Hey, nerdsters! It’s CMJ Music Marathon time here in New York, which generally means lots of roadies, music biz people, crowds, and bands with guitars. Ewww. Guitars — with no software effects? No vocoding granulizer? No trio of laptops nearby? Not even so much as a keytar? What’s a computer music-loving nerdster to do? Happily, synths are back, and electro is making a strong showing this year. In fact, my problem is that all the bands I care about seem to be scheduled at exactly the same time, which I hear is a typical CMJ problem. But with fun music to look forward to, I’m in a terrific mood — so much so that I think it’s time to enjoy some nerdster-pride vids.

I Want My Nerdster TV

Having made my obligatory crack about generic college rock at CMJ, musical taste is something CDM generally likes to avoid. I believe technology can serve music of all kinds; the idea that computer tech has to be genre-specific was shattered long, long ago. But if you write a love song featuring Commodore 64s and floppy disks — well, come on, everybody’s got to appreciate a gimmick sometimes, especially with a catchy tune. Computer Camp Love comes to us from Datarock, who earn extra cred by collaborating with fellow Norwegian rockstar Annie, and generally being from Norway, which is one of CDM’s Favorite Countries. Sadly, I can’t go see them Thursday, because I’ll be too busy hanging out with Simian Mobile Disco.

Computers are love:

And I also believe electro is important: it takes a campaign to get America’s plain-vanilla taste in rock instrumentation (guitar, bass, drums again, eh?) out of the box in this decade. (That’s why it’s especially cool Thomas Dolby recently added live brass.)

But how to do it? I think you just have to do something funky, danceable, with the word electro repeated over and over again. The punky UK-based Tigerpicks demonstrate. Witness:

I like the alternative electro dimension they inhabit.

Update: Yes, I know they’re cheesy. Yes, I know this is the word electro, not the music. They intend nothing else. I had a friend in college who would spray Cheez Whiz into his mouth. It’s like that. (Wait … suddenly hungry.) Just play along. Now I’m going to work on a track that shouts “Trashcore Jazzadelic IDM Glitch Funk!” I’ll see you in 72 hours. End of line.

CMJ Notes

If you’ve got any hot band tips or you yourself are playing here, let me know. I’ll come say hi. The more obscure you are, the better. 😉

cnet’s Caroline McCarthy (a fellow “downtown Manhattanite”) has a terrific take on the digital music side of CMJ:
CMJ’s Music Marathon: What’s in store for digital music?