CMJ Music Marathon 2010: Pre-Festival Coverage

cmj music marathon picks for tuesday, october 19th

das racist

This hip-hop duo took the internet by force and drilled their single, “Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell,” into thousands (perhaps millions) of heads repeatedly, and deservedly so. Not for a long time has hip-hop sounded this fresh, interesting, intellectual, and relevant. Check out their free mixtape on their website before seeing them live at CMJ. You’ll have many chances to see them live, too; they are playing at least 5 shows. -JN
12:30PM @ Pianos


Another sister group, these young women hail from Seattle and have been playing music since they were wee little girls, recording their first album when they were 10 and 12 and opening for the likes of Cat Power, Pearl Jam, and Sufjan Stevens. Their latest has a more mature and less poppy sound, with lush vocals and sweeping melodies, as well as younger sister Maia on bass. -DK
8:00PM @ Mercury Lounge

francis and the lights

Francis Farewell Starlite and his band Francis And The Lights have been steadily working the New York scene. It’s finally paying off with the release of their debut album, It’ll Be Better, and their opening stints for Canadian hip-hop act Drake and MGMT. You’ll love grooving to their funky, ’80s throwback sound. -DK
8:00PM @ The Studio at Webster Hall

the photo atlas

Despite having a personal connection to the band (they slept on the floor of my tiny apt one CMJ years ago), I thoroughly enjoy their brand of synth-dance rock. They were signed to the fated Stolen Transmission label, and put out one release in 2007. I am hoping that their CMJ appearance will revive them into another album! -JN
12:00AM @ Trash Bar

cmj music marathon picks for wednesday, october 20th

The Drums

The Drums have been on a steady incline this year, and their June debut album has been on a steady rotation on many an iPod. Their indie-surf pop is joyful, groovy, and bubbly, and it will get stuck in your head. They’re only playing one show at Webster Hall, with Surfer Blood. -DK
8:00PM @ Webster Hall

wild nothing

Virginia’s Jack Tatum lets loose in a fuzzy, dreamy, classic ’80s kind of way. Paying homage to bands like The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, and My Bloody Valentine, Wild Nothing’s dream pop will have you shoegazing the night away. -DK
12:00AM @ Santos Party House

how to dress well

An interesting combination of R&B influences and the current chill-wave movement, How To Dress Well is the solo project of Tom Krell. His debut full-length as HTDW, entitled Love Remains, came out this month to rave reviews. -JN
1:45AM @ The Delancey

terrible things

“The trio is comprised of very accomplished individual songwriters, and Terrible Things is varied and interesting enough to appeal to the fans of their previous bands (Taking Back Sunday, The Color Fred, Hot Rod Circuit), particularly for Jackson and Mascherino, whose bands could have easily performed the songs that appear on this stellar debut.” -RP
7:00PM @ Gramercy Theatre

dirty projectors

It seems a bit daunting that Dirty Projectors are playing Madison Square Garden, but all I know is, they’re easily one of the best bands I’ve seen all year. -VH
8:00PM @ Madison Square Garden

cmj music marathon picks for thursday, october 21st

ava luna

Brooklynites with a unique sound, Ava Luna combines a unholy alchemy of doo-wop, synth, and dance. Their groove will put your heart aflutter, make your brain pulse, and have you shake your booty. -DK
6:30PM @ Public Assembly

the luyas

A Montreal band with ties to Miracle Fortress, Bell Orchestre, and The Arcade Fire, The Luyas use unconventional instruments like a French horn and a 12-string electric zither. They haven’t played that many US shows yet, so hear ‘em while their still somewhat under the radar. -DK
7:00PM @ Arlene’s Grocery

dark dark dark

Dark Dark Dark, a six-person band who is aptly described as being a “chamber-folk” group, features intense vocals with lush, beautiful instrumentation (instruments featured include trumpet, accordion, and piano). Their debut full-length album, Wild Go, just came out on October 5. -DK
8:00PM @ Coco 66

emil & friends

Modern electronic funk, rolling deep into the soul with smooth grooves and falsettos, bolstered by 8-bit noises. This is just feel-good dance music. -VH
8:00PM @ Public Assembly

the binary marketing show

“An experimental lo-fi project which falls somewhere between a backwoods campfire jam session and an electronic crapshoot in a dingy basement, the binary marketing show… will really, really appeal to a select demographic. Perhaps that demographic is you.” -VH
8:00PM @ Lit Lounge

young man

Painfully honest and nostalgic songwriting that recalls childhood and days long gone, the music of Colin Caulfield is wrapped up tight in reverbed vocals and lies comfortably on a bed of dreamy psychedelic pop elements. -VH
8:00PM @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg

john vanderslice

His latest, Romanian Names, is just the most recent in a series of beautiful, hard edge folky rock records put out by John Vanderslice. Using classic rock influences to craft thoughtful, intimate songs for the past ten years, Vanderslice has emerged as a quiet leader in the indie rock community. -JN
8:00PM @ Mercury Lounge

french horn rebellion

Williamsburg represent! Two brothers formed this neo-disco band in 2007 when younger brother Robert Perlick-Molinari, an accomplished French horn player, sought out older brother David’s advice and participation in his “rebellion” to the limitations of that instrument. Thus their dance-happy electropop sound was born. -DK
9:15PM @ The Studio At Webster Hall

screaming females

Rarely does one band have such an excellent package: kick-ass guitar riffs, a spitfire of a female lead singer, and a live exuberance that makes every show exciting. If you haven’t ever seen NJ’s Screaming Females live, don’t miss them. -JN
9:30PM @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg

the mynabirds

Laura Burhenn, formerly one half of Georgie James, has finally found her sound in her latest project, The Mynabirds. Her bold, soulful renditions tug at the heartstrings but still keep your toes tapping. -DK
11:00PM @ The Delancey

lower dens

The latest hottest thing to come out of Baltimore, Lower Dens has the added cache of having Jana Hunter as a frontwoman, and she’s brought her musty, dusky, lusty voice with her. They have no less than 10 shows during CMJ (and possibly more), so you have no excuse for missing them! -DK
11:45PM @ Knitting Factory

cmj music marathon picks for friday, october 22nd

francis and the lights

Francis Farewell Starlite and his band Francis And The Lights have been steadily working the New York scene. It’s finally paying off with the release of their debut album, It’ll Be Better, and their opening stints for Canadian hip-hop act Drake and MGMT. You’ll love grooving to their funky, ’80s throwback sound. -DK
11:00PM @ Mercury Lounge

first aid kit

Gotta love the Swedes! Sister duo Johanna and Klara Söderberg use folksy harmonies to create beautiful music as First Aid Kit. Check out their video for their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.” -DK
11:00PM @ Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2

morning teleportation

With their new album nearing on the horizon, Portland’s psych-pop attic-dwellers Morning Teleportation are on the up and up for a damn good reason. -VH
11:00PM @ Public Assembly

+/- {plus/minus}

Fronted by James Baluyut of the band Versus, this indie-rock staple has been making music for almost a decade. Known for their driving guitar lines and wistful harmonies, the band hasn’t put an album out in over 2 years. Here’s hoping their CMJ performance is a preview for some new music. -JN
12:10AM @ Rock Shop

matthew dear

Don’t miss Matthew Dear, who has made quite a name for himself as an inventive producer of electronic music — a rare notable breed in the United States. -VH
3:30AM @ Webster Hall

cmj music marathon picks for saturday, october 23rd


Brooklyn band Diehard has been playing live locally for the past year, and finally has put out their first official EP this fall. The indie powerpop quartet plays fun, upbeat, and not over-saturated songs that are good for dancing, or even comfortable swaying. -JN
1:30PM @ Spike Hill

corin tucker band

Guitarist/vocalist from the much adored Sleater-Kinney is back with a “solo” album of sorts. Joined by Unwound’s Sara Lund and The Golden Bears’ Seth Lorinczi, Tucker crafts a masterpiece reflecting on her personal hiatus from music, family life, and her love of Twilight: New Moon. -JN
9:00PM @ Maxwell’s


The single “Go Outside” by Cults has been playing nonstop on blogs for the past few months, and it makes sense because they are such a summery, upbeat band. The duo is young (21-years-old), and they sound it, but their youthful nature is what makes them so charming. Their 7″ is available through Forest Family Records, and word on the street is that their full-length will drop in January 2011. -JN
10:00PM @ Santos Party House

turbo fruits

No pretentions here; Turbo Fruits are pure punk fun. Originally a member of the now defunct Be Your Own Pet, band leader Jonas Stein decided to trek out on his own, to (pardon the pun) fruitful results. Turbo Fruits are full of energy, and have a modern, rowdy take on the punk genre that will thrill any music fun-seekers. -JN
11:20PM @ Knitting Factory

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