Here’s Your Guide to Philly artists at CMJ 2015
It’s an exciting time for the East coast music scene, as the CMJ Music Marathon kicked off in New York City this week. Despite being hosted by our more populous neighbors to the north, CMJ 2015 features an eclectic lineup of Philly bands that are sure to impress. If you’re interested in making the trek up to NYC between now and October 17th, we’ve got you covered with a list of just about everyone from Philly that will be playing at CMJ. There are a lot of bands playing CMJ 2015 though, so if we missed someone, let us know in the comments!
Little Strike, AKA Tamar Dart, is a solo electro-pop outfit hailing from Philly, and is one of the can’t-miss bands at CMJ. Dart’s ethereal vocals and crisp production combine to create an effortless atmospheric sound, reminiscent of a toned-down Beach House. She recently appeared on The Key Studio Sessions, performing her track “Come Out, Alright” off of her first EP, Forever Always Leaving. She plays tomorrow at Matchless.
Jesse Hale Moore has been in a number of Philly bands, including Nightlands and Auctioneer. Having since moved on to start a solo career, Moore recently put out the track “Every Time.” Produced by War On Drugs bassist Dave Hartley, “Every Time” follows the example of contemporaries FKA Twigs and James Vincent McMorrow in creating an modern R&B ballad that relies as much on lush synthesizer melodies as it does Moore’s falsetto croon. He plays tonight at Union Pool.
With their lo-fi guitar chords and wailing vocals, Left and Right are a punk band first and foremost. But on tracks like “Age of Independence,” posted below, the band takes inspiration from the bustling Philly pop-punk that surrounds them (Modern Baseball, The Menzingers) proving they’re unafraid of writing catchy, dance-worthy hooks. According to their Bandcamp, you can catch performing them multiple times at CMJ – so that probably includes unofficial showcases as well as their official show. They play tonight at Piano’s.
Mumblr are also a four-piece punk band – but let there be no mistake, they’re a different sort of punk than Left and Right. Mumblr draws equally from punk as it does emo. With its meandering bass line and spoken-word intro, “Premium,” the second track from their 2015 EP Super! Premium! Deluxe! could fit right in on an album like Ought’s More Than Any Other Day. Check it out below. They play Friday at Black Bear Bar.
Nalani and Sarina Bolton probably shouldn’t exist. They’re identical twins, the result of a biological mistake. But thankfully they do exist, and they’re able to provide us with their unique blend of soulful rock. Nalani & Sarina have a distinctly old-school sound to their music, which is ironic given that they aren’t even 20 years old yet. They recently released a very well-made music video for their track “Get Away.” Good luck telling them apart. They play Saturday at Rockwood Stage 2.
Four-piece rock outfit RFA’s most recent EP, Freaking Out, sounds like what you would get if you took The Strokes and replaced Julian Casablancas with a non-British Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys. While RFA maintains the grunge-y aesthetic of garage rock, Freaking Out is so well-produced that it loses some of the inherent grittiness of the genre. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, since these songs sound fantastic. They play Saturday at Arlene’s Grocery.
Ron Gallo‘s music sounds like it was made right after a hard day’s work, when all you want is to do is sit down and crack open a cold beer. This feeling of contended lethargy spans the entirety of Ronny, Gallo’s 2014 debut solo release. On the album, Gallo cultivates his own voice as a singer-songwriter, drawing on alt-country influences in creating an album full of lazy country tunes. He plays Saturday at Left Field.
Son Little is the Philadelphia-based solo project of Aaron Livingston. After his EP Things I Forgot, Livingston is set to release his self-titled debut album as Son Little earlier this month on Anti- Records. Check out Livingston’s soulful melodies in the video for the album’s sensual single “Lay Down” below. He opened the festival last night at Rockwood Music Hall and plays tonight at Le Poisson Rouge.
Philadelphia five-piece The Spirit of the Beehive oscillates between aggressive, enveloping shoegaze and dreamy psych-rock. This summer, they released their newest EP YOU ARE ARRIVED (but you’ve been cheated). With its twangy, wandering guitar, the album’s title track evokes the carefree melodies of Mac Demarco. They play Friday night at Palisades.
Vita and the Woolf have described themselves as an “electronic soul pop” group. That sounds like a lot of seemingly unrelated genres, but thanks to lead singer Jennifer Pague’s versatile vocals, the group successfully navigates various sonic textures with ease, often within the span of a single song. You can listen to the song “Asha” off of their debut EP Fang Song below. They play tonight at the Living Room and Saturday night at Pete’s Candy Store.
You can check out the full list of bands playing CMJ, including individual set times, at the festival’s website. There are many more Philly bands playing than the 10 we’ve featured above, so make sure to check out a more complete round-up below let us know if any other groups catch your eye.