CMJ 2014 begins tomorrow, Oct. 21, in dozens of venues across New York City, and with more than 1,300 artists performing, it can be pretty tough to decide which ones are worth your time and money. Though it is tempting to see some of the bigger, tried-and-true artists who are performing, such as Slowdive, Low and Foster the People, CMJ is more about catching up-and-coming talent you may have never heard before. Here are eight relatively unknown bands you should check out at CMJ 2014.

1. Chimes

This New York/New Jersey quartet describes itself as "slackgaze" — and "slackedelia" — which blends the sounds of 1990s "slacker" bands such as Pavement with more psychedelic sounds taken from bands like Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine, so they are basically a big, swirling stew of '90s royalty.

WHERE AND WHEN: Legion, Oct. 22

2. Life Size Maps

When I first saw Life Size Maps live back in 2010, they performed as a trio but have since expanded into a four-piece with a killer electronic pop sound — or "glitch pop," as they describe it. If Caribou was more influenced by power pop than dance music, he wouldd probably sound like these guys.

WHERE AND WHEN: Bowery Electric & Left Field, Oct. 23

3. Pity Sex

This Michigan quartet released one of the best albums of 2013 — Feast of Love — which was 28 minutes of brain-massaging fuzz, twin leads and sultry male/female vocal harmonies. Though their sound is definitely influenced by '90s shoegaze, there is also something distinctly modern and more personable about their approach.

WHERE AND WHEN: Baby's All Right, Oct. 25

4. Kal Marks

For the last few years, Brooklyn record label Exploding in Sound has been releasing albums from some of the country's most exciting indie rock bands, including Boston's Kal Marks. Like their labelmates Speedy Ortiz, Kal Marks takes fuzzy guitar pop and performs it in a refreshingly ragged and dissonant style.

WHERE AND WHEN: Trash Bar, Oct. 24

5. Roz and the Rice Cakes

If you feel like taking a break from all these guitar bands, check out Roz and the Rice Cakes, an intricate math pop trio from Providence, Rhode Island, fronted by the electric piano-playing Roz Raskin. These guys play as if they are all connected to the same brain, sliding perfectly through every twist and turn their songs take with an unmatched virtuosity.

WHERE AND WHEN: Parkside Lounge, Oct. 21

6. Literature

You can't really go wrong with Slumberland Records, who have released artists such as Black Tambourine, Velocity Girl, Boyracer and, most recently, Literature. This Philly band takes Slumberland's typical jangle pop sound and runs it through a psychedelic dream pop filter that would make the Cocteau Twins proud.

WHERE AND WHEN: Pianos, Oct. 22, and The Cake Shop, Oct. 22 and 24

7. Cheerleader

The band on this list with perhaps the most potential for mainstream success is Philadelphia's Cheerleader, who have a huge indie rock sound, complete with dreamy synths, slick guitars and drums that sound brighter than the sun.

WHERE AND WHEN: Mercury Lounge, Oct. 23, and Union Pool, Oct. 24

8. Flagland

Any band that is able to stuff 20 songs into one album, some of which are under a minute long, is all right in my book. Though Flagland's default mode is crunchy, melodic punk, they have a much bigger range than your average punk band, often delving into jangle pop, krautrock and power pop.

WHERE AND WHEN: Trans Pecos, Oct. 21