It’s the most glorious week of the year. CMJ is finally here! Most CMJ-newbies and even some seasoned veterans will find the abundance of shows, unofficial parties, day-showcases, RSVP-only parties, and things to do during CMJ week a bit overwhelming. As a WCDB alumni (key word: alumni) I have the added challenge this year of doing it all without a badge, that wonderful golden ticket that lets you in to (almost) any show during the week. However, over the years I’ve found that most of the smaller shows are free, some of the medium sized shows are free w/rsvp, and a lot of the cool stuff to go to aren’t in traditional music venues or are even shows at all. The only shows that definitely require a CMJ badge to enter are the big ones: shows at Bowery Ballroom, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Terminal 5, and Webster Hall. And who wants to go to those? Because really, CMJ isn’t about seeing Savages play at Terminal 5 (capacity: 3,000) during CMJ 2013, it’s about seeing their first live shows in the U.S. before their debut album came out, at Glasslands (capacity: 275) and Public Assembly (capacity: 400) during CMJ 2012.
Every year I try to find a nice balance between bands I love and bands I’ve never heard of before. It’s my own opinion that the quality of the festival and number of bands that I’m excited to see decreases slightly every year, but I’m trying to stay optimistic. Here are the showcases I’m most excited about, some “bands to watch”, and other things I’m looking forward to during CMJ next week. See you there?
Bands to Watch
the bold CMJ dates below are free, even if you don’t have a badge!
SO GOOD SO GOOD SO GOOD. Seriously, look past the name. Their debut album Weird Sister came out September 2013 on Slumberland Records (swoon) and it’s surely one of my favorites of 2013. It’s amazing. I’m in love. Go see them.
~ RIYL: Riot Grrrl, noisepop, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Where to catch them:
Tuesday 10/15 @ Ran Tea House (Force Field PR showcase) 12:10am | $5 without badge
Wednesday 10/16 @ Pianos (Kanine Records/SESAC party) – 3:30pm
Wednesday 10/16 @ Pianos (Old Flame Party) 7:45pm
Thursday 10/17 @ Cakeshop (Capeshok Presents) midnight
Friday 10/18 @ Shea Stadium (Portals Music) 9:00pm
Friday 10/18 @ 285 Kent (Pitchfork showcase) 11:15pm | unofficial show, $10 with or without badge
Saturday 10/19 @ The Rock Shop (Lost Colony party)
Saturday 10/19 @ Death By Audio (Agency Group showcase)
debut cassette demo I HAVE LOST ALL DESIRE FOR FEELING is incredible.
thumbs down for no free shows:
Wednesday 10/16 @ The Flat (SHOT! Presents) | $8 or free w/CMJ badge
Friday 10/18 @ 285 Kent (Pitchfork showcase) | unofficial show, $10 with or without badge
~s/t debut album comes January 2014 via Frenchkiss Records
Thursday 10/17 @ Pianos showroom (Frenchkiss Records showcase)
Saturday 10/19 @ Pianos showroom (Bowery Presents CMJ show)
the band in Heaven
dreampop shoegaze from West Palm Beach, FL
debut album Caught in a Summer Swell out September 2013 on Decades Records
thumbs down for no free shows:
Thursday 10/17 @ Parkside Lounge (S/T Management)
Thursday 10/17 @ Pianos (Frenchkiss Records / Label Group)
Friday 10/18 @ (Decades & Timberwolf Showcase)
poppy psychedelic synths from Chicago. Fronted by Erin Fein, formerly of Headlights. Listen to their 7″ below, out on Polyvinyl
Thursday 10/17 @ Spike Hill (Audiofemme presents)
Friday 10/18 @ The Delancey (Crash Avenue Media Management)
From Bar Harbor, Maine. Third album, Back to Soft, self-released July 2013.
Wednesday 10/16 @ Cake Shop (Terrorbird Day Party)
Thursday 10/17 @ Union Pool (Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Showcase)
Friday 10/18 @ Silent Barn (Underwater Peoples and Holy Smokes Booking Day Party)
garage rock “trash pop” from Cincinnati, Ohio newly signed to Frenchkiss Records
don’t miss em:
Thursday 10/17 @ Mission Sound Recording 1pm
Thursday 10/17 @ Cake Shop (Capeshok Presents) 7:45pm
Thursday 10/17 @ Pianos (Frenchkiss Records Showcase) 10pm
Friday 10/18 @ Ace Hotel
Sandra Vu of Dum Dum Girls, side-project.
RIYL: Dum Dum Girls (obvsly), 80s goth/synth
Wednesday 10/16 @ The Flat
Thursday 10/17 @ Shea Stadium (Impose Magazine Party)
Friday 10/18 @ The Delancey (Crash Avenue Party)
Saturday 10/19 @ (FADER Fort)
Saturday 10/19 @ Union Pool (Inland Empire Touring showcase)
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan
Wednesday 10/16 @ Knitting Factory (Panache Booking)
Friday 10/18 @ Arlene’s Grocery (M for Montreal showcase)
Friday 10/18 @ 285 Kent (Pitchfork)
Yonkers-based on Exploding In Sound Records (which is now part of the new Frenchkiss Label Group). Their Bent Nails EP comes out this October 22.
RIYL: waxachatchee, fiona apple, pavement
Tuesday 10/15 @ Pianos (Banners RSVP Only CMJ Party)
Thursday 10/17 @ Spikehill (AudioFemme Showcase)
Friday 10/18 @ Pianos (The Deli Magazine Showcase)
Saturday 10/19 @ Silent Barn (Exploding In Sound Records Unofficial Showcase)
My CMJ Schedule: Bands & Showcases I’m Stoked For
In case you haven’t been following along, every show listed below is totally and absolutely FREE, regardless of whether or not you have a CMJ badge. Some are private or RSVP-only, those are noted. One or two shows are $5 or $8 (with price noted), but their killer line-ups are totally worth it.
(aka the day I basically live at Pianos)
Coke Weed 3:30pm, TEEN 4:30pm
@ Cake Shop (152 Ludlow Street, LES) Terrorbird Showcase
HIGHLIGHT: Kanine Records/SESAC presents a free day party with Tricks & Treats
Seriously. I AM SO FUCKING STOKED FOR EVERY SINGLE BAND ON THIS LINE-UP.
In The Valley Below 5:30pm
@ Pianos (upstairs lounge)
but perhaps I might leave Pianos early (after I watch Joanna Gruesome, of course) for Williamsburg:
Sub Pop + Broadist + Dr. Martens Present: GET-UPs & GET DOWN CMJ MIXER 6-9pm
fall/winter vintage clothing swap + “swag + drinks from Sub Pop”
w/ DJs: Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls & Stas of THEESatisfaction
@ Good Co. 10 Hope Street, Williamsburg
Ghost Wave 12pm, Tweens 1pm
@ Mission Sound Recording, Williamsburg. RSVP-only.
(aka, watch bands record studio sessions while mingling with others and drinking free booze and snacking on free snacks) | RSVP-only
AAM Promo Listening Party??? 6-8pm???
Not announced yet, but I think this day/time is when it usually is. RSVP-college-radio-DJs-only party in the AAM offices where we drink wine, eat cheese, mingle with other college radio DJs and preview new albums that won’t be released for a couple of months. My favorite party of the week.
it looks like I’ll be needing something to do late Thursday night. Quick! Someone get me on the guestlist for Real Estate @ Bowery Ballroom!
<<Insert excitement about the 12-6pm Brooklyn Vegan Day Party here. Mac McCaughan of Superchunk has announced he’s playing a solo set at this. Will it be at the Friday BV day party or the Saturady BV day party? Will the rest of the line up be announced soon? Where will it be held now that Public Assembly is no more? The world may never know.>>
@ Arlene’s Grocery (95 Stanton Street, LES) Never Better Promo | RSVP-only
@ The Delancey (168 Delancey St, LES) Crash Avenue Media Management Presents
@ Rockwood Music Hall – Stage 2 (196 Allen, LES)
or maybe instead I’ll pony up the $10 for:
Eleanor Friedberger (solo set) 8pm, Courtney Barnett 9pm, Perfect Pussy 9:45pm, Priests 10:30pm, Joanna Gruesome 11:15pm, Speedy Ortiz 12am, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan 1am
@ 285 Kent, Pitchfork Unofficial CMJ Showcase | $10
<<Insert more excitement about the unannounced line-up 12-6pm Brooklyn Vegan Day Party here>>
Heavenly Beat 4pm
@ Spike Hill (186 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg) Dream Wave Radio Presents
Eternal Summers 7pm
@ Pianos showroom (153 Ludlow Street, LES) International Rescue, Drunken Piano & Dub Pies CMJ Showcase
With DJs: Brandon Welchez (Crocodiles), Dee Dee (Dum Dum Girls)
@ Passenger Bar (229 Roebling St, Williamsburg)
The End. Bye. ‘Til Next Year.