Best New Band - 2010
It's not exactly cheating if we name Dahga Bloom the winner here, even though the Fullerton-based sextet—vocalist/guitarist Bryan King, keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Lucas Drake, guitarist/vocalist Matt Mason, bassist/vocalist Manny Lopez, violinist/mandolinist/vocalist Zach Nelson and drummer Sean Yakubovsky—were known as the Living Suns until five months ago. That was when, they say, a few members shared a dream in which African god Dahga emerged from a blooming flower and ordered them to change the band's name. Although various Google searches haven't brought back any proof that such a god exists (yet), Dahga Bloom transcend their dubious creation story and play psychedelic dream rock with a confidence that lets them be both tight and loose at the same time. (Trippy!) Though their songs are structurally complex, Dahga Bloom know how to a) emotionally charge their songs and b) improvise within the song without losing the groove. The sound is reminiscent of Gogol Bordello's chaotic symphonies, highlighted by surf guitar drenched in reverb, plus Man Man's dark overtones. Their debut's standouts include the eponymous "Dahga Bloom" and "Bemsha Swing" (also the name of a Thelonious Monk track).