This week in NYC shows is a crazy one, with the CMJ Music Marathon officially taking over a good chunk of NYC’s clubs and venues. CMJ is a bit like NYC’s version of SXSW with industry panels, showcase events, day parties, and all manner of nighttime parties and multi-band extravaganzas. Also like SXSW, the concert options are nearly endless and definitely a bit overwhelming. If you’re doing CMJ proper (like, with a badge), then your best route is to hit up the official calendar over at CMJ’s Official Shed site to get all the showcase slots, parties, and panels in one spot for your scheduling needs. Also, Consequence of Sound has a solid round-up of picks and suggestions, and NPR put together a CMJ 2011 Mix to whet your appetite for some of the many artists/bands rolling through town. Keep in mind that, once you’ve made your picks, it’s worth checking show details to make sure you can get in without an official CMJ badge.
Although I can’t possibly touch on every amazing lineup, showcase or day party, I can point to a few bands that I know will put on interesting & entertaining shows. Here’s a quick rundown of some of my top suggestions, in alpha order:
American Babies @ Rockwood Music Hall (and a few of other showcase slots):
Tommy Hamilton’s Americana side project which I covered in depth after their Spring show at Mercury Lounge.
Arctic Monkeys w/ Smith Westerns @ Music Hall of Williamsburg:
It’s like a weird pairing of former indie rock darlings (one from 2005 and the other from five years later). But even if a lot of the hype has subsided for these two, this one still looks like a pretty killer match-up.
The Barr Brothers (various shows):
Nice, rootsy folk and blues tunes from the guitar & drums brothers known for their previous projects, the Slip and Surprise Me Mr. Davis.
Charlie Hunter (@ the Sycamore):
I think it’s safe to assume this has nothing to do with CMJ, but I don’t care. Charlie’s doing another residency at the Sycamore down in the Ditmas Park section of Brooklyn, and it’s bound to be cool, weird and a little groovy.
Delicate Steve (various shows):
Off-kilter, guitar-driven instrumentals that are hard to pin down sonically and very interesting to bored ears. Lots of options for catching these guys.
Small Black (various shows):
A softer, slower, sweeter-sounding electronic rock which others have called chillwave (a term which makes me want to hurl).
STS9 @ Best Buy Theater:
Another show that likely has nothing to do with CMJ, but should be pretty rad for the groove-oriented folks among us.
Stanley Jordan’s Guitar Fest, Wed-Sun nights @ Iridium:
Expect lots of special guests and some serious guitar chops.
Yellow Ostrich (bunch of different shows):
Vocal-oriented indie rock tunes with cool loops and interesting rhythms. Def. dug their set at SXSW.
Overall, it’s quite a crazy week of non-stop options for NYC concerts across all kinds of genres, scenes and styles. But I think my favorite way of looking at it is just checking out our picks for Sunday night. Any week that ends with Dick Dale, Gwar, and Stanley Jordan, is a pretty silly week of live music now, isn’t it?
You can check out my full weekly post and list of shows over at Live Music Blog: LMB NYC: This Week’s Concert Calendar – Oct 17-23