10 Must-See CMJ Bands For Every Type Of Music Fan

There’s no one right way to do CMJ, but there sure are a lot of wrong ones. Like any music festival, you’ll want to figure out of who you want to see, where you want to see them, and what time they go on. This goes double for CMJ – venues spread across the whole city can lead to planning nightmares up the wazoo. (Seriously, it hasn’t even started yet, and we’re already exhausted). But, whether you’re a blogger looking for the next big act or a music lover in search of an open bar, there are ways to ease your pain, and even end up having a really good time. That's where we come in! We’ve assembled a list of ten up-and-coming actsthat should please hip-hop heads, guitar geeks, and synth-pop lovers alike. Most of these acts play multiple times throughout the week, so you’ll have plenty of time to catch each and every one of them. Good luck (and good night)!
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Hip-Hop Heads
Mykki Blanco:
Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. has more personas than a bad Eddie Murphy movie: He's a noise rocker, a poet, a performance artist, and – most awesomely – a drag queen rapper that goes by the name of Mykki Blanco. With (his) her rapid-fire rhymes and booty dancer-equipped live-show, getting wavvy with Blanco is a must.
Friday, October 19, 8 p.m., 285 Kent, 285 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn (Between South 1st and 2nd streets); No Phone.
Death Grips:
When Death Grips' label pushed back their new record, NO LOVE DEEP WEB, until next year, the band started an Internet firestorm by dropping the album for free before their label had even heard it. (With extremely NSFW cover art, no less). That's the sort of group these guys are: confrontational, unapologetically abrasive rap-punks for the digital age.
Wednesday, October 17, 9 p.m., Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street (between Thompson and Sullivan streets); (212) 505-3474.
Joey Bada$$:
No one would call 17-year-old Brooklyn rapper the “cutting edge” of hip hop, and, frankly, that’s not what he’s interested in. Instead he’s happy to hang back and rhyme over beats that evoke ‘90s tracks he probably can’t even remember from the first time around. Thing is, he’s so great at what he does, he transcends being retro: Sometimes to go forward you have to look back.
Friday, October 19, 8:30 p.m., The Glasslands Gallery, 289 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn (between South 1st and 2nd streets) ; No Phone. Photos: (Clockwise from left) Courtesy of Joey Bada$$'s Facebook; Jonny Magowan; Mykki Blanco's Tumblr
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Synth Scenesters
Prince Rama:
Psych-leaning synth-poppers Prince Rama have been around for a while, but their live show is consistently getting ever better. Last time we caught them they had zombie dancers and played much of show out in the audience. Who knows what’s in store for CMJ, but prepare your mind for bending.
Saturday, October 20, 7 p.m., The Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn (between Roebling and Havemeyer streets); (347) 529-6696.
Sky Ferreira:
Long a fashion icon and IT girl, Sky Ferreria's music has finally caught up to her incomparable style. Her recent track "Everything Is Embarrassing," produced by Blood Orange's Dev Hynes (also responsible for Solange’s absolutely fantastic, “Losing You”), is a song of the year contender. Catching her opening for MNDR and MS MR at Bowery Ballroom would be a good bet.
Wednesday, October 17, 7:30 p.m., Union Hall, 702 Union Street, Brooklyn (between 5th and 6th avenues); (718) 638-4400.
Chad Valley:
Chad Valley embraces smooth ‘80s pop without so much as a wink of irony. For the Oxford-based artists its all smooth vocals, glorious drum pads, and sunset-in-Miami synths. His debut LP, Young Hunger, boasts guest appearances from the likes of Twin Shadow, Glasser, Active Child, El Perro Del Mar, and more, who all help to fill in Chad Valley neon-tinged vision.
Friday, October 19, 6 p.m., Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn (between North 11th and 12th streets); (718) 963-3369.
Icona Pop:
Swedish duo Icona Pop’s electro-pop smash “I love It” was a summer anthem for many of us, and the girls have a live show that matches their music’s breathless abandon. If you’re searching for big synths and even bigger hooks, look no further.
Friday, October 19, 6 p.m., Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn (between North 11th and 12th streets); 718 963-3369.
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Photos: (Clockwise from left) Courtesy of Cascine, Sky Ferreira, We Get Press, and Icona Pop
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Guitar Geeks
Hunters
During fashion week Refinery29 threw a little party in conjunction with Spin that featured everyone’s favorite #Seapunk rapper Azealia Banks. Those that got there early, however, got a different sort of treat: the garage punk assault of Hunters. Fronted by the twin assault of Derek Watson and Isabel Almeida, they're rock 'n' roll at its blisteringly purest.
Saturday, October 20, 7 p.m., The Fader Fort, 130 Hope Street, Brooklyn (between Keap and Rodney streets); No phone.
IO Echo
For fans of hazy guitars, drowned out vocals, and all things shoegaze, IO Echo are for you. The L.A. duo, made up of Leopold Ross and Ioanna Gika, recall the best of the ‘80s – from Siouxsie Sioux to indiepop, while a contemporary spin that’s approaches pure guitar bliss.
Friday, October 19, 2:10 p.m., Brooklyn Vegan Day Party, 70 North 6th Street, Brooklyn (between Wythe and Kent avenues); No phone.
DIIV:
Long referred to as a “beach fossils side project,” this Brooklyn band has long surpassed its humble origins. Fronted by the guitar-wielding Cole Smith, they’re one of the best new indie rock bands around.
Thursday, October 18, 7 p.m., Music Hall of Williamsburg 66 North 6th Street, Brooklyn (between Wythe and Kent avenues); (718) 486-5400.
Photos: (Clockwise from left) Courtesy of Hunters, IO Echo, and Life or Death PR