December is roundup month. From the very best concerts to the very best tamales, we’re obsessed with taking stock of the year. But it’s also important to look ahead. 2014 saw an incredible amount of new music bursting out of L.A. and shaking things up both here and abroad, and the only unifying principle seems to be the lack of one. From power duo Deap Valley’s fuzzed out bare bones rock ‘n’ roll to the cerebral and psychedelic hip hop of Pyramid Vritra, there’s something for everyone.
Coming up with a definitive list of L.A. bands and solo artists to look out for in 2015 is no easy task and the list of artists highlighted below is in no way an exhaustive account of all the potential currently simmering in practice spaces around Los Angeles. Diffuse, diverse, and creatively idiosyncratic, these musicians represent the spirit of L.A. music. Be sure to keep an eye on them in 2015.
Tashaki Miyaki’s dreamy shoegaze pop stands in stark contrast to their name, which is based on a mispronunciation of Japanese horror and slasher flick master Takashi Miike. Founded in 2011, the trio is currently working on their first full length album and have already made a name for themselves abroad, performing at London clubs, promoting their first self-titled EP as well as seven inch of Everly Brothers covers the band recorded.
L.A. Girlfriend is the brainchild of one-woman new wave army, Sydney Banta, who released her debut album Viva in 2013, available as a free download via Bandcamp. Banta calls her music romantic nouveau, but there’s a strong throwback vibe to it that calls to mind early 80’s electronic music, post-punk and British new wave. The stellar tracks “Valentine” and “Gentlemen” are infectiously danceable. L.A. Girlfriend just released the EP Varsity available on her Bandcamp.
The Lonely Wild
Formed in 2010, The Lonely Wild has been around for a while and their 2013 debut album The Sun As It Comes is one of the most overlooked musical offerings from an L.A. band. The Silverlake quintet deals in Ennio Morricone informed British Invasion style beat rock with nods to our own 70’s Laurel Canyon scene. Coming off a yearlong tour in support of The Sun As It Comes, The Lonely Wild has recently begun recording for their second album.
Jason Trikakis, whose nom-de-guerre is Lost Midas, is one of the most interesting producers currently working in L.A. Trikakis has been a figure on the hip hop scene for years, drumming for funk seven-piece Press Project and touring in support with among others the Roots and Slick Rick. Now, the multi-instrumentalist deals in smooth electronic sounds influenced by everything from 80’s new wave to The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Lost Midas has released EPs in the past, chief among them Memory Flux from 2013. He’s currently at work on his debut full-length album.
Mini Mansions was formed back in 2009. When Queens of the Stone Age broke up, bassist Michael Shuman formed the indie pop trio with Zach Dawes and Tyler Parkford, but the band has been on hiatus since releasing the …Besides… EP in 2012. In November, Mini Mansions released the ultra-danceable single “Death Is A Girl” accompanied by an intimate cover of the Sparks song “Sherlock Holmes.” The band is currently working on its second full-length album The Great Pretenders, which is slated for release in 2015.