Flavorpill CMJ Guide 2011: What’s Worth Your Time

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CMJ: they don’t call it a music marathon for nothing, y’know. An insane number of bands will descend on NYC next week for the annual five-day non-stop assault of shows and showcases. With them comes an even larger number of music lovers, who spend most of their time trying to work out how to make a connection from the F train to the L train in order to make it to Williamsburg for that next awesome gig. Even if you live here, trying to keep track of who’s on where, and when best to catch the artists you’ve got circled on your schedule with “MUST SEE” in thick magic marker, can be kinda confusing.

So if negotiating the official schedule’s iPhone text conversation layout is giving you as much of a headache as it gave us, then rejoice! Here’s the Flavorpill guide to what you really should be seeing this time around, whether you want to follow the CMJ tradition of racing around town to see as many bands as possible, or just pick one great showcase where you can settle in for the night. We’ve also included helpful links to where we’ve talked about these bands in the past (we told you so) and commentary from our highly learned team of musical experts.

Tuesday October 18

Zola Jesus (credit: Angel Ceballos)

If you want to charge around town like a lunatic…

Titus Andronicus Glasslands, 9pm Read Titus Andronicus guitarist Amy Klein’s epic tale of the band’s time at Coachella here.

The Grates Cake Shop, 9pm Exuberant Australian two-piece whose sound falls into Yeah Yeah Yeahs territory.

Zola Jesus Knitting Factory, 9:30pm Nika Danilova tells our resident witch house expert Russ Marshalek about the films that inspired her latest album Conatus right here.

Cerebral Ballzy Music Hall of Williamsburg, 10:20pm Check out Cerebral Ballzy’s appearance in The Flavorpill Fix from last October.

Wild Flag Bowery Ballroom, 10:30pm We nominated Wild Flag’s self-titled debut as one of our albums you needed to hear in September. We hope you’ve followed our advice by now, because it rocks.

The Duke Spirit Brooklyn Bowl, 11pm Liela Moss is a fine frontwoman, y’know. And the music’s not bad, either.

Teen Daze Pianos, 11:30pm

The Death Set Studio at Webster Hall, 11:50pm

Class Actress Public Assembly, Brooklyn, 1am Check out our write-up on Class Actress from last year as one of a selection of new women in music for your iPod.

If you just want to stay in one place all night..

Afro-Punk “Death to Hip Hop” Showcase Death, Cerebral Ballzy, Ninjasonik, Jersey Klan, DJ Stack-Aly Music Hall of Williamsburg, 8pm-2am

Carpark/Paw Tracks Showcase Class Actress, Dent May, Cloud Nothings, Young Magic, Adventure, Jimmy Whispers Public Assembly, 8:20pm-2am Lots of great bands here to kick off your CMJ, but of particular interest is the longtime Brooklyn fixture Class Actress, who played our SXSW showcase this year and, on the heels of her first long-player, will hopefully have updated her Madonna-circa True Blue-meets-burlesque stage show to reflect the glistening charm of her new tunes. (RM)

Stereogum/PopGun Showcase Titus Andronicus, Delicate Steve, Chelsea Wolfe, Mr. Dream, Cuckoo Chaos, Hollerado Glasslands, from 8pm

Wednesday October 19

A Place to Bury Strangers

If you want to charge around town like a lunatic…

Eleanor Friedberger Public Assembly, 3pm Eleanor’s appearing solo here, but she and brother Matthew merited an appearance in our roundup of great bands of relatives earlier this year.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Ace Hotel, 4:30pm Their third album dropped recently, but further back, they were one of our buzz bands that avoided a sophomore slump.

ARMS Pianos, 5:15pm

Night Manager Burar Falls, 7pm

Dead Stars St Vitus Bar, 8pm

Nina Nastasia Mercury Lounge, 8pm “Superstar” was one of our absolute favorite songs of the 2000s, and we’ve never had a chance to see Nastasia live, so it’s safe to say that we’ll be heading down to this show with the proverbial bells on. You really should too.

Emmy the Great Fat Baby, 8pm Check out our interactive interview with Emmy the Great right here.

Tanlines Glasslands, 9pm

Parts and Labor Union Pool Hall, 10pm

Nina Sky Canal Room, 10:05pm The incredible case of Nina Sky, the best R&B group you’ve never heard unless you’ve listened to witch house duo CREEP, is too long and storied to even bother to get into. Point is, they sang that “grooves in the truck bout six chicks deep” hook on that Major Lazer song your girlfriend likes, but they’re SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT and you should learn why tonight.(RM)

So So Glos Cameo, 10:45pm Rockabilly-influenced poppy punk rock. They live in and run DIY Brookyln institution Shea Stadium.

Davila 666 Knitting Factory, 11:20pm

Japanther Cameo, 11:45pm Reasons to like Japanther, #1534 in an occasional series: they animated an entire episode of our Flavorpill Fix last year.

A Place to Bury Strangers Union Pool Hall, midnight The last time we saw APTBS, our ears were ringing for days afterward. Don’t let that dissuade you, though — just make sure you bring earplugs. And in the meantime, watch the video for “Ego Death,” which was one of our five favorite videos of the week back in March last year.

If you just want to stay in one place all night…

We Listen for You Day Party Arms, Guards, The Pass, Parlovr, Nerves Junior, Headless Horseman Pianos, from 1pm

FatCat Records Showcase Nina Nastasia, Forest Fire, Mice Parade, “Super Secret Special Guest” Mercury Lounge, from 7pm

TeePee Records Showcase Hopewell, Weird Owl, The Main Street Gospel, Nordic Nomadic, Dead Stars Saint Vitus Bar, from 8pm

Thursday October 20

EMA

If you want to charge around town like a lunatic…

Alabama Shakes Bowery Ballroom, 8pm We humbly submit that you will be making a grave, grave error if you don’t make it to this. We saw Alabama Shakes absolutely tear shit up at Soundland in Nashville last summer, and they shot straight to the top of the list of our favorite new bands.

Psychic Ills Cake Shop, 10pm As we noted in our roundup of albums you need to hear in October, we are big fans of heavy psychedelic music, and thus big fans of Psychic Ills.

Littlefield, 11pm Widowspeak’s self-titled debut was on our list of albums you needed to hear in August, and it’s probably the one we’ve listened to most since.

Metronomy Music Hall of Williamsburg, 11:30pm Back in June, we nominated ten underrated 2011 albums that warrant a place on your iPod. Metronomy’s The English Riviera was one of them, and our opinion on it hasn’t changed any.

EMA Bowery Ballroom, midnight Over the last year, we’ve become big fans of EMA’s work — we reckoned her song “California” was one of the best ever songs about LA, and also enjoyed her contribution to Spin’s Nevermind tribute.

Active Child The Delancey, 12:15am Ha — we were on the Active Child bandwagon, like, last year! Specifically, they featured on two of our Flavorpill mixtapes — check them out here and here.

If you just want to stay in one place all night…

Gorilla vs. Bear/ Yours Tru.ly Party Grimes, King Krule, Main Attrakionz, Gauntlet Hair, Dent May, Bleached, The Bins, DJ Sharon van Etten Shea Stadium, 7pm-10pm

Sub Pop/Hardly Art Showcase J Mascis, Still Corners, Memoryhouse, Jacuzzi Boys, Gem Club, X-Ray Eyeballs Mercury Lounge, from 7pm

WNYU Showcase Frankie Rose, Widowspeak, Talk Normal, Blues Control, Amen Dunes, Noveller Littlefield, from 7pm

Friday October 21

Neon Indian

If you want to charge around like a lunatic…

Atlas Sound Ace Hotel, 4:30pm We recently risked the wrath of the comments section by proclaiming Atlas Sound one of 10 side projects that were better than the artist in question’s “real” band.

Neon Indian Webster Hall, 7pm Who’s got Neon Indian on their iPod? None other than Bret Easton Ellis’s antihero Patrick Bateman, if you believe Emily Temple and her latest literary mixtape

Blue Hawaii Music Hall of Williamsburg, 7pm

Bosco Delrey Canal Room, 10:05pm Our favorite neo-funkster featured on our Victoria Summer Mix back in June. Ah, summer — already, it seems so long ago…

Weekend Music Hall of Williamsburg, 11pm

Wise Blood Pianos, 1am Damaged R&B is en vogue right now (pun intended), and one of the best acts for it out there is Wise Blood. Making a rare live appearance, he’ll be joined by the fractured pop-tech of Chrome Sparks, one of the year’s most under-rated producers and a CMJ must-see.

X-Ray Eyeballs Cake Shop, 2am Loud, and nasty, and perfect for this time of night if you’re somehow still awake and preparing to rage on into the morning.

If you just want to stay in one place all night…

Neon Gold Showcase Gotye, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, The Knocks, French Horn Rebellion, Walk the Moon, St. Lucia, Is Tropical, more Santo’s Party House, from 6pm

Heart Music Showcase Wise Blood, Hard Mix, Evan Voytas, North Highlands, Supreme Cuts, Cities Aviv, REALMAGIC, Chrome Sparks Pianos, from 8pm

Brooklyn Vegan Showcase Weekend, Braids, Active Child, Blue Hawaii Music Hall of Williamsburg, from 7pm

Saturday October 22

Shonen Knife

If you want to charge around town like a lunatic…

Datarock Living Room, midday Apparently badgeholders must be accompanied by a child to get in. We’ve been refused entry from many places in our time, but this’ll be a first…

Guineafowl The Delancey, 1:10pm Up-and-coming Australian who we reckon everyone will be talking about by the end of the festival.

Seekae The Delancey, 5:15pm Speaking of Australians — we nominated Seekae last year as one of our essential Australian bands you haven’t heard. If you still haven’t checked them out, we recommend that you rectify this today.

CSS Webster Hall, 7pm CSS were another recent participant in our Interactive Interview series — check it out here.

Gotye Brooklyn Bowl, 9pm

Gary Lucas Bowery Poetry Club, 9:30pm Once of Jeff Buckley’s band, and also once of Captain Beefheart’s band. A hell of a guitar player, and a genuinely fascinating chap as well.

The Kopecky Family Band Spike Hill, 10pm Thoroughly charming neo-folk from Nashville.

Talib Kweli, Pharaohe Monche, Jean Grae and Buckshot jam session Music Hall of Williamsburg, 11pm Epic jam band is epic.

Shonen Knife Public Assembly, 12:30am We mentioned the evergreen Shonen Knife during our discussion of the Japanese noise scene in our roundup of unexpectedly awesome foreign genres.

If you just want to stay in one place all night…

Flavorpill/A Band Apart Showcase Chelsea Wolfe, Dustin Wong, Delta Hotel, Blue Kid Le Poisson Rouge, 6pm-10pm Dear readers, attendance is compulsory! The showcase is free, and you can RSVP here.