Every year, CMJ Music Marathon lives up to its nerve-wracking name by offering showgoers an array of shows at a huge number of venues across New York City. But unlike some events that follow a similar model, CMJ is still a great place to begin scouting out up-and-coming bands before they make it big. With enough room to stretch their wings and enough competition to want to work hard, bands playing CMJ are forced to put on put on some of their best shows in some of the tiniest spaces. In our complete CMJ guide, we highlight an array of shows, mostly in the pop and electronic realms, and provide easy listening stations for the best ones so you can decide within seconds if a show is right for you. SEE ALL 27 FESTIVAL PICKS

 

Psychic Twin

Tuesday, October 16th @ Piano’s I was lucky enough to catch this duo last year at CMJ by happy accident. The duo was charmingly lo-fi but they had enough spark to electrify the jaded Brooklyn crowd with their sweet Mates of State-influenced tunes. - JUDY NELSON

 

Physical Therapy

Wednesday, October 17 @ Public Assembly Physical Therapy, aka producer/DJ Daniel Fisher, released EP Safety Net to positive reviews in June. Distilling old rave beats with jazz and ambient percussion, and sometimes adding floating samples or vocals, the sound he creates addictive and impressive. - DEVORAH KLEIN LEV-TOV

 

Poolside

Saturday, October 20th @ Gramercy Theatre The band basically spells out relaxation with their name choice. Their music videos and album art reiterate that fact; the video for their song “Slow Down” is perfectly California cool. - JUDY NELSON

 

"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles. Brooklyn sister duo Prince Rama return with one of their boldest and most well-formulated conceptual spins on their own music yet with their latest record, Top Ten Hits Of The End Of The World. This post samples some tracks and goes into details about the bands and backstories they've invented, their Kickstarter-funded DIY film, their "So Destroyed" dance contest, and a shared recording with Sun Araw. SEE: FULL POST + ALL TOP POP COLUMNS + ALL MUSIC COLUMNS

 

Top Ten Hits For The End Of The World Tracks & Backstories

Prince Rama have long been about chasing the conceptual with their multimedia-encompassing theatrics, but their latest idea, Top Ten Hits For The End Of The World, takes our collective 2012 fascination with the apocalypse and turns it into a most playful collection of pop hits. In my opinion, this record, which is comprised of ten tracks from ten fictional bands -- all of which have extensive back stories crafted by the girls themselves -- is the duo's strongest to date. With Ariel Pink lo-fi vibes but with collation of genres both fictional and invented ("cosmic disco", "motorcycle rock", and "ghost-modern glam", to name a few), the model of Top Ten Hits... frees the girls from the binds of expectation and allows the to run free on all fronts. Rage Peace - "So Destroyed" (as channeled by Prince Rama) For the album's first single, Prince Rama took on the nihilistic protest band Rage Peace's violent-turned-pop songs. According to the press release, "Rage Peace formed as a small protest band in the early 90s and before they knew it they were the Bob Dylans of a whole generation of angry youth. They became founding members of the Rage Peace movement, based on the principle of nihilism as the only true order, and wrote songs with violent messages placed in seemingly saccharine pop structures. The band was notorious for staging organized acts of violence and destruction, burning cars and sometimes buildings in the name of chaos. When the end came, their bodies were found locked inside a limousine they had set on fire. The license plate read 'HEY U'."

 

A 23-track mixtape to celebrate two unofficial SXSW showcases taking place the same evening in 2012, designed to facilitate inner and outer harmony through dance rhythms and psyche-altering compositions....

Part I: Now Age Manifesto And Q&A

TEXT BY THAD MCKRAKEN; Q&A BY VIVIAN HUA; MANIFESTO AND ANSWERS BY TARAKA LARSON The fundamental nature of time itself wasn't something I'd contemplated at great length until roughly a year ago. I think what turned it around for me was when I accidentally summoned what classic occultists would refer to as my Holy Guardian Angel. Out of nowhere in the summer of 2010, I started performing sigil projection exercises which seemed to be coming from somewhere else. I felt strangely and unconsciously compelled to envision myself in third person, as an external character wearing a sleek black suit. I was confronting my demonic persona -- the part of me that longed for frivolous shit like wealth and power -- or something to that effect. Who am I kidding, I had no fucking idea why I was doing this, but the further in I got, the more the scenarios played themselves out in my head; they had me shaking hands with the world's elite and proceeding to haunt their unconscious. To make a long story short, this version of myself that I'd been unwittingly focusing on actually showed up in my room one night. I will confess that I wasn't fully awake. I was in a hynagogic sleep state that a lot of mainstream psychologists would refer to as sleep paralysis. I taught myself how to do this by experimenting with astral projection years earlier; it fucked with my head forever. But it's what "I" told myself that's relevant here:
"We are the beings from the Sirius star system that were communicating with Robert Anton Wilson. We are the grey aliens. We are death. WE EXIST OUTSIDE OF TIME. That's why it's difficult for us to communicate with you."
They then projected a telepathic communiqué into the depths of my spirit. My reality became this video-like demonstration which oscillated between perspectives, drawing connections to something I'd also randomly started contemplating months prior – the Gnostic concept of the Holy Trinity:
  • The Father (or Holy Guardian Angel) – the me who is eternal and exists outside of time;
  • The Son – the me who exists inside what we refer to as human reality;
  • The Holy Spirit – the conjunctive tissue which binds us all into one coherent plotline; time itself, shown to me like a glowing orb which I existed inside of, though apart from my cosmic overmind persona (it/I watched from outside as if floating motionless in outer space).
Sounds completely nuts right? Well, it does until you realize you're one of about a billion people throughout history who have had this type of shit happen to them. Unfortunately, these topics are usually relegated to the easily disregarded world of "New Age" literature, ensuring that anyone who believes a half-man half-God walked the earth 2,000 years ago will laugh them off without a second thought. The term "New Age" has been so intentionally co-opted throughout the years by military and religious interests that even I hate it. Luckily, writer Daniel Pinchbeck has been trying to rebrand the neo-psychedelic evolution of these concepts as "Next Age." And here, we have the multi-talented Taraka Larson of Brooklyn's Prince Rama putting a much needed artier spin on ancient New Age ideas with The Now Age Manifesto. It's a work about the importance of intentionally transcending so called normal space-time perception and entering what Larson and English philosopher John G. Bennett refer to as Hyparxis, a hypertime dimension that has a timeless quality noticeable to human perception. In a way, these experiences and mind states kind of have to happen to you before you'll take any interest in them – but The Now Age Manifesto details concepts that will help you get there if you try. The entirety of Larson's manifesto can be viewed online at www.now-age.org.

The Now Age Manifesto: Introduction

The Now Age seeks to reconnect the current dislocation between time and space and resurrect the symbolic power of music by means of UTOPIA. NOW AGE = NO AGE Somewhere between Time and Eternity lies a dimension called Hyparxis**. Hyparxis is defined as an 'ableness-to-be'. It does not indicate a change in time, or a manifestation of eternity. Instead it refers to transformations in 'inner time'. Hyparxis combines what is actual with what is potential, thus creating a 'present moment' based on the internalized experience of external temporal events, past, present, or future. Thus, the Now Age refers to no age at all, but instead describes an elemental quality of being. UTOPIA = NO PLACE The word UTOPIA by definition signifies "NO PLACE". It is neither here nor there, of this world or transcendental to it. Its existence as a non-existence can be seen as a singularity, but within this "no place" exists an infinity of space. Thus an invisible "space between worlds" is created that acts as a medium between the real and the ideal environments. This aspiration for a space within a pre-existing place is vital for distinguishing the utopian impulse from the transcendental impulse; whereas transcendentalism seeks escape from the "real" world in exchange for an ideal one, utopia instead seeks a deeper connection with this world in the form of tapping into its inner potential, a REALIZATION of the REAL. It is here that the musical environment lives. Sound in and of itself is a tangible example of "no place". It is pure vibration, a shifting of air particles, and is thus (by sheer virtue of its nature) wholly meta-physical. **John G. Bennett, The Dramatic Universe

 

A staff-compiled list of some of our favorite songs from the year 2011, in no particular order or with allegiance to any particular style....

"Summer Of Love" is one of the most compelling tracks on Prince Rama's latest album, Trust Now, and this new music video feels revelatory, an Indian and Hare Krishna-inspired celebration of glitz and glamour. Crafted completely by Prince Rama and with the help of close friends, this video begins slowly...

The relationship between ritualistic drumming and consciousness alteration is an age old tradition stemming largely from the overlooked shamanic cultures of antiquity. It should go without saying that viewing the supposed "triumph" of Western materialism thought over the more "primitive" concepts of animism is a retardedly short-sighted way of oversimplifying...

The bookers of three of this year’s House of Commons — STAY POSI NO FUTURE, GARAGE_PSYCH_DANCE, and SUX BY SUXWEST — have curated this mixtape. Though all three events are fairly different, they overlap in noise and experimental sounds....

For the first year ever, REDEFINE magazine -- a Pacific Northwest-based independent music, art, and film blog -- has decided to undertake the daunting task of throwing a show at SXSW.After partnering with influential Dallas-based mixtape blog, Clumsy & Shy, and enlisting the help of Portland, OR booker, The Petite Zarathustran, the collaborative trio...