1.Next Year's Big Things, Playing Right Now


Every autumn, more than 1,000 new artists, from rappers to indie rockers, metalheads to psychedelic folk singers and beyond, head to New York City to showcase during the annual CMJ Music Marathon, and every year SPIN digs through EPs, LPs, singles, remixes, and MySpace pages, seeking the festival's must-hear new acts.

This year's crop are all vying to be the next Surfer Blood, or Best Coast, or Bear in Heaven, or Neon Indian -- all bands that appeared in SPIN's 2009 CMJ preview. Whether you'll be in NYC from October 19-23, or you just love to discover exciting new acts, our must-hear list is a must-read.

Click here to begin >>

BONUS: Click here to download a free MP3 mixtape featuring 29 of these bands!

2.Next Year's Big Things, Playing Right Now


Every autumn, more than 1,000 new artists, from rappers to indie rockers, metalheads to psychedelic folk singers and beyond, head to New York City to showcase during the annual CMJ Music Marathon, and every year SPIN digs through EPs, LPs, singles, remixes, and MySpace pages, seeking the festival's must-hear new acts.

This year's crop are all vying to be the next Surfer Blood, or Best Coast, or Bear in Heaven, or Neon Indian -- all bands that appeared in SPIN's 2009 CMJ preview. Whether you'll be in NYC from October 19-23, or you just love to discover exciting new acts, our must-hear list is a must-read.

Click here to begin >>

BONUS: Click here to download a free MP3 mixtape featuring 29 of these bands!



Hometown: Vermont/Brooklyn
Sounds Like: Joanna Newsom's pot-smoking, college-dropout sister. On her debut album Necima, this Brooklyn singer-songwriter delivers haunting piano-ballads in a sultry, fluttery voice that's got the arty quirk of an earth mother and the weary heartbreak of a torch singer.
Recommended If You Like: Kate Bush, Fiona Apple, Sia, Cat Power
You should know: Ices has found fans in everyone from Iron and Wine's Sam Beam to Juana Molina to Loney, Dear.LISTEN: "Grown Unknown"



Hometown: Brooklyn
Sounds Like: Hooky, danceable electro-pop that sounds transmitted through an old Fisher Price boombox. Stand out track "Weird Machines" is exactly that: junk-shop synth hooks, drugged-out beats, and singer Josh Kolenik's zonked-out slacker vocals.
Recommended If You Like: Washed Out, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Gary Numan
You should know: The central character of Small Black's video "Despicable Dogs" — which follows an aging surfer bro — is played byKolenik's real-life uncle, who's something of a local surfing legend in his native Long Beach, New York.LISTEN:"Photojournalist"



Hometown: Seattle
Sounds Like: Experimental hip-hop that balances smart-ass party anthems with poetic soliloquies. With the mission of making "feel good music," this trio -- Pearl Dragon, Sir Thomas Gray, and Mark Gajadhar, aka DJ Gajamagic -- pair the electronic flourishes of Portishead and the attitude of Bad Brains with drum-machine beats, tambourine, keyboards, and melodica.
Recommended If You Like: Cool Kids, Kid Cudi, People Under the Stairs
You should know: Gajadhar is the former drummer for Seattle post-hardcore legends the Blood Brothers.LISTEN: "I Fell Through"



Hometown: Bangor, Ireland
Sounds Like: This North Irish trio deliver jittery art-pop with a much-needed emotional depth thanks to singer Alex Trimble's earnest, keening vocals, which eerily mimicks Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard.
Recommended If You Like: Foals, Phoenix, Death Cab for Cutie
You should know: Two Door Cinema Club have reportedly teamed up with Kanye West after the rapper flipped for band's raging single "I Can Talk."



Hometown: Detroit
Sounds Like: Motor City chill-wavers whose name riffs on the famous NASCAR drivers. But their synth-soaked, lightweight, Postal Service-y glitch pop would be about as likely to be found at the Daytona 500 as Rachel Maddow.
Recommended If You Like: Islands, Vampire Weekend, Broken Bells
You should know: Josh Epstein, one half of DEJJ, also fronts the Detroit rock outfit the Silent Years.LISTEN:"Nothing But Our Love"



Hometown: New York City
Sounds Like: Frances Farewell Starlight is the creative force behind this New York-based group, who deliver '80s excess synth-pop with snatches of blue-eyed soul, jazz, and Elvis Presley-style rockabilly (Starlight even rocks a mean pompadour just like the King).
Recommended If You Like: Prince, Phil Collins, Scritti Politti.
You should know: Starlight — who was classmates at Wesleyan with MGMT — has found a big fan among hip-hop's biggest egos: Kanye and Drake have all raved about Starlight's slick, highly-stylized brand of pop music.LISTEN: "Knees to the Floor"



Hometown: San Francisco
Sounds Like: Seedy, skull-crushing shoegaze that oozes with the speed of a Morphine drip. On top of the band's heavy, fuzzed-out sound, singer Tamaryn delivers seductive come-hithers like a sex-crazed Anne Rice. "Come down to the surface…come down to the shallows," she beckons over torrents of ringing guitar noise on standout track "The Waves." Sold! (Except for the Anne Rice thing…ewwww!)
Recommended If You Like: PJ Harvey, Jesus and Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine
You should know: Like Cher, singer Tamaryn doesn't have a last name.LISTEN:"Love Fade"



Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana
Sounds Like: Sepia-toned, whisper-quiet folk that proves LeBlanc is wiser than his 20 years. On tracks like "5th Avenue Bar" and "Death of Outlaw Billy John" (from his debut Paupers Field), the shaggy-haired Southerner delivers sharply observed narratives about down-and-out drunkards and fallen, cold-blooded murderers.
Recommended If You Like: Neil Young, Ray LaMontagne, Nick Drake.
You should know: LeBlanc cut his teeth hanging out with session pros in his native Shreveport and started writing songs when his father bought him a guitar at the age of 11.LISTEN:"If Time Was For Wasting"



Hometown: Worcester, Massachusetts
Sounds Like: The musings of a 22-year-old smart-alec who piles arena-sized guitar hooks, electro-pop, dance, and punk into one unique, fun sound. On "Living in America," a lo-fi, woozy anthem from their debut EP, Sun Bronzed Greek Gods EP (out now), frontman, namesake, and perennial jokester Dom (who says he withholds his last name for fear of the IRS) sings cheekily about the beauty of American life -- fast food, bikini-clad babes, and shopping sprees included.
Recommended If You Like: Passion Pit, Surfer Blood, Neon Indian
You Should Know: Dom (the person) solicited members of the four-piece band via Craigslist.LISTEN: "Living in America"



Hometown: San Francisco
Sounds Like: Rudely distorted, crudely recorded garage rock. "Oh Mary" and "Girlfriend," though, show Segall's gift for grafting melody onto his two-minute fuzz bombs.
Recommended If You Like: The Black Lips, the Nuggets box set of British psychedelia.
You should know: Segall isn't putting all his cracked eggs in the rock'n'roll basket -- the Media Studies major recently graduated from the University of San Francisco.LISTEN: "Caesar"



Hometown: Tampa, FL
Sounds Like: She's a foul-mouthed, squeaky-voiced female MC who flows over '80s-tinged 808 beats like Slick Rick on a helium binge. A labelmate of fellow North Florida lady rap crew Yo Majesty, Dominique, 19, is getting big-upped from both esteemed hip-hop heads and hipster bloggarazzi.
Recommended If You Like: Missy Elliott, M.I.A., Santigold
You should know: Proof that Dominique has infiltrated the stuffiest of indie rock circles -- she was tapped to open a recent tour by Dirty Projectors.LISTEN: "The World Is Mine"



Hometown: Roanoke, Virginia
Sounds Like: A lazy, hazy day at the beach… in Scotland. This male/female duo has been compared to breakout surf-rock outfit Best Coast for their simple, reverb-drenched pop tunes, but their excellent debut full length, Silver, is also much indebted to Scot lo-fi pioneers like Belle & Sebastian and Orange Juice.
Recommended If You Like: Best Coast, Beat Happening, Orange Juice, The Raincoats
You should know: Both singer-guitarist Nicole Yun and drummer Daniel Cundiff are members of the Magic Twig Community, a collective of Roanoke musicians from numerous bands whose headquarters is a studio/workspace called the Mystic Fortress.LISTEN: "Pogo"



Hometown: New York City
Sounds Like: Spiky bubblegum that splits the difference between Joy Division's bummed-out punk and the Beach Boys' blissful surf rock. The undeniably catchy "I Felt Stupid" may be the most joyful anthem for bumbling romantic fools everywhere — if Duckie heard this on a cassingle in the '80s, he would've totally balled Andie Walsh.
Recommended If You Like: The Cure, the Smiths, the Beach Boys
You Should Know: After releasing their debut album, the Drums have just split with founding guitarist Adam Kessler, but they're doing just fine without him: Singer Jonathan Pierce recently told the British press that the remaining band members are working on some of their best material yet.LISTEN: "Down By the Water"



Hometown: San Francisco
Sounds Like: A dance party in a lonely teen's bedroom. "Young at Love and Life" and "About My Girls" find guitarist-vocalist Ryan Lynch and keyboardist-vocalist Hannah Hunt mixing tremulous vocals with crisp rhythm guitar patterns and cheery synth lines.
Recommended If You Like: The Smiths, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart.
You should know: Lynch also handles touring six-string duties for fellow buzzy Bay Area band Girls.LISTEN:"Clawing Out at the Walls"



Hometown: Brooklyn
Sounds Like: If Al Green were a stand-up comedian who grew up during the golden age of hip-hop. Watts' set involves the comedian-singer improvising absurd, surreal comedy songs over his own looped beatboxing.
Recommended If You Like: Flight of the Conchords, Ween.
You should know: Watts was the opening act on Conan O'Brien's Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television tour.LISTEN: "Butter + Toast"



Hometown: Atlanta / Brooklyn / Ft. Myers, FL
Sounds Like: More than the sum of its parts -- co-frontmen Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra and solo songsmith Kevin Devine, plus a gaggle of their bandmates -- the band's self-titled debut ranges from rowdy post-emo to gentle singer/songwriter fare, and the collaboration feels egalitarian, but never forced.
Recommended If You Like: Kevin Devine, Manchester Orchestra, Wilco, Bright Eyes
You should know: While the partnership began quite casually, Devine and Hull first crossed streams earlier this year with their I Could Be the Only One split 7-inch, where they covered each other's originals.LISTEN:"You Wouldn't Have to Ask"



Hometown: Blacksburg, Virginia
Sounds Like: A tribute to the overcast, daydream-y guitar-pop sounds of 1980s England. On his latest single, "Golden Haze," 22-year-old recent Virginia Tech grad Jack Tatum captures the starry-eyed romance ("Surrender to me," he sings) and hazy guitar twinkles of the Britpop's first wave like a wistful Polaroid picture.
Recommended If You Like: The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Cure, Jesus & Mary Chain
You Should Know: Tatum also helms a tropical punk band called Facepaint, as well as a singer-songwriter project, Jack & the Whale.LISTEN:"Chinatown"



Hometown: Berlin (via Brooklyn)
Sounds Like: Crafted by German transplant Tom Krell, the one man mastermind behind this moniker, it's a hybrid between the frat rockin' beats of MGMT's first album, Avey Tare's watery grooves, and R&B populism, best enjoyed on headphones during late-night urban stumbles.
Recommended If You Like: Animal Collective, Hot Chip, Matthew Herbert
You should know: Krell samples Michael Jackson on "Ecstasy with JoJo" makes Jacko cool again, after being so dreadfully overplayed in the wake of his death.LISTEN: "Ecstasy With Jojo"



Hometown: Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Sounds Like: Carey's debut, All We Grow, is a late night gem of lushly produced, vocally hushed, deeply emotional folk-pop.
Recommended If You Like: Brian Eno, Sufjan Stevens
You Should Know: Carey plays drums for his similarly haunting-sounding pal Justin Vernon in Bon Iver.LISTEN: "In the Stream"



Hometown: New York City
Sounds Like: Sisters Jessica and Cristi Jo Zambri craft tragically romantic New Wave pop loaded with hauntingly harmonized choruses and cathartic keyboard build-ups.
Recommended If You Like: Tegan and Sara, New Order
You should know: Jon Philpot of acclaimed Brooklyn art rock outfit Bear In Heaven contributes backing vocals on Zambri's new John Hughes-y single, "Carry."LISTEN: "Carry"



Hometown: Gary, Indiana
Sounds Like: '90s gangsta rap with a contemporary twist. On gems like "Live By the Game," this cold-as-ice drug dealer-turned-rhyme sayer spits with an effortless flow and deep tone about 'hood life and the drugs, prostitution, and despair precipitated by the collapse of his hometown's job market.
Recommended If You Like: Tupac, Twista, UGK, Young Buck
You should know: After the success of his official debut, the Str8 Killa EP, Gibbs is prepping his first full-length, Baby-Faced Killa, for release this year. Hip-hop heavyweight producers like Jim Jonsin, Hi-Tek, and Ski Beatz all contribute.LISTEN: "Live By the Game"



Hometown: Toronto
Sounds Like: Dreamily melodic tracks "The Greatest Hits by God," "Sessions of Light," and "Confusion's Home" are slow moving stoner rock spectacles spritzed with smoker's delights like strings and synth wooshes.
Recommended If You Like: Black Mountain, Dead Meadow, Pink Floyd
You Should Know: Singer-guitarist Andrew Gunn was a member of the late, great Toronto garage band, the Deadly Snakes.LISTEN:"Psychic Seasons"



Hometown: Nashville, TN
Sounds Like: Soul-inflected garage rock from the mind of Jonas Stein, who was once part of the burgeoning but now defunct Nashville teen punk outfit Be Your Own Pet. Stein flexes confidence as a frontman, with a sexy croon and lyrical wit.
Recommended If You Like: Black Lips, the Hives
You should know: Turbo Fruits appeared in Drew Barrymore's roller derby-focused directorial debut, Whip It, portraying the backing band for Nashville musician/actor Landon Pigg.LISTEN: "Mama's Mad Cos I Fried My Brain"



Hometown: Naples, FL
Sounds Like: What their labelmates Gaslight Anthem are trying to do for New Jersey, and the Boss, these Floridians might be trying to do for their home state, and Tom Petty. Jangly, catchy guitar pop laced with essences of classic rock sprung from this quartet, which began as a childhood solo project by frontman Chris Farren.
Recommended If You Like: The Format, Cursive
You should know: While Fake Problems are now supporting the Gaslight Anthem at big venues like Radio City Music Hall, they actually invited Gaslight on their first-ever tour.LISTEN: "Soulless"



Hometown: Brooklyn
Sounds Like: Walking into the Taj Mahal high on 60 hits of LSD. This trio -- sisters Nimai and Taraka Larson and their childhood friend Michael Collins -- craft music that's intensely psychedelic. Their fourth album and breakout release, the aptly-titled Shadow Temple, is full of nine-minute-plus mind-fucks of tribal drumming, experimental structures, whirring synths, and call-and-response chanting of sanskrit mantras. There's even a totally random Elvis sample. Trip out on that.
Recommended If You Like: Drugs
You should know: The band, which takes its name from the seventh avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism, recently signed to Animal Collective's label Paw Tracks. LISTEN: "Lightening Fossil"



Hometown: Cleveland
Sounds Like: Lo-fi garage pop, full of bubblegum melodies and fuzzy, fractured guitar solos. "Can't Stay Awake" is the standout.
Recommended If You Like: The Clean, Jay Reatard
You should know: A quartet live, Cloud Nothing is the brainchild of one man, barely post-adolescent Ohioan Dylan Baldi.LISTEN: "Hey Cool Kid"



Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Sounds Like: High-energy, experimental psych-rock with hints of banjo, talk box, synthesizer, trumpet, and theremin. Their live sets are wild freak-outs, too, with the band appending freeform codas to their tracks, complete with all five members shouting, chanting, and sing-talking in trippy vocal patterns.
Recommended If You Like: Akron Family, Man Man, Sleepy Sun
You should know: Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock signed the band to his Glacial Pace record label, produced their upcoming debut album, and took them on tour this summer. LISTEN: "Expanding Away"



Hometown: Montreal & L.A.
Sounds Like: This all-female duo thickly layers crackling shoegaze riffage in full-on My Bloody Valentine-worshipping glory, and like MBV, there are hummable, harmonious melodies buried just beneath the surface.
Recommended If You Like: Autolux, the Raveonettes, My Bloody Valentine
You should know: The ladies share a label, Mexican Summer, with 2010 breakout star (and SPIN CMJ pick for 2009) Best Coast.LISTEN: "Heedless"



Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Sounds Like: A decade-plus of indie- and alt-rock sounds distilled into sparking art-pop swells by four impressionable, open-eared youngsters. This kaleidoscopic sound is all over their latest album, One of Us, especially its best track "50's," a jittery anthem with a solid rhythmic groove, spiky guitar riffs, and eerie keys.
Recommended If You Like: Modest Mouse, Flaming Lips, Deerhunter, MGMT
You should know: While in their van on tour, one of the band's favorite ways to pass the timeis to play a game they call "famous last words.""I think I can hold my breath for two minutes. Time me!" the band jokes to SPIN.com of one submission. "Or... 'A little more gasoline should do the trick!'" Kids... [sigh].LISTEN: "50's"



Hometown: Laramie, Wyoming
Sounds Like: Jet-fueled, skate brat punk at its finest, carrying the torch for Fat Wreck Chords labelmates like NOFX -- and coming off like a more authentically punk-leaning Blink-182.
Recommended If You Like: Blink-182, Alkaline Trio
You should know: The quartet isn't afraid of some in-song braggadocio: On their song "Bigger Than KISS" they call out the aging makeup rockers, and aim to one day eclipse them.LISTEN: "Bigger Than KISS"



Click here to find out how to download our CMJ MP3 mixtape!