The CMJ festival is nearly upon us once again. Offering hundreds of bands and a variety of industry panels, it’s one of the city’s biggest annual musical moments.

Looking over the options can be overwhelming. There’s simply too much music happening between October 15th and 19th. However, I choose to see this as a good thing. I’ve pored over the schedule and come up with some recommendations to save you all a little time. My focus is naturally on North Brooklyn, though I’ll acknowledge there will be plenty happening at many venues in the Lower East Side should you feel the need to venture out for some reason. Also, I’m basing this on officially listed showcases, but just know there are going to be plenty of unofficial shows, day parties, after parties, random street performances, etc.

Ok, fine, here’s one day party tip for those of you that don’t have a 9-to-5. The cool music scene guide website My Social List is throwing a show at Muchmore’s on Thursday the 17th featuring Ratking, Ava Luna, Calvin Love, free Sixpoint Beer and more. Just RSVP here. It’s free! They are running it back with a new lineup including Weekend, Odonis Odonis, and more on Saturday as well. Details here. Both go from 12:00 to 6:00 PM.

Now let’s get to the official evening shows, starting with the one Greenpointers is co-sponsoring with SuperCrush Studio and CaraBella Presents. It’s at Matchless on Friday October 18th at 8pm. You will get to see six awesome bands: Shark Week, Shy Hunters, Invisible Days, Andre Obin, Rarechild, and RA RA Rasputin. We’ll have more on the site about it early next week, but mark your calendars now.

The beauty of CMJ is that it’s pretty much impossible to have knowledge of every single band involved and so any night will likely bring surprises. I like showcases that feature just one or two bands I know so I get the chance to discover something new.


Here are three bands I’m excited to see who should be great live and also help me find some other good acts. One my favorite new bands this year has been Little Daylight, a three-piece Brooklyn band that specializes in dynamic and captivating synth pop. Their debut EP Tunnel Vision is great. I haven’t seen them live, but between Tuesday 10/15 at the Knitting Factory, Wednesday 10/16 at Brooklyn Bowl, and Saturday 10/19 at Cameo Gallery, I will be able to make that happen. Coke Weed is a Maine band with a great fuzzy yet melodic throwback sound and Speedy Ortiz, from Massachusetts, released their debut album Major Arcana this summer and it has been a major dig for me. I am looking forward to seeing both. Coke Weed plays at Union Pool on Thursday 10/17 at 9:00 PM. Check them out then hop over to Baby’s All Right to catch Speedy Ortiz at 12:15 AM.

In addition to Little Daylight, Cameo Gallery looks to have a particularly stacked day on Saturday 10/19 presented by Wild Honey Pie. There are great bands including Belle Mare, Hockey, French Horn Rebellion, and Caveman – and about eight more! And with Heavenly Beat, DJ sets from Korallreven and Bruce Smear, and several other electronic acts, their Thursday night 10/17 should be really good for those looking to dance. If you want an exciting eclectic bill, I’m very intrigued by Thursday 10/17 at Spike Hill. Presented by The Deli Magazine, you can check out the wild and funky Emefe, the indie rock Dead Stars, and five more diverse acts.

Besides choosing a band to guide your night, you can also choose a venue. Maybe you want to see intimate shows from smaller bands. Pete’s Candy Store, Legion, and Trash Bar are good places for that. Or if you are looking for buzzier and/or more established acts, Music Hall of Williamsburg hosts Glasser (10/15), Talib Kweli (10/16) The Head and The Heart (10/17), and Father John Misty (10/19), while Wardell (10/15 – the children of Steven Spielberg!), Yuck (10/16), and Hospitality (10/19) will be at Glasslands.

The venues in the area that will have CMJ shows besides those already mentioned include Europa, Grand Victory, Legion, Saint Vitus, and Trash Bar. Apologies to any others I missed. I was using the official CMJ site as a guide and I’m sure there are several places not on it holding some cool events. And I know I barely even scratched the surface of worthwhile bands to check out. These are but a few recommendations. There will be lots of great stuff happening, and I encourage you to just go out and see something regardless of who or where it is. You can find plenty more information at the official website – you can even make your own schedule. Be sure to check out a more extensive preview of the Greenpointers showcase in a few days. Happy CMJ!

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