Young The Giant wins the prize for the breakout band of Orange County in 2011. Turn on an alt-rock station, google the word “young,” and ask Morrissey who his favorite new band is and you'll have your answer–2011 belonged to Young the Giant. “Cough Syrup” was probably only second to Foster the People's “Pumped Up Kicks” in over-played catchiness by new talent. It had grown men and women walking around, happily singing under their breath about life being to short to care about anything and drinking cough syrup. They played the MTV VMAs, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Billboard's SXSW party and Sasquatch! music festival in Washington in 2011, all riding the enormous waves of their first full-length release.
Nicole Vaughn & Her Lovely Band
Nicole Vaughn's career picked up steam in 2011 with the addition of a full-live band and the release of her best album to date, Say It. The album was partially produced by Kelly Winrich of Delta Spirit and features hyper-personal lyrics that are extremely relatable. They touch on broken families (“Everything We've Built”), classic literature like Lolita (“Too Young”) and Farewell to Arms (“Soldier”) and broken hearts (uh, pretty much everything else). Her next release, will be the first recordings with “Her Lovely Band.”
Her Lovely Band are the ship that keeps her afloat in a sea of singer-songwriters. Drummer Garrison Giali and guitarist Kris Butcher come from a punk background and give their act an an essential extra punch. Husband Dylan Bowes and backup vocalist/percussionist Eli Balmer complete the band's sound. Fans still mourning the breakup of Rilo Kiley can find solace in Nicole Vaughn & Her Lovely Band.
They're nominated for Best Country/Americana in the 2012 OC Music Awards and received a nomination for Best Folk in 2011. We named them Best Folk Act in our 2011 Best Of issue.
The Gromble are arguably the biggest band out of south county right now. One word seems to float above the rest when looking to describe these guys: fun. First off, they're named after this guy. Beyond that, their live shows exude a charismatic energy as do their interviews.
The Gromble is in the running for Best Live Band in the 2012 OC Music Awards (Weekly reporter Brandon Ferguson chose them as the best band of the night one showcase). They had a residency at the Detroit Bar in November–something that's helped bands like Foster the People and the Cold War Kids into public consciousness.
Orange's Kiev set the local music scene a-twitter with their stereoscopic 3D performance at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts with Menomena in May. Three-demensional projections of stoney illustrations and lava lamp-like goo floated onstage as they played. Beyond a cool light show, it's their tight and technical brand of indie rock that keeps Kiev on top of the local music consciousness. Their song “3rnd” was featured on RollingStone.com as a free download in December. “Found! The Real Found!” was featured on Paul Frank's Accademy of Awesome CD.
Railroad to Alaska
If you look at Orange County's history of super successful musical imports of the last decade, you'll see several hard rock acts at the top of the list; Avenged Sevenfold, Throwdown, Atreyu. And while surf punk, Americana and indie rock dominate OC's music scene, one band really comes to the foreground when talking metal: Railroad to Alaska.
I was really, really trying to avoid writing about them–not because they don't deserve it–because I don't want to be caught in a conflict of interest. So I'll get this out of the way; I'm dating a guy in the band. Phew.
I was forced to change my mind after Monday's announcement of the nominees for the 2012 OC Music Awards, our biggest night for local music. Jeramiah Red took a clean sweep of six nominations, tied only with Young the Giant. It's remarkable because most bands get 3 or 4 nominations tops in a given year. They surpassed bands that are nationally known and receive frequent airplay despite the fact Jeramiah Red only released their first album in December- and they don't even have a record deal. Their debut EP, Ghost Tracks from the Getty, is up against the likes of Social Distortion and Thrice for Best Album.
They are nominated for; Best Live Band, Best Album, Best Song (for “Can't Help Myself”), Best Blues, Best Rock, Best Country/Americana and Best New Artist. In 2011 they were nominated for Best Rock and People's Choice Awards. The Weekly named them the Best Band Named After A Beer in our 2011 Best Of issue.
I won't get into how awesome they are but you can hear for yourself on iTunes, Facebook or their next live gig.
- Nicole Vaughn Goes Big
- Nicole Vaughn and Her Lovely Band
- OC Music Awards Showcase 1: The Gromble, Jeramiah Red, James Fletcher and More at Detroit Bar Last Night
- The Gromble Make a Loud Buzz
- Kiev for Sweet Relief: Raising Money, Awareness and Releasing an EP in One Night
- Best Rock Band – 2011 Railroad to Alaska
- Jeramiah Red Are Naughty and Nice