The thing I love most about CMJ is that it’s essentially a live music discovery tool. While I only made it to one showcase last year, in that one showcase I was introduced to a diverse array of talent I might otherwise have missed—artists like San Francisco-based synthpop duo Cathedrals, or dynamic Aussie singer/songwriter George Maple. Going into CMJ 2015, sure, I have a few artists on my MUST-SEE list, but part of the excitement is falling in love with an unknown act that has yet to break into the mainstream. Many of the acts that played last year—Courtney Barnett, Bombay Bicycle Club, San Fermin—have had a big year in 2015! In fact, a number of the artists I saw last year are on all sorts of ‘Ones To Watch‘ lists going into 2016 including Seinabo Sey and Vérité (who’s currently on tour supporting MSMR alongside Jack Garratt). Who knows who from this new crop of talents will be big next year and beyond, but I’m excited to find out!
Speaking of discovering new talent, I am pretty PUMPED about attending Black Panda PR‘s official CMJ showcase tomorrow (also at the Marlin Room at Webster Hall). Slated to perform are an eclectic mix of indie pop, rock and electronic acts from ALL OVER the place, including NY-based singer/songwriter Anna Rose, “arena rock futurist” Atarah Valentine, Jersey-based rock band The Mosers, NYC-based (and incredibly handsome) pop-rock (don’t call them a boy) band East Love. While I’m certain to discover a new favorite or two on Wednesday, there are a couple of acts I am particularly stoked to see live. Take Brooklyn-based indie pop duo Secret Weapons for instance or the dark and mysterious synth-rock laced sounds of Olivver The Kid. I’m even expanding my musical horizons, having taken a liking to NYC-based Indie rockers Tribe Society, thanks in large part to a recent high-profile pop star they brought in for a track.
While I don’t know which acts are going to blow me away on Wednesday night, one thing IS CERTAIN. It’s going to be a great night of music! Tickets are still available for the Black Panda PR CMJ showcase, so be sure and grab one if you don’t already have a CMJ badge.
As soon as I heard it on the Neon Gold blog, I was INSTANTLY drawn to the infectious pop chorus on “Something New,” the latest single from Brooklyn-based indie pop duo Secret Weapons. From the very first listen, “Something New” (iTunes / Spotify) hits you with a wave of 80s pop-rock nostalgia, with hints of everything from Tears for Fears and Wham! to more modern synth-tinged pop-rock influences like Passion Pit and Capital Cities. Secret Weapons is Gerry Lange and Dan E., two friends who originally met in high school math class while bonding over their common love for their guitars. After spending a year writing together underground, Gerry and Dan were ready to unleash their fruitful musical bounty on the world; quickly gaining buzz and an accompanying fan-base. While the band has already made waves here in New York City, playing to sold-out crowds at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade and the iconic Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan, these guys are ready to make a splash outside of the five boroughs and “Something New” is the perfect vessel to do just that.
Catch Secret Weapons playing two shows at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon: Tonight (Tuesday, October 13th @ The Knitting Factory – BMI Showcase) or tomorrow, Wednesday, October 14th at the Marlin Room – Black Panda PR Showcase). The band will also be hitting the road this fall with fun. frontman Nate Ruess‘ solo headlining tour so check out the official website for details.
OLIVVER THE KID
Olivver The Kid (AKA Bryan Sammis) is another artist I have my eye on, thanks largely to Zane Lowe and his infinite musical wisdom. Zane Lowe is one of the main reasons why I let my Apple Music ‘Free Trial’ period transition uninterrupted into PAID territory. When Zane premiered “World On Fire” on his show, it was love at first listen. Zane frequently plays music from LA-based rock band, The Neighbourhood; which makes sense, since the band is getting ready to drop its sophomore album at the end of the month—but I didn’t realize Olivver The Kid‘s connection to the band (he is the former drummer) until I started the research for this post. While I have an appreciation for rock as a genre, it’s admittedly not a musical passion point for me as a blogger. On “World On Fire,” predominantly an electronic-pop song—the rock influence is undeniable, inescapable and clear as day—particularly in Olivver’s vocal delivery. “World On Fire” is the definition of fresh future-pop with a little something for everybody–smart ear-catching electronic production complete with shimmering synths, and haunting vocals that showcase Olivver’s impressive range and versatility as a singer/producer.
Olivver The Kid is set to release his second solo EP, The Boy Who Cried Wolf on October 16th (iTunes); serving as the follow-up to last year’s Freak EP (iTunes / Spotify). 2015 has been a busy year so far for Olivver The Kid—in March he released a one-off single, “I Want It” (Spotify) via “singles label” Taste and Tone and toured with Young Rising Sons and Halsey on the SOLD-OUT American Youth Tour. Be sure and catch Olivver The Kid playing at CMJ on Wednesday (October 14th) as part of Black Panda PR‘s official CMJ showcase (tickets). This is one of my most-anticipated CMJ shows of the year so I will definitely be there.
NYC-based alt rock quintet Tribe Society happens to be signed to Lokal Legend, one of my FAVORITE indie labels and home to Listenbee (check out über catchy ‘Save Me‘) as well as my 90s inspired muse, Kiesza. At first glance, Tribe Society might seem like a bit of an odd fit for my (mostly) pop music blog but my taste is not genre-biased in the slightest. Add to that a featured vocal from Kiesza and you can officially consider my interest piqued. The song in question is a beautifully emo rock ballad called “Pain Told Love” (iTunes / Spotify) which features a delicate yet powerful vocal from the band’s lead singer Gavin McDevitt, whose soaring falsetto impresses throughout the track especially when harmonizing with Kiesza‘s own impressive soprano. Be sure and stream “Pain Told Love” below. In addition to sharing a label, Tribe Society has something else in common with flame haired “Hideaway” singer—a love of 90s music. According to McDevitt, “it was also an era where artists actually stood for something. They were jarring, bold and didn’t ignore all the bullshit that constantly surrounds us.” AMEN to that. Also worth a listen, this rock-tinged remix of “Lean On” (originally performed by Major Lazer and MØ) featuring guitars, flute and a new vocal top line. You check that out here.
Tribe Society‘s debut EP was released June 22nd via Lokal Legend/Island Records (iTunes). The band made their live debut at this year’s SXSW opening for Incubus and have been playing shows all year. Be sure and catch them at CMJ on Wednesday (October 14th) as part of Black Panda PR’s Official CMJ Showcase (tickets) and for a full list of tour dates check Tribe Society‘s official Facebook page.