Heaven's Gate at 285 Kent -- one of the best sets I saw at CMJ. Hey you guys, come play at my house.After several years of attending the CMJ Music Marathon as a college radio music director, I've learned that wandering around on Ludlow Street hoping to "stumble upon" new music is a waste of time. Festivals like CMJ, in general, are ineffective ways to "discover" music -- these day they are mostly only a nice platform for international touring bands to work a tour around, since they can often receive government funding and logistical assistance to play showcases curated by their national arts councils.
There's something blatantly captivating about MERCHANDISE, a Tampa post-punk trio who have been building a dedicated cult following in national underground punk circles since they started releasing records in 2008, after years of playing in Florida punk and hardcore bands. Their latest album for Katorga Works, Children of Desire, contains their most brilliant noise pop yet, and "Become What You Are" is a stand-out track, likely to resonate most strongly on a first listen.