Spread out across venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn, this year’s CMJ Music Marathon provided a glimpse at some of the year’s best emerging artists in addition to a healthy lineup of veteran performers. With five days of showcases and concerts to attend, the festival offered something for everyone, with bands representing a variety of genres.
Early highlights of the week included a stop by the Conquerors of the World tour at the Gramercy Theatre, showcasing the brutal sounds of foreign metal bands Septicflesh (Greece), Krisiun (Brazil), and Melechesh (Jerusalem). Punk rock also had a presence throughout the week, with super-group Off! headlining Irving Plaza and hardcore noise-rockers KEN Mode making an appearance at the 1000Knives/MetalSucks showcase.
Hip-hop fans got their fix on Thursday night, as GZA ran through his 1995 solo release Liquid Swords at Irving Plaza with support from Atlanta rapper Killer Mike. Later in the week, fellow Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah was joined by rising Long Island emcee Roc Marciano for an evening of spirited performances hosted by LA producer The Alchemist.
For indie-rock fans, few shows were as hyped as Sub Pop’s official showcase at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory, which combined the Ethiopian-influenced jazz of the Debo Band, Poor Moon’s folk-tinged odes, and the cathartic loud rock of Metz to form one of the festival’s more eclectic lineups. Elsewhere, recent Merge Records addition Mount Moriah peddled alt-country tunes at a variety of venues while psychedelic-pop purveyors NewVillager took over the Import/Export showcase at DROM. Competing Friday-night showings by New Zealand pop break-out Kimbra (with special guest guitarist Ben Weinman of The Dillinger Escape Plan) and eccentric dance-rock troupe YACHT rounded out a week that lived up to its billing as a marathon, providing a breathless excursion through a landscape of up-and-coming musicians.
Contributing photographer Eric Luc was on hand to capture some of our favorites in kaleidoscopic effect, seen below.