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Our Favorite Discoveries From The 2013 CMJ Music Festival

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Our Favorite Discoveries From The 2013 CMJ Music Festival

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Our Favorite Discoveries From The 2013 CMJ Music Festival

Our Favorite Discoveries From The 2013 CMJ Music Festival

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

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Becky Harlan/NPR

The View From Bob Boilen's Camera At CMJ

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

  • Song: Leave Me Alone
  • from Tape Two

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.

Our Favorite Discoveries From The 2013 CMJ Music Festival

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Nerve Endings

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Eagulls

  • Song: Nerve Endings
  • from 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.

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

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Avant Gardener

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/239149947/239246169" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Courtney Barnett

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

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.

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Where Will You Go

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Jacco Gardner

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

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

Cover for Jinx

Weekend

  • Song: July
  • from Jinx

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.

July

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Song
Jinx
Album
Jinx
Artist
Weekend
Label
Slumberland
Released
2013

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Public Service Broadcasting

  • Song: Spitfire
  • from Inform - Educate - Entertain

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.

Spitfire

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

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King Dude

  • Song: Holy Land
  • from Burning Daylight

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

Holy Land

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Cover for Time's All Gone

Nick Waterhouse

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

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

Some Place

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

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Arcade Fire

  • Song: Reflektor
  • from 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.

Reflektor

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

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Perfect Pussy

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

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.

I

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Celestial Shore

  • Song: Rabbit Hole
  • from 10x

"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.

Rabbit Hole

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10x
Album
10x
Artist
Celestial Shore
Label
Hometapes

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GEMS

  • Song: Medusa
  • from 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.

Medusa

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Lucius

  • Song: Tempest
  • from Wildewoman

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

Tempest

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

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Yuck

  • Song: Middle Sea
  • from Glow & Behold

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.

Middle Sea

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Glow & Behold
Album
Glow & Behold
Artist
Yuck
Label
Fat Possum

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Jonathan Rado

  • Song: Seven Horses
  • from Law and Order

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.

Seven Horses

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Law and Order
Album
Law and Order
Artist
Jonathan Rado
Label
Woodsist
Released
2013

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Hookworms

  • Song: Away/Towards
  • from Pearl Mystic

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

Away/Towards

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Song
Pearl Mystic
Album
Pearl Mystic
Artist
Hookworms
Label
Gringo Records
Released
2013

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Shark Week

  • Song: Baby Maybe
  • from Santurce

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

Baby Maybe

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The Bots

  • Song: 5.17
  • from Sincerely Sorry

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.

5.17

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Cover for Don't You Wanna Be Mine?

The History of Apple Pie

  • Song: Don't You Wanna Be Mine?
  • from 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.

Don't You Wanna Be Mine?

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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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Margot MacDonald

  • Song: Speed of Sound
  • from Canvas

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.

Speed of Sound

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Anti-Parent Cowboy Killers

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Joanna Gruesome

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

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.