BlackBook Tracks #18: Ten Acts To Catch At CMJ 2012

It’s that time of year, when the music industry flocks to New York City for the CMJ Music Marathon. (It’s definitely not a sprint.) If you’re in town for the week, here’s a selection of acts to check out. Pace yourself.

Slam Donahue – “I Turn On”

A couple of Brooklyn everydudes put honest, relatable lyrics in weird pop contexts. It’ll make you feel better.

Avan Lava – “It’s Never Over”

These masters of futuristic funk put on an unforgettable show. Everything’s better with confetti cannons.
 

Le1f – “Yup”

Still going strong from the success of “Wut” this summer, the New York rapper has been continuing his upward trajectory on a tour with Das Racist and is set to play a number of high profile showcases this week, including MTV Hive’s and Pitchfork’s events. This song contains the line “The fabric of my life is a sexy fucking textile.”

Team Spirit – “Teenage Love” 

Team Spirit, led by former Passion Pit keyboardist-turned-garage rocker Ayad Al Adhamy, just signed to Vice Records–in blood. (They’re otherwise not particularly comparable to Joy Division, though.)
 

Skaters – “Fear Of The Knife” 

Skaters’ debut EP Schemers serves up some damn fine lo-fi rock. “Fear Of The Knife” suggests something bigger and brighter, a beach day song that still sounds good in the off season.

Osekre and the Lucky Bastards – “Why Are You Here?” 

With an energetic live show, the Afropop outfit has become a fixture on the Brooklyn scene. New single “Why Are You Here?” is catchy and immediately memorable.
 

We Were Evergreen – “Baby Blue” 

This London-via-Paris trio effortlessly charms with plenty of hooks and sweet harmonies. Indie pop doesn’t get much better than this.

Yan Wagner – “Forty Eight Hours”

This Parisian singer/producer punches up new wave influences to make sharp, resonant electro pop delivered with wit and wisdom.
 

Gold Fields – “Moves”

The rising Australian band makes driving electro-rock that’s set to take them far. The frenetic “Moves” showcases their sound.
 

Local Natives – “Sun Hands”

You loved this in 2010 and you still love it now, right? The LA indie rockers are back, and hopefully better than ever.

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BlackBook Tracks #11: Summer is Ending

Labor Day approacheth, signaling the death knell of summer. It’s time to put on your finest jean shorts and seize the end of the season. Here’s the playlist for your long weekend. Wear some white shoes.

Is Tropical – “Land Of The Nod”

The London trio pairs a laid-back vibe with a driving beat to create a perfect soundtrack for soaking up the sun.

Slam Donahue – “Cmon Cmon”

This highlight from the recently released Hemlock Tea EP sums up all of the summer romances that could have been. Sure, there’s some amount of regret involved, but the Brooklyn duo stays cool and breezy.

ALB – “Brand New Start”

There’s not too much information out there about the French indie-pop artist ALB, but he’s an immensely gifted songwriter worth seeking out. “Brand New Start” is an ode to moving on that’s equal parts joy and tension. Also, there are handclaps!

TV Girl – “Misery”

True to retro-pop form, the LA duo makes a song called “Misery” that actually sounds pretty happy.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “My Terrible Friend” (Washed Out Remix)

Lovelorn shoegazers stating the facts of heartbreak get an assist from the sunbleached stylings of Washed Out.

Smith Westerns – “All Die Young”

The garage-glam trio’s been working on their third LP, and 2011’s Dye It Blonde is worth revisiting on hot, late nights.

Beck – “Black Tambourine”

Guero may not be old enough to be a part of the classic Beck canon, but it speaks of summer in a way that needs to be capitalized on right now.

Kitten – “Cut It Out”

There’s a lot to love about the current wave of young women in electro-pop, and L.A.’s Kitten capture teen longing in the airy, immediately memorable “Cut It Out.”

The Strokes – “Take It Or Leave It”

It’s a classic.

JEFF the Brotherhood – “Hypnotic Mind”

Go hard and shred forever with these Nashville bros. End the summer on a high note.

Slam Donahue Rocks The Rooftop Of Soho House

Sometimes you just have to spend a hot summer evening by a rooftop pool listening to some sweet tunes, am I right? Last night, rising Brooklyn outfit Slam Donahue performed atop the Soho House hotel, with good vibes to spare.

Songs like “Where Are You” and “How To Be Cool” channel the kind of airy euphoria that’s reminiscent of the Go! Team’s arrival on the scene or eclectic production duo Javelin, though they keep their pop principles in plain view. Slam Donahue also previewed tracks from their forthcoming Hemlock Tea EP, which was produced by Ayad Al Adhamy (Passion Pit) and will be released this fall on Cantora Records.

Download Slam Donahue’s Big House Nice Dreams mixtape for free here.