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Day Two: Spin CMJ Round-Up

From studio sessions to multi-media extravaganzas, Spin staffers report back on some of the shows they saw yesterday.

Spin’s staff members have been trouncing the streets of Manhattan, heading to small clubs for intimate performances and large venues for buzzed-about bands. They’ve danced to the cowbell-punctuated tunes of New York’s Professor Murder, sat for intimate radio sessions with symbol-happy +/- {Plus/Minus}, and witnessed as Swedish exports the Knife delivered a thrilling multi-media event that left their identity shrouded in mystery.

Brooklyn electro-pop trio +/- {Plus/Minus} hit Gigantic Studios for a KEXP live broadcast to play tunes from new album Let’s Build A Fire. It was an early (10 A.M.!), intimate rock session and total breakfast for my ears. MONIQUE LAVIE

Fans packed tightly into the venue equivalent of a clown car to watch Professor Murder bound around a stage far too small for frontman Michael Bell-Smith’s unbridled energy. The Pianos crowd modified dance moves for the lack of space as Bell-Smith shook his tambourine and consistently added more cowbell to songs like “Free Stress Test.”

Though they got a late start at Tonic after meticulously decorating the stage with poofy red flowers and a glittery banner bearing the band’s name, Mosquitos more than made up for their tardiness by packing as many peppy, confectionary pop tunes into their set as time would allow. Before the lights were unceremoniously flicked on and the house music turned up to end the set before its time, adorably polka-dot dress-clad frontwoman Juju Stulbach led the band (which included tambourine-tapping backup singers/dancers who launched several synchronized routines) through a deliciously sweet set of bossa nova-inspired tunes, and tossed the stage decor to eager concertgoers. ALYSSA RASHBAUM

Coming off a brawl at Stereo (read more), some fans were expecting more scuffles for the Horrors. Rather, the band made those who packed into 98 Mott wait an excruciatingly long time before taking the stage. When they did, those big-haired British brats nearly blew my eardrums out. KIANA PIROUZ

Fields and Monsters Are Waiting raised the dead last night at BED’s Zombie Prom: Fields’ short but rhythm-packed set left the crowd dying for more while Monsters Are Waiting took over with heavier rock sounds and Annalee Fery’s Karen O-inspired yelps. SARAH CRAFT

Swedish duo the Knife subscribe to the belief that art should be valued in and of itself, not as a product of its makers. For that reason, the pair brought more than just their darkly chilling dance music to Webster Hall, they also came armed with a multi-media extravaganza.

Performing center stage with a light show in front of them and artsy, monochrome videos behind them, siblings Olof and Karin Dreijer seemed trapped between competing visual experiences. This ensured fans concentrated on the scrim in front of them, which was illuminated with animated geometrical shapes, and on the screen behind them, which featured various clips of birds flying amongst the clouds, trains, and planes. Additionally, the pair dressed all in black, the only flesh exposed around facial orifices illuminated in neon blue and orange, ensuring that their anonymity remain intact. Some fans followed suit, bringing their own masks resembling the beak-clad ones the pair have donned in recent press photos. JULIA SIMON

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