Tomorrow, we head to the Big Apple for a week of music at CMJ, and while there are plenty of more established artists we’re dying to see (the always-entertaining Father John Misty, The Long Winters, maybe Sisqo if the evening gets weird), it’s ultimately about catching up-and-comers or bands we haven’t yet had the opportunity to see live.
With that in mind, here are 15 of our recommendations for CMJ 2013. Be sure to stay tuned for daily recaps and photos from the festival this week, too.
Oct. 15 at Rockwood Music Hall, 5 p.m.
Brooklyn-based Lucius’ delicate blend of intoxicating harmonies and fierce lyrics is only magnified by the entire band’s chemistry on stage—a display that employs collaborative percussion, eye-catching stage props and a symbiosis of themselves and their audience, turning any venue into its own ’60s-rooted power-pop experience. This deliberate boldness reveals itself in each track, whether it’s sonically powerful like “Turn It Around” or lyrically dauntless like “Go Home,” each track seems to have a different way of revealing Lucius’ strengths.—Dacey Orr
Oct. 17 at Music Hall of Williamsburg, 8:45 p.m.
“I just love live music,” PAPA’s Darren Weiss told us when we recently declared the band to be the Best of What’s Next. “I grew up on punk and rock music, and then I grew to love jazz music. Living in New York especially and going to see people like Brian Blade and things like that, where it was a communicative experience, between the audience and the person on stage. That is really important to me, because that’s what music is. I idolize people like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. You have an acoustic guitar and your face, and what are you gonna do with that? What can you bring within your body to amplify your soul?” Read Philip Cosores’ full profile of the group here.
3. Lee Fields and the Expressions
Oct. 18, Webster Hall, 5:30 p.m.
We first got familiar with the smooth soul of Lee Fields and the Expressions back at SXSW 2012, and this year his co-headlining show at Webster Hall with Nick Waterhouse—another Paste favorite—is on our can’t-miss list.
Oct. 19 at Knitting Factory, 10 p.m.
Like Deerhunter and Thee Oh Sees, Obits walk a fine line between ramshackle and sophistication, cerebral and visceral. They’re essentially a garage rock band whose members can play their instruments. They also have an encyclopedic knowledge of music and a fine-tuned ear for sound—which is what makes them so good.—Mark Lore
Oct. 16 at Terminal 5, 9 p.m.
Savages’ music is a logical derivative of post-punk that draws on Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus and any other of the greats from that period that you picture draped in black and never smiling. And, in a whirlwind of sexuality, violence and gender roles, the most contemporary connection to draw is something like Metz, minus the screaming.—Philip Cosores
Oct. 17 at Webster Hall, TBA
Last year Justin Harris and Danny Seim soldiered on as a duo and released Moms after the departure of longtime member Brent Knopf, but they’re still as fleshed-out as ever live, touring as a five-piece and proving they’re still way more than capable.
Oct. 15 at The Mercury Lounge, 9 p.m.
This Swedish trio’s catchy pop tunes—especially single “Pumpin Blood”—will stay with you for days. Insert dumb “yesyesyes” joke here.