Metz – Photo by Nicole Craine

This year’s CMJ was the biggest it’s ever been: 1,436 bands played 1,813 sets across 84 stages in New York City. There were boat rides for the metalheads, BBQs for Australians, dance parties at bowling alleys and a whole lot more.
Attending all of the showcases would’ve required some Back To The Future-style, time-travel shenanigans, so we cannot fault you for not hitting everything on your list. But we superhumans at CMJ managed to cover considerable ground throughout the festival week, and now we bring you our top 15 artists to know from CMJ 2012. We’ve got retro rockers, hip-hop heroines, Swedish sensations—a little something for everyone. Read up and get acquainted with these artists because, as our CMJ alumni—Arcade Fire (’04), Sleigh Bells (’09), Mumford And Sons (’09), Gotye (’11)—can attest, you haven’t heard the last of them.

The Orwells

Photo by Clayton Carr

“CMJ was unbelievable. The people of New York treated us with so much hospitality, we thought they were screwing with us. Seriously, we played to some of the best crowds ever and met a bunch of rad new bands. We also ate a $20 salami sandwich from Katz’s—that was fun.” – Matt O’Keefe of the Orwells
The Orwells: “Mallrats (La La La)” by wearesolidgold

Sky Ferreira

Photo by Donald Lee




Photo by Stephanie Augello

What was the weirdest thing you saw during CMJ?
Some girl with a clown mask on was dancing to that song “Single Ladies.” Then she hit her head on a television. That shit was cray.
RATKING – Wikispeaks by HotCharity


Photo by Amanda Stockwell


Photo by Clayton Carr

Opossom – Blue Meanies by FIRE RECORDS

Next page: More CMJ 2012 Breakout Artists

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