The ABCs of CMJ 

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LORD HURON

We haven't heard much from Ben Schneider's Lord Huron since his Mighty EP threw a lot of critics for a loop towards the end of last year, its bongo drums, maracas and other percussion swimming in the same sphere as open-road roots music. Something evoking Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes and mystical wanderlust went bizarrely under the radar. Time to change that.


MOLLY RANKIN

Hiding behind an inexplicable amount of electro-pop underdogs in the "M" category (Metronomy, Miracle Fortress, etc.) is the youngest member of Canada's squeaky clean Celtic-country jamboree-ing family, The Rankins. Molly's tongue-in-cheek folk touches on everyone from Regina Spektor to Camera Obscura.


NETHERFRIENDS

Here we have one of only two repeats from last year's ABC recommendations, an honor that goes to Netherfriends, aka Shawn Rosenblatt and whoever he may be touring with at the moment, for an assortment of harebrained projects — an album composed entirely from Harry Nilsson samples, a year-long trek to write and perform in all 50 states, etc. — that somehow always end up sounding like a psychedelic version of The Blue Album.


OAX

At the hands of Houston native Giorgio Angelini (formerly of The Rosebuds' and Bishop Allen's touring bands) comes down-and-out odes to the lowlifes in us all ("Liar, Cheat, Jerk," "Scoundrel") from what sounds like a like dusty, reined-in version of latter-day Dinosaur Jr.


PUJOL

Among the comments under PUJOL's "Black Rabbit" video on YouTube is one fan's defense: "I'm just a 14-year-old from Arkansas who found him through Third Man Records." For all intents and purposes, this could fly as the band's bio too, though, technically, Daniel Pujol is from Nashville, and his Jack White-produced single will be followed up by an EP, not on Third Man, but on Saddle Creek, the week of CMJ.


QUILT

Even with the not-so-stiff competition among bands that begin with the letter "Q," a recommendation for Boston-based Quilt comes wholeheartedly. Listening to them is perhaps the closest thing 20-to-30-somethings living on the East Coast will get to experiencing Haight-Ashbury in the late 60s. Cool lava lamp, man. What's the Internet?


RADIATION CITY

Upon Lizzy Ellison opening her mouth to sing the opening line of "The Color of Industry," you will want to either be her or date her. The lovely voiced frontwoman of Portland-by-San Francisco foursome Radiation City slyly nods to bossa nova while shimmying between, gothic-pop and dream-pop in a killer combination of sexy and sweet, damn her.


SKI LODGE

When your ears can't take it any more, when you've seen one too many glitch-hop/funk-folk/Animal Collective ripoff bands, take refuge in the fact that there will always be skinny white boys in bands like Ski Lodge pouring their hearts out via candied melodies and Morrissey-coded lyrics.


TITUS ANDRONICUS

It's been too long since you've seen Titus Andronicus play in a space the size of your parents' basement. Lucky for you, they'll start the five-day whirlwind off on the right foot at Glasslands; unlucky for the 900-some bands who have to follow them...


UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA

Just the type of bleary, shuffling, groove-rooted rock you want stuck in your head while stumbling around Ludlow Street at 1am. Bonus: on songs like "Ffunny Ffrends," the words are already slurred for you.


VOCKAH REDU

Another hero out of New Orleans' Sissy Bounce movement, there is at least a 50 percent chance that Vockah Redu (born Javocca Davis) will be backed by a cheerleader-like pep squad; 30 percent chance spandex will be involved; 100 percent his buoyant, mile-a-minute rhymes will make you re-consider what you currently deem "cool."


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