November 14, 2006

Music Xtra - Louisville to NYC: Thanks for the memories

VillebilliesFour Louisville bands descended on New York earlier this month, playing showcases at the annual music conference put on by the taste-making College Music Journal, titled the CMJ Music Marathon.The verdicts: Kind audiences. Lots of band love. One timeless karaoke cover of Journey’s equally timeless “Don’t Stop Believin’.”Though he was only there a day, Villebillies’ singer/rapper Demi Demaree fell head over heels for NYC’s eclecticism.“Man, I love New York,” Demaree said. “Seriously, racism didn’t exist anywhere I went. There’s a little bit of everything. It’s like Sesame Street. Big Bird could be walking down the street, and no one would do a double-take.”On the business side, East Coast representatives from Universal/Motown, which released Villebillies in September, were finally treated to the band’s infectious, energetic live show at Lion’s Den on Nov. 1.“The intensity of (our live show) is what sold them,” Demaree said. “They got a better perspective of how to market us and who to put us on tour with.”Meanwhile, clips of an unreleased Villebillies track were featured on ESPN at the beginning and in the third quarter of the U of L-West Virginia game.Your Black Star was already tearing up the East Coast before it landed at the Fenway Recordings showcase at Club Midway. The band has been touring in support of its album, Sound from the Ground, which was released in the United States last month on Wonka-Vision Records.“It was pretty incredible,” said singer-guitarist Jeremy Johnson. “I don’t think we’ve ever performed better.”The two-time South-by-Southwest veterans found even more craziness to dive into when they weren’t rocking. “It was like the Derby again,” Johnson said. “I’m talking about waking up on the floor and wondering what the hell you did last night.”Having closed out 2006 with nearly 100 shows, Your Black Star is on tap to play as many or more in the coming year, Johnson said.When he isn’t waist-deep in central Asian history or pulling his weight in Wolverine Brass, Connor Bell comes up for air as Shedding.Your Black StarBell invaded the Trash Bar in Brooklyn as part of the showcase for the Home Tapes label, which will release his forthcoming record, What God Doesn’t Bless, You Won’t Love; What You Don’t Love, The Child Won’t Know on Nov. 27 at the Pour Haus with Dat Politics. “All the bands were inspiring,” Bell said of the showcase. “It felt like a family of like-minded people.”Mittens on Strings, which was originally from New Albany but has since relocated to Chicago, rocked the Emperor Jones Records showcase at Northsix basement. “It was a smaller room but it was packed with people,” member Alex Preston said. The New York stop was part of a short tour in which the Mittens opened for Magnolia Electric Co.For more on the CMJ Music Marathon, check out www.cmj.com. Contact the writer at mherron@leoweekly.com