Other than the two bands featured in this issue (A City Serene and Lights On), there's a handful of bands that I'll also be paying extra close attention to this year. Buzz-wise, '09 belonged to Crocodiles, Wavves, The Soft Pack and Anya Marina, but who are the bands that the blogosphere will be talking about tomorrow? I have some ideas.
1. Beaters—The garage-rock quartet is consistently mentioned by just about everyone in the scene as the No. 1 band to watch. Already written up in Vice and on Stereogum, they just landed an opening gig with The Soft Pack on their North American tour. They're not going to sell a million records, they're not gonna win any Grammys, but they will have one of the most volatile live shows in town and create true art that will be remembered long after the buzz dies down.
2. Get Back Loretta—Hell, I've been wrong about these things before (I remember seeing No Doubt in 1995 and thinking that they were never going to amount to anything), but I honestly think that, after years packing clubs in San Diego, this is the year these popsters will make good and finally get some national attention. They recently played a showcase in L.A., and word on the street is they're being courted by a few labels. Stay tuned.
3. The Silent Comedy—Whether you think they're kitschy, with their matching, old-timey clothes, or that they're one of the best live bands in San Diego, they've built a devoted fan base and are masters at marketing themselves, and their debut album is one of the most anticipated local releases. One of those bands that will only gain more and more buzz with touring.
4. Tape Deck Mountain—Travis Trevisan and his company of indie rockers had a pretty good '09. Their album was reviewed on Pitchfork, and they were recently booked for the Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco, but you'll hear more from them this year due to a tireless work ethic. More new songs just keep coming, and they're all pretty, damn good.
5. Halcyonaire—Speaking of Trevisan, he recently hipped me to these guys who just moved here from Oakland, and judging by what I hear on MySpace, I'm sending a welcome wagon. Quirky and beautiful roots-rock that sounds like Daniel Johnston fronting The Band. They're playing Tin Can Ale House on April 7, and I'll definitely be there to see how they bring it live.
6. Smile Now Cry Later—You may have read the feature I did a few weeks ago on this one-woman dance project, and if you still haven't seen her live, you're missing out. Sweet, sugary pop with a Latin groove sung by a sexy diva. One of her songs already landed in a MAC cosmetics commercial, and once she releases her album, I expect the other Mac company to come calling.
7. Jeans Wilder—Oh, just wait until the geeks over at Pitchfork hear this one-man bedroom project. He describes his music as “lo-fi love songs by a neurotic Pisces,” and what bespectacled music critic doesn't love that kind of music?
8. 50/50—Female MCs are a rarity in any scene, much less two dope ones, but this duo of local Miki Vale and L.A.-based Queen Kandi Cole were invited to play at South by Southwest, and I surely hope they raise enough money to go. In a hip-hop scene that's underrepresented, I can't think of two better diplomats, especially after I saw them absolutely kill it at Kadan a few weeks ago.
9. Sunday Times—Sometimes a band can fall off your radar, but then I saw Sunday Times for the first time in awhile, and I was amazed that they just keep getting better and better. Frontman Junior is no stranger to buzz. He was the main force behind Fifty on Their Heels, and his new band keeps picking up new fans with its raucous live performances and danceable post-punk.
10. Softlightes—The man formerly known as The Incredible Moses Leroy (Ron Fountenberry) has made the album of his career with the new, upcoming Softlightes record. I was lucky to hear some of the rough mixes—a sublime collection of electro-pop songs about love and heartbreak—and there's just no chance that it'll be ignored by the critics or the public.