10 Acts You Should Check Out at CMJ 2015

Lead Photo: Balancer
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CMJ Music Marathon kicks off today here in New York City, but even though there are hundreds of official bands and artists performing, only a handful of them are Latinx. Lack of diversity in music festival lineups isn’t anything new, but at this point we expect so much more.

We are hosting our own (un)official CMJ showcase on Saturday to compensate this mishap, with a lineup so musically diverse it could win a Nobel Prize in bad-assery. We don’t like to toot our own horn too much, but for real, it’s lit.

Check out our top 10 picks for this year and be sure to RSVP for their shows too. Plus, listen to our official Before You Go playlist on Apple Music, which features all of the artists below and more.



Balancer’s first video is as soft, lush, and polished as the music they make. “Re Minder” is a song about letting your imagination flow, and the video follows the story of a youngster going to weird places with a map.

Catch Balancer at Leftfield NYC on October 16 and Living Room Brooklyn on October 17.


Empress Of

Everyone who’s been lucky enough to catch Empress Of live or had the chance to meet her in person can agree that Lorely Rodriguez comes across as a genuine and endearing artist. That aspect of her personality bleeds through her debut album Me (Terrible/XL), where she’s unapologetically open through her confessional lyrics and honest vocals.

Catch Empress Of at Terminal 5 on October 15 and Cameo Gallery on October 16.


Neon Indian

Almost three months ago, Alan Palomo surprised us by releasing a new Neon Indian single out of the blue. “Annie” was an excellent reggae-tinged pop number that won our hearts instantly, and made us crave details about the follow-up to his 2011 album Era Extraña.

Catch Neon Indian at Webster Hall on October 14.


Salt Cathedral

The Colombian-rooted, Brooklyn-based group formerly known as Il Abanico — led by Juliana Ronderos and Nicolas Losada — expertly tempered manic elements in their six-song EP Oom Velt. We’ve gushed enough about “Tease” and “Holy Soul,” two confident tracks that showcase Salt Cathedral’s propensity for thin vocal looping and bright beats, so we’re looking forward to seeing them live again.

Catch Salt Cathedral at Pianos on October 16. 


Gio Chamba

Gio Chamba is a Houston-based artist who crafts digital cumbia and electropical sounds. He’s definitely a new artist on our radar and we’re looking forward to seeing what he has to offer. 

Catch Gio Chamba at The Delancey Upstairs on October 15. 


Nina Sky

Perreo NYC residents and dance floor powerhouse Nina Sky will also be performing at CMJ this year. The duo are a monster on the decks, making for the perfect start to your CMJ week.

Catch Nina Sky on October 13 at Arlene’s Grocery. RSVP here.


J Fernandez

Psychedelic lo-fi artist J Fernandez hits NYC with his doleful productions grounded in post-bedroom rock. Hailing from Chicago, he’s also a CMJ alumnus from 2013.

Catch J Fernandez at Cake Shop on October 16 and at Union Pool in Brooklyn on October 17.


Alex Vargas

Alex Vargas is a singer, songwriter, and producer born to a Danish-English mother and Uruguayan father. He’s got an extensive London music career and is bringing some of that talent stateside.

Alex Vargas will be performing a couple of times during CMJ week, including down in the Studio at Webster Hall on October 13, So Far Sounds on October 14, and Rockwood Music Hall on October 15 and 16.



Chilean producer Imaabs is on a roll. Not too long ago, we highlighted his latest EP, Distancia, on NAAFI. We’re excited to showcase him this weekend, alongside his other NAAFI labelmate, Zutzut. Check out this remix he did for Brazilian rapper MC Davi via Apple Music Connect.

Catch Imaabs go head-to-head with Papi Juice and Perreo NYC DJs at Santos Party House Downstairs on October 17. RSVP here.


Kap G

A couple months ago, we took Atlanta rapper Kap G to Mexico City for the first time. We shot a video in Tlatelolco, a neighborhood of D.F. where the world-famous Plaza de las Tres Culturas is located. It was lit, and you can now view it below with Apple Music. Kap isn’t an official CMJ artist, but dammit, he should be.

Catch Kap G at Perreo NYC at Santos Party House Downstairs on October 17. RSVP here.