CMJ Music Marathon Showcase, October 22

By
Margot Edwards
September 23, 2010
The Prigs
The Wandas
Julia Easterlin
Oceanographer
The Honors
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 fourth-annual CMJ Music Marathon showcase of alumni and student artists on Friday, October 22, from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. at Bowery Poetry Club.

After three successful afternoon shows at CMJ, Berklee hosts a nighttime showcase for the first time. The show features rock, indie-pop, singer/songwriter, r&b, and electro-pop by the Prigs, the Wandas, Oceanographer, Julia Easterlin (HRR artist), the Honors, and Liptease (HRR).

Berklee's all-ages showcase is free for CMJ badge holders and $10 for the general public. Bowery Poetry Club is located at 308 Bowery between Houston and Bleecker, New York, New York (F train to Second Avenue, 6 to Bleecker). For more information, please call 212 614-0505. Now in its 30th year, the CMJ Music Marathon is New York's largest music event, attracting bands, fans, and music industry professionals from around the world.

The show will be webcast live and can be viewed at BoweryPoetryLive.com. The event includes free raffles for a chance to win 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 album, Dorm Sessions 7, featuring showcase artists Julia Easterlin and Liptease.

About the artists:

The Prigs, from Brooklyn, New York, were born of songs composed by Berklee alumnus singer/guitarist Mack Price (Kaki King), who soon added alumnus bassist Bill Flynn and saxophonist Evan Smith (both of St. Vincent). The Prigs went through many incarnations, finding that bigger is better. Today, nine specialists lead a wily cast of characters in songs featuring tight, prog-inspired arrangements. While one can chart a course through their influences—olde-time Irish jigs, the Who, the Pogues, Balkan reels, Huey Lewis—what shines through is the message of celebration. As one song asserts, "Life ain't so bad at all!"

Boston's the Wandas, composed of Berklee alumni Keith McEachern (vocals, guitar, piano) and Brent Battey (guitar, vocals), with Ross Lucivero (bass, vocals) and William Bierce (drums, vocals), are in the midst of a yearlong tour for their acclaimed album New Wave Blues, produced by Patrick Krief of the Dears and mastered by Ryan Morey (Arcade Fire). Said the Telegram and Gazette, "[They] cut straight to the core with gorgeous harmonies, startling earnestness, and a sense of indie-pop cool that makes the band one of the more fun local listens." In March, the band performed at SXSW, and then won the WBRU 95.5-FM Rock Hunt, besting several hundred other bands.

Oceanographer blends its sound from such influences as shoegaze, indie pop, ambient music, minimalist composition, and post-rock, while maintaining accessibility. The Brooklyn five-piece—Berklee alumnus and Berkleemusic.com student Kevin Plessner, Jeremy Yocum, Eric Elterman, Ryan Goolsby, and Zach Eichenhorn—recently finished composing their third album, which they plan to release in 2011. The band moved to Brooklyn from Denton, Texas, after releasing their first album, 2003ʼs quiet and dreamy Twenty String. Following 2005ʼs louder offering, On Leaping from Airplanes, the group endured a hiatus and lineup changes but gained new momentum and plan to appear in select cities throughout the next year.

Not only is Berklee student singer/songwriter Julia Easterlin a versatile vocalist, pianist, and guitarist, but her looping machine makes her into a virtual one-woman band. On songs like "Go Straight Away," she loops her vocals, building a multi-layered song live on stage, track-by-track. Her voice combines seduction with a haunting jazz edge, and her music weaves story with an otherworldly vocal dance, drawing listeners deep into each well-crafted piece. At 15, Easterlin joined the John Lennon Tour Bus, a traveling studio of the John Lennon Foundation, and at 17, she released two albums: a jazz CD titled Why Can't You Behave, and the folk/rock album Calling Out.

Since forming in 2008, Boston's the Honors have toured the Northeast extensively, selling out venues in Boston, Pittsburgh, and New York. Their debut album, xoxo, is the cacophonous result of Brandon Heisler (vocals, guitar), Berklee alumnus Andrew Bayardi (guitar), Roland Nicol (bass), and Jason Trikakis (drums, vocals) entering a room with their instruments, some fresh ideas, and a whole lot of Guinness. Written and recorded in just two weeks, xoxo is a high-energy, indie rock explosion. Each song exudes a unique character and spontaneity. The Honors's music swirls with cascading reverb and atomic distortion, a sound the band calls "cave wave."

New York-based Liptease captures the energy of life's pulse and crafts it into inventive r&b-influenced electro-pop. Berklee alumnus John Engle, from San Diego, began singing in church and finds inspiration in soul music. Paris native and alumnus Michel Heyaca's guitar technique and writing style is influenced by French house music, Mozart, and his Latin roots, while student Tom Manning, from Boston, holds it down on the drums with high-energy r&b and funk. Liptease is currently promoting an EP and will soon release its debut album. Touring has commenced and the band's destiny is unfolding right before your lips.

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 12 albums since 1995, including Shekinah: 13 Artists, distributed by Epic; Apollo Sunshine's second CD, co-released with spinART; and Dorm Sessions 1–7. Many up-and-coming artists have appeared on HRR compilations, including St. Vincent (as Annie Clark); members of Passion Pit (as the Peasantry); the Click Five (as Oscar Bravo); Big D and the Kids Table; and Madi Diaz. The label also serves as a springboard for careers in the music industry. HRR alumni have gone on to work at Interscope, Capitol, DreamWorks, BMG, Universal, Live Nation, AEG Live, and Rightsflow.

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.