Breaking Out: CMJ Music Marathon

In a time where hipsters battle to be the first to listen to a song or discover some new band, there is probably no event more important than the CMJ Music Marathon, which takes place in New York City. Renowned music festivals always boast an impressive line-up history but the CMJ Music Marathon has its own unique twist. They showcase some of the world’s best musicians before they break out onto the scene.

The crowd at CMJ 2011 got a chance to sing along to the now unavoidable, “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye, well before its official North American release date. CMJ crowds of the past decade have seen Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear, The Knife, and even Lady Gaga break out at CMJ. In the past, at-the-time unknowns ranging from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to David Bowie, and U2 to REM have used CMJ as a key springboard for their career.

In other words, if you want to find music’s future stars today, look no further than the CMJ Music Marathon, whose 2012 festival takes place from October 16-20 featuring over 1,300 bands at more than 80 venues.

Neon Indian wows the crowd at CMJ 2011. (photo credit:

This year at CMJ, six Israeli bands will attempt to follow the paths of the impressive names mentioned above: The Raw Men Empire, Onili, Tiny Fingers, Useless ID, Flora, and IUDM.

The Raw Men Empire are a unique indie-folk band coming off performances at SXSW 2012 and Reeperbahn 2011. Useless ID is Israel’s greatest force in punk rock, who were recently signed to Fat Wreck Chords, an influential punk label in San Francisco. While Tiny Fingers are a psychedelic hard-rock band, their riffs are clean and light on the ears. Flora is a indie-pop singer who utilizes simple instruments and electronic impulses to highlight her heady lyrics and sweet vocals. Onili describes herself as “a white girl with black groove”, and her music is comprised of fresh electronic beats playing off her vocals.

In addition to the performers, Jeremy Hulsh of Oleh! Records, who recently had a big hand in organizing the Jerusalem Music Conference, will be a featured panelist and will speak to the crowd about the emerging Israeli music market. Hulsh ensures that “Oleh! will also be bringing some of the most influential industry and media to see the performing bands make their mark on NYC.” In front of an influential crowd, a great performance can go a long way to pushing a band’s career forward. For more on the Israeli bands performing at CMJ, click here.


IUDM, also known as Hayehudim and The Jews, are the sixth band set to perform at CMJ. Having opened in the past for Metallica and Rage Against The Machine, they’ve sold over 200,000 albums in Israel with their dark energy and have begun to set their sights on the rest of the globe.

In March, they began by performing at SXSW and were quickly signed by Chrysler for their national campaign. Now they return to the United States for CMJ and a performance at LA’s legendary club, The Avalon, which will take place this Friday. For discounted tickets, click here.

About the Author
Jason Chernofsky is a music and film lover who currently works at Oleh! Records, where he helps Israeli musicians make a name for themselves in Israel and abroad.