Here are eight fantastic local bands, all of whom are set to break big in 2013. The best part? You can catch most of them performing in town for less than the cost of a gourmet burrito.
Haim: As young girls, the long-haired sisters of Haim started playing together in a family band called Rockinhaim with their parents, performing oldies covers at local street fairs in the Valley. It's only been in the last couple of years that 25-year-old Este (bass), 23-year-old Danielle (lead guitar), and 21-year-old Alana Haim (rhythm guitar/keyboards) started writing songs of their own.
Now based in Venice, with the addition of Dash Hutton on the drums, this year they released their first EP, Forever, to critical acclaim and now a deal with Columbia Records. The sisters all share vocal duties, and they've found the right balance of sharp lyrics and joyful pop. On stage they don't shy away from embarrassing the hell out of each other with the sort of loving jabs that can only be thrown by blood relations.
Lord Huron: With a folk-rock sound heavily influenced by spaghetti Westerns, tropical locales and long-forgotten ghosts, Lord Huron is set to break out in 2013. Founder Ben Schneider named the group for the body of water in his native Michigan, brainstorming the project while working as an art teacher; it served to fill the musical void in the 29-year-old's heart, who missed playing in bands as he did in high school.
On a whim, he and his sister, Kiko (who later became their manager), handed out his self-recorded demos at the Woodsist Festival in Big Sur, leading to attention from local bloggers. After that warm reception, Schneider quickly put together a lineup of his childhood friends from Michigan and they signed last year to Iamsound records. Their stunning debut, Lonesome Dreams, is full of stories about immortality, relationships past and the brilliant sparks of a fledgling romance.
Rhye: Last year a mysterious band called Rhye appeared on the Internet without offering their backstory. The provocative video for their seductive first single, "Open," showed two lovers in bed constantly morphing into new people, like an R-rated version of Michael Jackson's "Black or White." Soft horns, snapping fingers, dramatic strings and a warm, velvety voice reminiscent of Sade created the feeling of doomed romance. Listeners were enthralled and everyone wanted to know: Who was the lady who sang so beautifully?
Turns out it's not a lady at all but the very high tenor of singer-producer Mike Milosh, who has recorded three solo albums as Milosh and, for Rhye, teamed up with Robin Hannibal of Quadron. Their debut release on Polydor-Innovative Leisure is due this spring. It will contain second single "The Fall," a heartbreakingly honest track about a crumbling relationship.