While it may still feel like summer in New York, you realize it’s really autumn once CMJ preparations begin. Recently, we were excited to share Dark Paradise, our CMJ showcase debut alongside Crack In The Road and disco naïveté, and today we’re gonna keep things on the topic of CMJ with our personal picks for bands that we think are going to absolutely kill it during this year’s festivities.
Between their first extremely well-done video, supporting acts like Robert DeLong and Cardiknox, an appearance on MS MR‘s latest Track Addict mixtape, and a The Most Definitely-presented remix by Diamond Cut that’s only rising on the HypeMachine popular charts, recent Ones To Watch Badboxes keep getting closer and closer to becoming the next big thing. Between their energetic live shows, their infectious pop gems, and their unironic use of saxophone, the Pittsburgh trio are likely to get the blogosphere boost that they need while winning over hundreds of new fans for their CMJ debut.
Want more?: Badboxes will kick off The Most Definitely’s Knitting Factory show (10/15) and will also play Rockwood Music Hall (10/17)
Ball Park Music:
We introduced you to Brisbane’s Ball Park Music around a year ago and are stoked that they’ll be gracing our shores for the very first time. Over the past two years the six-piece has become one of Australia’s most-beloved bands, selling out shows across the country due to their universally-appealing twee-pop that can be likened to a cross between Belle & Sebastian and Los Campesinos!. And while their two full-lengths consist of quirky indie-pop gold, it’s their live show that sets them apart with frontman Sam Cromack’s magnetic, commanding showmanship and the rest of the band’s adorable infectious harmonies.
Want more?: we’ll be catching these youngsters at the Aussie BBQ at The Delancey (10/19), but they’re also playing Leftfield the night before (10/18)
In the past couple of months since we introduced you to BASECAMP, the mysterious Nashville trio have become one of the buzziest bands on the blogosphere, albeit never having played a live show, all of which will change this CMJ. We first fell head-over-heels in love with their stunning debut, “Emmanuel” due to their own unique take on electro-tinged R&B, sounding something like the fruits of a Sampha x Jamie xx collaboration.
Want more?: sadly, BASECAMP‘s live debut conflicts with Dark Paradise, so we’ll be checking them out at the rare NYC All Things Gold at The Westway (10/18)
I first stumbled across Melbourne artist Courtney Barnett on Triple J Unearthed about a year ago and was blown away by her genre-defying sound that could be filed somewhere between Foxygen, The Velvet Underground, and Bob Dylan. Whether it’s her poetic lyricism, her slacker-Americana vibes, her simple-yet-layered guitar work, her humor, or her harmonies, there’s just something about the Aussie singer/songwriter that is both refreshing and nostalgic, and we’re thrilled that she’ll finally be making her way to CMJ for a handful of shows throughout the week.
Want more?: Courtney Barnett will be all over the city all weekend, but we’re hoping to check her out at Pitchfork’s unofficial showcase at 285 Kent (10/18)
denitia & sene:
After falling on my radar a few months back with their self-described dream pop R&B, denitia & sene have become a sleeper pick for my favorite summer discovery due to the incredibly sexy tunes and magnetic live performances. The Brooklyn-based duo have created their own unique style combining everything from old soul and folk to pop and rock, citing Sade, The Beatles, Janet Jackson, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young as primary influences, and thus blurring the lines between genres, enabling their music to sound equipped for both urban (“The Nude”) and pop (“Stupid World”) radio.
Want more?: denitia & sene‘s sole show will be at the DELI showcase at The Delancey (10/15)
Gang Of Youths:
Where to even begin with Gang Of Youths? The Sydney-siders have recently become the up-and-comer that I’m most excited about, for they blend the blue collar punk sound of The Gaslight Anthem and epic-ness of The Killers with the harmonies of Local Natives and the intensity of The Walkmen. Thankfully the five-piece is making the big move over to the States, so we should be seeing a lot more of them soon.
Want more?: we’re still deciding whether we’ll see Gang Of Youths at The Cake Shop (10/18) or The Lit Lounge (10/19)
For a band who call themselves How Sad, the Montreal four-piece are truly a happy-sounding band that uses sun-kissed falsetto, layered harmonies, and bright-yet-understated synths to create their incomparable brand of indie dance-pop. It’s almost hard to believe that their recently released debut Indian Summer EP was their first release, as they seem to have their style pretty down pat. And then there are there’s the live show: rumor has it that the Montreal four-piece are tailor-made for their energetic live performances with a mesmerizing happy-sounding instrumentation-yet-sombre lyricism combination similar to that of Passion Pit.
Want more?: How Sad will be playing our pals’ at The Wild Honey Pie’s Cameo Gallery showcase (10/19)
Referring to a band as Beatles-sounding is sure to set anyone up for a loss, but I truly believe that New York-based Locksley can live up to the description with their three-minute/three-chord, harmony-filled, hook-laden pop songs that sound like they could’ve been straight off Help!, filed somewhere between “It’s Only Love” and “The Night Before”. While the four-piece have been around for quite a while (I was lucky enough to see them three-or-so years back), they’ve remained in the background all this time, and will hopefully finally see the spotlight during their sole CMJ show due to their barbershop quartet-influenced doo-wop harmonies, addictive choruses, and ’60s-reminiscent aesthetic.
Want more?: Locksley‘s only CMJ show will be at Rockwood Music Hall (10/18)
Oscar Key Sung:
Between his soulful vocals and accompanying lush, layered, minimal production, Oscar Key Sung can be likened to Australia’s answer to Jai Paul. Between lending vocals to Future Classic-producer Charles Murdoch‘s “Dekire” and releasing his own tunes, the producer/vocalist has recently been garnering buzz all throughout the world, landing him a spot at Sydney’s OutsideIn festival. The Melbourne native will finally be bringing his own brand of R&B-infused electronica to our shores for what is sure to be an inspiring, romantic live performance showcasing his vulnerability comparable to that of James Blake.
Want more?: Oscar Key Sung‘s only CMJ show will be at Pianos (10/19)
First off, a big thank-you to The Line Of Best Fit for the tip: ever since hearing Vadoinmessico‘s “Perfect Stranger”, I’ve been swooning over the five-piece’s Animal Collective-like experimentation, their sun-kissed hooks, and their obvious worldwide influences that, according to their Facebook page, extend beyond their various origins (France, Mexico, Austria, the UK, and Italy). The guys have been picking up a fair amount of buzz in the UK, so I’m stoked that they’ll be crossing the pond to grace our shores.
Want more?: Vadoinmessico will be playing alongside Gang Of Youths at The Cake Shop (10/18) and Rockwood Music Hall the following night (10/19)