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CMJ 2012: 10 Acts to Watch
Ghostface Killah, The Walkmen and Kimbra are just three of the can't-miss acts playing this year's CMJ Music Marathon.
The 2012 CMJ Music Marathon kicks off on today (October 16), with hundreds of bands descending upon New York for five days of potentially head-turning performances. We've rounded up 10 acts to watch this week, from a legendary New York MC to L.A.'s chillest young EDM producer.
Ava Luna: The New York band have been compared to compared to Dirty Projectors for their splayed-out harmonies, but Ava Luna's closer to a post-punk Al Green. The band's gritty, chaotic take on rock and soul is led by Carlos Hernandez, who provides a throaty center to debut album "Ice Level."
The Walkmen: The indie rock stalwarts are celebrating 10 years as a group, with this year's mature "Heaven" looking back at the early days of '50s rock and embracing a happier sound on songs such as "Love is Luck." After a lengthy North American tour, CMJ will be a homecoming for the New York band.
Emma Louise: The Australian singer made a splash with the video for "Jungle," drawing nearly 700,000 views for the moody, Florence and the Machines-esque song. Her debut album, led by the electronic-infused single "Boy," is due in 2013 on noted indie French Kiss Records.
Sky Ferreira: With her sultry video for "Everything is Embarrassing," the raccoon-eyed blonde has drawn comparisons to Lana Del Rey -- whose "Blue Jeans" Ferreira covered earlier this year. On debut EP "Ghost," out this week, she offers a diverse sound, touching on dusty alt-country, flannel-clad alternative and "Everything is Embarrassing," an '80s-inspired synth slow jam that sounds like a lost Prince classic.
Main Attrakionz: With 2011's "808s and Dark Grapes II," the Oakland duo emerged at the forefront of the laid-back, web-friendly hip-hop movement dubbed cloud-rap. The pair will keep the Bay vibes blunted on new album "Bossalinies and Foolyones," due Oct. 23.
Ghostface Killah : The ageless Wu-Tang Clan MC will sharpen his liquid swords this fall on a pair of new albums: up first, he'll join up with D-Block's Sheek Louch and others from the pair's posses for "Wu-Block," due Nov. 13. On Nov. 20, he'll release solo set "Twelve Reasons to Die," a concept album produced by Adrian Younge (the man behind the "Black Dynamite" original score) and executive produced by the RZA himself.
Kimbra : The "Somebody That I Used to Know" singer was introduced to the world this year thanks to the Gotye hit, but she'll have the chance for solo shine at CMJ. The New Zealand musician's own "Vows" bowed at No. 14 on the Billboard 200 earlier this year, and she told Billboard recently that she's "collecting a lot of ideas" for her next release.
Goldroom: With this year's "Fifteen," the Los Angeles producer crafted a perfect Southern California summer jam, a downtempo electro track as relaxed as Snoop Dogg on a Sunday morning. Named after the infamous Echo Park bar, Goldroom's disco-inspired beats are also fit for feverish Saturday nights.
Hundred Waters: The atmospheric electro-folk Gainsville group have made friends in the EDM world with their self-titled debut, touring with Diplo, Skrillex and Grimes' Full Flex Express Tour and signing to Skrillex's OWSLA label. But don't look for any thundering drops on "Hundred Waters," an album built around singer Nicole Miglis' soothing vocals and a vividly arranged sound as analog as it is digital.
High Highs: The Australia-turned-Brooklyn duo, now rounded out by drummer Zach Lipkins, plays evocative, intimate music reminiscent of Grizzly Bear and Radiohead -- but loud enough to be heard by Elton John's Rocket Music management company. The group will release its full-length debut in 2013, though you may have heard them already: they've placed songs in an Amazon Kindle ad and an episode of "Grey's Anatomy."