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Oboes and recorders
A like oboes and recorders. I used to consider them the common denominators of musical instruments, thanks to vivid memories of elementary school music class, but then Sufjan came around and made them key in orchestral jamborees and sort of screwed over anyone just casually blowing for quirky appeal. So when Florida band Levek busted out the woodwinds that joined their picnic spread of synths and guitars, I got excited for some glowing, sweeping pop. Instead, they meandered through a set of spacey, bass-heavy, jams that, at their best, sounded like a theme to a 90s family sitcom. There was a lot happening onstage with six members, but it didn't manifest in the music or in the expressions of those performing it, each one plagued by boredom, save for an occasionally bouncy bassist. If you're going to pull out the oboes and recorders, you've gotta live up to the hype.
Venues in Midtown
"Just a few minutes from Penn Station" is not an ideal place for an indie-rock show, unless, I guess, the place in question is Madison Square Garden. Let's make a pact to never have to travel to that part of town again during CMJ... Looking at you Rebel NYC, with your disorienting smoke machine and cages for what I assume to be dancers or, as in the case of the aforementioned Texas Takeover party, videographers. Never trust a place with more than three chandeliers.
Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter at @heylaurenbeck. She promises to not complain about how much her back hurts.