For audiophiles, it’s the most wonderful time of the year: CMJ Music Marathon, which opens ears to new music this week, Tuesday through Saturday. To help you navigate the soundscape, we’ve chosen our favorite places to hear new bands.
From the outside, this former piano store appears to be another ho-hum, fries-in-a-cone LES lounge, but inside it’s all about the music. Head to the back room for (often free) shows by up-and-coming acts or go upstairs for DJ sets and karaoke.
Listen Up! Beach Fossils and Class Actress are participating in a free showcase (Wednesday).
The mixed-up salvaged furniture and warehouse-like interior at this art gallery/bar/concert space puts everyone at ease, so look for inhibition-free dance parties and unexpected guests like Karen O.
Listen Up! The retro-styled outfit Cults takes part in a free, unofficial CMJ showcase (Friday).
Le Poisson Rouge
A multifunctional space that offers a diverse calendar of art, theater, film, and music events. The mood (and crowd) varies, at times taking on the feeling of an Édith Piaf-era cabaret or a dance club for toddlers (Baby Loves Disco). Full dinner and bar menus make it easy to stay here for hours.
Listen Up! CMJ takes over Tuesday, when you can hear New Zealand sensation Zowie (free) and later that night Jean Grae and a slew of hip-hop, rap, and soul artists ($20).
Music Hall of Williamsburg
What was Northsix has been reborn as a fancier tri-level venue with a bar on every floor, which means you’ll miss less of whatever on-the-verge act is performing while refilling your cup.
Listen Up! Catchy indie pop courtesy of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Thursday; $17) and Cameron Mesirow’s arty orchestral rock project, a.k.a. Glasser (November 16; $12 in advance, $14 at the door).
Santos Party House
Party house, indeed. This hip, big-box space has a live music venue upstairs, a big, crazy sound system downstairs, and barely any decor (shout-out to the ’90s club scene). NYC’s best DJs get even the timid on their feet, and every month’s lineup offers a mix of genres.
Listen Up! Catch a bunch of our favorite newcomers (School of Seven Bells, Asobi Seksu, French Horn Rebellion) on Saturday ($15).
Photo: Courtesy of Pianos
For more suggestions on what to download and whom to see, check out our gallery of nine CMJ bands we love.
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