10 Great Bands From CMJ 2011

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10 Great Bands From CMJ 2011

CMJ is nothing if not a marathon. For five nights, in dozens of clubs spread across Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, more than 1,000 bands did their best to impress college-radio programmers, writers, booking agents, record labels and music fans. Here are 10 that impressed us.

10. Clubfeet
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
For Fans Of: Junior Boys, Hot Chip, Justice
Australia’s Clubfeet brought their brand of synth-pop to Piano’s on Wednesday afternoon, and while their sound isn’t particularly groundbreaking, it was still great fun. Fans of Junior Boys will dig their danceable grooves, and anyone with a sense of humor will smirk at the cheeky lyrics to “Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It).”—Bonnie Stiernberg

9. Exitmusic
Hometown: New York
For Fans Of: Portishead, Florence + the Machine, Cat Power
Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church sound more like a score to a dramatic film than your traditional indie duo from NYC. Perhaps Palladino draws from her experiences as an actress on shows like Boardwalk Empire to get that poignant, atmospheric touch.
The band’s debut EP from Secretly Canadian came out earlier this year.—Adam Vitcavage

8. Radiation City
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
For Fans Of: Mercury Rev, Typhoon, Yo La Tengo
The dream-pop outfit, originally composed of Cameron Spies and his girlfriend Lizzy Ellison, released an album called The Hands That Take You on their own cassette-only label Apes Tapes. After an onslaught of positive buzz surrounding their relatively small number of live performances, the two decided to abandon their multiple side projects and focus on recording the album properly.—Dacey Orr

7. Little Red
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
For Fans Of: Foster the People, Rubblebucket,
These polite Australian kids have a legitimate hit on their hands with the infectious “Rock It.” The band has already done all right Down Under, and shouldn’t have a hard time finding an audience in the U.S.—Josh Jackson

6. Firehorse
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
For Fans Of: Of Montreal, St. Vincent, Esben & the Witch
“We’re gonna play everything three times as fast to get everything in,” Firehorse’s Leah Siegel after some technical difficulties caused a late start. “It might be a shitshow, but it’ll be a show.” Turns out, she was half-right: she and the rest of Firehorse put on a show. Siegel’s powerhouse vocals were the highlight of the set, at times haunting and at other times providing the perfect soundtrack to what quickly evolved into an indie-pop dance party.—Bonnie Stiernberg