At the tail end of 2011 these bands seemed to be popping up on bills more and more frequently. And it looks like they have no intentions of slowing down. Now, some of y'all grumps out there might just see them as competition, but not me, I look forward to seeing the audiences for these up and coming bands grow. So, get used to them, they're gonna be on your block parties and your summer fests for the foreseeable future. And I'm sure that I left some of your favorites out, so feel free to let me know who I should be paying attention to in 2012.
Psychic Palms - The first time I saw the Palms, I swore that front man, Jason Puffer said the name was "Psychic Clams." Drummer (and sometimes vocalist) Sims Hardin corrected me, "Psychic Cums." Puffer, who might be better known as DJ Psychedelic Sex Panther, is a man known for his exquisite taste and skill at procuring not only the best rare garage dance jams, but also some of the best vintage clothing on offer in the city. Their music reflects these tastes, and not just in the same old copycat fashion. Seeing these sharp-dressed boys boppin' and laughin' through their set feels like stepping into a time machine and stepping out at Gene Vincent's first concert.
Casinos - Earlier last year I had the pleasure of playing a show with Tim Jones and his nigh-impossible to find on the internet outfit. They've made an appearance here there over the last few years, but it seems in the last month I've been seeing and hearing about these guys a lot. Not to be confused with Casino, another local band, Casinos play the bedroom-recordings-brought-to-the-stage brand of indie rock. Spacey but smart, chaotic but hypnotic, their infectious melodies bring to mind the Flaming Lips and the Violent Femmes.
Mikey & The Drags - A few years back Houston had two bands; Wild Moccasins and The McKenzies. Both featuring the requisite keyboards and male/female vocals. Both releasing stellar EPs around the summer of 2008. But then as fast as they'd swooped into my heart the McKenzies were gone, leaving Wild Moccasins as the heir apparent. But fast forward to 2011 to find world's colliding once more. "Mikey" is none other than McKenzies frontman Miguel Ponce and backing him up on drums is Andrew Lee, guitarist of Wild Moccasins! But this time around the boys (a bassist rounds out the trio) are burning down King Khan & BBQ Show influenced garage numbers with a nod to Motown rather than Rilo Kiley-style songs.
Poor Pilate - Oh my goodness. The first time I saw these guys they were playing first at a street party on what must have been the hottest day of the year. Now I see them on some pretty excellent line-ups and I look forward to seeing them again soon. It's not hard to imagine them bringing down a packed house at a place like Stubbs in Austin giving Kings of Leon or the Avett Brothers a run for their money.