As music fans and college radio DJs descend upon NYC this week, those of us who are already here are taking stock on the music scene as it stands. Last year, the CMJ Music Marathon saw a heavy representation from indie bands that were making their festival debut, such as Speedy Ortiz and Hunters, who then took off in the media instantly after. This year shows great promise, with buzz bands like Twin Peaks, PAWS, Gem Club, Blue Hawaii, and Adult Jazz playing, as well as stalwarts like Obits, A Place to Bury Strangers, and Cold War Kids returning the to fray -- along with the anticipated reunion of shoegaze legends Slowdive (and Low opening!). And, of course, it wouldn't be CMJ without a slew of brand new band hoping to get their big break. CMJ Music Marathon 2014 As always, the lineup for CMJ 2014 is diverse -- but something we appreciated seeing was that there seems to be an increase of girl bands and female solo artists. It is notable to mention that this year's CMJ has also extended its reach to large group of new venues, concentrated mostly in Brooklyn. Here are our top picks, though many more are listed on CMJ.com!
"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of indie pop highlights across a selection of styles, updated every month to keep you on your dancing, shaking toes.
+++ FULL POST + ALL TOP POPS! COLUMNS + ALL MUSIC COLUMNS La Femme - French Band

La Femme - "Amour Dans Le Motu"

French band La Femme seem to be caricatures and stereotypes of their native land in the best of ways. One could certainly assert many things about the six-piece, which is ridiculously comprised of five handsome males and one handsome gal, but one could never, ever deny their sexuality and mad fashion sense. This year, they return with the unbelievable 10,000-track (just about) Psycho Tropical Berlin, proving that they are now way more than the surf/dance punk band they used to be. They're also one of the most energetic and playful bands you'll ever see live, so catch them on tour NOW NOW NOW -- and to prepare, get lost in the colorful haze of the incredible music video for "Amour Dans Le Motu", which seriously embodies the album title in its eight minutes of cinema. Apr 1 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle # Apr 2 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown # Apr 3 - Denver, CO - The Summit Music Hall # Apr 5 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge Apr 7 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge Apr 8 - Vancouver, BC - The Media Club Apr 9 - Seattle, WA - The Vera Project Apr 11 - San Francisco, CA -DNA Lounge Apr 19 - Los Angeles, CA - Roxy Theatre May 2 - Austin, TX - Austin Psych Fest, Carson Creek Ranch !

Year four of REDEFINE's Unofficial SXSW 2014 parties finds us in Austin with some changes: one stage was whittled down to two, with unbelievably excellent results, and we brought in a new collaborator at XRAY.FM! The things that remained constant were the ~1,500 free beers from Dos Equis, good vibes,...

Tei Shi - Saudade EP Album ReviewTei Shi Saudade EP Self-Released (2013)Ever wanted a female artist with awesomely soulful vocals to make cool, interesting, and meaningful music? Now you have one. On her latest EP, Saudade, Valerie Teicher, aka Tei Shi, makes an impressive debut, exposing herself musically as well as emotionally, with powerful and lasting effect. The majority of Saudade is a cappella, with only minimal instrumentation and well-chosen electronic effects that highlight Tei Shi's stunning, cavernous voice. Low and versatile, her vocals, such as those on the EP's standout track, “Adder(f)all," vibrate in your ears with an immediacy second only to if she were physically present and singing directly into your ear. Punctuated with occasional dance beats, sparse percussion, plucked electric guitar, maracas, or bass synth melodies, her voice slowly encompasses you, wrapping itself around you like a fog and settling hooks into your heart with each subsequent layer of breathy harmony, before tugging on them repeatedly in cyclical patterns. Given the emotionality of her voice -- its notes of longing, anger, and passion—every loop, harmony, suspension, and resolution is amazingly spot-on, carrying with it the gravity and precision of choral music and evoking its same sense of controlled chaos.
"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of indie pop highlights across a selection of styles, updated every month to keep you on your dancing toes. This month, the delightfully mysterious Connan Mockasin presents new tracks alongside soulful female musicians Tei Shi and My Midnight Heart, while Belgian Fog, Widowspeak, and Jungle. offer up more.
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Connan Mockasin

If you know what's good for the inner reaches of your unknown mind, get privy to to the music of indie pop's mysterious Connan Mockasin. His upcoming LP, Caramel, is an 11-track record of his spin on lo-fi, almost Ariel Pink-esque bedroom pop -- but Mockasin's spin is always a bit of a strange one. In his singularly cryptic way, he has described the new album's premise, saying, "It starts with the dolphin leaving, and the boss who is so in with love with the dolphin is sad, and then it kicks into the new album, and he is happier. But there’s a car race and a crash." Those of you who have heard his last record, Forever Dolphin Love, will understand the reference. Those of you who haven't... GET ON IT; he made it because his mother told him to. True fact. My interview with him will be published shortly -- but in the meantime, enjoy these two tracks or stream the entire record, out November 5th on Mexican Summer! Photography by Jen Carey