As we head into 2013, here's a list of local bands and beatmakers that are making things happen.
Boy King: The San Diego Music Awards don't happen until August, but I'm betting now that this up-and-coming trio already has Best New Artist in the bag. With their dirty licks and feral vocals, they offer a slightly different spin on the bluesy, stripped-down rock we've heard from local bands (and SDMA favorites) Little Hurricane and Low Volts.
Room E: While some electronic artists push their beats into the furthest depths of glitch abstraction, producer Dan Harumi, aka Room E, takes a lighthearted approach that would appeal to beat-heads and beat-noobs alike. His songs are whimsical, his dry humor is infectious and his recent album with Parker & The Numberman, SM57, is marvelously laid-back.
Tar Halos: Citing as influences stuff like "modular synth molestation," "guitar rape" and "old drum machines over young drummers," Tar Halos let their creep flags fly with harsh, twisted electro-rock dirges that leave me feeling dirty all over. While they'd probably scare off the average listener, anybody who's plied the city's noise-rock underbelly won't be able to turn away.
Psicomagia: Every time Psicomagia throws down another sweat-soaked psych jam, an angel gets his mind blown. Featuring an inventive organist, an unstoppable rhythm section and two MCs who recite poetry in Spanish, this band would appeal to anybody who likes weed, surrealism and/or the brilliant Latin American author Roberto Bolaño.
Sledding with Tigers: In the vein of Andrew Jackson Jihad and Paul Baribeau, Sledding with Tigers strum out ramshackle folk-punk with a positive attitude and quirky, incisive humor. And when they're not on the stage, frontman Dan Faughnder and his buddies hold it down for the all-ages crowd, volunteering at The Ché Café and keeping the do-it-yourself spirit alive.