Sharkmuffin, Coke Weed + More: How Bands Playing CMJ Chose Their Name

Categories: CMJ

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Sharkmuffin
Swarms of bands are currently taking over the most hipster corners of our city. From the Lower East Side to Williamsburg, a variety of acts are in town for 2013's CMJ Music Marathon performing from morning until deep in the evening at a variety of cool parties and showcases and are hoping you'll take notice.

The schedule is jam-packed and a little overwhelming with a multitude of shows scheduled almost every hour of this week until Saturday's sad, sad end. Chances are, you've probably noticed some funky names peppered throughout the hefty list of artists that may have either piqued your interest or made you tilt your head in confusion. Either way, they captured your attention and hopefully, for them, your ears. We love a ridiculous band name and have asked several of our favorite peculiarly titled artists to tell us the story behind their mysterious monikers.

See also: CMJ Is Way More Fun When You're Badgeless, Broke, and Young

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A Handy Flowchart For Selecting Your 2012 CMJ Panels, Day 4

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John Bylander

Attention, anybody who still thinks CMJ is about concerts and wild nights: it's time for last call. One final dose of tech, marketing, and legal wisdom will be dispensed to registered attendees during the panel discussions hosted at NYU's Kimmel Student Center all day today. Sure, it starts earlier than usual this time around -- 9am sharp -- but if you decide to just sleep in and stave off last night's hangover, you'll likely spend the next 51 weeks haplessly bumbling around through what's left of the music industry, which I sincerely doubt can handle any more incompetence. Come on down.

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CMJ, Flowchart

Ben Gibbard's Haircut Photoshopped Onto the Heads of Other CMJ Musicians

Categories: CMJ

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Queen of Hearts ... with Ben Gibbard's haircut.

Starting today, roughly 1,300 music artists will descend upon New York City in hopes of Living the Dream. Wild acts with names like (these are all real) Bear Hands, Bear Trap, Bear Crossing, SUNBEARS!, Bearstronaut, Stone Cold Fox, Foxes in Fiction, and Foxygen will play in peace alongside their domesticated brethren in (these too) Dog Bite, DJ Dog Dick, FISHDOCTOR, So Cow and Felix Da Housecat at the CMJ Music Marathon, the 32-year-old festival that introduces music fans to the bands they'll be forgetting about by this time next year.

Chances are you've never heard of most of the bands playing the festival. But you have no doubt heard of Ben Gibbard, the sensitive, marathon-running Death Cab for Cutie frontman who was once married to the teacher from Bridge To Terabithia. His solo debut, Former Lives, is out this week, and he's playing CMJ to promote it. Here, the crack design staff at SOTCHQ have Photoshopped Ben Gibbard's luxurious hair -- known by stylists the world round as "The OG Bieber" -- on five other bands playing this year's festival in hopes it will make them more memorable. The (admittedly flawed) logic works like this: Indie electro-pop songstress Queen of Hearts? Totally forgettable. Queen of Hearts with Ben Gibbard's hair (pictured above)? A tad less forgettable.

Right? Right. Totally. So let's meet these less-forgettable bands we've Photoshopped Ben Gibbard's hair on . . .


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Widowspeak Enter The Harsh Realm Of The CMJ Hype Cycle

Categories: CMJ, Widowspeak

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Sebastian Slayter
In this week's Voice Michael Tedder profiles the Brooklyn trio Widowspeak, who craft hushed, gorgeous ballads and whose self-titled debut (Captured Tracks) is one of the year's standout first releases. Tedder trailed the band around CMJ, where they were one of the beneficiaries of the week-long music festival's hype cycle. His account is below.

At their best, Widowspeak achieve a state of cinematic grace. Grace is something that has fuck-all to do with the CMJ Music Marathon, and even fuck less to do with the music industry at large; Widowspeak is still getting used to this. Vocalist Molly Hamilton says the band has only ever done a handful of interviews and getting all the members in the same room for a photo shoot is always a chore. Even managing the band email can be problematic. But they signed up for this year's music meat-market anyway.

A week before the festival, the band members laugh off the suggestion that they might try to "win" CMJ and accrue buzz band status by playing as many high-profile gigs as possible. "We have nothing really to push," says Hamilton, noting that the band's policy is only to do what feels right. The members were wary of overdoing it and playing gigs in the double-digits like some upstarts, plus there were days jobs to think about. (Hamilton is a barista, guitarist Robert Earl Thomas a busboy.) But both were happy to play showcases for things they supported, like WNYU or NYCTaper. That added up.

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Spotted At CMJ: Asher Roth, Nick Catchdubs, Fat Tony, And King Krule On Their Survival Strategies

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Asher Roth.

With more than a thousand bands in the city for CMJ, there's a strong chance you'll happen to run into a musician on the streets, hanging out after a show, or taking advantage of an open bar at a blog party. We checked in with artists during the festival to see how they handled the chaos of it all.

The artist: Asher Roth
Where he's from: NY via Philly

Where are you going next?

I don't know. I'm probably going to wander for a little bit and see what's up. I have no set plans. It would be nice to see Trash Talk but I think that's out of the question. If not, I'll probably go to sleep. It's almost 4 a.m., you know?


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Live: Vex Ruffin Helps Stones Throw Take Its Next Step

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CMJ, Day Four: Vex Ruffin, The Stepkids, Jonti

Better than: Listening to Stones Throw's present rap roster.

The day before his first CMJ show, Vex Ruffin sat in a bar called Ontario in Williamsburg, wearing a t-shirt with the Seinfeld logo on it and quietly nerding out by giving the Stones Throw roster Wu-Tang Clan-style names. Head honcho Peanut Butter Wolf became Killer Ginsu; Madlib was re-christened Hidden Sword. The LA-based Ruffin is the label's latest signing; he's being billed on his press release as the musical product of an upbringing simultaneously soundtracked by the rowdy D.M.X.-helmed Ruff Ryders rap crew and English new-wave band The Cure. Ruffin sings and plays guitar; his recently-released EP, Crash Course, displays his talent at creating lo-fi-leaning, sometimes scuzzy music. His signing underscores the transition of Stones Throw from a label once associated with indie hip-hop to, well, not really much of a hip-hop-centric label at all. Friday's CMJ showcase, held at the Converse-branded Rubber Tracks recording studio (just a couple of blocks from Ontario), reinforces this change: The sorta-psych-soul trio The Stepkids and Australian electronic producer Jonti round out the night's bill.

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CMJ Weekend: Acid Baby Jesus, Vockah Redu, Jacuzzi Boys, And Chelsea Wolfe Exist On The Fringes

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In Waste Of Paint, our writer/artist team of Jamie Peck and Debbie Allen will review goings-on about town in words and images.

This weekend, Debbie and I continued our Homeric quest to find bands over which to get excited. In an effort to broaden our search, we decided to look a little bit outside of CMJ's prescribed avenues. For every hit, there were about five misses, and we often managed to arrive or leave at precisely the wrong moment. Nevertheless, through sheer persistence, we made out all right.


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CMJ Day Three: Escaping The Badges With Grimes And The Bins At Shea Stadium

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Ben Lozovsky
Grimes.
CMJ Day Three: Bleached, The Bins, King Krule, Dent May, Gauntlet Hair, Main Attrakionz, Grimes

Better than: Wearing giant credential badge around your neck for 5 days straight.

Three days into the festival, taking the non-affiliated, DIY CMJ route seemed like the right path. It's easy to get lost in the sea of badges, the traffic jams caused by one-in-one-out door policies, and the unsettled agitation of constantly shuffling crowds changing the demographics of and vibrations of any given experience. On Thursday night, at the GPS-befuddling Shea Stadium, a bustling little community had developed throughout the strongly curated Gorilla Vs. Bear/Yours Truly show. Brown-bagged Keystone Light drinkers and chain-smoking under-agers with knit hats are apparently a fairly resolute bunch. But it lent an aura of escalation that CMJ shows often lack.

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Live: The Voice Helps Nashville Take Over Cake Shop

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Turbo Fruits.
Village Voice CMJ Showcase: Diehard, Colleen Green, Diarrhea Planet, Bleached, Pujol, Turbo Fruits

Better than: The free sandwiches being handed out on Ludlow Street all afternoon.

The Voice threw its annual CMJ party at Cake Shop on Saturday, and the Ludlow Street bar/cafe/record store/hangout's food offerings were a blessing for those people shaking off their Friday nights and heading out early in hopes of cramming as much music into their weekend as was humanly possible. This year's bash had a decided twang—three of the six bands were from Nashville, and the camraderie between those acts fueled a day full of circle pits, holler-along choruses, and a game of 52 Pickup.

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Don't Forget: The Village Voice CMJ Showcase Goes Down This Afternoon At Cake Shop

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A quick reminder: Our CMJ showcase begins at noon today and features, in order of appearance, Diehard, Colleen Green, Diarrhea Planet, Bleached, Pujol, and Turbo Fruit. I'm not sure what condition the basement of Cake Shop is in after Thursday night's Life or Death showcase—at which Wise Blood freaked out and ripped down some of the Christmas lights and Trash Talk led a pretty intense circle pit—but either way, that's where we'll be. The event is free whether you have a badge or not, and there will be happy hour specials on beer and cider, because if a lineup of six great punk bands doesn't provide a good enough excuse for day drinking, I don't know what does. High school football, I guess. Set times below.


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