Don't Miss These Bands At CMJ

Categories: CMJ


CMJ: So many shows (about 1,300), so little time (5 days). Poring through the schedule, separating the wheat from the chaff--and sorry, there's lots of chaff every year--and figuring out a plan of attack is time-consuming and headache-inducing. So to help you out a tiny bit, we've picked out 10 acts totally worth a shit at this year's fest. Yes, that's a mere .076% of the total number of gigs this week, and there's certainly more than 10 bands worth catching, but we're about 93.7% sure that these particular acts are gonna slay (or, at the very least, suck in a totally memorable way). Happy marathoning!

See Also:
- Ben Gibbard's Haircut Photoshopped Onto the Heads of Other CMJ Musicians
- Vagina Panther, Foxygen, Milk Dick, etc: Why 20 Bands Playing CMJ Chose Their Name


Lessee, there's some Joy Division, Wire, Killing Joke, Gang of Four, Suicide, PiL...ah, fuck it: ALL the post-punk bands are in the caustic, coal-black London foursome Savages--maybe the most hyped U.K. band of the moment--which makes its first incursion on U.S. soil this week. Prior to forming the band a year ago, frontwoman Jehnny Beth (aka French actress/singer Camille Berthomier) had already spent some time exploring her inner (late-period) Siouxsie Sioux in the indie-pop outfit John & Jehn. In Savages, she unleashes early Banshees shrieks and caterwauls, and an emotionally blistered persona, while the rest of the quartet wreaks riveting havoc with primal-fury rhythms and riffs that slice like garrottes and explode like landmines. The tradition is familiar but the assault feels fresh; they've Frankensteined all those bits of post-punk's hallowed history into a brand-new beast.

Glasslands Gallery, tonight (8 p.m.) and Mercury Lounge on Sat., Oct. 20 (midnight).


In a rap game recently flooded with first-rate female rhymespitters--one of the most welcome developments in music over the past couple of years--NYC-via-Detroit rapper/singer Angel Haze is rocketing toward the top of the mountain, rightfully taking her place alongside Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks. Her new EP Reservation is a revelation: Dauntless, ferocious, unbelievably prodigious flow showcasing the 20-year-old's ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind--talking mad shit on her foes and lyrically disemboweling herself--at the same time and still retain the ability to not only function, but dominate. Haze is a must-see.

Gramercy Theater, Fri., Oct. 19 (8 p.m.).


Chicago avant-metallists Yakuza have mixed brains and brawn to potent ends since '99, maybe never better than on their new Beyul, which dropped yesterday. New track "The Last Day" (check it out above) nicely encapsulates the approach: Hit 'em with a chugging, walloping power-metal riff and devil-horned bellow, quickly downshift into a doleful, cello-streaked dirge, rev it up and shred 'em again, then make 'em sad again. Plus: saxophone! Brooding singer Bruce Lamont's occasionally skronky horn brings great texture and trippiness to the band's brutal assaults; elsewhere, Turkish melodies and Swans-like noise-drones adds depth and intrigue to the lightning rides. If you're planning on catching Yakuza, hope for a live version of the stunning new "Fire Temple and Beyond," which very well may destroy your world in breathtaking ways.

Saint Vitus, Sat., Oct. 20 (7:30 p.m.).


Early last year, singer-guitarist Lindsey Troy--once upon a time half of the alt-folk sister act The Troys--dropped by The Little Knittery in Los Angeles to take a crochet class run by store proprietor (and drummer) Julie Edwards. Dunno if Troy came away with a scarf or a blanket, but she and Edwards bonded over a mutual appreciation of the White Stripes, Zeppelin and Janis Joplin and formed the ramshackle trash-blues duo Deap Vally. It's the sound of sweat, Schlitz, too many cigarettes and not enough love. Sure, you've been down this road plenty of times before, but it's loud and convincing enough to make rollin' in the Deap worthwhile.

Bowery Ballroom, Thurs., Oct. 18 (10 p.m.).


Cemeteries is the nom de dream-pop of Kyle J. Reigle, whose debut album, The Wilderness, is a gorgeous, plaintive gem crafted alone in his Buffalo apartment over half a year. With its reverbed guitars and vocals (which has traces of David Gilmour in it), pillowy organs, spectral melodies, and somber pacing, the album's the distant, fragile cousin of Real Estate's sepia-toned beach-pop; the seashore in winter, maybe, when the boardwalk's deserted, cold winds brush the sky and sand, and you're all alone to contemplate your longings and regrets. Brought to the stage via the wrong hands, this stuff could get boring in a hurry, but we suspect Reigle will cast a melancholy spell over the room and transport you to his haunted domain.

Pianos, tonight (1 a.m.).

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