Aloud and Alive In 2005

Our favorite bands of next year, predicted this year

Illustration by Bob AulBecause 2004 is over and no one needs to hear about the Arcade Fire or the Killers or something anymore. These people live here and they are doing things right now, and it cuts our very hearts when LA figures out they exist and sell them back to us with $12 covers at Spaceland.

FIELDING. Having outgrown their local gigs at Detroit and your neighborhood ice rink, Fielding spent 2004 playing weekly shows at LA hipster nightspots such as Tangier and Spaceland and recording a new demo with Nada Surf studio man Chris Fudurich. No surprise, then, their audience exploded and currently boasts all of Silver Lake and pretty much every A&R kid who's looking to score the next big indie-band-gone-gold. Look for their 2005 release—which will undoubtedly feature front couple Beth and Eric's cotton-ball vocals and more than a few of the band's trademark cry-in-your-pillow soaring ballads; that is, when they actually record it—to be everywhere. But mainly, just make sure it's in your CD player. (Ellen Griley)

NOBODY. This LA Times-sanctioned "cool record store clerk"—Nobody's secret identity is mild-mannered Fingerprints employee Elvin Estella—touched on a sort of cosmic country on his last release, and his next record—scheduled to be a 12-inch on Dublab—could be a fuller and deeper exploration of this psychedelic the-Byrds-with-beats direction. And that promises to be pretty interesting. (Andrew Asch)

MATT COSTA. It may be released in '05, but it'll sound like '65, '75 . . . well, you get it. Local folky Matt Costa hits all the best eras and sonic territory that the Monsters of Folk ran around about 40 years ago, but he manages to do it without too much fey nostalgia or hippy-drippy lyricism and once in a while brings something like some bad-assed slide guitar to his sound. A full-length in the zilch-cinco should cover the same sonic territory as Costa's 2003 debut EP. (Rex Reason)

SENDAERO. It's one of those times when something beautiful up and pops through the pavement without anyone else having a thing to do with it: Sendaero, five kids from a cul-de-sac who make tender and slow pop songs like it's all they've ever done. Singer Carole has a voice you've been waiting to hear for years—singing near you, if not for you or to you—and the boys behind her know just how to give her the room she needs. Someone should sign something with this band because there are one million moony kids who will use Sendaero songs to voice the declarations they're too timid to make themselves. (Chris Ziegler)

THE WILLOWZ. The garage twerps in the Willowz caught a break last year with a slot on the soundtrack for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and director Michel Gondry is such a big fan he even signed on for a low-budget video for the band. That momentum—and some big-label deals in Europe—is going into a new Willowz record that's supposed to be guitarist Richie Eaton's Pet Sounds. Sounds interesting, but hopefully they won't drop the obnoxiously loud riffs they built the band around—that's what makes listening to rock & roll fun again. (Antero Garcia)

CHIVO EXPIATORIO. If these ska-rock urbano wunderkinds release a record this year, buy it—not only because you'll be privy to jumpy two-minute symphonies of loopy guitars; delicious puns (knowledge of Spanish required); and impromptu tirades against Bush, war and Argentines; but also because buying it means lead crooner Jesus Olvera will be able to purchase his first-ever car. (Gustavo Arellano)

TERRORS. Elijah Forrest—once included pseudonymously in our "Scariest People" list, since he was about 14 at the time—not only knows everybody who's anybody, but he's also probably passed out in front of them, too. But now he's past an adolescence lightly characterized as "troubled" and grown into someone who's lived a lot of life and is going to tell you what it did to him, using whatever guitars he's managed to borrow. He's got Will Oldham madness—Will Oldham being another city-born, punk-rock-raised guy with a guitar, though Elijah could easily grow a better beard than him—and Van Morrison method, with spare, skeletal songs and a clear, sad and heavy baritone that sounds like a father singing through his son. (CZ)

BELLFURIES. When Joey Simeone left Austin, Texas, last year, he was also leaving behind his "rockabilly with a pinch of pop" band the Bellfuries. Now that he's settled in, he's doing what comes natural and playing music again under the Bellfuries name. Where the first Bellfuries record drew comparisons to Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, new material has veered more sharply toward Simeone's love of the best pop of the '60s. With a voice at times reminiscent of Brian Wilson's and songs owing as much to the Beatles circa '64 as Cash from Folsom, the new Bellfuries sound like the British invading Sun Studios. It's "I Want to Hold Your Hand" with a pompadour. Demos of the new Bellfuries music give every indication this will be some of the best OC music in aught-five. (RR)

THE GEORGE FRYER COMBO.George Fryer is a big, sonic know-it-all. Go to his website (www.georgefryer.com) and marvel in wonderment at the number of cover songs he can play—everything from "Police On My Back" to "Yesterday," from "Strangers In the Night" to "Let's Lynch the Landlord." And whoring human karaoke machine that he is, Fryer's available for parties. But screw the covers—we'd hire him just to hear his own chunk of lovely originals, especially the tunes off his new Meow! disc, which he should be shilling at local shows later this month. There's a road song, a record-companies-suck song, a mean smackdown song about a girl he used to know (key line: "She talked about love like a general talked about war") and a song about a friend who died of a drug overdose, but it's hardly preachy in the just-say-no way you'd think. Actually, it kinda sorta celebrates drugs. Woo-hoo! Party at George's! The Meow! sound? "Acoustic, but heavy acoustic," George says. "Like the big drumbeat the Clash always had, but with an acoustic guitar. Or like Dark Side of the Moon meets The White Album, but you can dance to it. Or a soundtrack to a postpunk Armageddon." (Rich Kane)

BONUS PICK: VARIOUS ARTISTS POWER TRIPPIN'. Fourth Cycle Clothing—a local concern run by some fashion-conscious graffiti writers—originally intended this compilation of OC-and-not hip-hop to be a free sampler, to sort of tuck in with clothes orders as a nice little surprise. But instead, it's got potential as a strong stand-alone release, a mixtape-rough collection of iconoclastic local artists—starting off with Exile's already-released "Exile for President," then spinning through 20-some tracks of wildy varying styles, including several Spanish-language rappers. It's not the kind of thing you'll find in stores—but it is the kind of thing you can start looking for. (Charlie Rose)

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