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Here's What You Need to See at CMJ

The term "marathon" can drum up a lot of conflicted feelings. Running a marathon? Great. A huge, endorphin-boosting accomplishment that you can annoy your friends with by bringing it up at every possible turn. On the other hand, running is terrible: Shin splints, nipple tape, the high likelihood of publicly voiding your bladder. A Netflix marathon? Awesome. Cheesy snacks, curling up on the couch and once again finding yourself culturally current by binging on some series your friends are always talking about. And yet, you might still be hopelessly lonely and underemployed.

So how about a music marathon?

Depends on what we're talking about here. Spending three days at a festival quaffing beers, watching gorgeous people and maybe checking out a band or two? Usually a pretty good time. Dropping over $500 on a badge that lets you navigate your way through the 1,300 bands playing CMJ's Music Marathon in NYC this week? Daunting, exhausting, often ill-advised. But overpriced admission or no, there's ton of quality music (some of which don't require a badge) to be seen and it's best to come prepared. With that in mind, here are nine CMJ-related (both official and unofficial) acts and events worth going out of your way for. Good luck, and godspeed.

Bombay Bicycle Club
Suffice it to say that euphoric electronic-pop band Bombay Bicycle Club's So Long, See You Tomorrow didn't get enough burn this year. Released all the way back in February, the English foursome's fourth album is the musical equivalent of stumbling through a Holi festival during a semester abroad. Effusive, life-affirming stuff. For those looking to catch kids with Xs on their hands making out in the front row, look no further.
10/22: Terminal 5, 610 W. 56th St., New York. Doors at 7pm, get tickets HERE

Matthew Dear
Matthew Dear playing a club named Verboten is about as on-the-nose as Aphex Twin playing a warehouse called Mx  '" oFFen9 {unit}, but it's advisable to look to Dear to help close-out your CMJ. While his dark, slinky electro-pop almost always translates into a rewarding live experience, keep your fingers crossed that he'll mix-in some of his material as Audion. He's releasing a new 12" under that alias on Kompakt in November, which he describes as highlighting "the more introspective moments on the dancefloor... without sacrificing one iota of the precisely engineered groove machinery that is Audion."
10/25: Verboten, 54 N. 11th St., Brooklyn. 11pm, get tickets HERE

Moon Duo
Last month, drone-zoners Moon Duo released their first live recording Live in Ravenna, which captured Wooden Shjips member Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada stomping out some of their choicest psych tunes. Expect more of that all week long, and make an effort to catch them at the Sacred Bones showcase, where their label buddy Damon McMahon (who records simple, spiritual music as Amen Dunes) will also be on the bill.
10/21: Stage 48, 605 W. 48th St., Manhattan. Doors at 8pm, get ticket HERE
10/23: Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St., New York. Sold Out.
10/24: Trans-Pecos, 915 Wyckoff Ave., Ridgewood. Show at 8pm.
10/25: Rough Trade, 64 N. 9th St., Brooklyn. Show at 7pm, get tickets HERE

In a year filled with stellar punk and punk-ish releases (White Lung, Raspberry Bulbs, Perfect Pussy, Joyce Manor, United Nations, I could go on), Detroit's most literate and literal miserablists are running at the head of the pack. The ferocious, whip-smart Under Color of Official Right is one of 2014's finest releases. "Joe [Casey] is one of the best lead singers right now," Parquet Courts' Andrew Savage told SPIN of Protomartyr's show-stealing frontman. They're only on once this week, so do not miss.
10/23: Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave., Brookyn. Show at 8pm, get tickets HERE

Saint Pepsi
From the sunny minimalist laptop disco of last February's Bandcamp mini-album Gin City, to flipping a track from '90s emo favorites American Football, to dropping an impossibly funky edit of Drake's "Worst Behavior," Ryan DeRobertis' work as Saint Pepsi has been all over the damn place. That's a good thing. Now that the NYC musician has released a 7" single on the notable indie label Carpark Records (yes, the A-side takes its name from a Degrassi character and yes, it sounds like diet-Chic), now's the time to get familiar.
10/22: Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St., New York. Doors at 8:30pm, get tickets HERE.
10/22: Output, 74 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn. Doors at 10pm, get tickets HERE

If you didn't get a chance to check out the UK shoegaze (and bowl-cut) pioneers this past summer on their reunion circuit (this past May, they played their first show in 20 years), now's your chance. Bonus: Slowcore indie rock vets Low are opening.
10/25: Terminal 5, 610 W. 56th St., New York. Sold Out

The Thurston Moore Band and PCPC
Since the death of Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore has been a reliably busy guy. 2013 saw the release of his band Chelsea Light Moving's debut, and earlier this year, Moore's black metal supergroup Twilight released their third and final album. On the 21st, he'll be celebrating the release of his new solo album The Best Day, with fellow SY member Steve Shelley and My Bloody Valentine's Debbie Googe in tow as part of the Thurston Moore Band (both lend a hand on the record). Also showing up to party? Members of Sonic Youth acolytes Parquet Courts and PC Worship, who are joining forces as PCPC to kick things off.
10/21, Saint Vitus Bar, 1120 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn. Sold Out
10/26, Rough Trade, 64 N. 9th St., Brooklyn. Show at 9pm, get tickets HERE

Twin Peaks
Come for the positive garage rock vibes from these Chicago young'ns, stay for the terrible Twin Peaks Season 3 jokes from everyone standing around you during their set.
10/22: Glasslands, 289 Kent Ave., Brooklyn. Doors at 7:30pm, get tickets HERE
10/23: Glasslands, 289 Kent Ave., Brooklyn. Doors at 7:30pm, no cover
10/23: Rough Trade, 64 N. 9th St., Brooklyn. Show at 1pm, no cover
10/23: Santos Party House, 96 Lafayette St., New York. 6pm. Sold Out
10/24: Rough Trade, 64 N. 9th St., Brooklyn. Show at 8pm, get tickets

Bonus: If you're really up for the challenge of catching as much music as possible in a five day period, why not check out:

Bands With Terrible Names
Why subject yourself to this kind of thing? Because your significant other wants -- nay, needs -- a Vomitface t-shirt. Or a Spreaders shirt. A Shark Week shirt. A Robot Death Kites shirt. A Doprah t-shirt. A Me Chinese shirt. A King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard shirt AND blacklight poster. Or just get really meta and buy a bunch of merch from Strange Names.

...Or Just Go Watch People Talk
Smart people (for the most part), too. Though you might have forgotten (or simply might not care), there are tons of great panels and discussions and meet-and-greets during CMJ. Head over to the NYU Kimmel Center and check out Jon Norris interview Zola Jesus (Thursday, 3:00), reflect on 25 years of the influential indie label Merge with founders (and Superchunk members) Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan (Friday, 12:30), and ponder the legitimacy of the #emorevival (Thursday, 11:00am). Or just bag the whole thing and stay home and watch Netflix. Your call, New York.

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