Alright, we’re a day late, but we’re certainly not a dollar short.
As promised, we’re giving you our top picks for bands we want to catch this week for New York’s 2012 CMJ Music Marathon—ten bands you may have yet to hear that we think you should check out, and can easily with tons of media links below and the chance to see almost every one of these bands in NYC in the next few days, in many cases for exactly zero clams.
Also, we by no means claim to be the be all end all authority on the one million shows going on this week/end; that’s Oh My Rockness. Highly recommend a perusing of their CMJ lists for a more detailed overview of the great music going on right now in New York.
But take a look at our curated list and give a listen.
//SEA WOLF// Rootsy, driving, folk-inspired indie rock from LA. Led by former NYU film school student Alex Brown Church, the full band will be playing the Audio Perv/Us vs Them showcase at Bowery Electric Thursday night ($10 but free beer 7-8PM) + Friday night at (le) poisson rouge ($15, no free beer, but cool venue), both times with pop-folksters Hey Marseilles who SO reind me of that 90’s group Poi Dog Pondering, which I sincerely mean in the most flattering of ways. You can listen a stand-out track from the stellar Sea Wolf album, Old World Romance, above and give the rest of the LP a listen on Church’s site.
//BORN RUFFIANS// The full band of Luke Lalonde—who we wrote up last week—treks down from the cold white north to share their hyper, jangley, catchy brand of indie pop with New York. They’ll playing a set at Brooklyn Bowl Friday night with the superb Free Energy (picture a band made up entirely of that Matthew McConaughey character from Dazed and Confused…in a good way) + Penguin Prison; a free showcase Saturday afternoon (330PM) at Pianos with the very cool Ava Luna (see below); and another free one Saturday night at Williamsburg’s Spike Hill with Denmark’s Choir of Young Believers and other fine bands. Click the banner above to check out “Hummingbird” from BR’s album Red, Yellow + Blue.
//WILD CUB// Nashville-based band we featured a couple months ago when they let us use their song, “Wild Light”, in that short film we did. Solid song-writing and catchy melodies infused with a little 80’s caribbean styling. Great, energetic live shows. You can read our previous band write-up and listen to “Wild Light” at our August post and hear more over at Wild Cub’s site. Wild Cub will be playing free shows Thursday afternoon at Rockwood Music Hall (245PM) and then down at Arlene’s Grocery on the LES that same day (450PM). In the meantime, enjoy the groove-tastic “Straight No Turns” from their debut album, Youth, which you can purchase via iTunes.
//BLESSED FEATHERS// Ex-Jehovah’s Witness flees Florida at 17, teaches himself guitar, and shacks up with a mid-western songstress to make bittersweet, intimate music that smacks of Americana? Sign me up. Donivan Berube + Jacquelyn Beaupre bring their beautiful, simple music to New York this week, where it will likely be shown vile things and taught how to ‘properly’ smoke crack on the street. Damn your corrupting touch, NYC! Catch them before they feel the devil’s embrace Wednesday night at Cake Shop with Communist Daughter (below); Thursday night at Bowery Electric with Brooklyn’s own Savoir Adore; Friday afternoon at the always crowded, always great Brooklyn Vegan Party at Public Assembly with Braids, Metz, Murals, and every other single-word-plural band you want to see; then somehow nearly simultaneously at a show at Pianos; and finally Saturday back over at Pianos upstairs with Born Ruffians, Ava Luna playing the downstairs showroom. All of those shows are free, so get to it. And check out the excellent “By Song Through The Americas” above, then stream and (if you like) download some other tracks from the band’s Soundcloud page below.
//MOON KING// It wouldn’t be a music festival without a buzz-y Canadian band. This year we have Moon King, a duo comprised of Dan Woodhead on vocals + drums (like Phil Collins or that guy with the weird hat from Jellyfish) and Maddy Wilde on vocals + guitars (like…most people in bands). They’re currently peddling their noise-pop-ish sound all around New York, first at a free show at Santos Party House Wednesday night; then Thursday night at Pianos ($10); over at Cameo Gallery in Williamsburg Friday afternoon for a free show; back at Pianos again Friday night for a pretty packed showcase from The Deli ($10); then also playing Arlene’s Grocery Friday night ($10) (they’ll be the two Canadians in masks running all over the Lower East Side with guitar + drums in tow); and finally opening for Small Black at Brooklyn Bowl Saturday night ($8).
//COMMUNIST DAUGHTER// Nice, solid, folk-inspired music from the midwest; 100% remind me of an American Of Monsters and Men (Icelandic band we really wanted to see going into South by Southwest last year and then sat directly in front of on our flight to Austin). They’ll be hitting up that Wednesday night show at Cake Shop with Blessed Feathers that we mentioned above (free; the two bands open up the showcase, so get there early); Arlene’s Grocery Friday afternoon ($10); …ahem…Wicked Willy’s in the West Village that night (I think it’s free? I really can’t tell, but be sure to avoid syphilis); and then The Living Room later on Friday night (1030PM; again, think it’s free, but could be wrong). Take a listen to “Not the Kid” and just try to tell me it doesn’t get stuck in your head in a Simon + Garfunkel kinda way. Head over to their Facebook BandPage to hear more recent work.
//DAUGHTER// Quiet, slow-tempoed, brooding music with strong vocals from front woman Elena Tonra. London-based Daughter (not to be confused with the more red Americans above) creates sadly sweet and sombre songs that bring you in. Daughter is opening for the Dum Dum Girls + The Walkmen at Terminal 5 Thursday night (so, if you haven’t heard about them yet, you will soon) and then playing a great sold out showcase Friday night at Mercury Lounge ($13). In the meantime, check out their song “Run”—out on 4AD as the b-side to their “Smother” single—and some older tracks via their Bandcamp page.
//NEIGHBORS// As Oh My Rockness puts it, Brooklyn’s Neighbors is a band that’s very hard to describe simply because their music is hard to compare to others’. It may be that they haven’t yet found their sound yet, but I don’t really care—it all sounds great to me. From tiny precious songs to more recent upbeat noisescapes, I love it all. Neighbors is just playing a showcase at WIlliamsburg’s Matchless Saturday afternoon (5PM) so far, but, being locals, they’ve already got some post-CMJ shows lined up for next week. Listen to August EP from 2011 below and then check out their new track, “Diamonds”, from their forthcoming debut LP.
//AVA LUNA// Sludgy, dark, electro-soul riddled with multi-part vocal harmonies. Comparisons to Dirty Projectors are inevitable and warranted, but Ava Luna’s glitchy electronics put them in another realm that makes us excited to see where they’ll go. First place they’re headed—Williamsburg’s out-of-the-way Ran Tea House Thursday night (845PM); Pianos Friday night ($10); back there Friday afternoon for that show with Born Ruffians we mentioned above (free); then over at 285 Kent Sunday afternoon to close the weekend out (free). Check out some of their impressive live sets above and then give their 8-track album, Ice Level, a listen below.
//HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF// Soulful, twangy, powerfully sung songs from Hurray for the Riff Raff, nom de plume of 25-year-old Puerto Rican New-York-native, New-Orleans-transplant Alynda Lee Segarra. She’ll play with her backing band at Cake Shop Thursday evening (6PM; free) and then at St. Mark’s Lutheran Cathedral in Bushwick Saturday. Check out her live performance above and then give her other songs a listen below.
Now get out there and see some music, New York!
Note: Music posted to this site is kept online for a limited period of time out of fairness to the artists and, you know, our server. So if this is now an older post, the links may well be dead.