A survival guide to CMJ and 3 bands to check out

by Samuel Hernandez

The world stops for CMJ’s music festival. With all eyes poised on who the next up and coming band will be, it’s easy to get lost in the tantalizing game of, “this is going to be the band that breaks out” and, “this band I just saw at Santo’s Party House is going to be the next Preatures.” All your indie favorites and greats have passed through town in October, like the last bang before the doldrums of winter bring you closer in touch with dreaded coat check and drinking to pretend that it’s making you warmer.

So here are my three bands that are here and now going to be the next big thing, the propelled to super stardom on the back of a chaotic performance.

The Local Darlings You’ve Already Heard About Here

Teen Men are irresponsibly playing CMJ. Irresponsible because hordes of new listeners will flock to their melancholic but exuberant, afraid-there-might-be-some-dark-secret-hidden-beneath-but-beaming pop music. Their performances are entertaining, public access gems that catch you off guard and then find you mindlessly doing as you’re told. “Hiding Records,” off their free EP Apartment in the City, is an audiophile love song with beautiful birdlike synth solos, chunky guitar, and a hidden cowbell somewhere in the background. You can catch them at the Lit Lounge Thursday Oct. 23 at 9:00 PM.

The Texas Boy Who You’d Never Guess Was From Texas

I won’t be as verbose as Matthew Dear is on his CMJ artist page. Matthew Dear somehow manages to sound lo-fi while working primarily with electronic elements. “Slowdance” off his album Black City sums up my feelings about his music “I like your slow love/it’s like every bee sting/tries to make my ears ring/let them wash your face, man/and sing you your songs.” It’s casually seductive, a late night trawl through the city in search of the next beautiful moment and you can feel him serenade late night at Verboten Saturday Oct. 25 at 11:00 pm.

There’s Always Going to Be a Los Angeles Band On These Lists

Faded Paper Figures are trembling with interesting moments. “Breathing,” off their latest album Relics, moves from jaunty electro pop to deep foreboding electronica. But the band has more range than a simple Imagine Dragons cover band, the next song is a deep vibrating showdown in the west, the vocals alternate between the troubled male to the reassuring female. The duet feels classic with an indie touch. The band can be seen at Bowery Electric Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 8:55 PM.

Before venturing off to see three bands that Quip recommends here are steps to surviving CMJ music festival this year.

1. Ignore what journalists are saying will be the next big thing and go ahead and do your thing until you find a band you want to see multiple times at CMJ. Which you can do because most bands are playing shows like your manically going to shows.

2. Do yourself a favor and discover the Manhattan venue trifecta that is Cake Shop, The Living Room, and Pianos because they’re right beside each other and if you don’t like one showcase you can pop into the one next door. If the drinks aren’t to your liking at one you can stop in where they’re giving away Tecate.

3. Be irresponsible, get drunk, stay out late, go to work hungover, and talk about how much you loved every minute of it. Last year I skipped work to write something up and met up with a friend for Lower East Side food. I started raving about how I’d just seen the best band loudly in a small space. Then I noticed the curly haired guitarist from the night before ordering food and trying to become invisible so I didn’t further fanboy over him.

CMJ is six days. Make everything in those six days about CMJ.