I realized, about two songs into watching them, I realized I'd seen Women before. Maybe it was at SXSW or Glasslands, can't remember exactly where, but I'd definitely watched them play -- the singer was dressed exactly the same way. I think I didn't make the connection because Women are so much better live than on record. The album, while good, is a little too drenched in Animal Collective-style reverb, while onstage (or in Cake Shop's case, the floor) they hit pretty hard.
The Canadian band were playing at about 4PM, the first of about ten shows they're doing during CMJ -- most of them day parties. Singer Patrick Flegel remarked, "I'm not quite used to the afternoon thing, it feels very dark down here." Cake Shop does have a "always 2AM" feel to it, but Women's music is pretty dark, brittle and almost post-punky goth, with some amazing interplay between Flegel and second guitarist Christopher Reimer's instruments. There's also some '60s pysch-pop elements as well -- "Black Rice" has a definite Brian Wilson vibe to it. Some people I talked to didn't like the vocals (the only thing with reverb on it today) but I thought they fit Women's sound perfectly. I left very impressed.
MP3: Women - Black Rice (Buy)
Catch them this week if you can. Here's where they'll be: