From October 18 – 22, New York City’s finest venues, nightclubs, and theaters will be taken over by musicians, music-industry professionals, college-radio nerds, filmmakers, and critics. Yes, it’s back: the CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival.
Notable bands scheduled to perform include: Trash Talk, Parts & Labor, Davila 666, A Place to Bury Strangers, the Doomtree crew, Talkdemonic, Mexicans with Guns, and Kylesa. Seeing so many concerts, screenings, and panels normally comes at a pretty steep price, but we’ve teamed up with CMJ to give away two five-day passes. Total retail value of one pass alone is $495 and will give its bearer access to any event, provided that it’s not sold out or at capacity.
To enter to win, fill out the form below by the end of Thursday, October 13. By entering your information, you’ll also be signed up to receive ALARM’s weekly E-mail newsletter, The ALARMIST.
Sims: “Burn It Down” [audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Sims_Burn_It_Down.mp3|titles=Sims: “Burn It Down”]
Anyone who has seen Twin Cities rapper/producer P.O.S live between the gradual success of Audition in 2006 and Never Better in 2009 has also had the chance to sample the Doomtree crew of which he’s a part. One of the stronger presences at these shows has been Sims, who’s by no means exactly like P.O.S, but is a worthy kindred spirit who gets the crowd in a similar, righteously agitated state of mind.
The lean-built MC is as averse to laid-back songs as his half-rapper, half-hardcore-dude friend. He’s strong through the shoulders and busy with gestures, a good frame for his sharp, often-terse flow. Another vital presence, less obvious onstage but still essential, is producer Lazerbeak, who has made beats for nearly every Doomtree release and doesn’t hear much of a border between catchy synth-based production and scratchy horns-and-soul-vocal melts.
The strength of Doomtree is that no two artists are too terribly alike (see the crew’s self-titled, all-member-pile-on album from 2008). The spectrum runs from the pugnacious Mike Mictlan to the patient density of Dessa‘s 2010 release, A Badly Broken Code. The group supports its members’ identities without intruding on them, something that holds true on Sims’ second proper solo album, Bad Time Zoo.
Sims goes it alone for nearly an entire hour, with just one guest verse during the whole thing (from P.O.S, on “Too Much”). Lazerbeak produces every beat here, making for a collaborative but focused feel. The identity that emerges for Sims, at first, has a lot to do with his opening verse on Never Better‘s “Low Light Low Life.” His specialty is creating the feeling of being sealed into a living nightmare of isolation, reckless corporate domination, and hopeless social ignorance. What comes out over time, though, is that Sims is a straightforward MC who’s brave enough to work through the contradictions of his own emotions.
Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on AlarmPress.com. Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.