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Here Are the Shows You Need to See at CMJ's Festival This Week

By Savannah Cox | October 13, 2015 7:51am

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the CMJ Music Marathon, a multi-day event in New York City that celebrates emerging artists and ideas.

The festival takes place from Tuesday to Saturday, with shows scattered throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.

While five days might seem like an ample amount of time to soak in all of the sounds emanating from the various festival venues, with more than 300 performers and dozens of showcases, conferences and speakers on the festival schedule, choosing exactly which artists to see can be daunting.

To make that easier, DNAinfo New York spoke with city music bloggers at Brooklyn Vegan and Birthplace Magazine founder and editor-in-chief Manny Faces to get their takes on which acts not to miss.

►Tuesday, October 13th

Stealing Sheep

Prhyme with Adrian Younge, Gramercy Theater, 7 p.m. — "For more purist rap fans, catching [these guys] is a no-brainer," Faces said.

Stealing Sheep, Living Room, 8 p.m. (also performing Fri. at Niagara and Sat. at Knitting Factory) — "Liverpool's beguiling Stealing Sheep's second album, 'Not Real', melds 'faery folk' with new wave and prog," said Brooklyn Vegan music writer Bill Pearis.

Hooton Tennis Club, Rockwood Stage 2 at 8 p.m., and Living Room at 11 p.m. (also performing Weds. at Cake Shop and Santos Party House) — "Also from Liverpool, [they] make ridiculously catchy indie rock that owes more than a little to Pavement," Pearis added.

Weekend Money, Arlene's Grocery, 9:40 p.m. — "They're a "quirky, sonically-ambitious alt-trap outfit worth checking out," Faces said.

Denitia and Sene, Arlene's Grocery, 10:20 p.m. — "Denetia has a wonderful vocal allure, and I'm convinced that their return to prominence is close at hand," said Faces.

►Wednesday, October 14th

Spanglish Fly

Fame School, Arlene's Grocery, 4:15 p.m. — "Their trappy vibes" are a must see for the Birthplace Magazine founder.

Jonathan Hoard, Rockwood Stage 2, 5:15 p.m. — "I'd catch [his] soulful, classic-house-styled crooning early," Faces remarked.

Neon Indian, Webster Hall, 8 p.m. — "One of the rare artists who came out of the chillwave craze and still manages to keep progressing and make interesting music," Brooklyn Vegan writer Andrew Sacher said.

"His third album will be out the week of CMJ, so it's perfect timing to see what kind of live show he's got in store for us this time."

Spanglish Fly, Littlefield, 8 p.m. — "I'd swing by the multi-genre show at Littlefield, particularly to check out [this] New York Boogaloo outfit led by a NYC musical gem in vocalist Mariella Gonzalez," said Faces.

Questlove, Brooklyn Bowl, 12 a.m. — "I'd certainly end [the day] by catching this event," Faces said.

►Thursday, October 15th

Panda Bear

Panda Bear, Bowery Ballroom, 9 p.m. (also performing Tues. and Weds. at Bowery Ballroom) — "It's hard to believe [chillwave] would've started without the massive influence of Panda Bear's 'Person Pitch' album, and he continues to progress in interesting ways too," said Sacher.

"This year's 'Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper' keeps the futuristic Brian Wilson-isms we know and love intact, but it explores new ground too. He has three CMJ shows, all of which are sold out, so get there early if you're using a badge."

S, Knitting Factory, 9:15 p.m. (also performing Sat. at Knitting Factory) — "Carissa's Wierd singer Jenn Ghetto has been making music under the moniker S since before Carissa's Wierd broke up," Sacher said.

"Last year she released her first full-band album under that moniker and it's really great stuff. S played last year but we didn't get to catch her, so we're glad to get another chance."

The Gotobeds, Knitting Factory, 10:25 p.m. (also performing Fri. at Cake Shop) — "Former tourmates, [The Gotobeds and Protomartyr] share a similar worldview (and love of The Fall) and bleak sense of humor," said Pearis.

"The Gotobeds are playing multiple times during CMJ too, definitely worth catching."

Protomartyr, Knitting Factory, 12:10 a.m. (also performing Weds. at Santos Party House and Fri. at Rough Trade) — "Few current bands channel the pent-up vibe better than Detroit's Protomartyr who just released their masterful third album, 'The Agent Intellect'," Pearis said.

►Friday, October 16th

Phony PPL

Car Seat Headrest, Rough Trade, 7:30 p.m. (also performing Weds. at Pianos and Santos Party House) — "[This is] one of the bands we're most excited to see," said Sacher. "They just signed to Matador Records, and [are] playing a bunch of shows," Sacher added.

Destruction Unit, Baby's All Right, 8 p.m. — "[These] Arizona psych punks are truly one of those bands who are different every time you see them. If you can, catch them twice or maybe three times at CMJ. It's a real trip," said Sacher.

Shopping, Music Hall of Williamsburg, 9:15 p.m. (also performing Weds. at Pianos) — "[Their] brittle, herky-jerky rhythms and shouted choruses recall early-'80s post punk," said Bill Pearis.

The Band Called FUSE, Littlefield, 10:30 p.m. (also performing Sat. at Littlefield) — "An exciting fusion band, mixing rock, hip hop, funk and doing it the right way. They'll be recording their first live abum over these two nights. This is my pick of the entire festival," said Faces.

Phony PPL, The Wick, 11:30 p.m. (also performing Weds. at Arlene's Grocery) — Phoney PPL's exceptional live instrumentation could bring some high energy to [the festival]," said Faces.

►Saturday, October 17th

The Wonder Years, Webster Hall, 7 p.m. — "The Wonder Years are a polished pop punk whose ambitious new record 'No Closer to Heaven' is good enough to win over people who otherwise never listen to polished pop punk," Sacher noted.

"It's a cathartic release that anyone who's ever lost a loved one can relate to, and it's even more intense live."

Cross Culture, Black Bear Bar, 10 p.m. — "This show should be a good catch. [This] act is part of a burgeoning alt-hip hop vibe that is producing a lot of cool genre-blending bands and music around NYC," said the Birthplace editor-in-chief.

Stro, Drom, 10:30 p.m. — "Former boy wonder and X-Factor competitor will be rocking an equally diverse show at DROM," said Faces.

Ticket information for the CMJ Festival can be found here.