It’s that time of year again when the CMJ Music Marathon takes over more than 80 music venues and nightclubs in New York City from October 16 – 20. The five days and nights are filled with panels, seminars, nighttime parties, meet and greets, mixers, special events, and showcases for laminate wielding entertainment industry attendees. Sure, you are there to see your favorite or the next great “buzz” act, but don’t miss your opportunity to test out the latest guitar effects pedals or to learn more about the ever-increasing co-mingling of independent food and music cultures. However, for those who are all about the music, this post is for you. Now, Pulp Lab knows that sifting through the names of over 1,300 performers converging on the Big Apple all at once can give anyone a headache. That is why our passionate “Field Agents” have put together a diverse short list of talented musicians performing at CMJ that you really should catch along with a YouTube video playlist to sample and find the right sounds that you are looking for so check them out below.
While technological advances in music these days might blur the lines between the “pretenders” and “real musicians” on recordings, the proof in the pudding can be found experiencing these artists performing live. Hundred Waters has risen from behind their cables and modern day toys to demonstrate that they’ve got the goods creating music that is rooted in the freakier side of folk, yet glistens with electronic flourishes. These obvious musical chops – as you can see/hear in their performance of Caverns for Consequence of Sound’s Off the Avenue – eventually led the Gainesville, Florida avant-folk five-piece to be signed to Skrillex’s label OWSLA – a truly odd and unlikely combination. However, Hundred Waters did find themselves winning crowds over on the Full Flex Express tour performing alongside their record label honcho, Diplo, and many other EDM notables so it might not seem so odd and unlikely these days.
Estonia-born lo-fi singer-songwriter and now New York City resident, Maria Minerva, a.k.a. Maria Juur, entrances listeners with her seductive vocals and dance-alone-feverishly-in-your-bedroom beats. While her distant and disinterested Lana Del Rey/Kristen Stewart-esque looks and stares may attract plenty of the guys and some of the ladies, it’s textured tracks like Another Time and Place from her EP Sacred and Profane Love that keep them coming back for another listen.
NYC’s Ava Luna might be led by the soulful voice of Carlos Hernandez, but you simply cannot ignore the gorgeous harmonies provided by Felicia Douglass and Becca Kauffman. Mix all three in with their sparse, complex beats, and songs like Clips can fill dance floors.
Philly emcee/producer Lushlife, a.k.a. Raj Haldar, has some serious skills. You merely have to listen to a few bars of his Nas-like flow and soak in his intricate production work to know that there is truth to that statement. Or just check out his performance of Still I Hear the Word Progress for The Deli Magazine’s in-studio video series Choice/Cuts and any doubts will be easily eradicated.
Ioanna Gika and Leopold Ross are best known as shadowy pop sensation Io Echo. The duo blends a wicked concoction of industrial music and goth rock influences with Gika’s lush vocals. Their captivating soundscapes that swim in a sea of distortion have already washed them ashore to support such notable acts like Florence & The Machine and Nine Inch Nails as well as the opportunity to compose the soundtrack to James Franco and Harmony Korin’s collaboration Rebel. When the Lilies Die is a single from their debut full-length album Ministry Of Love, which is out today via IAMSOUND Records.
Stylish Swedish electro-pop duo Icona Pop released the song I Love It earlier this year, which surely empowered plenty of ladies (and gents) to wild out on the club floor this summer while wailing along to their new bad girl anthem. Expect to see more of the same at the crews many CMJ showcases.
Mean Lady’s music emerged from a highly unlikely place – Delaware. However, their feel-good, world music-tinged tunes (which really feel like they might have been birthed from the summer parking lot of a Phish show) have found a recent new home at Fat Possum. Far Away is the B-side to their new 7” that will be released in November.
A lot has been written about Foxygen being a bi-coastal, LA-NYC band, even though masterminds Jonathan Rado and Sam French have always been in the same room recording together. Well, all that doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you can feel a lifetime spent immersed in the best of 70s rock in their music like in the single Make It Known off their debut release Take The Kids Off Broadway (Jagjaguwar).
DIIV (formerly Dive) is the project of Beach Fossils’ touring guitarist Zachary Cole Smith. What started out as another solo dream-pop act has really evolved into an edgy rock unit with the addition of a testosterone-driven rhythm section, distancing them from the herd of airy vocals and synths saturating the indie music scene. Standout Doused from their debut LP Oshin is a good reason why the label “dream-pop” doesn’t feel very accurate when used as a description for the band.
Closing out the playlist simply because they rock so hard that it’s hard to imagine another act trying to follow them is Metz. The Toronto punk-noise three-piece, who has also earned the reputation of putting on a fantastic live performance, is a gem of find by Sub Pop , bringing the label back to its earlier, edgier roots. Wet Blanket appears on the band’s self-titled debut album that just dropped last week.
This list should help get you started on your music adventure this week at CMJ in NYC. Hopefully you’ll discover your next favorite artist or have plenty of fun trying.
CMJ Music Marathon
New York City – Manhattan/Brooklyn