CMJ: Stone’s Top 5 CMJ Picks

by Winston "Stone" Ford


The annual CMJ Music Marathon is upon us, and honestly, the lineup might seem confusing at first glance. Where are the big names? There is no Jay-Z/Beatles/Tupac Hologram concert?

Thankfully for the most part this year’s CMJ gets back to discovering actual rising music. No celebrities, no buzz acts. And that’s a good thing, yet it could be confusing for those who are trying to wade through CMJ’s rather extensive (and unfortunately incomplete) schedule. So as a public service, I waded through what I could to give you guys a smattering of what you can expect this week. Check it.

The Couch Sessions Presents: The CIRCUS CMJ Showcase

So I can’t really talk about CMJ without stanning for our own gig. To be honest, this showcase represents the collection of atists that we best feel will blow up in 2013. As my friend would say….”see them before they sell out Terminal 5 in 3 years!” The highlights include Brooklyn Band Ava Luna, R&B crooner Bryan Ellis, and DC electro soul group Misun among a slew of others.

Ava Luna – Past the Barbary

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Misun – The Sea

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The Neigbourhood

This LA Band is kind of like The Weeknd with guitars. When they first showed up, via some grey-tinged, stylistic videos on Vimeo, they had no press photos or bio to speak of. Fast forward to 6 months later and we still have no idea what this bands looks like. What we do know is that their two singles “Female Robbery,” and “Sweater Weather,” are solid, combining traditional pop with much darker elements. After a somewhat shaky NYC debut at Webster Hall (due to technical difficulties), the group comes back to headline the Sonos/Hype Machine showcase at Brooklyn Bowl.


I saw Kimbra about 3 times at SXSW and I never get tired of her. She needs to win. Period. The 23 year old Australian singer/songwriter dropped the beat album of 2012 as far as I’m concerned and she still hasn’t gotten the shine she deserves. See her at Webster Hall, this Friday and Saturday along with #CircusSXSW alumni The Stepkids. Check out our interview with Kimbra from February 2012.

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Joey Bada$$

Joey Bada$$

2012’s favorite new rapper is 18 year old Brooklyn native Joey Badass. I’m calling this dude the East Coast’s answer to Kendrick Lamar–a perfect bridge from the hip-hop of the past with a foot into the future. Joey’s mixtape 1999 is hands down the best to drop this year. The kid has a combination of ill beat selection and lyrical flow that is rarely found in hip-hop these days.

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Avan Lava

I’ll let you in on a little secret. We’ve been viciously trying to book Avan Lava for the past 5 months. All good, we’re still spinning their track “It’s Never Over,” like the title says. The upbeat song should be played on everything from radios to basketball arenas. Hopefully they will get some more shine after CMJ. They deserve it. They play early Thursday morning at Webster Hall.

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