The top of the charts? Some say you can't get there from here. Optimistic others, however, may want to note the following three travelers' advisories:

1. Toll-free road: Tuesday night's "The Big Score" program at D.C. Space is free, and sponsored by the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA), the fledgling industry group that last September brought us the Wammy awards. At D.C. Space, a panel of local artists -- James Avery and Robert Reed of Trouble Funk, and Mark Noone of the Slickee Boys -- will talk about real-life events leading up to their respective signings with national record labels. Questions fielded afterwards. Space is limited; call 965- 4428 for reservations.

2. Day trip: Next month's Musicians Business and Legal Issues Conference will take up most of a Saturday, and is co-sponsored by WAMA and the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts. It's February 8 at the Post Office Pavilion, and it costs $25 ($20 for WAMA or WALA members) for a series of panel discussions of, among other topics: publishing contracts, BMI/ASCAP issues, accounting, management and recording contracts. Lunch included. Call WALA (861-0055) or WAMA (371-0187) for a registration form.

3. Long and winding road: New Jersey-based Jem Records, the industry's largest distributor of independent and import labels, has signed a distribution deal with D.C.'s Pheromones, the satiric-folk duo who've played enough dates at such local gems as the Gentry and the Grog & Tankard to be thankful for this Jem's attention. The Pheromones, perpetrators of the underground hit "Yuppiedrone," are at work on their first full-length album at Silver Spring's Track Recorders and Bias Studios in Springfield; meanwhile, you'll find them at Bojangles during happy hour (4:30 to 7) this Friday.