Nestled in the pages of the new issue of The L is a list of 26 bands you should see during CMJ, which, holy crap, starts next week. There’s one for every letter of the alphabet because that way we can call the piece “The ABCs of CMJ” and then later make jokes about it on our blog. Despite these obvious upsides, it’s also a tidy approach to the 900+ bands set to play during the five-day whirlwind, except that in the cases of most letters — especially “G,” “W” and, weirdly enough, “I” — there are more than a single band worthy of attention.
So let’s talk about Ill Fits and The Immaculates. Both are Brooklyn supergroups of sorts, the former made up of members of MGMT, Amazing Baby, Foreign Islands and voiced by the wide-reaching Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson; the latter consisting of spazzes from French Miami, Sisters and the label head of Famous Class Records. Both really lay into into their sound, pulling off a type of wild abandonment not typically associated with the Brooklyn music scene these days. For Ill Fits, it’s a groove-rooted spin-off of the glammy psych-pop established by Amazing Baby and MGMT, but with Robinson’s steady, serious vocals adding depth. He sometimes likes to lie down on the stage during shows and sing face up, which we’re into. The Immaculates take the same free-for-all energy and channel it through what they keep selling as a soul throwback, a response to frontman Jay Heiselmann’s white-boy James Brown inflections and Matt Conboy’s funkified basslines. But kill me if the song “Love Dream” from their debut EP, Vol. 1, doesn’t recall a sad-sacked Jonathan Richman. Live, there are suits, whiskey, tambourines and we have on good word that, in the flesh, they sound like the Stooges. We’re also into that.
Ill Fits are playing The Thompson Hotel on 10/19 and Pianos on 10/20 and 10/22. The Immaculates are playing Shea Stadium on 10/18, Cake Shop on 10/19 (afternoon), and Knitting Factory on 10/19 (night). Listen to tracks from both bands after the jump.