Written by Patrick McNamara
CMJ 2015 is coming. To celebrate I picked 15 good bands you should consider seeing at the festival this year. You should consider seeing some other bands too. I don't actually care who you see. I just want you to have a nice time.
This list is in no particular order. I just started typing and enjoyed the ride. So don't start reading into anything. Is Mercury Girls better than Pity Sex? Of course not. Every band on this list is equally good at everything.
I'm OK you're OK everyone is CHILL.
#1 Mercury Girls (but remember - not really #1 - because we're all #1)
This Good Band (featuring members of Literature + Little Big League + Pet Milk: you can do the research on who plays where with what if you wanna) play hazy swirl-y lo-fi jingle jangle indie pop that you will instantly like if you like that kind of thing. Guess what, hoss? I LIKE THAT KIND OF THING. This is poppy. It's pretty. It's punk. It's a Good Band! Please enjoy streaming two good songs now. They're labeled as "demos" and if these tracks don't get this Good Band a record deal or a big time tour or whatever seems most awesome to them, baby, I'd be amazed.
Baltimore's Wildhoney is an indiepop band, an incredibly loud indiepop band. This indiepop is as fragile and delicate as a buzzsaw - and so sing-able too! The band has been around for a couple years and have played a bunch of shows. Hmm. I wonder if this why their music sounds so tight and good. I'll have to research more to see if there's any correlation between practice and perfecting your craft so I'll hop on Wikipedia as soon as we're done here. Below is Wildhoney's debut full-length. It's SOLID.
#3 Diet Cig
Diet Cig is a "slop pop" duo (did I take "slop pop" straight from their Bandcamp page? - you bet I did) from New Paltz, NY (1 hour and 47 minutes from NYC in current traffic) that play catchy fuzzy lo-fi jingle jangle ennui soaked pop goodness. Want to get in a positive mood that'll make you wanna have a slumber party or run across the quad in your underpants or pretend it's 1994? Then have yourself a healthy hit of Diet Cig. Please enjoy playing their debut EP whenever you're ready to hear good songs.
Seattle's Car Seat Headrest is the magnum opus moniker of mad proficient early twenty-something-year-old lo-fi sunshine psych pop wunderkind, Will Toledo (live, he's got a band). In the last four years or so, this dude has self-released just short of a dozen albums (that would be eleven, man) and he played every note and sang every syllable on all of them. Eat shit, Dave Grohl. But it looks like you can't keep a good DIY thing on the down-low because Matador Records (the name sounds familiar) recently announced that they're putting out Car Seat Headrest's twelfth (!) record.
WOMPS is a super dope duo from Glasgow (straight outta Scotland) that plays razor tight stabby jabby punk that pops and jumps and jingles and jangles and gets messy in a most carefully constructed way. Yes, this is good shit. The band recently recorded two songs with Steve Albini (I think I've heard of him) and they both shred something good. Hell, don't take my words for it if you don't want to, you unbelieving heathen (why can you trust me). Stream it for yourself below. Please remember, it works best if you blast it. (Also, have you ever heard my theory that Chicago producer Steve Albini and Chicago playwright David Mamet are actually the same person? I'd be happy to tell it to you sometime. In the meantime, you try finding a pic of both in the same room at the same time.)
Toronto's Weaves is a fuzzy eccentro-pop* band that rock DIY micro anthems that are both punk, dramatic, and playful. You'll get some pretty solid riffage for you to thrash about with, for sure, but you're also gonna get some sweet organ solos and bizzaro distortion and other odd easter egg wonderments like that, man. You'll never know which way Weaves' songs will swoop and slide but you'll be stoked to be along for the ride. So says this music blob.
File Under: PARTY
RIYL: things working out
*still trying to get "eccentro-pop" recognized as a legit music genre term by the music industry illuminati: since 2004
#7 The Gotobeds
Pittsburgh's The Gotobeds plays goddamn delightful punk that you can get real rowdy with. I'm talking tightly twisted ramshackle sweaty boozy musical goodness that should happily get any sloppy party started. Put these dudes on the next time you're sitting around with your peeps doing something boring and see what happens to your night. Hell, do it when you're hanging at home drinking alone too. Oh, the places you'll go. The band released their gleeful debut album in 2014 on XLU Records. It's called "Poor People Revolting" and it's real good and funny and jams it just right. Since then, they've signed to a label called...Sub Pop? (sounds familiar). You may listen to them now.
I called this song by New Orleans' Donovan Wolfington one of my favorite songs of last year and I wasn't lying. After listening to it, you let me know if there's any more information you would like to receive about this good band. Thanks for your time.
BECAUSE HE'S THE CHILLEST.
(whispers) "look at you... miracles happen.... everyday"
Hudson, NY's Palm are a band of four that make tight off-kilter math punk that slip, slides, and bends before exploding with maniacally distorted shreds. When I listen to this band I hear skittish pop of Heavy Vegetable - the early Rob Crow project long since pushed aside in favor of the 137 other bands he's been in since then (approximation). But you may hear somebody different. I hear the quiet/loud/quiet/explode guitar swoops of Rodan and the Louisville scene they co-owned (with Slint) circa the '90s. But you may hear something different. And I hear Sonic Youth because I once saw Thurston Moore in the basement of Duane Reade. But you may hear something different. Hope this helps.
Gothenburg, Sweden's Makthaverskan are a band of five (Maja + Irma + Andreas + Gustav + Hugo) that play shimmering indiepop with dreamy jingles and some hard-edged jangles. It's more punk than precious but with plenty of pop. And as an added bonus, Maja is a singer who can actually sing. Wow! Rare! Mint! This is a really good band and since they've been around for several years now perhaps you already know that. If so, cool for you. Also, did you know Hugo and Gustav are in the band Westkust? God, they're good too. But not coming to CMJ. Sorry. But I'll still let you stream a song from them because this is my music blob and I can do what I want.
P.S. I LOVE this Makthaverskan album.
Teen Commandments is a band from Williamsburg (the one in Brooklyn - not Virginia - although I hear that one is nice too in a colonial sorta way - I've never been) who make synth pop. If you like Cut Copy (they're from Australia - I've never been there either) you might like the sounds this crew is slinging. They go great at rhythmic ceremonial rituals like concerts and dances and quinceañeras.
Brooklyn's Downies are four dudes (Greg + Cameron + Dave + Bernard) that play extremely catchy jingle-jangle punk. They're pretty new and they're pretty good. Pretty, pretty, prettyyyyy good. Oh yeah, this band features members of LVL UP and Porches too. Just thought you should know. Also, the majority of the members of Downies live at DIY "music venue" David Blaine's Steakhouse which serves neither steak nor is owned by David Blaine and all we're allowed to tell you is that it's somewhere in Brooklyn. If you want to see a show there just follow your #heart and you'll find it. I know you will. I believe in you.
Furnsss is a fuzzy crunchy jingle-jangle band of four from Burlington, CT - a town of 8,190 nestled 2 hours and 19 minutes from Brooklyn and 2 hours and 10 minutes from Boston. Please note: figures entirely dependent upon current traffic and if Wikipedia has Burlington's most recent census data. But enough geography (Michael Jordan's major at UNC). You wanna know what this band sounds like. Furnsss sound like a good goddamn INDIE ROCK band. That's what they sound like. Remember INDIE ROCK, man? Do you remember? Have you forgotten? Is 1994 just a number to you? Can U still feel the butterflies????
Let's close strong. Listen to this new Pity Sex song.
There you have it. 15 Bands To See At CMJ 2015.
Tah Dah! Symmetry!
Please also check out ALL of the good Official CMJ Shows.
And hey how about those FREE CMJ Shows too?
You need to make the font bigger sometimes. Tell me not my faults for I already know them.