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CMJ Festival 2008: What's Hot In '09?

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Annual music marathons like SXSW in Austin and CMJ in New York have long served as industry-only gatherings. But now, like never before, they have become regarded as a necessity for those enthusiasts on the cusp of music. They've evolved into a breeding ground for next year's latest and greatest—a musical pageantry of epic proportions.

This year's festival certainly unearthed the up and comers. LA bands like garage rockers the Muslims and the bluesy duo Rumspringa were represented quite well with a number of performances.

And while rollicking rock and roll dominated the vast bill of music, synth-heavy electro-pop seemed to take precedence. Everyone flocked to see Portland-based Starfucker, as well as Boston's Passion Pit. The auspiciously-named trio Starfucker have remained a rather large blip on the radar ever since Pitchfork lauded their light pop song "Germany" earlier this year. And the heart-on-sleeve antics of Passion Pit have also recently earned them accolades from far beyond the horizon of their small hometown.

St. Albans' own Friendly Fires and Pennsylvania-based Tobacco, a splinter of Black Moth Super Rainbow, also made waves. The former was as rowdy as any of the rock bands—literally shoving photographers out of the way to get to some "real fans." The latter showcased an extensive use of vocoder, 90s aerobic tape clips and gloom-ridden keys.

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All in all, 2008's CMJ Festival proved to be an elaborate showcase of modish acts. And it's safe to say that 2009 is shaping up to be a great year for music.