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Our Favorite Discoveries From The 2013 CMJ Music Festival

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1 hr 9 min 17 sec
 
Lucius was just one of the many bands worth discovering at this year's CMJ festival.

Lucius was just one of the many bands worth discovering at this year's CMJ festival. Becky Harlan/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Becky Harlan/NPR
  • "From Cardiff, Wales, it's Joanna Newsom's evil twin Joanna Gruesome." - Bob Boilen
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    "From Cardiff, Wales, it's Joanna Newsom's evil twin Joanna Gruesome." - Bob Boilen
    Bob Boilen
  • "The Bots rocked my daytime. A guitar-drums duo like many, but with the kind of youthful, carefree charm that Jimi Hendrix exuded." - Bob Boilen
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    "The Bots rocked my daytime. A guitar-drums duo like many, but with the kind of youthful, carefree charm that Jimi Hendrix exuded." - Bob Boilen
    Bob Boilen
  • "Jacco Gardner was way too young when The Zombies recorded Odessey and Oracle in 1968, but it sounds like he was a fly on the wall. Gardner is a 20-something from the Netherlands making music with digital harpsichords. Such fun." - Bob Boilen
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    "Jacco Gardner was way too young when The Zombies recorded Odessey and Oracle in 1968, but it sounds like he was a fly on the wall. Gardner is a 20-something from the Netherlands making music with digital harpsichords. Such fun." - Bob Boilen
    Bob Boilen
  • "Shark Week sounded great back home when I saw them in D.C., but sound even better in less-charted waters." - Bob Boilen
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    "Shark Week sounded great back home when I saw them in D.C., but sound even better in less-charted waters." - Bob Boilen
    Bob Boilen
  • "Keep a look out for this dreamy D.C. pop duo, Gems in 2014." - Bob Boilen
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    "Keep a look out for this dreamy D.C. pop duo, Gems in 2014." - Bob Boilen
    Bob Boilen
  • "Eleanor Friedberger, performing a live noon set for KEXP, at the Judson Memorial Church in New York. Madly love her words." - Bob Boilen
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    "Eleanor Friedberger, performing a live noon set for KEXP, at the Judson Memorial Church in New York. Madly love her words." - Bob Boilen
    Bob Boilen
  • "James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) at right introduced a decoy band of costumed characters called The Reflektors, shortly before Arcade Fire appeared on a different stage." - Bob Boilen
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    "James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) at right introduced a decoy band of costumed characters called The Reflektors, shortly before Arcade Fire appeared on a different stage." - Bob Boilen
    Bob Boilen
  • "A bit pixilated, but these are the masks the decoy band members were wearing when they rolled up in a limo for the show. Everyone thought they were members of Arcade Fire, but were they?" - Bob Boilen
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    "A bit pixilated, but these are the masks the decoy band members were wearing when they rolled up in a limo for the show. Everyone thought they were members of Arcade Fire, but were they?" - Bob Boilen
    Bob Boilen
  • "Australian singer Courtney Barnett. I saw her three times during the festival and couldn't get enough of her.  One of my favorite performers." - Bob Boilen
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    "Australian singer Courtney Barnett. I saw her three times during the festival and couldn't get enough of her. One of my favorite performers." - Bob Boilen
    Bob Boilen
  • "This may be the best new thing for me at CMJ: complete with robot voice, banjo, samples, drums, and film... and they rock. It's the multimedia group Public Service Broadcasting." - Bob Boilen
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    "This may be the best new thing for me at CMJ: complete with robot voice, banjo, samples, drums, and film... and they rock. It's the multimedia group Public Service Broadcasting." - Bob Boilen
    Bob Boilen
  • "Brolos with Jimmy Carbonetti of the band Caveman." - Bob Boilen
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    "Brolos with Jimmy Carbonetti of the band Caveman." - Bob Boilen
    Bob Boilen
  • "This guy fell asleep next to one of the speakers at a Yuck show. Toward the end, Yuck guitarist Max Bloom helped the man to his feet, strapped his guitar over the man's shoulders and walked him to center stage. The man staggered a bit before falling down head over heels. And so ends another CMJ." - Bob Boilen
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    "This guy fell asleep next to one of the speakers at a Yuck show. Toward the end, Yuck guitarist Max Bloom helped the man to his feet, strapped his guitar over the man's shoulders and walked him to center stage. The man staggered a bit before falling down head over heels. And so ends another CMJ." - Bob Boilen
    Bob Boilen

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Every fall, hundreds of bands flock to New York City for the annual CMJ Music Marathon, a large festival where independent, new and emerging musicians hope to be discovered. All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen was among the countless journalists, bloggers, college radio DJs, record label reps and others who attempted to navigate the sea of live performances, hoping to find new music to love and share.

On this week's show, Bob's joined by music critic Maria Sherman and WSPN's Becka Schwartz to talk about and play some of their favorite discoveries out of the hundreds of shows they saw, including D.C. punks Priests, British multimedia duo Public Service Broadcasting, rockabilly singer King Dude, '60s-era soul from Nick Waterhouse and many more.

Hear The Songs

Cover for Tape Two

Priests

  • Album: Tape Two
  • Song: Leave Me Alone

Music critic Maria Sherman shares this cut from Priests, a group from Washington, D.C., that Sherman describes as "a female-fronted, arty proto-punk band," reminiscent of the District's bustling '80s punk scene.

Cover for Nerve Endings

Eagulls

  • Album: Nerve Endings
  • Song: Nerve Endings

Becka Schwartz from WSPN in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., joins the show and brings with her a song from the British rock group Eagulls (not The Eagles). "Nerve Endings" is driving Brit rock with a Billy Idol-sneer.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Nerve Endings
Album
Nerve Endings
Artist
Eagulls
Label
Partisan
Released
2013

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Cover for Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas

Courtney Barnett

  • Album: Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas
  • Song: Avant Gardener

Australian singer Courtney Barnett's brand of hazy pop has melancholy, but sweetly endearing lyrics. "Avett Gardener" is a fun jaunt with an off-the-cuff, stream-of-consciousness story.

Cover for Cabinet of Curiosities

Jacco Gardner

  • Album: Cabinet of Curiosities
  • Song: Where Will You Go

Another discovery from WSPN's Becca Schwartz, Jacco Gardner's "Where Will You Go" is a mysterious, dreamy pop wonderland.

Cover for Jinx

Weekend

  • Album: Jinx
  • Song: July

Maria Sherman rediscovered why she loves this band so much at this year's CMJ festival. Weekend's latest album, Jinx, is a mix of swirling, shoegazy guitars. But "July" is one of the brighter, poppier tracks.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
July
Album
Jinx
Artist
Weekend
Label
Slumberland
Released
2013

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Cover for Inform - Educate - Entertain

Public Service Broadcasting

  • Album: Inform - Educate - Entertain
  • Song: Spitfire

An innovative British multimedia duo, Public Service Broadcasting, was one of Bob's favorite surprises from CMJ. The band borrows clips and audio samples for public service announcements and infomercials and turns them into music.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Spitfire
Album
Inform - Educate - Entertain
Artist
Public Service Broadcasting
Label
Test Card
Released
2013

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Cover for Burning Daylight

King Dude

  • Album: Burning Daylight
  • Song: Holy Land

"Holy Land" is a deep and imposing dust-up drowned in reverb. King Dude's rockabilly voice will likely remind listeners of Johnny Cash.

Cover for Time's All Gone

Nick Waterhouse

  • Album: Time's All Gone
  • Song: Some Place

Straight out of a 1960s jukebox, "Some Place" is soulful and rambunctious with a wailing brass section.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Some Place
Album
Time's All Gone
Artist
Nick Waterhouse
Label
Innovative Leisure
Released
2012

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Cover for Reflektor

Arcade Fire

  • Album: Reflektor
  • Song: Reflektor

Arcade Fire played by far the most popular show at CMJ, so we thought it was a good excuse to share the title track from the band's upcoming new album, Reflektor. It's got supremely danceable synths, a writhing bass line, and a cameo by David Bowie.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Reflektor
Album
Reflektor
Artist
Arcade Fire
Label
Merge Records
Released
2013

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Cover for I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling

Perfect Pussy

  • Album: I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling
  • Song: I

Reviewer Maria Sherman shares a track from Perfect Pussy, a smart, pop-punk band. "One" is a furious cut, teeming with overdrive, and lots of noise. It comes and goes in a flash.

Cover for 10x

Celestial Shore

  • Album: 10x
  • Song: Rabbit Hole

"Rabbit Hole" from Brooklyn's Celestial Shore evolves like a Dirty Projectors song, morphing from straightforward indie rock to John Zorn-inspired madness, and back again.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Rabbit Hole
Album
10x
Artist
Celestial Shore
Label
Hometapes

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Cover for Medusa

GEMS

  • Album: Medusa
  • Song: Medusa

Gems is a dreamy pop band from Washington, D.C., comprised of Lindsay Pitts and Cliff Usher. "Medusa" is the title track from the duo's first official EP.

Cover for Wildewoman

Lucius

  • Album: Wildewoman
  • Song: Tempest

Lucius was one of Bob's favorite acts at CMJ. The band's performance coincided with the release of its phenomenal debut album, Wildewoman.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Tempest
Album
Wildewoman
Artist
Lucius
Label
Mom + Pop
Released
2013

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Cover for Glow & Behold

Yuck

  • Album: Glow & Behold
  • Song: Middle Sea

Though the group was without one of its founding members (Daniel Blumberg, who left to form Hebronix), Yuck proved with its performances at CMJ (and new album, Glow & Behold) that the band is as strong as ever.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Middle Sea
Album
Glow & Behold
Artist
Yuck
Label
Fat Possum

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Cover for Law and Order

Jonathan Rado

  • Album: Law and Order
  • Song: Seven Horses

Jonathan Rado is a founding member of Foxygen, one of the most talked about bands from CMJ 2012. A year later, he released his debut solo record, Law and Order.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Seven Horses
Album
Law and Order
Artist
Jonathan Rado
Label
Woodsist
Released
2013

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Cover for Pearl Mystic

Hookworms

  • Album: Pearl Mystic
  • Song: Away/Towards

One of the most intense acts at CMJ 2013, this Leeds-based group mixes pulsing noise with screaming vocals.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Away/Towards
Album
Pearl Mystic
Artist
Hookworms
Label
Gringo Records
Released
2013

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Cover for Santurce

Shark Week

  • Album: Santurce
  • Song: Baby Maybe

As the group's name implies, Shark Week is a fierce, surfy rock band with a lot of charisma.

Cover for Sincerely Sorry

The Bots

  • Album: Sincerely Sorry
  • Song: 5.17

One of the more surprising acts at CMJ, The Bots are an L.A.-based duo featuring young brothers Anaiah and Mikaiah Lei. Though just 20, Mikaiah plays guitar, bass, keys and sings in the group, while his 16-year-old brother Anaiah handles percussion and background vocals. Their sound is not too far removed from The Black Keys or The White Stripes, but with a bit more R&B influence, and a dash of Jimi Hendrix thrown in.

Cover for Don't You Wanna Be Mine?

The History of Apple Pie

  • Album: Don't You Wanna Be Mine?
  • Song: Don't You Wanna Be Mine?

The History of Apple Pie had by far the best band name at CMJ, and their sound is super raw.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Don't You Wanna Be Mine?
Album
Don't You Wanna Be Mine?
Artist
The History of Apple Pie
Label
Marshall Teller
Released
2013

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Cover for Canvas

Margot MacDonald

  • Album: Canvas
  • Song: Speed of Sound

Margot MacDonald is yet another artist from Washington, D.C. who stood out at CMJ. She makes her unique sound by layering live vocal loops with percussive beatboxing.

Cover for Weird Sister

Joanna Gruesome

  • Album: Weird Sister
  • Song: Anti-Parent Cowboy Killers

One of the most talked about bands of the entire week, and a band we've featured on All Songs Considered, Joanna Gruesome was a big splash at CMJ, with a raucous, raw sound and a charismatic lead vocalist in Alanna McArdle.

Featured Artist

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