Seven Sets You Should See During CMJ Week: Main Attrakionz, EMA, Dierks Bentley, And More

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Main Attrakionz.

Sound of the City's staff has opinions about which bands to see at the CMJ festival, happening around the city this week. Here, Nick Murray offers his seven picks—well, six festival-affiliated artists and one dude who just happens to have a couple of NY-area shows this week. (Check out Maura Johnston's and Martika Finch's selections. too.)

AraabMUZIK
This Providence-born producer hammers out beats that will make your feet move with a virtuosity that will make your jaw drop. After turning hip-hop heads' heads with his work on Cam'ron's Crime Pays and Dipset reunion single "Salute," AraabMUZIK has come into his own on this year's trance-influenced solo album Electronic Dream.
Where to catch him: Try the Saturday Blowout at Santos Party House, where he joins Main Attrakionz, Action Bronson, Elks, Trash Talk, and Kylesa in one of the week's most promising showcases.

Titus Andronicus
If you haven't discovered the bar punk, Eric Foner-with-power-chords bliss of The Monitor—the latest from New Jersey-and-proud quintet Titus Andronicus—by now, you should probably proceed directly to Glasslands tonight. If you're familiar with the record, go anyway; these days, the group rarely plays venues as intimate as this one.
Where to catch them: The band's only show this week happens tonight at 9 at Glasslands.

Trash Talk
Everything has been falling into place for L.A. hardcore punks Trash Talk, with the hype that began building after the tumblr release of new single "Awake" culminating with five shows in four days and Pitchfork's Brandon Stosuy awarding the band's EP a much-deserved Best New Music. Ignore the "I was there at the first Can show in Cologne" cynics; right now this band really is at the top of their game.
Where to catch them: Trash Talk is playing five shows, so you'll have plenty of options, but we suggest Cake Shop's Thursday night into Friday morning bash, at which they'll join Wise Blood, Main Attrakionz, and—if our source is correct—a special guest who will be worth sticking around for. Go, but only if you can stay awake. (Sorry.)

Main Attrakionz
The last—and first—time these Oakland 20-year-olds played New York, they rapped before a small group of fans in the basement of SoHo's New Museum. That show started at eight o'clock. This week, the spacey duo, who sound better over Clams Casino's beats better than anyone short of Lil B, play a handful of events, most taking place long after the museum crowd has retired. Their loss: on tracks like the Friendzone-produced "Perfect Skies," you'll find an ecstasy almost worthy of St. Teresa.
Where to catch them: Again you'll have a few options, the best of which are the aforementioned Saturday showcase at Santos and Thursday showcase at Cake Shop.

EMA: On Past Life Martyred Saints Erika M. Anderson combines Lou Reed-influenced lyrics with reverberating acoustic guitar chords in order to breathe life into rock 'n' roll's suffocating stuffiness. "California" seems destined to place highly on critics' polls like Pazz & Jop, and the song's "Fuck California, you made me boring" opening salvo seems like an early lock for best first lyric of the year.
Where to catch her- Of EMA's three shows, two take place in larger venues: She closes out the Bowery Ballroom on Thursday at midnight, and does the same at Webster Hall on Saturday.

Eleanor Friedberger
With her brother Matthew, Friedberger released nine records and a handful of singles as the Fiery Furnaces; now solo, 2011's Last Summer might be better than them all, spinning personal stories (guess where "Scenes from Bensonhurst" takes place) over productions softer and generally more accessible than those of her former band. At the Voice's 4Knots festival earlier this, she even played Furnaces favorite "Tropical Ice-Land," so don't be surprised if a few more weather-appropriate oldies pop up in this week's sets.
Where to catch her: Tonight at the Bowery Ballroom, Friedberger opens for the superdupergroup Wild Flag.

Dierks Bentley
Okay, Dierks Bentley's two-night stand at Union Square's Irving Plaza bears no affiliation with the however-many-bands festival that's scattered around the rest of the city, but that's no reason to miss one of the best country shows of the season. Last time Bentley rolled through the city, it was in support of his bluesgrass change-of-pace Up on the Ridge; this time, we assume, he'll be mixing that album's best cuts with older hits and tracks from the upcoming Home. Jarrod Niemann opens.
Where to catch him: Bentley plays Irving Plaza on both Thursday and Friday. Both shows should be excellent, so aim for whichever one fits your schedule better.

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Ray Charles Songs.
Ray Charles Songs.

If you've taken a look at the schedule for this year's CMJ Music Marathon, you know how overwhelming it can be to figure out what shows to attend. There. ... your back though.

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