Spotlight: CMJ Music Marathon

For one week each year, an ever-expanding cluster of venues, bars, and art spaces in Manhattan and Brooklyn transform into one massive festival grounds. October 18th-22nd flocks of industry folk, proactive fans, college students,bloggers, mainstreamers, hipsters, and musicians will all zig zag through the city dipping in and out shows at a pace not seen anywhere else this side of Austin. Now in its 30th year, the CMJ Music Marathon has long been synonymous with new music in New York. It began with more humble numbers, but now sports over a 1000 bands (and that’s not counting the hundreds more that play “unofficial” sets). Spend a minute on that list and you’re guaranteed a nice little surge of overwhelming intrigue/panic/indifference from not only its sheer size, but its collection of unidentified names. All you can really do is click around, take mental notes, find some articles that recommend must-see acts, etc. So that’s what we’ll do right here, be one of those features. Our picks:

[BoxTitle]Porcelain Raft[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideo][/MusicVideo] [Listen][/Listen]

Among the many reasons to see London-via-Italy’s Mauro Remiddi perform is he’s simply a strikingly distinguished fellow, with a graceful way about his one-man, guitar loop setup. The atmospheric project (not Mauro’s first at age 37, but certainly his most personal) has steadily maintained momentum on a number of small releases in 2010, all leading to up a debut LP coming soon on Secretly Canadian. He returns to CMJ this year with more material and more fans.

[BoxTitle]Still Corners[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideo][/MusicVideo] [Listen]—creatures-of-an-hour.html[/Listen] [BuyNow][/BuyNow]

Recent signees to Sup Pop, dreamy London outfit Still Corners are of a high caliber buzz with an upcoming October release. Lead-off single “Cuckoo” has downright entranced listeners thanks to frontwoman Tessa Murray’s icy yet cutesy delivery. And they travel with old film-sourcing live projections to match their cinematic feel, so that’s a selling point.

[BoxTitle]Gauntlet Hair[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideo][/MusicVideo] [Listen][/Listen]

Denver art-noise pair Gauntlet Hair have a self titled album coming out just days before festival’s start. Up until now, they’ve garnered a ton of praise on a handful of reverbed-out freak jams. They tour as a larger ensemble, so expect a double-up on guitars and the general decibels.

[BoxTitle]Purity Ring[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideo][/MusicVideo] [Listen][/Listen]

Yes, we love talking about Purity Ring. The future-pop duo arrives to CMJ already a few stops into their tour with Neon Indian and Com Truise. Beat-sculptor Corin Roddick operates/pounds on this handmade electronic copper pipe contraption with corresponding lights which allows for an interesting assembly of each track, from sudden drops and down-tone gasps, to Megan James’ pixie vocals getting a live warping. It will be unlike anything else.

[BoxTitle]Blue Hawaii[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideo][/MusicVideo] [Listen][/Listen]
Any introduction you’ll read about Blue Hawaii will start on that distinct voice, as it belongs Raphaelle Standell-Preston, lead singer of fast-rising, Polaris Prize nominated indie act BRAIDS (whom are also a must catch). It’s the centerpiece here like it is with her other project, but is swims in different, more peaceful waters. Her boyfriend Alexander Cowan balances out the couple, manning the mood controls; they’re a simple and potent combination. And for now, a rather rare occurrence, since Preston’s main duties remain with her touring band.

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