Today marks the dawning of the CMJ Music Marathon, an annual see and be seen event for bands and “music tastemakers” and other people who want to try and cram as big of a fraction of the 1,000-plus—no, really—bands playing in various venues around the city between now and Saturday. Sound of the City field representatives will be on the scene for various panels and day parties and showcases and secretive events that we’ve been dubbed cool enough (ha ha) to get into. This morning we’ll also roll out our picks for bands you should check out over the coming days, and don’t worry about not having one of those expensive badges; all the shows we’re advocating for are open to the general public. Democratic!
Of course, with CMJ comes the discussion of its utility (can having 1,000-plus bands in one place really send out a message of which one is “the best” at all?) and its place in the ever-accelerating hype cycle (hey everyone, remember when Black Kids were going to change music as we know it) and armchair quarterbacking about which band is going to emerge “triumphant” from the whole thing and what “triumph” even means. Getting a lot of people to blog about a show? Scoring a sweet sync license for whatever midseason replacement is going to sub in for H8er on the CW? Playing a bunch of shows and not breaking up from the stress of working what are essentially triple shifts for five days straight? A combination of all of the above? One thing’s for sure: It’s not selling a lot of records anymore.
And so we go off, stumbling toward day parties, trying to use our badges and/or overpowering charm to get into shows that turned into the hot ticket in the space of an hour. Feel free to contribute your thoughts on bands or panels or events we should check out in the comments, and if you see a member of the SOTC team in the trenches, say hi, or at least buy us a seltzer. (With lime, please.)