Samantha Kirschberg
November 05, 2013 2:00 pm

Am I the only one who loves discovering new bands/musicians? Okay, so prepare yourself for some of your new favorite music.

This year, I had the chance to attend the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City. Bands and artists from everywhere come to show off their talents. From Arcade Fire to Mumford & Sons to Icona Pop, CMJ has showcased huge artists before they made it big. If you have a chance to go next year, definitely check it out! It’s pretty awesome to see bands like these in intimate settings before they take off.

It was my first time researching and looking up shows to attend. I had to stop obsessing over Lorde’s album and actually research the new bands. I saw around 20 bands live (probably could have seen a lot more). My friend saw 49 bands, so obviously I could’ve done better. Next year, I’ll have to work on my scheduling and teleporting (I wish!) skills.

I wanted to tell you guys about the top bands/artists I saw at CMJ.

First up: Wardell! Theo and Sasha Spielberg, formerly known as Brother/Sister, are Los Angeles natives. Yep, they’re Stephen Spielberg’s kids and they are amazing. You may recognize Sasha from HelloGiggles’ Video Chat Karaoke. I’ve listened to this sibling duo before. I even added their song ‘Opossum’ to my O.C. birthday playlist, but seeing them live made me LOVE them. Seriously, afterwards I tweeted, “I think I’m in love.” It’s like Sasha was cupid and shot an arrow into my heart. She really hooked me in. With dreamy hooks and crushworthy indie-pop tunes, it was incredibly hard to choose just one of their songs to put on this playlist.

Up next, Dan Croll! I had a full night and was debating on whether to go see a show or not. I’m so glad I decided to rush over to the Mercury Lounge. I only caught the Brit’s last three songs, but it was totally worth it. His music is upbeat, catchy and filled with dreamy melodies. ‘From Nowhere’ is my favorite off the EP. Fun facts: He recorded most of his album in his old primary school and when he was younger, he was planning on becoming a rugby player! He ended his CMJ set with his song ‘Home’, which was the perfect send-off. I looked up the song when I got home and came across his music video that features his family. Mr. Croll is an adorably talented guy.

Sheppard was at the top of my list of bands to see. Their song ‘Let Me Down Easy’ was stuck in my head after only one listen! I saw them at the Aussie BBQ (a free all day music event showcasing 26 Australian bands) and they were incredibly fun. They got the crowd pumped up and singing along to songs they were just introduced to. The band is comprised of the three Sheppard siblings George, Amy and Emma, guitarist Jay Bovino, drummer Dean Gordon and guitarist Michael Butler. I talked to Jay after their set to tell him how awesome they were and then we got into a convo about our favorite artists. From fun. to Death Cab to Lorde, we had a lot in common. (If he lived in NY, I could totally see us hanging out.) Also, talked to lead singer George for a little and he said that it would probably cost around $200 to attend something like the Aussie BBQ back in Australia.

The Aussie bands actually hit it out of the park for me. Some others that should be mentioned: The Preatures, who were an amazing late ‘70s-sounding rock band. They’ve been compared to Haim and I agree; the lead singer seems just as badass as them. The Griswolds have that afropop, jungle rock sound. They reminded me a lot of Jinja Safari, an Australian band I saw at last year’s CMJ and loved. Ball Park Music, an indie pop rock band, really got the crowd going. I don’t know if it was filled with all Australians or if New Yorkers are huge fans, but it was pretty cool to experience. (Sheppard was in the crowd rocking out!)

One artist I’m upset I missed out on is Betty Who.  She is definitely going to be a huge pop star. She reminds me of an Australian Katy Perry. Her Facebook page bio says, “I’d just like to make people dance.” Clearly, she’s doing a good job. You’ll probably recognize the song ‘Somebody Loves You’ from the viral Home Depot proposal video! So much love there. I really need to try to catch her next New York show.

This playlist is mostly bands I had the chance to see at CMJ and some artists that I didn’t see, but loved their music.

Hope some of these artists are added to your favs. They were certainly added to mine. Who doesn’t love falling in love with a new band? Enjoy!

Featured Image via Wardell’s FacebookOther images via Interview Maghere, here and here.

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