ListenUp

Five promising acts who performed (officially and unofficially) during CMJ week

This week marked the annual CMJ Music Marathon in NYC—where seemingly every venue in the city is booked with bands from around the US and the world. Though the number of participants are in the thousands, we highlighted a few promising acts (who performed in both official and unofficial CMJ events) who make great diving off points for plunging into the internet black hole of …

Beatenberg: Rafael

Five promising acts who performed (officially and unofficially) during CMJ week

Cape Town-based trio Beatenberg brought sunny, jazz-tinged vibes from their hometown to NYC for the first time this week. Debuting at CMJ’s South African Showcase, the outfit’s lead single “Rafael” embodies the band’s unique blend of Cape jazz and pop reminiscent of Paul Simon. The band is part of a growing scene of increasingly internationally recognized artists coming out of the Mother City. Beatenberg’s breezy …

Future Punx: Spike Train

Five promising acts who performed (officially and unofficially) during CMJ week

In their single “Spike Train,” five-piece Brooklyn act Future Punx blends chanting vocals with sweet synth lines, funky live drums and guitars for an interesting contrast. Their overall fast-paced, energetic vibes make for a fun (and sweaty) live show—as their performances at Cake Shop, The Silent Barn and more showed this past week. They’ve got the rare power to convince attendees to loosen their death …

Tkay Maidza: U-Huh

Five promising acts who performed (officially and unofficially) during CMJ week

Zimbabwe-born Aussie teen songwriter and rapper Tkay Maidza graced the East Coast with her presence at multiple CMJ showcases this past week at Pianos, Santos Party House and more. Her confidence-boosting single “U-Huh” fuses pop, rap and electronic music for a track that’s as catchy as it is fierce—her lyrics reference “shooting” away the haters (metaphorically, of course). While the M.I.A and Azaelia Banks comparisons …

Courtship Ritual: Kingdom of Beauty

Five promising acts who performed (officially and unofficially) during CMJ week

Courtship Ritual can be spotted performing their restrained tunes with an equally minimal setup in Brooklyn venues like Baby’s All Right—regularly joined on stage by hired belly dancers whose hypnotic choreography enhance the otherworldly mood. “Kingdom of Beauty” is a particularly poignant track that demonstrates Monica Salazar’s covetable vocal timbre, along with her and guitarist Jared Olmsted’s penchant for augmenting sparseness to great effect. Courtship …