Locally Amped’s Best of CMJ 2013

We’re currently recouping (along with much of the rest of the music industry) from what was a music-filled, sleepless weeklong journey around New York.

As this is primarily a music column focusing on up-and-comers from Boston and New York, we made it a point to catch a few local artists on our radar. Surprisingly, shows also happen outside of CMJ too and so here are three local acts you should make a point of seeing live.

Half of the battle is balancing a band’s sound with their stage presence. For Brooklyn psych rock act Spires who we caught at Pianos on Tuesday night, their expansive, muted pop cuts complement the four 20-somes’ long-haired, retro rocker look. Lead singer Matt Stevenson’s dreamy vocals and intricate guitar melodies make comparisons to ’80s U.K. guitar pop kings The Stone Roses not an outlandish reach.


Power chords and gritty, beer-soaked lyrics run supreme for Brooklyn-via-Boston’s Dirty Fences. We caught them as Cake Shop was beginning to get packed for buzzy Welsch punk five-piece Joanna Gruesome on Wednesday evening. Hopefully some out-of-towners (and locals too) got to hear and see that the New York prototype punk rock scene is still going strong.


We initially were impressed by Boston-based The Field Effect, who sling radio-ready, hook-heavy pop rock, at Cambridge’s Middle East back in August so we were glad to see them coming to CMJ. We missed them this time around, but we’re sure that they made an impression  at the Ryan’s Smashing Life-curated Outlaw Roadshow crowd at The Bowery Electric on Saturday night.

Stay tuned here on Wednesday for part two of Locally Amped’s recap, including a Spotify playlist with some of CMJ’s best.

This column is part of a Metro Boston and New York music column called Locally Amped. Follow us on Twitter @LocallyAmped and on Facebook at Locally Amped.


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