands, sponsored by the Rolling Stone Collection and Veritas Records.

Zigmat, a Brooklyn-based band fronted by Berklee alumna vocalist Monica Rodriguez and bassist Stephen Yonkin, mixes world, punk, trip-hop, and rock in a unique way. The band is signed to Ultra Records in Brazil and Actua Musica in Spain, and has performed in the U.S. (including CMJ and SXSW), Brazil, and Mexico. They will soon make their European debut. In May, Zigmat released its debut album, Sounds of Machines, and a music video for the song "Machine." The album's tracks showcase different aspects of Rodriguez's vocal agility. Zigmat's music has been featured on Fox TV's Fearless Music and on SiTV. Radio appearances include Batanga Radio, KPFA, and KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic." 

Nini & Ben was formed by Berklee students vocalist/pianist Christina Fabi and guitarist Benjamin Gebert. Before coming to Boston, the duo spent years performing in Europe and Australia, writing about their adventures and living the gypsy lifestyle. This inspired them to capture the most profound moments of life in their warm folk-rock songs. They released their debut album, Rise and Shine, in 2007. Since then, the lineup has expanded, with bassist Derek McWilliams, drummer Jake Cohen, guitarist Johnny Duke, and student pedal steel guitarist Tommy Bohlen adding rich textures to the duo's songwriting. Nini & Ben recently recorded its second album with Rich Mendelson, who has worked with Rihanna, Fergie, and Garbage.

Man on Earth was formed in New York by lead singer Steven Nathan shortly after he recorded the band's debut album in his bedroom studio. The band is rounded out by Berklee alumni Alex Polaris (guitar, keyboards), Dave Garcia (drums), and Alex Goumas (bass). The All Music Guide described their sound as "melodic, post-Britpop sensibility with sharper-edged American guitar muscle . . . Surprisingly mature and far-reaching, the band is really too eclectic to simplify with easy comparisons." The band recently released the CD The Time Spent Wondering, produced by Grammy-winner Ken Lewis (Beastie Boys, Fall Out Boy, Kanye West). The album includes guest appearances by keyboardist Dr. Fink of Prince & the Revolution, and RATT vocalist Stephen Pearcy.

The Fast Romantics, from Calgary, Canada, are composed of Matthew Angus, Jeffrey Lewis, Alan Reain, and Berkeemusic.com student Matthew Kliewer. Since 2007, they have performed with Stone Temple Pilots, the Flaming Lips, the Stills, and others. They quickly caught the ear of engineer Mike Fraser (Franz Ferdinand, Sam Roberts, AC/DC), who mixed their debut album. The album was mastered by Adam Ayan (Nirvana, Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters). After two Top 10 singles on commercial radio in Calgary, features on the CBC, and praise in print, they took to the road for a national tour, including a headlining slot at the Canadian Music Week Festival. The Fast Romantics are currently touring the U.S. in support of their debut release.

Nathan Reich is a Berklee alumnus singer and guitarist who plays acoustic, experimental folk-rock with alumna Alexandra Spalding on cello and vocals. Said The Groove of Reich's songs, "The pictures that 'Paper Planes' paint go far beyond lyrics. The group's indie-folk blend weaves simple and elegant string parts, and tasteful pedal steel volume swells. The musical intricacies of 'The Hard Stuff' and 'So Gratefully' are as dreamlike and wondrous as Ronald Dahl's classic novel James and the Giant Peach, while still retaining a mature, professional sound." Reich has been gaining a following in New York since moving to the city recently.

Heavy Rotation Records (HRR) gives music business/management majors at Berklee hands-on experience in running a record company. The students oversee all of the label's functions, including A&R, marketing, sales, touring, web development, media, and accounting. HRR has released 11 CDs since 1995, including the all-female CD Shekinah: 13 Artists, distributed by Epic Records; Apollo Sunshine's second album, coreleased with spinART records; and Dorm Sessions Volumes 1-6. Many up-and-coming artists have appeared on HRR compilations, including Annie Clark (St. Vincent); the Click Five (then called Oscar Bravo); members of Passion Pit, who appeared as the Peasantry; ska-punks Big D & the Kids Table; and Madi Diaz of the movie Rock School.

Berkleemusic.com is the continuing education division of Berklee College of Music, delivering online access to Berklee's acclaimed curriculum from anywhere in the world. Berkleemusic's award-winning online courses and certificate programs are accredited and taught by the college's world-renowned faculty, providing lifelong learning opportunities to people interested in music and working in the music industry. As the business of music continues to move online, Berkleemusic is taking a leadership role in educating the next generation of producers, performers, and entrepreneurs on this evolving industry landscape. Berkleemusic's students come from over 80 countries around the world, and include Grammy Award winners, managers, artists, publishers, music business entrepreneurs, and major international touring acts.