Top 20 Acts to see at CMJ 2015

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As the crisp air of October approaches, so does the craving for new bands and new sounds. CMJ 2015 is kicking off it’s 35th annual trek across some of New York’s hottest live venues. From major stars to ones just emerging, CMJ represents some of the hottest talents from around the world. Taking these talents into account, we’ve compiled a list of the top 20 acts you don’t want to miss this year.

20. Mail The Horse

This Brooklyn-based quintet has a captivating folk-rock sound. Their newest record joins instrumentation of the late ‘60s with early ‘00s garage rock, making it an act you won’t want to miss.

Check out the showcase here

19. Sprits and the Melchizedek Children

Described by the A.V. Club as the “Southern Sigur Rós”, this psychedelic alt-rock band hailing from Atlanta is known for exploring themes of alchemy, mystery and the occult. Their unique sound will leave you wanting more.

Check out the showcase here

18. The Album Leaf

If you’re looking for a way to wind down as you weave your way through NYC, then The Album Leaf is for you. Founded as a solo act by Jimmy LaValle, The Album Leaf is known for the use of synthesizers, electronics and Rhodes piano.

Check out the showcase here

17. Diet Cig

This pop rock band from New York has a fun and upbeat sound that captures the innocence of adolesence. Their catchy lyrics will be sure to put you in a positive mood.

Check out the showcase here

16. Eternal Summers

The carefree name of this indie rock band speaks for itself. Despite the cool fall air of NYC, the punk-infused pop sound of Eternal Summers will leave you feeling warm and sunny.

Check out the showcase here

15. Car Seat Headrest

Founded as a solo project by frontman Will Toledo, Car Seat Headrest has since released 11 albums. With the band’s indie rock sound quickly gaining interest and acclaim, they are definitely one to check out at CMJ.

Check out the showcase here


This unlikely duo from Wales brings a unique sound to the stage. With just the right amount of weirdness to be addicting, this is one act to add to your list.

Check out the showcase here

13. Protomartyr

With the recent release of their third album, The Agent Intellect, Protomartyr is a must to check out. Their interesting post-punk sound has a raw sensibility that can only be described as truly genuine.

Check out the showcase here

12. Fraser A. Gorman

You will find yourself immersed in the lyrics as Fraser A. Gorman weaves his way through catchy, folk-inspired tracks. His wry charm and offbeat storytelling brings a personable element to the stage that will leave you in a trance.

Check out the showcase here

11. Glass Animals

This English indie rock band brings a sound that is intelligent and inventive. One of the bigger acts at CMJ, they will leave you marveling at their brilliant techniques.

Check out the showcase here

10. Mercury Rev

Mercury Rev is an American alternative rock group from Buffalo NY. With their newest album, Bella Union, released in September, the band is sure to bring some fun new sounds to the stage.

Check out the showcase here

9. Ezra Furman

Noted as having songs heavily focused on lyrics, Ezra Furman brings a raw, sentimental sound to the stage. His genuine sound brings a refreshing element to the stage.

Check out the showcase here

8. Panda Bear

A member of Animal Collective, Noah Lennox brings a similar electronic pop sound with his solo act, Panda Bear, in a show you don’t want to miss.

Check out the showcase here

7. Tobias Jesso Jr.

Singer/songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. brings a laid-back atmosphere to the stage. As he winds his way through each song, you will be left to contemplate and absorb his heartfelt lyrics.

Check out the showcase here

6. Catfish and the Bottlemen

An act that attracted fans through D.I.Y. gigs in car parks prior to shows, Catfish and the Bottlemen has finally made their way to a bigger stage at CMJ. The catchy indie rock band is an act on the brink of great success.

Check out the showcase here

5. Oberhofer

With playful lyrics and sweet harmones, Oberhofer offers an eccentric but undeniably catchy sound that is sure to put you in a positive mood.

Check out the showcase here

4. Neon Indian

If you love Washed Out, then you will find common ground with Neon Indian. With electronic and synthesized sounds, this act brings an upbeat, danceable sound to the stage.

Check out the showcase here

3. The Joy Formidable

Successful openers for bands such as the Editors and Passion Pit, The Joy Formidable has been building a buzz since 2008. Be sure to catch the “darkly joyous” sound they bring to the stage.

Check out the showcase here

2. Smallpools

The shimmery electro-pop of Smallpools brings an infectious sound to the stage that you can’t help but dance along to. A band that’s quickly rising to the top, Smallpools is definitely one to add to your list.

Check out the showcase here

1. Børns

Falsetto-driven Garret Borns brings a dreamy sound to the stage that marries glam rock and folk. His catchy tunes and captivating lyrics make this an act to add to the top of your list.

Check out the showcase here





A junior studying journalism and music business at the University of Georgia, Camren spends her time procrastinating under the discover tab on Spotify and taking pictures of her dog. After spending the summer abroad, she has a remarkable appreciation for good gelato, cheap wine and British accents. With favorites like Simon and Garfunkel, Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay and Moon Taxi, she is open to a variety of musical genres and is a connoisseur of any and all music festivals. In her spare time you can find her binge watching her latest obsession on Netflix or dreaming of ways to meet and marry John Krasinski.

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