Son Little, Kamasi Washington + 10 Other Artist Showcases You Need To Catch At CMJ 2015
Every fall New York City opens its doors and unplugs its ears for the 5-day festival that is CMJ, a massive indie music showcase that sees some of the best up-and-coming talent from around the world descending upon the five boroughs to play frantic micro-tours. And while it might be easy to sit back and scoff at those rushing to five IRL shows per day--as you lean into your ergonomically comfy desk-chair and scroll SoundCloud, rather than run ragged trying to catch the L train--there's no pure substitute for seeing a hungry performer pour it all out in a loud, tiny, sweaty room. We're certainly making plans to catch as many shows as our bosses will allow, and so in that spirit we've crafted the official Okayplayer guide to CMJ Festival 2015. Ten acts that are guaranteed to get your head nodding and/or hips shaking, and give you plenty of early adopter cred once they blow up in 2016.
#1: Jay Electronica:
Yep, It's that dude. Jay Electronica will be materializing from the aether to perform at one of the very first kick-off shows of CMJ, headlining a takeover at Santos Party House. The reclusive MC hasn't made much noise since sharing the one-off internet-breaker "Road to Perdition." Still, he took the stage with Flying Lotus and shared another loosie from the vaults about a month back, so we're still hopeful that the damn album will someday make it out of its gestation-jail. And if you can't make it to NYC, fear not--this @fakeelectronica account is enough to hold you over.
Tuesday, October 13th, 11:30 p.m.
Santos Party House, Manhattan
RSVP Here -- Early arrival strongly recommended.
#2: Kamasi Washington
The sax man with the greatest jazz record of the year really need no introduction. Kamasi Washington will bring some of his sprawling 3 LP debut The Epic to Le Poisson Rouge this week, which we imagine will be like trying to bottle a typhoon in an underground pressure-cooker; something's bound to explode. Long and searching improv solos with the support of a megaton rhythm section is what you ought to expect, and getting there early will afford you the treat of seeing jazz drum genius Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music along with rising sax star Lakecia Benjamin.
Friday, Oct. 16th, 6:30 p.m.
Le Poisson Rouge, Manhattan
Tickets $25 adv / $30 day of show
#3: Neon Indian
If Neon Indian has been blowing up your news feed lately, you better get used to it and embrace the gooey, squelchy future funk. The indie songwriter with a penchant for rippling, infectious beats has returned at long last with his new LP, Vega Intl. Night School, and not a moment too soon. Neon Indian will perform at an official CMJ show at Webster Hall to help kick off the entire festival and will reportedly be deploying an incredible new video and light rig that comes straight from the minesweeper-made geniuses at Microsoft (you can learn a whole lot more about futuristic live performance rigs, if you so choose, by attending the Music, Technology and Creative Collaboration clinic). Strobes will strobe, synths will swirl and someone's bound to dislocate a hip while getting down proper to it. Both Tamaryn and Hannah Cohen will open. Final bit of advice: get in line early.
Neon Indian, Tamaryn & Hannah Cohen
Wednesday, October 14th, 7 p.m.
Webster Hall, Manhattan
#4: The Visions
NYC-by-way-of-Baltimore trio The Visions cut a slalom course between jazz chord voicings and funk-pop sensibilities, propping up their abundant skills amidst familiar song structures. And anyone hip to what they're doing knows full well that their mega-showcase alongside Adesuwa (AKA Denitia Odigie) and a host of other Parallels artists. Silky-smooth transitions and some freshly-chilled wine (seriously) will be on hand during the showcase, which is also functioning as a showing of new works by local NYC artist Molly Goldfarb.
The Visions, Adesuwa + More Info:
Thursday, October 15th, 6 p.m. (Show at 8 p.m.)
C'Mon Everybody, Brooklyn
Tickets: $5 adv / $10 doors
#5: Elisa Coia
Elisa Coia is perhaps the perfect CMJ artist for 2015: young, loaded with potential, shrouded in a bit of mystery and certifiably brilliant. The 23-year-old songstress bowled us over with her video for "This Human Ache" earlier this summer, and ever since then her infectious future-soul melodies have been scrawling circles upon our hearts. Coia will perform two shows over the CMJ weekend, so you'll have no real excuse for missing out on her buoyant neo-R&B.
Friday, October 16, 7:00 p.m.
Rockwood Stage 3, Manhattan
Saturday, October 17th, 7:15 p.m.
Living Room, Brooklyn
#6: Son Little
The timing's ideal for Aaron Livingston, aka Son Little. His debut self-titled LP has just dropped and is a brilliant piece of work, blending harrowing blues guitar with lockstep drum machine beats underneath his unforgettable vocal power. Much of the album digs into dark, dark moments, even veering into the political realm with cuts like "Go Blue, Blood Red." Little will play Rockwood Hall at one of the earliest shows of CMJ, so get yourself to the Lower East Side and get yourself a little healing.
Tuesday, October 13th, 9:15 p.m.
#7: Nikki Hill
We were all-too-pleased to put you on to Nikki Hill in our recent First Look Friday profile, but to paraphrase the wise LeVar, don't take our word for it! Hill will be camping out at Carrol Place, a gorgeous wine bar and Italian eatery in Greenwich Village, where she'll surely be shaking chianti glasses off tables with her fiery brand of rock and soul. Hill's music stomps its way around like a pair of steel-toed boots on Broadway, and with influences ranging from Curtis Mayfield to Outkast to Howling Wolf, there's something for just about everyone to enjoy in her approach and execution. This one might get loud.
Wednesday, October 14th, 10:00 p.m.
Carrol Place, Manhattan
You should know the deal by now. PRhyme are hosting their own CMJ showcase this year, bringing in analog specialist Adrian Younge to support them at their very own showcase. With so much talent all on one bill, you could certainly just go catch this show and then pawn off your bade for some extra crate-digging money, and no one would really be able to knock you for it. Get yourself some top-shelf hip-hop and remember to bring your neck brace.
PRhyme ft. Adrian Younge
Tuesday, October 13th, 7 p.m.
Gramercy Theater, Manhattan
New York r&b demon Boyslashfriend will bring his highly fashionable "songs to sext to" to Louie & Chan as part of Feel Up Records' sprawling showcase. With a penchant for dark, immersive chord progressions and soft beats that linger just outside of your comfort zone, Boyslash seems poised to make a strong breakthrough this fall, and we're as interested as anyone to see what his live show will entail, both sonically and visually. Fire Alarm, Max Glazer and many others will be on hand, and it's all free, which means you'll be able to spend a little extra on your couture before you pull through.
Boyslashfriend, Five Alarm, Max Glazer, Teleseen, Tangia Stone, Mister White, Zeemuffin & Nebu Kiniza, Zuzuka Poderosa & Kush Arora
Wednesday, October 14th, 9 p.m.
#10: Weekend Money
Brooklyn hip-hop duo (and OKP favs) Weekend Money will be featured at two great showcases for CMJ. First pulling into the much-beloved Arlene's Grocery tonight for a show featuring acts from Data Touring and Siren Sounds. That means as you sip your tallboy of PBR you'll be catching sounds from Nina Sky, Denitia & Sene, Wes Walker & Dyl and Swizzymack, all of which are rounding out the bill before and after Weekend Money pulls through to do their thing.
The he'll be dashing across the Williamsburg bridge to Kinfolk for an unofficial CMJ showcase called Live From The Trap, which also features A$AP TYY and artist-to-watch Young $yrup (more on him soon!) Slightly woozy yet plenty tough, Weekend Money's sound comes across like a vampire bite amidst a haze of neon lights firing out of a Lower East Side (or Brooklyn!) alleyway. Find info for both showcases below:
Weekend Money, Nina Sky, Denitia & Sene, Wes Walker & Dyl and Swizzymack
Tuesday, October 13th, 9:00 p.m.
Arlene's Grocery, Manhattan
Live From The Trap:
Weekend Money, Young $yrup, A$AP TYY, Ioan Delice + DJ Tygapaw
Tuesday, October 13th, 9:00pm - 2am
Kinfolk, 94 Wythe Ave. Williamsburg Brooklyn
New York-based quartet altopalo blends elements of funk, progressive rock, jazz, and psychedelia into a mammoth stampede of sound. Plan on relentless salvos of drum fills, angular guitar attacks and synth filigrees, all laid upon a solid groove foundation. This'll be the perfect hip-hop show for rock kids, and the best rock show a hip-hop kid could ask for.
altopalo, The Roofer's Union, Bay Faction, PSYMON SPINE
Saturday, October 17th, 5 p.m.
altopalo, Nick Cianci and the Heights, The Misters, Talullah Ruff
Sunday, October 18th, 7 p.m.
Cameo Gallery, Brooklyn
#12: Phony PPl
If you prefer your hip-hop a little looser and carefree, as opposed to dark and druggy, then catch Phony Ppl at both Arlene's Grocery and The Wick. Their shows tend to turn into raucous crew parties fueled by energy that darts off stage and out into the crowd. Your appendages may begin flailing uncontrollably, and that should be all you need to know.
Phony Ppl, Fame School, Stella, BLXPLTN, Sunny Gang, Brooklynn, Kenneth Callier
Wednesday, October 14th, 12 p.m. - Late
Arlene's Grocery, Manhattan