CMJ Music Marathon 2015: 11 Bands To Check Out Live This Week
by Carolyn Menyes, Ryan Middleton, Jon Niles Oct 13, 2015 12:00 PM EDT
CMJ Music Marathon 2015 kicks off today (Oct. 30) and with roughly 1000 bands on the roster, sorting through all of the music to find that one best new band can be a harrowing task. Luckily, we did the work for you and found 11 of the best new bands for you to check out this week.
While we're certainly excited for the 2016 reunion of Philadelphia indie rockers Little Big League, frontwoman Michelle Zauner's solo project, Japanese Breakfast, is still going strong and is definitely a must-see act at CMJ 2015. Mixing lo-fi songwriting with power-pop synthesizers from the '80s, Zauner creates some of the most powerfully emotional songs of her long career of making music. If you're looking to get emotional and be blown away by a unique performance from one of the best vocalists in the indie music scene, check out this band at this year's CMJ.
Japanese Breakfast performs Wednesday Oct. 14, 6 p.m. at Elvis Guesthouse.
Recommended If You Like: Now Now, Frankie Cosmos, Mitski -Jon Niles
Diving into the CMJ artists list and trying to figure out who you want to see is like trying to find your buddy dressed up as Santa during Santacon from a helicopter. There are slight differences between lots of the participants, but the vast majority are almost the same. Mansions On The Moon have the airy, dreamy indie sound that fits right in at CMJ, but there is a polished nature to the group that sets them apart from a lot of the newer bands that are still trying to get their footing in the fickle music industry. They released their debut self-titled LP last year, which gives them plenty of material to work with.
Check them out at Webster Hall Tuesday, Oct. 13, and then at Pianos on Oct. 15.
RIYL: M83, Joywave, Golden Coast, Safia -Ryan Middleton
The bratty attitude of being that special age of 11 to 14 is reflected in Cincinnati, Ohio, rock trio Tweens. Led by 21-year-old singer Bridget Battle, Tweens bring in the best of all female-led punk outlets complete with sludgy guitar and Battle's raspy yelp that is simultaneously sassy and vulnerable. Though deeply rooted in the roots of punk and riot grrrl, Tweens also feature a sort of hook-and-bait energy and a poppy sensibility that makes their songs super danceable.
Tweens will play Cake Shop on Friday, Oct. 16, at 8:15 p.m.
RIYL: The Runaways, 7 Year Bitch, Tacocat -Carolyn Menyes
This Philadelphia, shoegaze and grunge-inspired indie quartet gives off the most attitude-fueled modern rock performances that we highly recommend you make it out to their CMJ showcase this week. It's rare for an act to take on a grunge sound, but Creepoid certainly nails it. Creepoid released the enthralling new album Cemetery Highrise Slum in 2015, and have been touring pretty much all year. You can listen to this album on Spotify, too.
Attend their 7 p.m. performance at Baby's All Right in Brooklyn on Wednesday Oct. 14.
RIYL: Nirvana, Pity Sex, Speedy Ortiz -JN
Perhaps it's a little too easy to compare Pretty Vicious to Arctic Monkeys. Both bands got their starts in high school (and Pretty Vicious still range in age from 16 to 18), both bands bring together the sort of rage of youth with heavy guitars and, well, they're both British acts. But, for Pretty Vicious, the comparison should not be taken lightly, because like Arctic Monkeys, they could be the next big thing in alternative rock. Though they have just three official singles under their belt on Spotify, they pack the sort of high energy that you know just translates perfectly to a live show.
Pretty Vicious will play Rough Trade on Thursday, Oct. 15.
RIYL: Arctic Monkeys, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club -CM
Two-piece synth-pop duo Mike Del Rio and Crista Ru, known as Powers. The group released their new track "Hot" as part of an upcoming EP, slated for release later this fall. The duo has already become expert at writing catchy hooks and danceable beats in a very short time. Don't be too surprised if The Knocks came out for a little impromptu performance of their track "Classic" at one of their gigs. This may be your chance to see them before they outgrow CMJ.
Catch Powers at any one of their three dates during CMJ. They will be performing at the Good Room on Oct. 14, the Knitting Factory on Oct. 16 and then the Brooklyn Bowl on Oct. 17
RIYL: Smallpools, Passion Pit, Empire of The Sun -RM
This band is comprised of members of Glocca Morra and Kite Party, two stables in the post-hardcore/indie rock music scene of Philadelphia. Fortunately, the sound of The Spirit of the Beehive is unlike anything the tri-state area has witnessed in recent years. After seeing this band only one time, you will feel like shouting "I believe in The Spirit of the Beehive!" - they're just that good. There's simply some sort of hypnosis involved in this band's music, which can only be described as redefining the "wall of sound."
The Spirit of the Beehive brings one of the most exciting live performances to Palisades on Friday, Oct. 14, at 10:45 PM.
RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, METZ -JN
Walking Shapes don't have to travel especially far to make it to CMJ, the band already lives in New York city. And that's the sort of energy that they bring to xxx. Walking Shapes have spent a solid portion of the fall thus far touring with Albert Hammond Jr., which is no surprise since they worked on their latest album Taka Come On with the same producer as his Momentary Masters. The record does recall the First Impressions of Earth era of The Strokes, with synths and heavy guitars, but Nathaniel HoHo's vocals add a clarity that was missing from that record.
Walking Shapes will play Niagara on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 10:50 p.m. On Thursday, Oct. 15, the band will be playing Elvis Guesthouse at 4 p.m. and Grand Victory at 10:30 p.m.
RIYL: The Strokes, Albert Hammond Jr., Rubblebucket -CM
CMJ is focused on bands of all shapes and sizes. You have your punk bands, indie bands, synth pop groups and one-man or woman folk singer, songwriter guitarists. Sprinkled in there are the occasional DJ / electronic live acts that will provide something a little different from the 1000 bands on the various showcase bills. One bringing the funk is French Horn Rebellion, who "make hot dance beats" and will play for you. The DJ duo pair has a new EP, Foolin Around coming on Nov. 6, which could be a chance for you to hear it first.
Go see French Horn Rebellion on at Webster Hall on Oct. 13 and then at Pianos on Oct. 15.
RIYL: Penguin Prison, Ghost Beach, RAC -RM
This collaborative project featuring Leanne Macomber (Neon Indian) and Joel Ford (Ford & Lopatin) was featured on two of our Mixtape Mondays late last year, which had us very excited for the debut album The Planet, which you can listen to on Spotify right now. Macomber's sexy vocals teamed with some of the more inventive elctronic music from Ford, Young Ejecta is definitely one of must-see acts at CMJ 2015.
Performing at Rockwood's stage 2 on Thursday, Oct. 15, at 3:15 p.m.
RIYL: Purity Ring, Bat For Lashes, Portishead -JN
There is one thing in common with all of these acts - hype. Some are buzzier than others, but they all are able to draw remarkable amount of attention to themselves online and this has started to translate into the live space. Aquilo is a new duo out of the UK, that may not have a lengthy disgopgrahy to their name yet, but what has been released is quality. They blend together dreamy indie rock, with more subdued synth-pop, veering one way or another on different tracks.
They have a whole host of unreleased tunes to play, so catch them at Good Room on Oct. 14 and then the Brooklyn Bowl on Oct. 16.
RIYL: HONNE, Glass Animals -RM