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The six artists to see at CMJ this year

speedy ortiz

speedy ortiz Photo Credit: Speedy Ortiz

In New York, you can see a great band just about any night of the week.
Still, there’s something special about the CMJ Music Marathon, when more than 1,200 bands take over 80 venues hoping to be discovered.

Here are six artists to keep an eye on.

John Murry
Murry was born in Elvis’ hometown and is a second cousin of author William Faulkner. His debut album, “The Graceless Age,” is intense folk-rock that chronicles his struggles with drug addiction. (Thursday, Mercury Lounge, 7 p.m.)

Speedy Ortiz
A lot of bands these days are revisiting the sound of ’90s alt-rock. Speedy Ortiz does it better than most, with powerful hooks and thoughtful lyrics about coming of age. (Friday, 285 Kent, 12:30 a.m.)

Willis Earl Beal
An outsider artist in the vein of Tom Waits and Daniel Johnston, Beal sings low-fi songs that encompass gospel, blues, soul and rock. His latest album, “Nobody Knows,” is a little more produced than his past work and features a duet with Cat Power. (Friday, Mercury Lounge, 10 p.m.)

Foy Vance
Vance is the latest discovery from the record label that gave the world Phoenix and Mumford & Sons. He was born in Ireland and raised in Oklahoma, and his lovelorn anthems have a mix of both cultures. (Thursday, The Slipper Room, 8:30 p.m.)

Diane Birch
Birch’s 2009 debut placed her squarely in the singer-songwriter tradition, with songs that ranged from ’70s soft rock to Tin Pan Alley. Her new one, “Speak a Little Louder,” adds soul and synth-pop to the mix. (Thursday, Gramercy Theater, 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, City Winery, 6 p.m.)

The Long Winters
Melodic indie rockers The Long Winters will be performing their 2003 album “When I Pretend to Fall” in its entirety. Almost as entertaining as their music is the banter from lead singer and noted podcaster John Roderick. (Saturday, Bowery Ballroom, midnight)

The CMJ Music Marathon runs in various venues across the city through Saturday. For a full schedule, go to


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