New York is an amazing place to see music, no matter the time of year but in October, CMJtakes over and makes it truly overwhelming. The weeklong music festival begins tomorrow -10/16 thru 10/20, so it’s time to get your schedule organized.
To make it easier on you, we’ve assembled a list of our top picks for the week as well as a playlist to get you in the mood. Since the schedule for the week is quite unruly, be sure to check out your favorite band’s websites by clicking on their name below, or visit the official CMJ schedule here. Also, be sure to check out two of Greenpointers exclusive CMJ parties.
Now queue up your Spotify to enjoy our playlist below and freshen up on your band info before the shows!
Alex Winston: She is a classically trained opera singer who has surprisingly quirky voice when she does indie, but it works. Also writes songs with questionable content about Elvis.
Beacon: A Greenpoint duo consisting of Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett. They make dark, moody songs that are exactly the kind of music I want to listen to when I need to decompress after a really shitty day at work.
Bertrand Burgalat: This is fun. Remember when one of your friends first played you Serge Gainsbourg? You can kind of relive it here. I imagine he would be incredibly fun to see live and apparently he has not played NYC in 10 years.
Blue Hawaii: This band features a member who composes one half of the band, Braids. A bit dark, a bit light and airy, Blue Hawaii makes really beautiful music that sounds warm and makes you feel like you are crawling into a fleece-lined hammock on a beach at night.
Com Truise: Besides having one of the best, and most currently relevant pop culture names on the list, Com Truise (Seth Haley) also produces really good electronic music that is down-tempo and 80’s retro in just the right way.
Communist Daughter: This band sounds like they very well could have been on the soundtrack for Garden State if they had been around when the movie came out. Yes, the name is a nod to Neutral Milk Hotel.
Country Mice: These boys bring country-rock to Brooklyn and make just the type of music that is really fun to see live while having beers with your friends.
Daniel Dexter: Good house music from a Berlin-based DJ that makes you actually stop and remember that you are listening to house music.
Daughn Gibson: A really unique sound from a guy who used to play in punk and metal bands and be a cross-country truck driver. Listening to him, you would think more of a sitting-at-home-Twin-Peaks-marathons kind of guy, but take a listen and make up your own conclusion.
Deap Vally: Speaking of staying at home, these girls were probably listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin in high school. They embody a lot of the Jack White/White Stripes sound, but they are very, very hot girls. Which makes it all the more interesting.
Debo Band: This is some NPR music right here. World music is another way to say it (more specifically, from Ethiopia). Ethiopian Funk?
Dent May: Signed to Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label, when you have a name like Dent May, you don’t need to come up with a band name. This is feel-good frolicking music.
Electric Guest: Electric Guest’s “This Head I Hold” is a song that you’ve probably Shazamed while you were out in a restaurant or a party. It’s great and very catchy. Danger Mouse produced their album because he liked their demo so much when heard it for the first time.
Flatbush Zombies: Another great name, this time for Brooklyn rappers who’s first video was about waffles (Eggos) and weed, which are always crowd-pleasers. They just did a track with A$AP Rocky, and you’ll find similar sounds here.
Foreign Fields: This is a lovely piano track, which is not a great representation of the rest of the album, but is very beautiful. The album was recorded in an empty office building in Wisconsin which is a bit like how the music sounds- introspective and slightly depressive.
Foxygen: A bit of an ode to The Kinks and other Wes Anderson-esque bands. One you can file next to Vampire Weekend, although it’s a bit more wandering and psychedelic, which is very refreshing.
Ghost Wave: These guys have pretty much cornered the market for druggy summertime tunes from New Zealand. Hurray!
GZA: Also known as The Genius and founding member and one-ninth (or so) of Wu-Tang Clan. Right now he’s reportedly working on a concept album that is about science, space and the cosmos.
Half Moon Run: Something’s in the water up there. This Montreal band makes lovely melodic harmonies that will get in your head right away.
Isaac Delusion: A French duo that makes light, fresh and upbeat music dubbed as “folktronica”.
Jim White: White is hard to nail down. His music has an indie skew, but you can’t help but be reminded of road weary legends like Townes Van Zandt in his songwriting and delivery.
Kilo Kish: Her first single, “Navy”, oozes cool. The sound is sophisticated jazzy hip-hop even though Kish looks like she is about 14. The lyrics are weird and sultry, and the video will make you want to go out and party in the Lower East Side this weekend.
Moon King: The music is flouncy and conjures up neo-hippie vibes best exemplified by bands like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
Physical Therapy: If you don’t feel like dancing to Physical Therapy (Daniel Fisher), there is probably something wrong with you. His beats are cultivated to literally make your body feel better.
Poolside: Most people know about them through their cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”, but I prefer this track (“Slow Down”) because it features one of the deepest beats I’ve heard in a long time.
Prince Rama: I could write a lot more than a few lines on Prince Rama. Just know that they are one of my favorite bands right now and put on one of the best live shows I have ever seen (Hint, it was part of their 12-minute-long “Exorcise” performance).
Scott Matthew: He is on this list because his songs are very sweet without being gross and every girl deserves to have one of these dedicated or sung to her once in her life.
Starred: Brooklyn-via-L.A. band, Starred, makes hazy, mumbling music that sounds like some of the best stuff from the 90’s that you never heard.
The Walkmen: You may have heard of them, and if you’re lucky, they may play your favorite song, “The Rat”.
Wooden Indian Burial Ground: The track featured here references the film The Holy Mountain, and if that doesn’t sound familiar to you, you haven’t been hanging out with enough art school kids.
Woodsmen: I happen to like a good noodling jammer with fuzzy psychedelic reverb, but if you don’t, I would not recommend Woodsmen.
Woz: This is the music that I imagined was coursing through the streets of East London before I ever went there.
YACHT: A few things about YACHT: The name is misleading, the lyrics of the song “Shangri-La” go, “If I can’t go to heaven, let me go to L.A.”, they are signed to DFA Records, and you will probably like them.
Yan Wagner: French DJ with a love for 80’s synth and dance grooves. Listen to him on your next flight to Las Vegas.
Young Magic: Here’s a dark, ritualistic song that is a bit unnerving and entrancing at the same time. They lighten it up a bit with other tracks on their first full-length album, Melt.