Your complete guide to free shows at 2012′s CMJ Music Marathon

Filligar returns to CMJ this year, playing two showcases. 2011 photo from the No Pulp Music showcase by Sarah Bibi.

It’s here! CMJ 2012 returns on Tuesday, and the official schedule has been posted. The long-running music marathon might be the best five days (and nights) yet, with more than 1,300 performances at more than 80 different venues. I know all y’all Brokesters already bought your $549 badge, but just in case a few of you out there chose groceries over tuneage, we’ve compiled a list of the official (and a few unofficial) FREE CMJ events for your pleasure. Sure, there are lots of big names this year — The Walkmen, Alex Winston, The Mountain Goats, Dum Dum Girls, GZA — but every CMJ fanatic will tell you that the best part of this fest is that amazing discovery of “the band that practices across the street from you.”

My favorite takeaway from the marathon is reliving the band you saw with 10 strangers at CMJ as they sell out Bowery Ballroom a year and a half later. The free listings below not only include some Brooklyn locals to watch, but also talented performers from all over the world.

NOTE: Remember, the internet is constantly expanding and this list was compiled before the official schedule even went up. Be sure to check the official CMJ site, as well as local music blogs, Twitter feeds, and hack into your favorite band’s personal email, as many free secret shows tend to be announced last minute. The popular shows also have limited capacity, so make sure to get there and get in line early!

TUESDAY 10/16

Free Bikes, Booze, at Paper Garden Records’ Official Showcase
The Living Room, 154 Ludlow St, Lower East Side
1pm-6pm
Free with official RSVP
Kick off CMJ Music Marathon with Conveyor, Eli Mardock, Natureboy, Pree and The City and Horses.
Take a spin to win a SCHWINN bike, sip on free drinks, and snag bike bells, vinyl, and more.

New Zealand CMJ Showcase
(le) poisson rouge  158 Bleecker St, Lower East Side
5:45 PM Doors/6pm Show
Featuring Six60, Die! Die! Die!, Ghost Wave, Popstrangers , Lawrence Arabia and Tom Lark.

AudioFemme Showcase
Spike Hill, 184 & 186 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg
12:30 pm Doors/1:00 pm Show
Featuring Autodrone, Foxes In Fiction, and DATALOG.

Permanent Wave/Greenpointers Blog/Campers’ Rule Records Present CMJ Party Down
Delinquency BLVD, 1031 Grand St, East Williamsburg
7:30pm-12am
Although not technically “free,” according to the FB invite, an open vodka/bourbon bar and free Narragansett beer is included in the “suggested” $8 donation. Performances (in order of set) by Easy Lover, The Suzan, Backwords, Beach Day, Leda, and Heliotropes.

Deli CMJ Rootsy Showcase
The Delancey, 168 Delancey St, LES
7pm-11pm
Upstairs stage is free.
Performances by Union Street Preservation Society, Dust Engineers, Shakey Graves, Plume Giant, JP and the Gilberts and XNY.

Blackbird Blackbird returns to CMJ on Wednesday. 2010 CMJ photo by Flickr’s natalia moena.

WEDNESDAY 10/17

Tell All Your Friends CMJ 2012 Party
Pianos, 158 Ludlow St, Lower East Side
12pm
Performances include Braids, Maus Haus, Blackbird Blackbird, Team Spirit, Solid Gold, Filligar, Triple Hex, Zulu Pearls, The Bowery Riots, Jon Derosa, Wooden Indian Burial Ground and Correatown.

Terrorbird Media CMJ Day Party 2012 Presented by Impose
Cake Shop 152 Ludlow St, Lower East Side
Noon-6:30pm
Free with RSVP.
Performances (in order of set) by Impose DJ Set, Wild International, Win Win, Michna, Flume, Jerome, Mykki Bianco, Prince Rama, and Pictureplane. Arrive early to grab a free Terrorbird tote bag and free PBR!

SESAC Presents: Evening Showcase!
Cake Shop 152 Ludlow St, Lower East Side
7:30pm-1:30am
Performances (in order of set) by Blessed Feathers, Communist Daughter, Half Undressed, Psycho- Buildings, Ghost Wave, Punks on Mars, I.R.O.K., Hussle Club, ZZZs

TJO Showcase
Spike Hill, 184 & 186 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg
2pm
Performances by 12 Dirty Bullets and Oh! My Blackbird.

CMJ Hype Machine Handpicked
Brooklyn Bowl 61 Wythe Ave, Williamsburg
Free with RSVP. More info.
Show at 6pm
Performances by The Virgins, The Neighbourhood, Indians, Goldroom and a special secret guest.

NPR/WNYC’s Soundcheck Showcase
(le) poisson rouge  158 Bleecker St, Lower East Side
Show at 9pm
Performances by Flying Lotus, Death Grips, and Buke and Gase, with Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

CMJ/KEXP Live Broadcast Series
CMJ Union,  27 Union Square West, Union Square
Free with RSVP.
10:30am-5:30pm (Bands begin every other hour).
Performances by Daughter, The Walkmen, (tba) and Paul Banks.

Noisey CMJ: Acid Alumni
Santos Party House 96 Lafayette St, Chinatown
Free with RSVP.
Doors at 7pm
Performances by Flatbush Zombies, Children of the Night, Bodega Bamz, Underachievers, and Haleek Maul.

We Listen for You x The Needle Drop x Beats Per Minute Unofficial CMJ Showcase
Delinquency BLVD, 1031 Grand St, East Williamsburg
12pm
Performances by Dent May, Mac DeMarco, Teen Suicide, Poor Lily, The Deloreans and Attic.

Shakey Graves plays the Texas Takeover party, with free vodka. Via FB.

THURSDAY 10/18

Daytime CMJ Showcase
Cake Shop 152 Ludlow St, LES
1:30pm-6:45pm
Performances (in order of set and in 45 minute increments) by Lightning Love, Port St. Willow, Mount, Moriah, Jo Shornikow, Hans Chew, Heliotropes, Hurray for the Riff Raff.

CMJ Hype Machine Handpicked
Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Ave, Williamsburg
Free with RSVP. More info.
6:00 PM
Performances by YVINYL (DJ Set), Jensen Sportag (DJ Set), Bloksberg, Mac DeMarco, Hooray For Earth, Hundred Water, and a very special secret guest.

The Texas Takeover Party
Rebel NYC, 251 West 30th St, Midtown
Free with RSVP.
Doors @ 5 PM
Free Drinks (and free Tito’s until it runs, according to Brooklyn Vegan!) and featuring performances by Robert Ellis, Wild Child, The Tontons, New York City Queens, Shakey Graves and Josiah Hall.

Free CMJ Showcase
Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen St, LES
11pm
Performances by The Bright Silence, Aabaraki and Great Elk.

CMJ/KEXP Live Broadcast Series
CMJ Union  27 Union Square West, Union Square
Free with RSVP.
10:30am-5:30pm (Bands begin every other hour).
Performances (in order of set) by Turtle Giant, DIIV, Little Green Cars and Poor Moon.

PopGun, Force Field PR and Hispter Runoff #BleepyBloopFest 2.0 Showcase
Glasslands, 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg
12am-4am (Thursday late show)
Free with RSVP.
Performances by Carles???, Mister Lies (DJ set), Teen Daze (Vega (DJ set), Chrome Canyon (DJ set), Young Magic (DJ set), and DJ Tokyo Sex Man.

Deli CMJ Electro/Avant Pop Stages
The Delancey, 168 Delancey St, LES

7pm-2am
Electronic stage (upstairs) is free.
Performances by Thomas Simon,Sewing Machines, Cultfever, Railbird, Maus Haus, Lushlife, Anomie Belle, Ducky and Drop Electric.

Delicate Steve will be at Knitting Factory on Friday. Photo by Ryan Muir via Luaka Bop.

FRIDAY 10/19

Distiller Promo CMJ Showcase
Knitting Factory Brooklyn, 361 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg
12pm Doors/12:30pm show
Hosted by Brokelyn’s own Caroline Shadood of Distiller, this banging all-ages showcase will offer free eats as well as performances by Delicate Steve, Slowdance, Gold Fields, a listening party for Diamond Rings and an exclusive screening of the new documentary about Charles Bradley, Soul of America.

The Outlaw Roadshow NYC
The Bowery Electric, 327 Bowery, Bowery
11:30am
Free with RSVP.
Performances by Mean Creek, Hey Marseilles, Ribs, Sonic Cow Grunt, Do Not Forsake Me, Mellow, Bravo, Bridges and Powerlines, Aunt Martha, The Day’s Weight, Will Dailey, Golden Bloom and You Won’t.

CMJ KXLU/KXSC Showcase
Cake Shop 152 Ludlow St, LES
12pm-6:45pm
Performances (in set order) by Kera and the Lesbians, Habibi, Bleeding Rainbow, Turbo Fruits, Total Slacker, Gap Dream, Unstoppable Death Machines, The Shrine and more.

Lovely Hearts Club CMJ Showcase
Spike Hill 184 & 186 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg
1pm-5pm
Performances (in set order) by Royal Canoe, I Can Chase Dragons, Bouts, Conveyor and Eli Mardock.

Topshelf Records Unofficial CMJ Party
Suburbia 330 Melrose St (basement), Bushwick
Free with RSVP.
6pm
Sponsored by PropertyOfZack, Absolutepunk.net & Greenvans, this unofficial CMJ party is for all ages. Free POZ, AbsolutePunk.net, Topshelf, and Greenvans merch will be given away while supplies lasts. Performances by Prawn, Diamond Youth, A Great Big Pile of Leaves, Slingshot Dakota, The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die and more.

Planetary Group Showcase
Pianos, 158 Ludlow St, LES
12pm-6pm (First set at 1:20pm).
Performances by Hot Panda, The Intelligence, The Orwells, Rah Rah, San Cisco, Turbo Fruits, Twerps, Blessed Feathers, Dikta, Elephant Stone, Skipping Girl Vinegar, Tim Chaisson, and The Trouble with Templeton.

Pitchfork Showcase in Association with Top Man
Villian, 50 N. 3rd St, Williamsburg
8pm-3am
Performances by Death Grips, DIIV, Joey Bada$$, Holy Other, Metz, Merchandise, Daughn Gibson, Hundred Waters, LE1F and Angel Haze. Two hundred priority tickets will be given away at the Topman store, located at 478 Broadway in SoHo, on Wednesday and Thursday between 10am and 9pm.

CMJ/KEXP Live Broadcast Series
CMJ Union  27 Union Square West, Union Square
Free with RSVP.
10:30am-5:30pm (Bands begin every other hour).
Performances (in set order) by Line & Circle, Wild Nothing, Kishi Bashi and The Antlers.

PopGun and Yours Tru.ly present Pillow Talk / Pillow Fight 3
Glasslands, 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg
8:30pm
Free with RSVP.
Performances by Pro Era, Ratking, Jim E-Stack, Isaac Delusion, Evy Jane, Night Panther and MØ.

The Deli Magazine’s Official CMJ Anti-Folk Showcase
Sidewalk Cafe, 94 Ave A, LES
7:30pm-1am
Performances by Kung Fu Crimewave, St. Lenox, Mal Blum, Bird to Prey (CD Release), Go Love, Ben Pagano Band and Crazy & the Brains.

CMJ faves Ava Luna are back this year. Via Flickr’s barryfest.

SATURDAY 10/20

Highline Records and Indie Darkroom Showcase
Pete’s Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St, Williamsburg
Free with RSVP.
4pm-9pm
Performances (in set order) by Sweet Lights, Correatown, Piney Gar, Backlights and Leland Sundries.

MyFreeConcert & BuzzChips
Living Room, 154 Ludlow St, LES
4pm-7pm
Performances (in set order) by You Won’t, Cultfever, Turbo Fruits, Incan Abraham, Slowdance and Filligar.

Village Voice, Panache and Cape Shok Showcase
Cake Shop 152 Ludlow St, LES
2pm-7pm
Performances (in set order) by Vockah Redu, Daytona, Dent May, Delicate Steve and Heavenly Beat.

The Outlaw Roadshow NYC
The Bowery Electric 327 Bowery, Bowery
11:30am
Free with RSVP. (This event spans between Friday and Saturday. See link for details).

A Heart Is A Spade Showcase
Spike Hill 184 & 186 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg
12pm Doors/1pm Show
Performances by Avan Lava (Live show / DJ Set), Strange Talk, Reptile Youth, Magmana and Arms (Solo).

The Bowery Presents CMJ 2012 Day Party
Pianos, 158 Ludlow St, LES
12pm show
Downstairs performances by The Orwells, Savages, Foxygen, Born Ruffians, Little Green Cars, Ava Luna, and J. Thoven. Upstairs performances by San Cisco, Sky Ferreira, Opossom, Murals, Zulu Pearls, and Blessed Feathers.

If we missed any free shows, add them to the comments!

Follow Sarah, because she only goes to the coooolest shows: @sarahbibi.

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