New York's most youthful outing of great music tees off this Tuesday, October 15. CMJ, as it’s known, is the birth place of New York talent scouting. It's the heart of new music, and it makes NME look like granddads. Artists from different backgrounds come together for the experience and hope of being recognised as a standout artist among hundreds. For some, it's the starting point; and for others it may just be one step in a staircase on their journey to the top. It's the ultimate music draft, some are picked first, others are highlighted, and are then chosen by the almighty man in years to come. These five artists are not the most unknown of the bunch, but they've impressed us with their output over the last few years. This is our draft selection...
5. Savages / 9:00pm Wednesday - Terminal 5, Manhattan.
Most likely to: bring back memories of privatisation in the 80s.
I saw Savages in 2012, before all the commotion. Back then, knowing Savages would go on to create a devastatingly good debut album was instant. The way they presented themselves on stage, the dark lighting, the shadows, the bass stab, and the hidden delay, were all part of Savages' on-going persona. Post-punk has never been played so nostalgically, but at the same time fresh, than Savages' debut album Silent Yourself. Hear the atmosphere Savages create in the KEXP studio above, now imagine that in a venue prone to echoes. Savages are dominating the rejuvenation of post-punk in the UK, and there’s nothing New York can do about slowing them down, or quietening them.
4. Talib Kweli / 9:00pm Wednesday - Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Most likely to: freestyle like you've never heard freestyling before.
Talib Kweli is one half of Black Star, the other being Mos Def of course. Kweli rose to underground fame with his debut album Quality in 2002, which featured the classic track "Get By" produced by Kanye West. He's always been an underground rapper with a talent for flow and song-writing. Kweli is an artist not to be missed.
3. TV Girl / 8:45pm Friday - Lit Lounge, Manhattan.
Most likely to: instigate an awkward conversation with that girl you like.
TV Girl are the west coast, chirpy lovely light hearted development of a scouse band called The Wombats. They're defined by their clever use of electronics and samples (to which they've annoyed a few majors with.) Love songs are at the heart of TV Girl's lyricism, and if it's not about absolute love, it's about unrequited love, or jealousy.
2. Hunters / Midnight Wesnesday > Thursday - Cameo Gallery, Brooklyn.
Most likely to: start a mosh pit.
Hunters played a phenomenal set at this year’s 4Knots festival. With there's duelling vocalists and chaotic grunge-like sound, Hunters are defined by the simplicity of punk rock. Having already released their self-titled debut album on Mom+Pop, Hunters intend to bring havoc to the scene they grew up and out of. They're not just one of the more exciting bands to take the stage at this year’s CMJ, but one with high potential.
1. Heliotropes / 9:20pm Friday - Union Pool, Brooklyn.
Most likely to: close your eyes and control your ligaments with the power of psychedelia
Heliotropes were also on The Village Voice's 4Knots bill earlier in the year. They sounded fantastic live, with exceptional use of reverberation on both the lead guitar and Nya Abudu's vocals. The quartet released their electrifying debut album A Constant Sea back in June, and comparatively perform the album live as you'd expect a psychedelic rock band of this nature to transform studio recordings for live audiences. Definitely one of the artists to look out for, not just at CMJ, but in the on-going improving Brooklyn music scene.