That’s right readers, it’s that time of year again. The time of year where hordes of college kids, industry snobs and even a couple music enthusiasts flood the streets with giddy anticipation in the hopes that they will discover the next big thing. While most of you already know the heavy hitters like Phoenix, Nada Surf and Ghostface Killah, some of you may need an assist when it comes to sorting through the 1,200 plus artists scheduled to play this years marathon. That’s where I step in and pass along this short list of 10 must see bands performing during the 30th installment of the CMJ Music Marathon. In no particular order, here is what I believe to be the cream of this year’s crop of buzz worthy artists.
1. Grouplove - This band of LA youngsters has the potential to be a household name by the years end. They recently signed to the Atlantic imprint Canvasback and scored tour dates opening for Two Door Cinema Club and Florence and the Machine. See them at Canal Room for the ASCAP Showcase on October 20.
2. Fences - A budding troubadour from the Northwest whose debut album was produced by Sara Quinn of Tegan and Sara should have no problem getting attention. The 27-year-old Chris Mansfield writes songs from the heart with the sincerity and honesty of a man who’s lived life beyond his years. See him perform at Highline Ballroom on October 19.
4. The Jezabels - A friend of mine went to Australia and returned with news of an impending invasion from this Sydney quartet. Their earnest indie rock is sure to win over fans of intelligent and moody song writing. See them make their United States debut at Bowery Ballroom on October 21.
5. Gentleman Jesse and His Men - This band of Atlanta boys pick up where The Exploding Hearts left off expanding on a brand of no frills, 1970’s inspired power-pop that can provide the soundtrack to a good time no matter what the circumstance. Go shake your hips with these Black Lips disciples on October 23 at Cake Shop.
6. Cults - The hype is strong in this one and rightfully so thanks to the undeniable swoon on the breakthrough track “Go Outside” that garnered the label of “Next Big Thing” from every publication imaginable. The crazy folks over at Adult Swim took a shine to their lo-fi pop and created a video for the swinging 60’s glazed jam “OMG”. See them October 22 at Glasslands.
8. DOM - The buzz for this relatively unknown band from Worchester, MA began in the early spring when Pitchfork hopped on board and gave their debut EP Sun Bronzed Greek Gods a glowing review. In less than a year, they’ve fought off obscurity, landed a support slot on a massive Ratatat tour and signed a record deal with Astralwerks. See them October 23 at Bowery Ballroom.
9. Alex Winston - Here is a name you’re going to want to remember. Despite only playing a single “secret” show before CMJ, the word on the street is that she has the chops to be a star and with the team being built around her there is no reason not to believe it. Oh, she is also one heck of a singer if tht matters to you. See her “debut” show October 21 at Public Assembly.
10. PS I Love You - There is something about post-grunge, distortion heavy, Canadian duos that really speaks to my core. The intense synergy of overly qualified garage guitar and unstoppable beats should have heads banging across the country in no time at all. See them October 20 at Webster Hall in the Marlin Room.
So there you have it, 10 bands you should go out of your way to see during the 2010 CMJ Music Marathon along with a few honorable mentions for good measure. Good luck out there!