Check out Highlights From CMJ Music Marathon in NYC

Diet Cig performing at Cake Shop. Photo by Katie Chow.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed during the CMJ Music Marathon, which took place from October 13-17 in New York City. Out of over a thousand artists appearing, we caught more than 40 over the span of five days.

For better or worse, having some distinctive wit or charm is now a requirement for musicians if they want to stand out, especially when the sheer quantity of shows during the week spoil everyone for choice. Diet Cig delivered one of the week’s most memorable sets before they even played a note, singer/guitarist Alex Luciano kicking things off with a one-woman dance party to “Shake It Off” that set the tone for her own life-affirming songs. Nashville-bred nomads Night Beds were literally gripping at an up-close-and-personal appearance at the Gansevoort Hotel, while London pop experimentalists Kero Kero Bonito are simply one of the most fun bands around, fundamentally good-humored even though there’s no joke to be in on.

CMJ is ostensibly for new music, and the week provided prime opportunities to dig into this year’s breakout albums from artists including Palehound, Car Seat Headrest, and PWR BTTM. More nascent still, acts like Conner Youngblood, Oscar, and NE-HI hit NYC on the strength of recent EPs, the former two also appearing at the Fader Fort. Established acts including Ezra Furman and Tokyo Police Club still got in on the action, with well-earned, triumphant performances. Check out pictures from the week and a Spotify playlist of featured artists below.