11 Bands to Check Out in 2011*

In preparation for South by Southwest, I spent a month doing very little but listening to new music (yes, this cut deeply into fantasy baseball prep season). I checked out as many bands who would be playing South by as time allowed — because I didn’t want to miss anything great, and because I have some sort of obsessive personality disorder.

Through this preparation and research (let’s see how boring I can make listening to music sound), I learned about tons of interesting new bands. Spoiler alert, you guys: there are A LOT of bands out there! It’s true. And because South by only lasts four days, I could only check out a small number of the bands I’d discovered in the prior weeks. I already wrote about some of the bands I did get a chance to see, so today I’d like to focus on the bands I missed.

* Originally, this post was titled “2011 Bands to Check Out in 2011.” Things didn’t work out as planned.

Not all of these bands are brand new to the world, but they’re all new to me as of the 2011; and so some of them are likely new to you as well. I can’t profess to be an expert in all these bands, but their music has stood up to repeated listens, and their songs have stood out from the massive amount of music I listened to in preparation for SXSW. These are artists that I’m bookmarking, and I’ll make it a point to try to go see them the next time they’re in town. Enjoy.

1. Grouplove

  • Hometown: Los Angeles
  • Thanks for the tip: The 405
  • The pitch: Arcade Fire-style enthusiastic indie pop with less pretension and a little less ambition.
  • The song: Colours


2. The Biters

  • Hometown: Atlanta
  • Thanks for the tip: My Old Kentucky Blog
  • The pitch: MOKB labels The Biters “The Best Rock Band in America,” a title the blog has previously bestowed upon The Hold Steady and The Black Keys, among others.
  • The song: Born to Cry


3. Guadalupe Plata

  • Hometown: Andalucia, Spain
  • Thanks for the tip: Rollo & Grady
  • The pitch: A Spanish White Stripes with a strong dose of a Tarantino soundtrack.
  • The song: Baby Baby


4. Mona

  • Hometown: Nashville
  • Thanks for the tip: …and Everyone’s a DJ
  • The pitch: It’s illegal to mention this band without comparing them to Kings of Leon. It’s in the bylaws. I checked. The question is: will they be Aha Shake Heartbreak KoL, or plodding car-commercial music KoL?
  • The song: Lines Are in the Sand


5. Grimes

  • Hometown: Montreal
  • Thanks for the tip: Gorilla Vs. Bear
  • The pitch: Dreamy pop and a killer voice. Imagine someone with Enya’s voice singing actual songs, with melodies and harmonies and everything.
  • The song: Rosa


6. Kids of 88

  • Hometown: Auckland
  • Thanks for the tip: Modern Mystery
  • The pitch: MGMT-esque, keyboard-filled dance rock, with more emphasis on the beats.
  • The song: My House


7. Walk the Moon

  • Hometown: Cincinnati (bonus points for even admitting that)
  • Thanks for the tip: I Am Fuel, You Are Friends
  • The pitch: Warm, melodic, shimmering, hooky, and some more adjectives along those lines.
  • The song: Anna Sun


8. Ice Black Birds

  • Hometown: Brighton
  • Thanks for the tip: Les Enfants Terrible
  • The pitch: Garage rock that’s not quite as irritatingly catchy as most current garage rock
  • The song: 22.22


9. Cults

  • Hometown: NYC
  • Thanks for the tip: Everyone on the Internet
  • The pitch: The hooks and style of Sleigh Bells without the distortion, and with a touch of soul
  • The song: Go Outside


10. Ringo Deathstarr

  • Hometown: Austin
  • Thanks for the tip: NPR’s All Songs Considered
  • The pitch: Just enough psychedelia in the pop to keep things interesting
  • The song: So High


11. Admiral Fallow

  • Hometown: Glasgow
  • Thanks for the tip: Speakers in Code
  • The pitch: Are you, like a me, a sucker for Scotch Rock? Love Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Orange Juice, etc.? Have I got a band for you…
  • The song: Squealing Pigs
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1 Comment

Filed under Music Has AIDS, The Dilemma

One response to “11 Bands to Check Out in 2011*

  1. Nice1 for the nod, cheers.

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