CMJ Giveaway: The Extra Lens & Our Noise

In New York City, fall is marked by the leaves in Central Park changing color, the sun setting well before the end of the work day, the return of chunky knitwear and thigh-high boots, and thousands of audiophiles swarming Downtown Manhattan to attend the annual CMJ Music Marathon. During the Marathon, which rocks out near Algonquin’s West Village annex from October 19-23, lesser-known and emerging artists are given the chance to impress major players in the music industry. Lady Gaga, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, and Arcade Fire (to name a few) all played CMJ before becoming music icons.


We’ll be clearing our schedules on October 21 to watch Merge superstars John Darnelle (Mountain Goats) and Franklin Bruno play as The Extra Lens at their CMJ showcase, 9pm at Mercury Lounge. Can’t jam with us? The Extra Lens will be dropping their long-awaited album, Undercard, on October 19. And lo and behold! We have THREE copies to give away along with copies of OUR NOISE: The Story of Merge Records, The Indie Label That Got Big and Stayed Small, which remarks on the impact of CMJ in addition to sharing candid photos and the behind-the-scenes of some of your favorite Merge bands: Arcade Fire, Magnetic Fields, Spoon, Lambchop, Superchunk, and more. Check out the phenomenal OUR NOISE website here.


For a chance to win, leave a comment about your favorite CMJ or indie concert memory. We’ll choose three winners via a top-secret magical process.


–Emily Parliman, Publisher’s Assistant

16 Comments On This Post:

October 18, 2010
9:48 am
Emily H. says...

My favorite indie concert memory is going to see Dan Vaillancourt in Indianapolis on a perfect spring day.

October 18, 2010
10:21 am
Scot says...

Always wanted to go to an Indie concert, but always been too broke to go.

October 18, 2010
10:32 am
Heather says...

My favorite memory is going to see The Love Language in Winston-Salem with my friend who follows them around like a dedicated groupie should. The band gave a great performance and there was lots of good energy. That makes all the difference, but seeing my friend so happy made the night really memorable!

October 18, 2010
11:19 am
Marty says...

I saw King Missle in college with about 35 other people and John Hall was out of his mind the entire show. It was awesome and I still have the t-shirt 20 years later.

October 18, 2010
12:20 pm
Sarah A. says...

My favorite CMJ was going in ’99 when the hurricane hit, going to shows soaking wet and happy. Best memories of the AIP showcase, Macha, and most of all, Elf Power, who put on such a fun, energetic, awesome show! Best non-CMJ: seeing Superchunk and Arcade Fire put on a free outdoor show in Carrboro, NC. It was a blast. (I’ve really been wanting to get a copy of Our Noise!)
Thanks so much!

October 18, 2010
12:25 pm
Beth says...

I saw Portastatic open for the Squirrel Nut Zippers in Providence in the 1990s. later I realized i really adored Portastatic, but SNZ was eminently more danceable.

October 18, 2010
12:27 pm
BeGee says...

Easy: Merge Night @ Threadwaxing Space sometime in the late 90s. Magnetic Fields & Versus played, but the headline act was Lambchop. The ‘Chop, that night, was comprised of: Ira, Georgia & James as the rhythm section; Julian & Scott from NMH on saw & trumpet, respectively; Mac on keyboards; Shark Quest person on banjo; plus the rest of the Lambchop collective. Magic ensued, culminating in a big run through “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.”

October 18, 2010
12:35 pm
Greg says...

Of course “indie” is defined differently depending on who you ask. I define it as any band standing in gas who’s just waiting for that spark to ignite it. The closer you are to that moment the more amazing it is. My greatest moment(s) involve Jennifer Nettles of the country act Sugarland. Before her current career arc she was part of a great Georgia folk-rock act Jennifer Nettles Band, and before that the incomparable duo Soul Miner’s Daughter. I caught every show of hers that I could, and a common conversation amongst members of the audience was, “How is she not famous?” I like Sugarland okay, but the Soul Miner’s Daughter and Jennifer Nettles Band CDs are albums that I share with every music lover I meet. Nettles is a polished, professional country star now — but I’ll always remember her on stage at the 40 Watt in Athens, GA, wearing a wife-beater, baggy shorts, with that now-golden hair pinned up in crazy braids and buds, singing “Round and Round” and everyone in the room spinning along with her.

October 18, 2010
12:51 pm
Native JD says...

I love Superchunk and Lou Barlow. A work trip in June took me to Denver where I got to see both on back to back nights.

Thanks Mac and Merge employees for making this attorney’s dreary life a little better.

October 18, 2010
1:39 pm
Jon Holley says...

One of my many favorite Indy show memories was seeing The Elected play a show in Seattle at a church there was a sign that said there was to be no swearing, spitting or drinking alcohol and they did all three. To top that show off that is where I was introduced to one of my favorite bands ever Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s. From the hitting the stage and starting their first song I was hooked and havnt missed a show or album release. Now if only The Elected would get back in the studio and tour again

October 18, 2010
1:54 pm
mp says...

favourite memory is the first time i saw the mountain goats, in chicago in 2006. i was astonished, as i invariably am, to witness john darnielle hold sway over the audience, as well as by the difference and energy in the live songs vs. the recorded versions. every tmg show is different and special to me.

October 18, 2010
3:04 pm
Jesse says...

easy-Pokey Lafarge and Meschiya Lake atthe Jalopy Theater.

October 18, 2010
3:26 pm
Mick says...

Honestly, it was the GBV reunion at First Avenue in Minneapolis. A 2 hour drunken sing along full of truly crowd pleasing BIG RAWK moments. The band was never that tight before, not even during the Kevin McPherson/Doug Gillard years, which I still love. It was truly amazing.

Back in 98, I did see Califone open for Modest Mouse at tiny club in the U of MN student union. Both bands were awesome despite the shitty venue. I still remember most people leaving before MM played their encore. About 20 people formed a tight circle around the band and grooved along as they played for us. I just remember the crowd moving, all dancing to MM. Can’t remember the song to save my life, but there seemed to be a real connection between audience and song at that point.

October 18, 2010
3:27 pm
Rick says...

The Flaming Lips at the the Blind Pig, Champaign, IL circa 1995. Ronald Jones had left the band and they were touring as a 3-piece (Wayne still played guitar at this point). During Christmas at the Zoo, they broke out a modified leaf blower and started shooting shredded styrofoam peanuts into the audience. By the end of the song, the floor was covered with several inches of this snow.

October 19, 2010
12:49 am
thom says...

In 2005, Magnolia Electric Co. were playing a small gig in the basement of a Unitarian church in Philadelphia. Opening for the band was a little-known, unsigned group called Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Needless to say, as soon as CYHSY blew up, all remaining tickets promptly disappeared. The show actually appeared to be WAY oversold; in all my years of attending shows at this church, many of which were sold out, I had never seen the room packed so tightly with people. Factor in that this was August and there was no air conditioning in the basement, and you can just imagine how uncomfortable it was in the room. Even after CYHSY finished their set and a full 2/3 of the audience left, giving everyone some breathing and elbow room, the air remained oppressively thick, heavy and hot. As Magnolia Electric Co. were setting up, they brought out what appeared to be their entire backstage supply of bottled water and began tossing the bottles out into the crowd. Then, as the band began their set, Jason Molina asked how much water was. He then pulled out his wallet, took out $100, and handed it to someone in the front row, instructing him to go back and purchase $100 worth of bottled water for the audience. The cooler full of water bottles was wheeled into the middle of the floor, and Molina implored everyone to make sure that everyone got at least one bottle of water. There was more than enough to go around. To this day, I am struck by the extreme selflessness exhibited by Molina at this show. Oh yeah, and their set was pretty rocking, too.

October 19, 2010
8:45 pm
Seth says...

My favorite indie concert memory is one that I booked. Scraping together funding from various campus groups, I was able to convince The Dismemberment Plan to play the basement of my school’s cafeteria on a Saturday night for one thousand dollars. “Emergency & I” had just been released and the band was already beginning to perform songs (“The Face Of The Earth” and “Time Bomb”) that would appear on “Change.” As usual, they killed. At their peak, I don’t think any act in indie-dom could match their live show. Eric proclaimed that The Plan loved me at the close of the show and then wrote fondly about the experience on their website. I never booked another show after that night. It just didn’t seem necessary to try.

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