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PopMatters @ CMJ 2006

Writers: Jennifer Kelly, Dan Nishimoto, and Steve Stirling; Edited by Andrew Phillips and Megan Milks

CMJ isn't just America's biggest music industry showcase -- it's an all-out crusade. This year some 1500 musicians, hungry for gains and glory, rise with vigor to fight the music industry head on for five days in New York City. Some face its fangs with unflinching fury. Others end up cowering before it in fear.

The PopMatters Events staff is on the attack as well, slaying the harbingers of hype in a search for the year's most promising prospects. Better bring you're A-game people, because a strong showing at CMJ can land you a hero's welcome from the industry's upper eschelon -- not to mention a whole lot of pleasant press. A poor showcase means you're heading back to the Bush leagues to waste away until you retire.

Those are the stakes. This is the moment. The monster is loose, people. Time to do battle...

Ratings breakdown

Belles of the Ball: These artists don't just rise to the CMJ challenge, they clear it by leaps and bounds, offering the best performances of the entire event.

Honorable Mention: Undeniably exceptional, these folks show clear, inarguable potential. They also rock like all hell!

Nice Try, Guy: Sometimes you have an off day. Other times you're in an off band. Either way, these folks fell just short in the big grab for glory.

Bathroom Break: We've got to go sometime, and what better time than when there's a stinker on stage?

Over the Rainbow: An Interview With Herb Alpert

Music legend Herb Alpert discusses his new album, Over the Rainbow, maintaining his artistic drive, and his place in music history. "If we tried to start A&M in today's environment, we'd have no chance. I don't know if I'd get a start as a trumpet player. But I keep doing this because I'm having fun."

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