Berklee CMJ Music Marathon Showcase October 21

By
Nick Balkin
September 29, 2011
Sarah Rabdau and Self-Employed Assassins
Bleu
Endangered Speeches
Julia Easterlin
Electric Touch

Berklee College of Music, Heavy Rotation Records (HRR), and Berkleemusic.com present their fifth annual CMJ Music Marathon showcase of alumni and student artists on Friday, October 21, from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at Bowery Poetry Club. The show features pop/rock, singer-songwriter, Brit-pop, hip-hop, and R&B by Endangered Speeches, Sarah Rabdau and Self-Employed Assassins, Bleu, Electric Touch, Julia Easterlin (HRR artist), Particle Zoo, and Da'Rayia (HRR artist). 

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 (F train to Second Avenue, 6 to Bleecker). For more information, call 212 614-0505. The show will be webcast at BoweryPoetryLive.com. The event includes free raffles for a chance to win a badge to attend next year's CMJ Music Marathon. 

Free download cards will be given away of HRR's latest album, Under the Influence, which includes showcase artists Julia Easterlin and Da'Rayia. The album features Berklee students and alumni paying tribute to artists including REM, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Radiohead, coupled with covers of the seminal bands that influenced their sounds—Mission of Burma, Joy Division, Gang of Four, and the Pixies.

Now in its 31st year, CMJ is New York's largest music event, attracting bands, fans, and music industry professionals from around the world.

About the artists:

Endangered Speeches, the creative brainchild of Greek MC, singer, and Berklee alumna Mariletta Konstantara, aims to restore a meaningful message and forward direction to hip-hop music. Rooted equally in hip-hop and reggae, its sound is characterized chiefly by the unique global view brought by each of its 13 alumni members, who hail from Greece, Norway, Gambia, India, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. The group recently released their debut album, The City Is Rough, and played the 2011 KahBang Festival with My Morning Jacket, Chromeo, and Surfer Blood.

Sarah Rabdau and Self-Employed Assassins: After releasing their debut album in 2009 as a piano and drum duo, singer-songwriter Sarah Rabdau and drummer/Berklee alumnus Matt Graber expanded to a quartet last year with the addition of keyboardist/alumnus Peter Moore and bassist Eric Donahue. Their new arrangements evoke everything from the classical romanticism of Kate Bush to the modern pop of Florence and the Machine. They have shared stages with Nicole Atkins, Wakey!Wakey!, and Other Lives. Their music has been featured on PBS's Roadtrip Nation, and their award winning video for "Autumn Spills" has been shown on Bravo!Videos. The group is currently working on a new record scheduled for release in 2012.

Bleu is a Berklee alumnus, pop artist, professional songwriter, and producer. His latest solo CD, Four, was released on his own record label through Redeye Distribution due in part to his very successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign, for which he won Best Music Project 2010 (Kickstarter Awards). Four has been critically admired in the press by LA WeeklySunday Times UKClassic Rock Magazine UKAmerican Songwriter, All Music GuideBoston HeraldHuffington Post, and many more. Bleu's work as a professional songwriter and producer has landed him cuts on platinum- and gold-selling records by the Jonas Brothers, Boys Like Girls, Selena Gomez, Jon McLaughlin, Kate Voegele, Hanson, and others. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Electric Touch is a Brit-pop/rock five-piece with members hailing from both sides of the Atlantic. Their sound has been compared to Island Records label-mates the Killers, as well as Kings of Leon. Soon after they formed in 2007, they signed with the Texas-based label Justice Records. In 2011, they worked with Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson on a new album for Island Records. The band has appeared at the South by Southwest, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and Bonnaroo festivals and has supported Bon Jovi, the Bravery, the Fratellis, Airborne Toxic Event, and others.

Julia Easterlin is one part siren, one part loop scientist, and a sophisticated musical mind that can wield composition, production, and performance in one fell swoop. Not only is Easterlin a versatile singer-songwriter, vocalist, pianist, and guitarist, but her looping machine also makes her into a virtual one-woman band. In 2007, Easterlin was awarded a full scholarship to attend Berklee, from which she graduated last May. Two of Easterlin's tracks were featured on HRR's Dorm Sessions 7, and two more are on Under the Influence, where she put her unique stamp on songs by Radiohead and the Pixies. Easterlin recently performed the 2011 Lollapalooza festival and traveled to Cuba to perform with the Berklee Interarts Ensemble.

Particle Zoo is a New Jersey–based alternative rock trio known for their layered guitars, retro synths, and soaring lead vocals. The group is led by Berkleemusic.com student vocalist/guitarist Jeff DeVito, with Patrick Suler on bass and John Christie on drums and synths. They have recorded two LPs and four EPs, and recently created an animated video for "Even an Army," the first single from their new album Into the Fray. Particle Zoo has opened for Asobi Seksu, Pansy Division, Saturday Looks Good to Me, and others, and have played CMJ, the Block Island Music Festival, and Musikfest (Bethlehem, PA).

Da'Rayia is a close-knit band of Berklee students and alumni that play a variety of genres, including hip-hop, jazz, soul, funk, rock, and reggae. The group features Da'Rayia Wilson on vocals, Dennis Drummond on guitar, Clynton Cox on bass, Coran Henley on drums, and Stacey Wade on keyboards. Wilson, the group's namesake, was the first winner of the Berklee and Essence magazine hip-hop songwriting contest. She subsequently was awarded a full scholarship to attend Berklee. Wilson is a dual major in music business/management and contemporary writing and production, and is busy writing, performing, and producing her own music. Da'Rayia appears on HRR's Under the Influence, covering songs by Red Hot Chili Peppers and Gang of Four.

Heavy Rotation Records (HRR) gives music business/management majors at Berklee hands-on experience 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's 12 releases since 1995 include Shekinah: 13 Artists, distributed by Epic; Apollo Sunshine's second album, coreleased 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); Christopher Barnes (of Gem Club); Madi Diaz; Elizabeth and the Catapult; and Big D and the Kids Table. The label also serves as a springboard for careers in the industry. Alumni have gone on to work at Interscope, Capitol, DreamWorks, BMG, Universal, Live Nation, AEG Live, and RightsFlow, among other companies. HRR's new release, Under the Influence, features Berklee students and alumni paying tribute to some of rock's biggest names, coupled with covers of the seminal bands that influenced them.