Top 7 Discoveries At CMJ 2014

November 3, 2014 -

Hill Coulson

As we've mentioned previously, two weeks ago marked the return of the CMJ Music Marathon – an annual event that showcases up-and-coming artists at music venues all across New York City. Between surprise guests at the FADER Fort and overseas artists' debuts in America, there were a lot of new acts to sift through. Without further ado, here are seven of our favorite newly discovered bands, rappers, and DJs from CMJ.

(All photos provided by Hill Coulson via

Sway Clarke II


This Toronto-born, Berlin-based singer-songwriter wowed us with his NYC debut at the Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday. His set sprinkled in a number of his influences, ranging from acoustic folk to hip-hop to poppier selections, with a powerful, soulful voice to top it off. Listen to "Secret Garden" for a great example of his range.



Calling themselves purveyors of "nostalgic garage pop," Australian three-piece band DMA's have tapped into a much wider audience than they may have initially anticipated. The group has made waves in their homeland – signing with local tastemaker label I OH YOU and selling out their first national tour. They've even been compared to a little band by the name of Oasis. Watch the lo-fi music video for their single "Delete" and see for yourself.

Max Jury


A 21 year old Iowa native with the voice of a seasoned Nashville vet. I caught his set at Pianos on Thursday, a refreshing change of pace from the scores of garage rock bands that flood the Lower East Side during CMJ. His music video for "Christian Eyes" should give you a good idea of his aesthetic.

Ellie Herring


It was 2:30am and I was heading to Williamsburg venue Baby's All Right with some friends from Drexel's WKDU college radio station. We were hoping to catch Saint Pepsi but instead were treated to the foward-thinking club sounds of Ellie Herring. I barely recognized a single song she dropped (except for a No Type remix) but that didn't stop her from stringing together one hell of a DJ set. Check out her exclusive mix for SSENSE on Soundcloud.



New Zealand has always been known to bring their A-game to CMJ and this year was no exception. Carpark Records import Popstrangers came to my attention off the strength of their single "Country Kills," a result of their move to London in 2013. I caught them at the Cake Shop on Thursday and their live set built upon the record's foundation, bringing a much welcomed wall of fuzz and distortion to the single's poppy bounce.



Father has blown up this year after penning "Look At Wrist," a contender for the runaway rap hit of 2014. Each instance I saw this song performed last week at CMJ, at least four time by my count, a near riot ensued at every single show. Wristwristwristwristwristwrist. Don't sleep on Father or the rest of the Awful Records family.

Jordan Bratton


Prior to his appearance at Saturday's edition of the FADER Fort, I had never heard of RCA-signee Jordan Bratton. The performance that night certainly made an impact with his show-stopping voice and the charisma and energy to match. With a cosign from Fabolous and more music in the works, look for Jordan's name to ring out in the coming year.


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