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Have Your Way at CMJ

The acts to catch amid this year's CMJ Music Marathon crush, running October 15–19.

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Pusha T, Ex-Cult, and Joanna Gruesome.  

Joanna Gruesome
Baby’s All Right; 10/15 at 8 p.m.; 146 Broadway, nr. Bedford Ave., Williamsburg
The punkishly named Welsh quintet has been providing the often-tame indie world the kick it needs. Their female-male vocals run from gorgeous harmonies to full-on screams, while the band pushes and pulls from fuzzed-up melodies to sloppy squeals and Fugazi-like discordance. They claim to have met in an anger management group—after hearing them, you might even believe that’s true.

SISU
The Flat; 10/16 at 9:45 p.m.; 308 Hooper St., nr. Broadway, Williamsburg 718-599-5151
Dum Dum Girls drummer Sandra Vu steps out to front dark, gothy, synth-based band SISU. Nothing about this band’s music sounds like it’s aiming small, and you won’t get many chances to see them in a cozy bar again.

Baby Alpaca
Pianos; 10/16 at 8:45 p.m.; 158 Ludlow St., at Stanton St.; 212-505-3733
There’s a lot to live up to when you name yourself after one of the world’s cutest animals. Taking cues from modern reverb-y dream pop and the doomed, swoony romance of the era when U.K. new-wave bands discovered funk, these NYCers make something genuinely affecting and heartfelt.

Au Revoir Simone
Highline Ballroom; 10/16 at 7 p.m.; 431 W. 16th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-414-5994
How can you not love three indie-pop ladies who named themselves after a character in a Pee-Wee Herman movie? In support of their recently-released Move In Spectrums.

Perfect Pussy
The Flat; 10/16 at 9 p.m.; 308 Hooper St., Williamsburg, nr. Broadway; 718-599-5151
The energy of these Syracuse noise-punks is contagious: frenetic and murky, like spazzing out underwater. There's just one lady, lead singer Meredith Graves, but her raw wails are everything. A word of warning, though: Be careful when Googling the band name.

Hookworms
Bowery Ballroom; 10/17 at 9 p.m.; 6 Delancey St., nr. Bowery; 212-533-2111
It’s the drone that will never die: From Loop to Spacemen 3 to Stereolab, to the many bands that have tried, Hookworms gets that psychedelic space-bliss right. But their energy and the arresting, almost-hardcore vocals keep them far from shoe-gazing.

Ex-Cult
Baby’s All Right; 10/17 at 10:30 p.m.; 146 Broadway, nr. Bedford Ave.; Williamsburg
Memphis churns out the best garage-rock bands with alarming regularity. The former Sex Cult comes from the original home of dirty rock and roll and smudges that history with their own brand of intense punk swagger.

Heeney
Spike Hill; 10/17 at 8 p.m.; 184 Bedford Ave., nr. 7th St. ; 718-218-9737
These power-chord punks—steeped so much in the Brooklyn DIY scene that they're named after the co-founder of the venue Shea Stadium—get visceral and sloppy and may get you punched in the face. Check out their track "New York City" here. And try not to punch yourself in the face.


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