CMJ 2009: A Guide You Might Want to Read

Oh CMJ, rival to SXSW, always with an inferiority complex. It may not get the prized sort of one-off appearances like its Austin sibling (e.g. Kanye West or Jane’s Addiction), but that’s not to say CMJ can’t hold its own.

Coupled with the already thriving New York City concert scene, the influx of young talent with the already established indie stars, there’s bound to be something for everyone at all hours of the day. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. For every act you’re pining to see, there’s another four or five right behind ’em. So much like any music festival, you gotta make choices. But that’s why you come to CoS, right? Our solution? We’re going to break it down (and possibly build it up, maybe) for you. The focus? Not on which acts you need to check out — because that would take away from the whole experience of “discovering — but rather an easy-to-define set of parameters. And, well, maybe one show to check out. Shall we?

Local New York Bands That Have Toured Extensively and Should Have Been Seen By Now:

Pretty self-explanatory, we give to you some acts that have been on your radar and have played every venue in New York (from Glasslands to a friend’s loft to that abandoned place above the gas station) but only now will you get your chance to see what all the fuss is about. Why you missed them could have been for any reason, you might have lived outside of New York is a good example.

  • Suckers — If you have missed them, when they opened for countless bands, or during their July residency at Pianos, now is your time to get on board with this new age psychedelic rockers. Similar to Yeasayer, the band distills a world of influence into a swirling hypnotic tune that will keep you up all night.
    10/21 – IAMSOUND CMJ Showcase @ Bowery Poetry Club
  • Darlings — One of L Magazine’s “8 NYC Band You Need to Hear” this band combines sunny pop songs in a deluge of noise and rawness. Their live shows are chaotic blasts of fun with enough noise and melody to please the whole family.
    10/24 – Impose/Famous Class Afternoon BBQ @ Don Pedro’s
  • Real Estate — Another band that is making their name in New York through extensive touring and people are finally starting to take notice. The New Jersey natives have been mentioned as a band to watch by Stereogum and their hazy music, invoking a shimmering nostalgia sounds great live.
    10/21 – Oh My Rockness Showcase @ Santos Party House (w/ Cymbals Eat Guitar, Free Energy, Deastro and Beach Fossils)
  • Ambulance LTD — Considered to be the next best thing and part of the early 2000 New York music revival. The band mixed some timeless pop with shoegaze that alleviated any tension. After struggling with TVT Records bankruptcy and legal proceedings, the band is back and to pick up where they left off.
    10/22 @ Mercury Lounge (w/ Hockey)

British Invasion:

This list was pretty spectacular when CMJ was first announced. However, due to visa issues, neither Mercury award winner Speech Debelle, First Aid Kit, nor VV Brown will be playing. That said, there is going to be plenty of talent from across the pond to choose from.

  • Golden Silvers — This uptempo band wears their heart on their sleeve — get ready to dance and have some fun. Not a lot of USA dates this year, so this may be one of your only chances to catch this band.
    10/20 – NME Showcase @ BLVD
  • Pete and the Pirates — Hailing from Reading, Pete and the Pirates are pretty guitar heavy with some nice angular riffs. Expect a lot of energy.
    10/24 – Brooklyn Vegan and Bowery Presents Day Show @ Piano’s
  • Fanfarlo — Plenty of people love this band, which is reminiscent of Arcade Fire with its orchestral flair and mix of impassioned music.
    10/20 – Brooklyn Vegan Showcase @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (w/ The Antlers)

Something New, Something Different, Plenty of Hype:

These are bands currently getting a lot of hype. Coming into the shows expect plenty of strange sounds, some interesting influences and be ready to judge which band will blow up.

  • YACHT — This band, from DFA Records, is nothing less than fantastic. The silky smooth disco, the seemingly endless array of danceable beats, this band has been getting plenty of heights and as part of the DFA showcase (with a DJ set by Special Disco Version aka James Murphy and Pat Mahoney) this show will be a blast.
    10/22 – DFA Party @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • Screaming Females — This Jersey outfit’s recent resume includes a tour with The Dead Weather and numerous dates in New York. Loud and dynamic and sure to be making plenty of noise, the Screaming Females might not be for everyone, but many people rave about their live performance.
    10/24 – The Onion A/V Club Afternoon Showcase @ Knitting Factory Brooklyn
  • Surfer Blood — Floridian band with some well honed tunes. Recently been getting plenty of buzz with good shows and music that seems familiar (noisy rock infused with pop) but adds a touch more craft and subtlety to let the band stand out.
    10/20 – Panache Showcase @ Santos Party House (w/ Heavy Trash)
  • Lemonade — Here we have another band that will make you dance your ass off. They have been making the rounds and have plenty of love and support behind them.
    10/23 – True Panther Showcase @ Flamboyan Theater
  • Free Energy — DFA Records’ other buzzed band. This band plays more of a pop-rock angle with some bouncy choruses that are not filtered through noise and distortion.
    10/20 – Stereogum CMJ Showcase @ The Studio at Webster Hall
  • Hockey — Hockey blew up earlier in the year and even played Lollapalooza. If you have yet to catch them, here’s another chance and see what all the fuss is about.
    10/22 – @ Mercury Lounge (w/ Ambulance LTD)
  • The Antlers — They released an album that was raved about and put forth some steady and rocking music.
    10/21 – @ Sound Fix Records (Free Show)
  • Neon Indian — This one man act has recently had the hype machine behind him on full blast. Picture some videogame sounds and some spiraling loops and you have a nice recipe for fun.
    10/24 – Topman/Jelly NYC Showcase @ Roots Studio (RSVP) (w/ The Almighty Defenders)

Tried and True Staples:

Bigger acts that you should see and would go see anyway.

  • Atlas Sound — Bradford Cox just released his latest work, Logos, and his live show should be as good as his music.
  • Rain Machine — Not truly a known commodity as a band but Rain Machine is Kyp Malone’s (of TV on the Radio) solo effort.
    10/24 – @ Bowery Ballroom
  • Portugal. The Man — Portugal. The Man has been around for awhile and its charming music is getting more and more attention. Easily one of CMJ’s bigger acts.
    10/23 – @ Bowery Ballroom

Insert Austin Powers Reference About Gold Here:

That’s right, it is all about the gold. From 24K to gold plated there are plenty of bands to fill Fort Knox. I already named one Gold band, and here are a few more and it is not even a comprehensive list.

  • Golden Triangle — Combining some tribal funk and no-wave sensibilities, this is one lo-fi trip.
    10/24 – Subpop/Hardly Art Showcase @ Mercury Lounge (w/ Obits, Pissed Jeans, and Dum Dum Girls)
  • Golden Filter — Another dance act for you to enjoy. This duo had their song “Solid Gold” remixed many times over.
    10/24 – Windish CMJ showcase @ Santos Party House (w/ Midnight Juggernaut)
  • Solid Gold — Plenty of synths and plenty of fun. This band is sure to dazzle and delight fans.
    10/23 – @ Brooklyn Bowl (w/ Chromeo and Amazing Baby)

Wow! That’s a lot of bands and that’s not even mentioning acts like A-Trak, Obits, the Dum Dum Girls, Violens, or Holiday Shores. So, which bands are you excited to see?


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