[CMJ] On The List :: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Magic Bullets, Blair, LESANDS

Only at CMJ is the guitarist of Magic Bullets waiting for one of the members of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. to leave the bathroom so they can play their set at Bruar Falls. The lead singer of Dominant Legs is in the front row, relaying the score of the San Francisco Giants playoff game (they would go on to win in dramatic fashion). It is a proper noun hurricane of too many bands, maybe even too many great bands, all stuffed together in venues that don't always suit them, in time slots that push the boundaries of what is possible.

Earnhardt Jr. Jr. won the night with a stripped down 8pm set at Bruar Falls and the promise of destruction later at Santos. Playing effectively "unplugged," the boys usually accustomed to their jumpsuits, electronics and drummer, channeled something closer to Simon and Garfunkel or Grizzly Bear, using rich harmonies and delicate instrumentals to craft something quiet and brilliant. They confessed before the show, "we only agreed to this because I said if we didn't play three shows in a day, I wasn't coming." This was more than moderately sarcastic. The stage was too small and they were too pressed for time, only playing three songs. Magic Bullets take the stage almost imediately and prove every bit the post-Lucksmiths pop you might think them to be. The Earnhardt boys are packing their gear and their frustration, heading for Santos and the blocks below Canal.

Later at Rock Shop, the bill was again packed.  Blair played her set of extremely winning pop songs in the 9:30 slot. Her record, Die Young, is still one of the year's finest and her stage show, with tie-dyed backing band, chooses delicacy over bombast. LESANDS would take the stage from San Diego. Their lead-singer chuckles and mumbles, "ha, yeah, sun." It is glimmering synths and packaged loops for the next half hour as LESANDS prove every bit of the potential we caught in LA over the summer. The night closes with Beach Fossils well after 1am. Enough ink has been spilled on their behalf to not merit further working here, but suffice it to say their surf-rock progressions owe more than a little to early-career Cure. As the Rock Shop crowd headed out to the ungently gentrifying 4th Avenue landscape, it was another night full of bands, too many photographers and too much good music.

Listen :: Magic Bullets - "Lying Around"
Listen :: Blair - "Hearts"
Listen :: Blair - "Hello Halo"
Listen :: LESANDS - "Pretenders"

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