Every year the mammoth that is known as CMJ Music Marathon plants it’s flag in the Big Apple as labels, distributors, PR Firms, artists, journalists, agents, and fans flood and flourish amidst the crowded New York City streets. This year there are well over 1,000 artists playing and more than 100 showcases to present up-and-coming talent. What SXSW once was, CMJ still wholy embodies while adding its own adaptive NYC spin to it. With so many phenomenal artists playing like The Cold War Kids, Reptar, The Bright Light Social Hour, and rising stars Saint Pepsi and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard deciding what to see can be a bit intimidating. We’ve broken down some of the top talent to see this week from unofficial to official showcases.
Studio Banc's Showcase @ Littlefield 10/21
This showcase has some talented bands. Some are under the radar and currently building a buzz for themselves, while others have been on the radar of music fans for some time. The Longshots are a garage rock band from the lone star state. If you’re a fan of Black Lips, then these guys are up your alley. Shinobi Ninja is a rock ensemble from Brooklyn, who describe themselves as a “genre twisting rock cirus.” The Feed are an exceptional soulful rock band from St. Louis. If you like the Black Keys, you’ll find this band’s musical styling’s very intriguing. DREAMERS are also a cool band on the rise. Their unique grungy sound is reminiscent of Nirvana, with a dash of late 70’s punk. Tickets for this show are between $5-8 dollars without a CMJ badge and free with one, get tickets and more info here.
- The Deli Mag’s Showcase @ Rockwood Music Hall 10/22
This showcase has a lot going on. Rockwood Music Hall is a cool venue with multiple stages. This year, Deli Magazine has found enough talent to fill up the joint. You have bands like Animals Years, Stone Cold Fox and Lazer Cake, which would be my don’t miss picks at this show. But, you also have Jack & Ezra, Hits, and Totara Jack, who have some great tunes to check out. This showcase goes until 2a.m. and is packed with great music. Have an energy drink and stay for all the madness this showcase has to offer. Admission is free of charge.
- Big Picture Media’s Showcase @ The Living Room 10/22
If you grew up on the pop-punk sound and gradually evolved into a more indie-alt sound in the likes of Local Natives and Young The Giant then the Big Picture Media showcase is the place for you. This year Big Picture boasts a talent of diverse and up-and-coming artists that range from Alt-rock to synth-pop and everything inbetween. Their showcase will be taking place this Wednesday at The Living Room in Brooklyn. Music begins at 6pm and goes until 1:45am and will features performances from Somebody’s Darling, The Future Laureates, Emily Wolfe, Night Riots, Vinyl Thief and many more. This show is free with a badge or $8 without. Free drinks will be provided by White Pike Whisky and free GIF making will be available via FoxTales. Find out more about the event and snag your $8 tickets here.
- Gorilla vs. Bear Showcase @ Baby’s All Right 10/23
Gorilla vs. Bear is a music blog out of Texas that has had it’s fingers on the pulse of the underground for sometime now. Since the inception of their first show in Dallas Texas - The Gorilla Vs. Bear Music Festival - which featured talent like Grimes and White Denim, they have had knack for selecting talent just on the cusp of comic relevancy. For their CMJ showcase at Baby’s All Right our ears will be delighted and our feet excited with the dancy tunes of Saint Pepsi, TOPS, Tei Shi and more. You can listen to their CMJ playlist below and snag tickets here.
- Neon Gold Showcase @ Santo’s Party House 10/23
If you aren’t familiar with the Neon Gold name surely you are familiar with some of the past talented they’ve help craft like Lana Del Rey, Vampire Weekend, CHVRCHES, Grouplove and Walk The Moon. Currently their roster already boast some common names like Tove Lo and Charli XCX, as well as rising stars ASTR and St. Lucia. For their sixth year at CMJ they are bringing a plethora of talent to Santos Party House on for a double-decker dose of dance. Talent like Seinabo Sey, Kate Boy, and Verite will take over upstairs while Zella Day, Twins Peaks, and Hoodlem take over downstairs. You can view the full line up and purchase tickets here.
- Kitsune Night @ Output 10/23
Maison Kitsune is the multi-talented multi-faced french music and fashion label that had worked with prominent acts ranging from Phoenix to Crystal Fighters to Boys Noize and more. No style, music or fashion is off limits for the ever-evolving brand - all that matters is that it’s good. During CMJ Music Marathon, Kitsune is taking over Output Club on October 23rd to ignite the venue with the salacious selection of eclectic tunes. This showcase is perfect for everyone that is more inclined towards electronic music rather than the indie-heavy offerings most showcases grant. Come to output to dance until sunrise with rising acts Buscabulla, Lil Silva, and many more! Snag tickets and read more about the event here.
- Sacred Bones Records Showcase @ Trans-Pecos 10/24
For those that like punk, alt-rock, noise-rock, and psych rock then the Sacred Bones Records showcase on Friday is for you. This label was ranked as one of the best indie-labels by Billboard Magazine and has released material from acts like Zola Jesus, Twin Peak’s creator David Lynch, and the NYC Psych-rock band Psychic Ills. On Friday they are bringing the noise to Trans-Pecos featuring the sounds of Led Er Est, Amen Dunes, and Psychic Ills. Read more about the event and grab your tickets here.
- Campers' Rule Records @ The Flat 10/24
Fans of abstract and experimental indie-rock/indie-pop will find themselves at home at home at the Campers’ Rule Records showcase at The Flat in Brooklyn on Friday. One band that has particularly peaked interest is that of Philly based group Norwegian Arms whose sounds is reminiscent of Animal Collective and Yeasayer but all packaged with their own touch. Joining Norwegian Arms are the likes of Shy Hunters, and Spirit Plate who is dropping their debut album soon and others.. This showcase is free with a CMJ badge or $7, you get buy tickets and read more here.
- Cascine - Sat 10/25 - 2pm - 7pm
Indie-pop record label Cascine is relatively new to the scene, having only formed in 20100. In the 4 years time they have solidified their good taste in music. On Saturday come chill with the label as they team up with Arbutus for a day-time extravaganza at the Wythe hotel in Williamsburg. One of the most interesting names on the line-up is that of Lil Internet who is the creative director for KarmaLoop and visionary video director for “Que Que” by Dillon Francis, “Express Yourself” by Diplo and “No Angel” by Beyoncé. Lil Internet is listed on the bill in addition to DJ sets from Arbutus and Tops, and performances from Erika Spring and Wild Arms. This show is free for all and will be one won’t long be forgotten. Find out more info on the event here.
- Ticketfly Showcase @ Cameo Gallery 10/25
Rounding out our list of must-see showcases at this years CMJ Music Marathon comes from the ticket provider TicketFly. A couple of years back we had the privilege of discovering the Detroit indie outfit Jamaican Queens at SXSW in Austin, TX and have been big fans of their experimental psychedelic indie-pop sound that rivals The Flaming Lips and MGMT. Joining Jamaican Queens are more artist in a similar soundscape that you can wriggle and writhe to like a wonky noodle. Catch Conveyor, Laser Background, Norwegian Arms, and Jamaican Queens at Cameo Gallery on the last day of CMJ. You can find out more about the event here.