Bands to Watch at CMJ 2014

Written by

cmj From KCRW Blog Contributor Nassir Nassirzadeh:

There’s an indescribable charm about experiencing the early engagements of a band or artist from different parts of the world with a motley crew of young college music program directors and their grown up and somewhat jaded adult versions in the music industry congregating in one small and smelly NYC bar or basement in the middle of daylight.

As a local with several CMJ Music Marathon’s under the belt, here are a few of the bands I’m looking forward to checking out.


On June 24th, amidst World Cup mania, San Diego native and now bi-coastal phenom Ryn Weaver was introduced to the world via Soundcloud post of an instant hit devised by a production powerhouse that includes Benny Blanco, Cashmere Cat, and Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos.

“OctaHate” as it would be called was retweeted/endorsed by the likes of Charli XCX, Jessie Ware and about every respectable blog in the world, garnering over 45k streams in less than 24 hours. I haven’t heard this much buzz surrounding a new artist since Lana Del Rey and these will be some of her first live shows.


Wed – 10/22 @ Bowery Ballroom
Thur – 10/23 @ The Bowery Hotel (School Night x Sound Exchange CMJ Showcase)
Sat – 10/25 @ The Rubbert Tracks Studio (Fader Fort) – 10:15pm


San Francisco-based boy/girl duo Cathedrals recently released their debut EP on Neon Gold to an overwhelming response online. They remind me of KCRW faves BANKS and Phantogram but definitely deliver a strong body of work all their own. You can stream the entire EP right here.

They have a few shows lined up during CMJ but the one not to miss seems to be their NY debut on 10/21, in which they are playing in front of the stunning Creators Projects.


Tue – 10/21 – NY Debut @ Foundations Warehouse (Neon Gold x Matte Projects)
Thur – 10/23 @ The Rubber Tracks Studio (Fader Fort) – 7:15pm
Thur – 10/23 @ Santos Party House (Neon Gold Showcase: New Shapes)


Sweden’s Amason released a 5-track EP that is a timeless masterpiece. The music is the perfect metaphor for the classic and graceful model of the Volvo vehicle from the 60’s that the band is named after.

In fact, I’d highly recommend putting the EP in your glove box for when you’re frustrated with traffic on those lovely friday afternoons after work. The group includes members of notable groups like Miike Snow, Dungen and Little Majorette, etc. I also love the fact that unlike other Swedish bands that generate popularity in the US, they also sing pop songs in their own native tongue. The band has already been championed by KCRW’s venerable DJ’s.

Here is the video to the first song I fell in love with by these guys featuring the classic Volvo ride.



Wed – 10/22 – Radio Performance Debut @ Cutting Room Studios (KEXP Session – 9am)
Thur – 10/23 – US Live Debut @ The Bowery Hotel (School Night x Sound Exchange CMJ Showcase – 8:30pm)
Sat – 10/25 @ Pianos (Bowery Presents – 2pm)
Mon – 11/3 – LA Debut @ Echo (FREE)


Although they’ve been around for over four years and remain one of the most acclaimed independent rock bands in their home in Brazil, supporting bands such as Pearl Jam, Vampire Weekend, and The Rapture to name a few, Wannabe Jalva are about to step on US stage soil for the first time next week during CMJ.

Forgoing traditional tropical sounds, the southern Brazilian band plays space grooved psych rock not too far off from Tame Impala with very unpredictable rhythms that turn their music into something incredibly addictive and rich.

But of course, you’re already acquainted with this band since we premiered their new single right here on this blog.

Here is a streaming link to their brand new EP, “Collecture“.


Mon – 10/20 – US DEBUT @ Brooklyn Bowl (School Night CMJ Preview – 9:30pm)
Thur – 10/23 @ Passenger Bar (9:45pm)
Sat – 10/25 @ Arlene’s Grocery (10:45pm)
Sun – 10/26 @ Trash Bar (8pm)
Mon – 10/28 @ Pianos (9pm)
Fri – 11/7 @ Three of Clubs (LA)

Another solid Brazilian band who will be making their NY debut is Turtle Giant.


Italian trio Be Forest will also be making their North American debut next week at CMJ and definitely should not be overlooked. The group makes very hypnotic and moody tunes in the vein of Grimes, Warpaint and The XX. They will also sound appropriate with one of the bigger names to be part of the festival this year, Slowdive.

Stream their 2nd record, “Earthbeat”, it in it’s entirety here.


Wed – 10/22 – US DEBUT @ Cake Shop
Wed – 10/22 @ DROM (8:15pm)
Mon – 11/10 @ KXLU (Part Time Punks)
Mon – 11/11 @ Log Globos


Adult Jazz – Experimental pop band from the UK in the spirit of Alt-J and Tinariwen

Kate Boy – their recent single “self control” is fantastic swedish electro pop at its best.

Aurora – 17 yr old Norwegian songstress has an amazing voice that deserves our attention

Lydia Ainsworth – new signing of Arbutus Records ; pitchfork praised ; Brooklyn/Toronto based

LA Representing:

Moses Sumney

Made In Heights



Here is a spotify playlist i put together of some other handpicked faves from the list of over 1,300 bands (this will continue to be updated as festival goes on):

Did we miss anything? if so, please let us know in the comments.