CMJ, The College Music Journal Music Marathon, is just around the corner, and Bushwick Daily is all over it like bass on dubstep (yeah?). Whether you’ve been to CMJ five times or you don’t even know what it is, we’ll be here, reporting on the best new music we’re hearing. A little background: CMJ, taking place from October 15-19, is the largest indie festival in NYC, now in its 24th year and still a very powerful musical express. CMJ is similar to a festival like South By South West (which we also covered) in the way that there are hundred of official (branded) showcases going on every day as well as a ton of unofficial shows happening all the while, in Manhattan and Brooklyn (remember that epic Bushwick House Party last year?).
Now, don’t get overwhelmed – CMJ is a beast of a festival, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it in a mellow way. We’ve rounded up eight fantastic artists we think are going to blow up during CMJ, and you’re the first to know! Read on for our top CMJ picks and information on how to see them without a badge, for free or cheap. Featuring: WET, The Band in Heaven, The Hood Internet, Palehound, The History of Apple Pie, Perfect Pussy, Orange Gold Red, Walking Shapes.
Wet makes us all…happy that music like this exists. The fact that this Brooklyn trio, which brings to the table “big beats, big hooks and big problems,” is still relatively new to the scene sets them up for an even more successful run during CMJ. They’ve released two fantastic songs featuring singer Kelly Zutrau’s sexy, snaking soul vocals over minimal electronic tracks and subtle, beautiful guitar melodies. Their next release will hit the internet CMJ Week on Neon Gold and features new single “No Lie.” They are on the edge of greatness with their unique sound, but the best part of their music is its extremely soothing nature. See them CMJ at Neon Gold’s Party, Thursday October 17th at Santos Party house with Haerts and Magic Man.
#2 The Hood Internet
This Chicago-based duo The Hood Internet makes sexy mashups consisting of two or three songs at the most, combining different genres, from indie rock to straight up hip hop, often resulting in a witty, unpredictable, undeniably catchy product. Examples? Chum Letter (Earl Sweatshirt x Ducktails), Say Yr Name (Destiny’s Child x Slow Magic), The Hood Internet – Pyramidspeak (Purity Ring x Frank Ocean). What ensues during their live shows is a high-energy dance party fueled by high-pressure musical switches and flourishes. It’s pretty genius. They’re not new to the scene, but are poised for a big New York breakout as the next important mashup artists. See them at the Lazerpop CMJ Party at Glasslands Saturday October 19.
#3 The Band in Heaven
The Band in Heaven, straight outta West Palm Beach, is a dip into a psychedelic ocean, waves crushing in noisey sheets around you. They’ve got the shoegaze sound down to a tee, mixing in clean, summery modern guitar riffs. Think The Pastels meets Wild Nothing. Sound great? That’s because it is. Vocalists Ates Isildak and Lauren Dwyer trade off on sweet, seemingly indifferent vocals that add an element of ephemerality to the roaring sound produced by the clashing, cymbal-heavy drum parts. It’s all very immersive. Catch them Thursday October 17th at Pianos for Frenchkiss’ CMJ Party.
Ellen Kempner is the nineteen-year-old wunderkind currently standing at the helm of her very own buzzworthy project, Palehound. Grungy, poppy, and tinged with nostalgic ’90s era grime, these chill sounds are evocative and sharp, highlighted by Kempner’s wise-beyond-her-years vocal style. Palehound’s debut EP, Bent Nail, is out October 22 on Exploding in Sound Records. You’ll want to hit the Silent Barn on October 19 (also featuring Speedy Ortiz, Roomrunner, Ovlov, and more noisy goodness) and Spike Hill on October 17 to catch Palehound live in action.
#5 THE HISTORY OF APPLE PIE
Like their warm and fuzzy name suggests, The History of Apple Pie are all about indie rock’s golden age. The London quintet originally began as the bedroom project of Stephanie Minn and Jerome Watson, but has since evolved in order to create their 2012 full-length debut, and another album in the works for next year. If you’re into crunchy, shoegazey, alt-pop sounds, you’ll have a few chances to see ‘em in the flesh this year; catch The History of Apple Pie with Joanna Gruesome and Celestial Shore at Baby’s All Right for Force Field PR’s Party on October 15, and alongside PUP at Glasslands on October 18.
#6 PERFECT PUSSY
Perfect Pussy’s sounds are just as abrasive as their name suggests. Still, there’s something pleasant about this Syracuse band’s raw, sloppy punk style, and a lot of it boils down to charismatic, extra loud frontwoman Meredith Graves. They’re totally ready to throw down at CMJ for the very first time this year. First, see Perfect Pussy play with Hunters at The Flat on October 16, and then at 285 Kent Avenue among a diverse lineup (Speedy Ortiz, Eleanor Friedberger, Priests) on October 18.
#7 Orange Gold Red
Having only been together less than a year, Orange Gold Red are quickly gaining speed with their atmospheric sounds, hopeful lyrics, and haunting string arrangements. Andrew Gregory (of other Brooklynite band Tubetops) and Kate Copeland blend their vocals, building their delicate sounds to form what sounds like a David Lynch movie soundtrack. It will be exciting to see what is to come of this young and up coming band. They are making their debut performance Thursday October 17th at Buswhick Daily / The Sky Report / Supercrush Studios CMJ showcase at Bizarre Bar.
#8 Walking Shapes
Walking Shapes combine so many elements into their music, they could be their own genre. Lead singer Nathaniel Hoho’s voice is gracious and inviting, their rhythm section is infectious, and guitarist Jesse is known to rock the violin and guitar at the same time. Their live show is breathtaking as you see it all come together. Their dance card is pretty full this CMJ as they just released their debut album Mixtape Volume 1, which has 13 tracks ranging from sweeping harmonies slowly building to a great emotional release like “Keep” Don’t miss their No Shame Record Label showcase at Cameo Gallery Friday October 18th.