The College Music Journal Music Marathon has been an integral part of the New York City music landscape for the better part of a decade. For many attendees, CMJ is the place to see some of the best acts before they break through to the mainstream. Previous years have seen acts like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The xx, My Morning Jacket, The Killers, The National, Grizzly Bear, Arcade Fire, Passion Pit, Gotye, Mumford & Sons and many more play CMJ before they were household names.

With the CMJ Music Marathon 2012 upon us, here are five acts you have to see.

Flying Lotus

The innovative, experimental electronic producer will be playing the intimate Le Poisson Rouge on Wednesday as part the NPR/WNYC CMJ showcase. Flying Lotus played Terminal 5, with a capacity of over 3,000, the last time he was in New York City, so this could be the last chance to see him in a small venue like LPR.

Sharon Van Etten

Born in New Jersey, Sharon Van Etten has garnered critical acclaim and loyal fans due to her passionate blend of Indie rock. Van Etten will be playing the Ace Hotel as part of Converse and Search Party CMJ day party on Thursday. Fans can catch her in the tiny venue, for free, before her big Town Hall show in November.


The raw punk rockers hailing from Toronto have just been signed to Sub Pop. With Metz, punk is played to perfection. Intricacy, expert craft and attention to detail have made Metz a critical darling, and with several dates during CMJ, you can see what all the fuss is about along with other sweaty attendees.

Icona Pop

For something sexier, look no further than Icona Pop. The fashionable Swedes are all about pop that’s sexy and liberating. You can spend a couple of late nights dancing at CMJ with Icona Pop, who are playing the Neon Gold Showcase at Santos Party House on Thursday and the Windish Showcase on Friday at Brooklyn Bowl.

Hundred Waters

Hear the future of folk with Florida’s Hundred Waters. The five-piece is signed to Skrillex’s label and have won over the hearts of many electronic fans even though flutes may not be synonymous with beats.