Best Rock Band (2009)

Melanoid

In the early days of 2009, Melanoid—the musical vehicle of Irvine's John Hanson—released a shockingly good album called Asleep In the Wake. Songs such as early-Radiohead-esque "Try to Hide" and the mournful, piano-based "Right" arrive fully realized, transitioning from "good for a local band" to simply "good." Live, Hanson is frequently backed by similarly talented musicians such as multi-instrumentalist Dallas Kruse (an archetypal "guy behind the guy"). Melanoid held their CD-release show at the 800-person-capacity Yost Theater in Santa Ana, and their music felt right at home at the larger venue—though Hanson is just as adept at playing solo acoustic shows at places such as the nearby Gypsy Den. In a county brimming with youthful energy, Melanoid are refreshingly mature.

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