By Matthew Mahoney
Wandering into Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn on the afternoon of Oct. 23, partway through a set, which involved a man wearing a gold chain around his neck marching about gesticulating like a robot, it became clear that the Captured Tracks / Omnian Music Group’s CMJ Showcase was off to a good start.
The aforementioned man was Danish electronic artist Dinner, who was recently signed to the influential Brooklyn label Captured Tracks. Dinner had been preceded by Girl Tears, Mega Bog, Juan Waters and Mac DeMarco’s debut DJ set.
After Dinner left the stage, the venue staff took several minutes to set up for the next act, Homeshake, whose debut album “In The Shower” was released a few weeks ago on Sinderlyn Records. Homeshake, a solo artist, real name Peter Sagar, performed his odd mix of falsetto, funky bass lines, guitar parts and the occasional voice manipulation with a backing band for about 45 minutes.
The stage was then cleared again, in preparation for Captured Track veterans Widowspeak’s headlining set. The duo, who recently moved from Brooklyn to the Hudson Valley, arrived on stage looking quite rustic. Rob Thomas, the band’s guitarist, sported not one, but two denim shirts, with a harmonica and a red bandana strung around his neck, under a full beard and two small braids.
Molly Hamilton, the lead singer who also played guitar, wore a light brown, fringed skirt with black tights and a large black sweater. The band accentuated their backwoodsy aura by lighting some incense, which filled the room with a scent that was reminiscent of picnic tables in a pine forest. The two musicians have been off of the road and settling into their new home up the Hudson, where they have been working on their follow-up to their second album, 2013’s “Almanac,” for the greater part of the past year.
Their set consisted mostly of new songs, as they opened with two songs presumably named “Part 1 (the Narrows)” and “Part 2 (About California).” They followed this with “The Swamps” from last year’s “The Swamps” EP and “Perennials” from “Almanac.”
This was followed by another string of new songs, which were written on the set list as, “Blackwing,” “Girls,” and “Hands.” The new songs still sound like much of Widowspeak’s previously released material, however they sound a bit more optimistic than earlier work.
The set was closed by the haunting “Almanac” album cut “Thick as Thieves.” Hamilton mentioned, several times throughout the show, that they were playing many of these songs for the first time, in a setting — only playing with two guitars — that would probably never happen again.
Overall the set was enjoyable and the mood was relaxed. The band did not mention when any of the new songs would be released, but one can assume that they will be released sometime early next year.
Matthew Mahoney is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org