BlackBook Tracks #42: CMJ 2013

The CMJ Music Marathon is in full swing, bringing new bands from around the world to New York City to showcase their songs. While the festival is always a great way to check out untested acts for the first time, here are some safe bets from artists we already love.

Jamaican Queens – “Sharkteeth”
Jamaican Queens are actually from Detroit, and they’re making a strong case for Motor City’s revitalization. The duo pushes the limits of pop music with unusual textures and poignant storytelling, and their debut album Wormfood is full of pleasant surprises. Check out the band’s photo diary of Detroit that they made for BlackBook earlier this year.

Empress Of – “Hat Trick”
Lorely Rodriguez sounds like a perfectionist, backing her ethereal vocals with glimmering, low end-friendly productions. This got the attention of Terrible Records, run by Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, who put out her debut EP Systems this spring. Alternating between English and Spanish lyrics, the Honduran-American Rodriguez represents a distinctly multicultural vision of New York.

Haerts – “Hemiplegia”
Following critical acclaim with just one single, “Wings,” Haerts recently released their debut EP Hemiplegia. Frontwoman Nini Fabi’s voice soars while staying grounded, backed by dark, lush production. These are songs that demand to be taken seriously.

Ginger and the Ghost – “The Red Balloon”
Australian artists always make a strong showing at CMJ, and this year is no exception. Dream-pop duo Ginger and the Ghost hails from Sydney, and they’re making the rounds in New York this week. Before they began making music together, they were visual artists first, and they shared a short film with BlackBook this summer.

Eleanor Friedberger – “I’ll Never Be Happy Again”
Eleanor Friedberger is one of Brooklyn’s brightest adopted daughters. Since splitting off on her own from the Fiery Furnaces, she’s been making retro-flavored guitar pop, a more efficient backdrop for her vibrant lyrics. Her debut solo album was called Last Summer, and its follow-up Personal Record transitions nicely into fall.