who we saw at cmj 2014

garage rockers, girl groups, and badasses

photos by jackie yaeger and liz riccardi

My favorite thing about going to crazy parties with my BFFs is the morning after. It's a time when we all recount the fuzzy memories of what happened the night before, trying to remember who hooked up with whom, what songs the DJs played, and totally important turning points in the night (like, the minute we ran out of cups). CMJ Music Marathon is a lot like that; you browse the schedule for bands you've heard are sick, make yourself a calendar, and try to go see them all over six-days, at 30 different venues across NYC—and when it's all over, the band's whose sets you can actually remember are probably the ones you thought ruled the fest.

After almost a week of seeing live set after live set, it can be hard to tell who was good and who was bad. Coined "Jade Brain" by my friend Emmett Farley, sorting out who you remember and who you don't can really mean which bands are going to be breakouts for you over the next 12 months.

This year, I got to check out tons of awesome bands. After trudging through my Jade Brain (and beer brain) and looking back on the week of performances, the top three sets for me were:

3. Aussie surf rock dudes Dune Rats
2. Arizona desert pop girl Zella Day
1. UK girl group PINS

Get my whole recap by checking out the gallery above and stream my corresponding CMJ playlist below!