ALL ACCESS PASS
CMJ Showcase: Ben Gibbard at HiFi Bar

Death Cab for Cutie front man Ben Gibbard kicked off the CMJ Music Marathon on Tuesday, Oct. 16 with an intimate solo show at HiFi bar, celebrating the release of his new solo album, Former Lives. You’d be pressed to find anyone who can say they’ve recently watched the indie icon perform his hit songs at a dive bar, but the lucky 160 people in attendance last night could.

To be exact, Gibbard played at this very dive bar - more famously known as "Brownies" - 12 years ago in 2000, when he wasn't such a familiar name. “I started playing at Brownies and on Barsuk Records,” Gibbard remarked while tuning his guitar, “And now I’m back at Brownies and on Barsuk Records. What happened? The last 12 years didn’t exist.”

ALL ACCESS PASS
CMJ Music Marathon is Coming: Here's Who You Need to See

The CMJ Music Marathon is approaching New York quickly, and if you’re a music lover or industry insider, you’ve probably marked your calendars for October 16-20already. In true CMJ tradition, over 80 venues and hundreds of bands are involved. With all the chaos, it’s a good idea to narrow down which acts are worth fighting the crowds for.

You can see the full line-up at CMJ’s official website, but we’ve highlighted a few acts playing next week that are worthy of some attention and ticket sales:

THE BAND AID
For the LOVE of Music: Your Philly Concert Roundup

HELLO PHILADELPHIA! With the warm weather looming and festivals impending, we know you're in the mood for some musical love in the coming weeks. Youll be glad to hear you have a seemingly endless list of musical options happening soon, including Steve Aoki, The Weeknd, Bassnectar, John Legend, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Death Cab for Cutie, Acid Mothers Temple (which is obligatory), Andrew Bird, Spriritualized, M83, and tons more. Also, the Spring Edition of the Punk Rock Flea Market is coming up on May 13, which is always a great time, so don't miss it! As always, if we forgot a show or you want something listed, comment below.

THE BAND AID
Festival Newbie 'Firefly' to Rock the East

With all the recent hoopla surrounding Coachella 2012 (specifically, the digital resurrection of Tupac), one begins to ponder what other shenanigans are in store during festival season. Summertime truly is the season of festivals: beer & wine fests, food expos, but most importantly, music fests. There’s Bamboozle, Warped Tour, Lollapalooza, Bonnarooo, Electric Daisy, and a cornocoupia of other niftily named musical celebrations.

EARGASMIC
Essential Tracks for Your New Year's Eve Mix

2012 is upon us. It may be our last year on Earth if we believe the Mayans (and that awful John Cusack movie), but that won’t put an end to the preparation, partying, and regretful resolutions that come with the turning of a new page on the calendar. Whether you plan on ordering pizza and watching Dick Clark with mom, or you want to hit the clubs and forget there was a 2011 altogether, here are some jams to have on your New Year’s Eve mix.

U2 – “New Year’s Day”

The driving basslines and searing guitars of this New Year’s classic will instantly pull the triggers of nostalgia in many of us. It’s easy to relate to the lyrics of Bono, who would rather ignore all of the NYE hubbub and spend the night with his lady.

LOS ANGELES
Open San Francisco's Treasure Chest This Weekend

Part amusement park, part street fair, and boasting some of indie's biggest acts, the Treasure Island Music Festival will bring all kinds of culture to San Francisco on October 15 and 16. Get your sunblock ready and brush up on your sewing skills, this isn't your ordinary concert.

Headlining the musical portion of the festival on Saturday night will be visual pop artist Empire of the Sun, whose glam aesthetics will fit the eccentric festival like a sparkly glove. Joining Empire on the 15th will be Death from Above 1979, Chromeo, and Dizzie Rascal. Indie-pop veterans Death Cab for Cutie will headline Sunday night, likely playing a wide variety of their massive catalog of quirky, honest gems. Other notables for the final night include The Hold Steady and Explosions in the Sky.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The Hots for Knots

Coney Island's famed Siren Festival is gone but not forgotten. But the Village Voice is endorsing a new series, 4Knots, whose worth as an alternative will be determined this Saturday, July 16th at the South Street Seaport Pier 17.

DAILY POP
New Video: Death Cab For Cutie

It has been fourteen years since Death Cab For Cutie frontman, Ben Gibbard, released his debut EP, You Can Play These Songs With Chords, on cassette. Almost a decade and a half later, with three gold records and one platinum under his belt, Gibbard is still winning the hearts of boys and girls who are searching for love and how to deal with heartbreak. Even for those of us who grew up listening to The Photo Album or Transatlanticism, his story telling still catches our ears and we have to give it a listen. No matter how far your musical exploration has taken you, you always know that Death Cab For Cutie will be there, crying out for the brokenhearted and the lovers all at once.

DAILY POP
Audio: Death Cab For Cutie - "You Are A Tourist"

Death Cab For Cutie's first single, "You Are A Tourist," off Codes and Keys was just released.

It begins with a rhythmic bass line followed by echoed Ben Gibbard vocals ("this fire grows higher"). Following the vocals is one of the most catchy guitar riffs that Death Cab has ever recorded. It really holds the song together nicely.

The overall sound is still very Death Cab, and fans should be right at home when listening.

If this is the direction that Death Cab is taking for this album, the rest should be just as enjoyable.

GROUPIE
Death Cab For Cutie To Tour, Release New Album

Death Cab For Cutie will be going on a 13-day tour to support their upcoming album, Codes and Keys. The tour will begin in Toronto on May 18th, 2011 and end in San Francisco on June 9th, 2011.

Previously, the band stated: "We really experimented with piecing the songs together in different ways and using the studio differently, so this a much less guitar-centric album than we’ve ever made before" (stereogum). They did assure fans that the album is still very "death cab."

The Lonely Forest will be supporting them the entire tour, while Bright Eyes will be on select dates.