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A CMJ Preview: 10 Acts Not To Miss
by Sam D'Arcangelo (Relix)
The CMJ Music Marathon is happening this week all over New York City. Various bands will be playing at showcases across town. We’ve compiled a lists of a few bands that you might want to check out. They cover a variety of genres from hip-hop and brass music to funk and dub step. Some have been around a while and others are more or less unknown. Let’s take a look.
This eight-piece brass ensemble has been tearing it up in New Orleans for years now. After holding it down on the NOLA scene for some time, the Soul Rebels have finally started to receive the national acclaim they deserve. In the last few years the Rebels have shared the stage with Metallica, Green Day, Galactic, Dr. John, Kanye West, the Arcade Fire, Alabama Shakes and many more. The Soul Rebels will be bringing their brand of funky hip-hop infused brass music to the Highline Ballroom on Friday, October 19 at the Soul Rebels and Friends showcase.
This Brooklyn-based funk army is a live music tour de force. Then again, that’s what you get when there’s nine musicians giving everything they’ve got on stage. With multiple residencies at the Brooklyn Bowl under their belt, these guys are deserving of your attention. You can catch them at a CMJ Music Marathon Showcase at Sullivan Hall on Saturday, October 20.
This unlikely combination of two saxophone players and a drummer got its start playing dance music for passersby at parks and subway platforms across New York City. The trio has since moved on to better venues— but then maybe they had no choice after getting banned from the Bedford Avenue L train stop for starting too many dance parties. You can see them at the Soul Rebels & Friends Showcase at the Highline Ballroom on Friday, October 20.
You’d be hard pressed to find too many bands at CMJ this year who are as unabashedly Southern as the Gold Magnolias. Their combination of old school rhythms and soulful singing is reminiscent of a bygone era when rock n’ roll hadn’t yet taken the world by storm. These guys are a breath of fresh air in a world dominated by bass drops and auto-tune. You can catch the Gold Magnolias at the Communion Presents Showcase at Rockwood Music Hall on Friday, October 19.
This Michigan-based quintet creates a genre bending fusion of folk music and world beats. Their sound is like a perfect gumbo, with each of its parts blending into a even more delicious whole. The Ragbirds have played some of the best festivals the Midwest has ever seen, from 10K Lakes to Rothbury. You can see them at the Vinefield Agency & HMG PR Showcase at Rockwood Music Hall on Saturday, October 20.
Undoubtedly the most well known name on our list, GZA has climbed to summit of hip-hop and lived to tell the tale. The legendary Wu Tang elder has been traveling the country playing his seminal album Liquid Swords in its entirety, most notably with Grupo Fantasma at this year’s Bonnaroo. You can see GZA play Liquid Swords for a CMJ Showcase at Irving Plaza on Thursday, October 18.
The Funk Ark
The Funk Ark is, well, funky. This Washington, DC based group combines elements of Latin, jazz and world beats to create some eclectic grooves. The band is in the middle of an extensive tour, and they played the Electric Forest Festival earlier this year. The Funk Ark have shared the stage with notable acts from the jam scene such as STS9, Thievery Corporation, Keller Williams and Trombone Shorty. The Funk Ark will be playing at FELA x CMJ: A Celebration of Fela’s Spirit and Music at Littlefield in Brooklyn on Thursday, October 18.
Los Angeles native 12th Planet has been criss-crossing the electronic music scene lately. The giant of American dustup has played all over the world, as well as at festivals like the Electric Daisy Carnival, SXSW, Coachella, Ultra Music Festival and Electric Forest. Whether you’re a seasoned or raver or just someone who wants to know what the kids are into these days, 12th Planet is worth checking out. You can see him at the AM Only + Elektro CMJ Showcase at Webster Hall on Friday, October 19.
2012 has been a big year for The Revivalists. These old school rock n’ rollers from New Orleans have been touring around the country, both as a headliner and an opening act for Gov’t Mule. The future looks bright for the Revivalists, but that’s no surprise considering the band got its start at music workshops at the legendary Tipitina’s. They will be playing at the Section 101 Showcase at Rockwood Music Hall on Wednesday, October 17.
TOKiMONSTA is the musical project of Los Angeles native Jennifer Lee. Her downtempo grooves find a nice balance between the supremely chill and the incredibly bizarre in a way that is reminiscent of experimental electronica whiz Flying Lotus, whose Brainfeeder label has released some of her work. TOKiMONSTA will be playing at the Ultra Music Showcase at Union Square Ballroom on Thursday, October 18, as well as at the Elektro Showcase at Webster Hall on Friday, October 19