Your Guide to CMJ

October 18, 2010 at 2:43 pm 1 comment

For those not in the know, the CMJ Festival begins tomorrow in good ol’ New York City. The festival is put on by CMJ, or College Music Journal, and is similar to SXSW in that it takes over various venues all over the city and puts on fabulous shows of many under-the-radar and/or unsigned bands. The industry folks all come out to play, but you don’t need to be an insider to enjoy the music! Many shows are free, and if you don’t have a badge not to worry, you can also buy tickets to lots of shows or just pay at the door. We here at Toast ‘N Jams are super excited for lots of bands but here are our top ten:


The single “Go Outside” by Cults has been playing nonstop on blogs for the past few months, and it makes sense because they are such a summery, upbeat band. The duo is young (21) and they sound it, but their youthful nature is what makes them so charming. Their 7” is available through Forest Family records, and word on the street is that their full length will drop in January 2011.

Das Racist

Photo By Jackie Roman,

This hip hop duo took the internet by force and drilled their single, “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” into thousands (perhaps millions) of heads on repeat, deservedly so. Not for a long time has hip hop sounded this fresh, interesting, intellectual, and relevant. Check out their free mixtape on their website before seeing them live at CMJ. They’ve got 3 shows that we know of–make sure to catch one!


Photo by Stephen Reiss, 2009

Brooklyn band Diehard has been playing live locally for the past year, and finally put out their first official EP this Fall. The indie power-pop quartet plays fun, upbeat, and not-over-saturated songs that are good for dancing, or even a comfortable sway.

First Aid Kit

Gotta love the Swedes! Sister duo Johanna and Klara Söderberg use folksy harmonies to create beautiful music as First Aid Kit. Check out their video for their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.”

Lower Dens

The latest, hottest thing to come out of Baltimore, Lower Dens have the added cache of having Jana Hunter as a frontwoman, and she brought her musty, dusky, lusty voice with her. They have no less than 10 shows during CMJ (and possibly more) so you have no excuse for missing them!

The Luyas

phot by Danielle St-Amour and Stacey Ho

A Montreal band with ties to Miracle Fortress, Bell Orchestre, and Arcade Fire, the Luyas use unconventional instruments like a French horn and a 12-string electric zither. They haven’t played that many US shows yet, so hear ‘em while their still somewhat under the radar.

Screaming Females

Rarely does one band have such an excellent package: kick ass guitar riffs, a spitfire of a female lead singer, and a live exuberance that makes every show exciting. If you haven’t ever seen NJ’s Screaming Females live, don’t miss them.


photo by Michelle Moore

Another sister group, these young women hail from Seattle and have been playing music since they were wee little girls, recording their first album when they were 10 and 12 and opening for the likes of Cat Power, Pearl Jam, and Sufjan Stevens. Their latest has a more mature and less poppy sound, with lush vocals and sweeping melodies, as well as younger sister Maia on bass.

Turbo Fruits

No pretentions here; Turbo Fruits are pure punk fun. Originally a member of the now defunct Be Your Own Pet, band leader Jonas Stein decided to trek out on his own, to (pardon the pun) fruitful results. Turbo Fruits are full of energy, and have a modern, rowdy take on the punk genre that will thrill any music fun-seekers.

Wild Nothing

Virginia’s Jack Tatum lets loose in a fuzzy, dreamy, classic 80s kind of way. Paying homage to bands like the Smiths, Cocteau Twins, and My Bloody Valentine, Wild Nothing’s dream pop will have you shoe gazing the night away.

Other bands worth checking out: Beach Fossils, Gold Panda, Marnie Stern, Matthew Dear, +/-, The Photo Atlas, Surfer Blood, Drums, the Ramblers, Francis & the Lights, the Mynabirds, French Horn Rebellion, Ava Luna, Tamaryn, John Vanderslice, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, Red Wire Black Wire, La Sera, Violens, Braids, and Dark Dark Dark.

For an (almost) complete schedule, check out Oh My Rockness.

Entry filed under: Bands We Like, DevoLT, Jams, JudyJams, Music News. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Eat This: Traditional Chinese Breakfast Ari Up, Riotgrrrl Pioneer, 1962–2010

1 Comment Add your own

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 11 other followers

Like us on Facebook!

Like this at Facebook!

Contact Us

%d bloggers like this: