Attention music lovers! CMJ descends on NYC this week. To celebrate, we asked local Music Producer Ryan Fitch (who happens to be speaking on a CMJ panel today) to put together a list of the best free or badge-not-required shows to see. He even put together a Spotify playlist of emerging artists playing the festival. Enjoy!
The CMJ Music Marathon is exactly what it sounds like – a five-day free-for-all of live music. From October 16-20, hundreds of acts (some established, but most looking to make their big breakout) will descend upon New York City to make a mark. And the event has a solid track-record; Prior buzz-mongers include Santigold in 2007, Lady Gaga in 2008, Mumford & Sons in 2009 and Kendrick Lamar in 2011, so the career-making potential isn’t just a ploy to sell tickets/badges.
With so many showcases and bands to keep track of, it’s impossible to sample everything. To simplify things, we’ve scoured the lineups and plucked out our favorite up-and-comers. We know it’s a marathon, but here the 5 emerging pop acts we’ll be sprinting to see.
// WHERE TO SEE THEM: 10/18 @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg //
Formerly known as Dive, this four-piece led by Brooklyn musician Z. Cole Smith are like the lovechild of the Stone Roses and Mazzy Star hoped up on Adderall. Their sound is dreamy, psychedelic and languid, but played at chattering, dance floor-ready BPM. Their new album, Oshin, has been championed by Pitchfork, Stereogum and Fuse, and is an absolute must-have.
// WHERE TO SEE THEM: Windish Showcase 10/21 @ Mercury Lounge //
How good is L.A. soul/rock duo Electric Guest? Enough to get reclusive producer Danger Mouse to not only produce their entire debut album ‘Mondo,’ but write a 1,200-word missive on his website explaining why he loved, and wanted to work with, the band. The group has been festival mainstays this past year, drawing from influences as diverse as Blonde Redhead, French cult pop legend Serge Gainsbourg and ’90s West Coast rap group Souls of Mischief.
// WHERE TO SEE THEM: 10/17 @ Mercury Lounge //
It has been a banner year for disorienting Canadian electro-pop, and following on the heels of Grimes (whose ‘Visions’ is one of the year’s finest albums) comes Toronto producer Airick Woodhead – aka Doldrums. Woodhead has already released an EP, and while he’s still working on full-length debut, he’s fixing to drop ‘She Is a Wave,’ a dizzying single whose sampled beats, shrieking synths and tummy-punch bass will leave you feeling upside down and underwater. And since Woodhead tours with a proper backing band, it should sound great in the clubs.
// WHERE TO SEE THEM: 10/18 @ Bowery Ballroom //
The two women who comprise the rock-brut garage duo Deap Vally claim to be “like, totally” proud Valley Girls from California, who bonded over a mutual love of crochet. It’s more likely, though, judging from a wickedly acerbic feminist screed like “Gonna Make My Own Money”(which owes a musical debt to the White Stripes and Jon Spencer), that the prickly pair may have their tongues planted firmly in cheek.
// WHERE TO SEE THEM: 10/18 @ Brooklyn Bowl //
From the fertile, gently electronic scene of Gainesville, Florida floats Hundred Waters, an avant-folk five-piece that somehow became the latest signees to Skrillex’s label OWSLA and unlikely Full Flex Express touring partners of Diplo and Pretty Lights.