Backbeat: Brooklyn Vegan's 'Dream Showcase:' Braids, Weekend, Active Child, Pepper Rabbit, Blue Hawaii
Backbeat: Brooklyn Vegan's 'Dream Showcase:' Braids, Weekend, Active Child, Pepper Rabbit, Blue Hawaii

 

Braids
Tangled Up In Red: Braids Celebrate After Performing for a Sold Out Crowd (L-R) Katie Lee, Taylor Smith, Billboard's Maria Sherman, Austin Tufts andd Raphaelle Standell-Preston.

Brooklyn Vegan stands as an unlikely success story. The New York-based music blog was founded in 2004 by a mysterious and music-obsessed (and, it's a safe assumption, animal-friendly) guy who obviously didn't think his blog would catch on nearly as much as it has (or he probably would've chosen a different name). Seven years later, we're at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night for BV's official CMJ showcase, featuring Blue Hawaii, Pepper Rabbit, Active Child, Braids, and Weekend.

"When we were seeking out a CMJ show - our only one of the year - we wanted to find a way to get people to come out," explains Raphaelle Standell-Preston who tonight performed with both Braids and her side project Blue Hawaii. "[Brooklyn Vegan] is so varied in the way it works with people to get them excited about new music -- a lot of people were excited to come."

Indeed, spotted in the night's crowd were KEXP DJ Shannon, Oberhofer's Brad Oberhofer, Tell All Your Friend's Kip Kouri, MTV VJ John Norris and Noisevox's Ruben Harmon.

Check out all of our Backbeats -- our exclusive look at the people behind the music business - right here.

Pepper Rabbit, the L.A.-based two-piece of Xander Singh and Luc Laurent (with live keyboards and bass by Jonathan Allen) sounded like an amalgam of Man Man, Animal Collective, with a veneer of Coldplay and seem like the ideal soundtrack to a breakup montage from "The O.C." As it turns out, they've recently had a song featured on the MTV creative-youth-in-Greenpoint series "I Just Want My Pants Back."

"We are more than happy to be in Williamsburg with you," Patrick Grossi, a.k.a. Active Child said from the stage before plucking out dense melodies on a harp and letting loose his operatic-level voice -- a deep-cut tremolo with an androgynous timbre that ties together the very, very pretty music put together around it.

The Braids easily delivered the most electric set of the night, a young four-piece from Montreal-via-Calgary who play music similar in spirit and disjointed density to Dirty Projectors, a more ambient-reliant version of that band's orchestral lean. Singer and guitarist Standell-Preston has a massive voice, demure and whispering one second, focused and beaming the next, her wide eyes absorbing her bandmates' cues. "I got the flu yesterday, so I feel like a million bucks," she said from the stage, though from the audience if she hadn't said anything, no one would have ever have known.

Weekend were the only 'rock and roll' reps on the bill. Through a Joy Division haze, the San Francisco three-piece kept it rooted in the low-end, Shaun Durkan's voice and massive bass cabinet provided the drone for a hundred late, lonely nights. The showcase ended promptly around midnight when the band flung their instruments to the monitors, creating a harsh wall of sound, fully acquiescing the room, who took it with open arms (albeit, hurt ears.)

Afterwards, Standell-Preston offered her take on the evening. "It was a dream showcase," she said, "there were six hundred people here..."

Spotify playlist for the event HERE:

Braids
Active Child Inactive: Patrick Grossi (a.k.a. Active Child) performing at the CMJ Brooklyn Vegan showcase in Brooklyn. His debut album, "You Are All I See," came out in August on Vagrant records. (Photo: Andrew John Flanagan)
Braids
Straight Out of Montreal: Braids whose debut "Native Speaker" is on the shortlist for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize. (Photo: Andrew Jesus Flanagan)
Braids
Okay, Nobody Look at the Camera: L.A.'s Pepper Rabbit (Xander Singh and Luc Laurent) performed live with Jonathan Allen. Their album "Red Velvet Snow Ball" is out on Kanine Records. (Photo: Andrew J. Flanagan)