Bands to Watch at CMJ 2012

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From KCRW Blog Contributor Nassir Nassirzadeh:

Each Autumn, CMJ’s music marathon occupies over 80 music venues in New York City, showcasing over 1,300 artists. The musical onslaught is targeted at the nation’s college radio program directors, but is a sneak peak for all of us lucky enough to attend.

Last year, we were privileged to preview a few of 2012’s top releases, from Gotye, The Alabama Shakes and Purity Ring.

This year, it’s a toss up to see who’s going to be the subject of chatter at the conference.

There’s the Savages, out of the UK, two new Glassnote signings Daughter and Little Green Cars, the electronicountry stylings of Daughn Gibson (Sub Pop), and new indie hip hop act Ratking (XL).

Here are a few others that I’m particularly looking forward to checking out.


For fans of Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke, Purity Ring.

Flume is the nom de plume of Harley Streten. The very talented young man from Sydney, Australia – he’s not even 21 years old — produces insanely catchy electro-pop anthems. He started making beats at the tender age of 13, after finding a production program in a cereal box. Several years later, he released his debut EP on Australian label Future Classic (home to Flight Facilities and Poolside’s single “Do You Believe”) and he’s already signed to the Windish Agency.

When + Where?
10/17 Flume @ Cake Shop (FREE) – set time is 3:10pm
10/18 Flume @ Pianos – Windish Agency Showcase
10/19 Flume @ Brooklyn Bowl – Windish Agency Showcase
10/20 Flume @ The Delancey – Aussie BBQ – Set time is 10pm


For Fans of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks

Foxygen is the bi-coastal songwriting duo of Sam France and Jonathan Rado. I couldn’t agree more with the bio written on their label Jagjaguwar: “They are the raw, de-Wes Andersonization of The Rolling Stones, Kinks, Velvets, Bowie, etc. that a whole mess of young people desperately need”…and “bring the manic, freewheeling qualities of an artist like Ariel Pink to those aforementioned influences to make for one of the most refreshing listens of the year.”

They also remind me of one of my favorite LA bands Jail Weddings. “Make It Known” is all you’ll need to hear to see what I mean.

When + Where?
10/16 @ Mercury Lounge – Aquarium Drunkard : No Jacket Required
10/19 @ Pianos – Deli Magazine Showcase
10/20 @ Panos – Bowery Presents Showcase (Daytime)


Think Bon Iver meets Foster the People.

Brooklyn-based indie rock band Ambassadors is a bit of a mystery, but clearly something special. The tunes are incredibly catchy and I can see some real potential in their songwriting. Just listen to “Unconsolable” and “Litost” to get an idea of the scope.  The band has given us five opportunities to see them live so there’s no excuse not to catch them..

When + Where?
10/16 @ The Studio at Webster Hall
10/17 @ SoFar Sounds Acoustic Set
10/18 @ Bowery Electric
10/20 @ Moscot Gallery
10/20 @ Arlene’s Grocery


Hints of Massive Attack and Marina and the Diamonds

The extremely mysterious MS MR (miss mister) is a duo appropriately consisting of a male and female based in NY. They have garnered attention and acclaim for the video to their single “Hurricane” released on IAMSOUND.

The video is just as mesmerizing as the song, which reminds me of Massive Attack’s 90’s classic “Teardrop”. They have been very busy on the tour circuit with Marina and the Diamonds this summer and now they are supporting Grouplove, which is probably why they are only playing one show during CMJ that I’m hoping to attend.

MS MR – Hurricane from MS MR on Vimeo.

When + Where?
10/18 MS MR @ Bowery Ballroom

Also, if you happen to be in NY, make sure and check out Chris Douridas’ School Night CMJ Party which features Isaac Delusion, indie electronic trio Gemini Club out of Chicago and Doe Paoro, Brooklyn’s very own ghostess of soul music, along with resident DJ Jason Eldredge (East Village Radio/KCRW).  More guests will be announced but the show is FREE as always with RSVP.

For some of the others that I have my sights on, please check out the Spotify playlist below.

Leave a comment and let me know of anyone else I should look out for.

— Nassir