BTW (Bands to Watch), 2012: 33 Los Angeles bands who figure to make our new year happy


So as rich as 2011 proved to be for local music, 2012 promises even more. Following is Buzz Bands LA’s list of “Bands to Watch” for 2012 – 33 newbies who have not yet released a full-length album and are on our radar to do so in the coming year. Whom did I miss? Leave a comment.

Update: So make this 35 bands, because I somehow omitted NO and the Lonely Wild, each of whom released great EPs this year and have a bright 2012 ahead. Thanks for all the comments – already discovered one newbie thanks to them.

Pictured above: Hands.

After the jump, the list, alphabetically:

Black Flamingo – Full-length in the works, and if anything on it sounds like “Golden Girl” or “Proud Head,” I’m liable to melt.
Chasing Kings – The quartet’s album, “Nice Guys,” figures to come out in the spring, and it’s doesn’t figure to finish last. Compositionally brilliant, thematically sophisticated and emotionally powerful, it’s an album that’ll move you from head to toe.
Cillie Barnes – Founding member of Family of the Year Vanessa Long is off on her own, and if the full-length album sounds anything like the two songs she’s teased with (and I’m told it does), we have a new songstress to swoon over.
Dead Sara – Not quite sure why the quartet’s full-length didn’t come out in 2011 as planned, but maybe a label is interested. One ought to be. No unsigned band in L.A. right now is doing hard rock better.
Robert DeLong – Electro whiz kid already looks ready for a Coachella tent.
Electric Flower – The first EP from the Imaad Wasif/Josh Garza collaboration melted faces. It’s only going to get hotter.

Electric Guest (above) – Deal with Downtown in place, Danger Mouse-produced album is en route.
FIDLAR – Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but could I get one of those 12-track, 27-minute punk albums that I’ll just play over and over again?
Flora & Fauna – Wesleyan boys come home to L.A. to make noise.
The Ruby Friedman Orchestra – Rock diva embarks on making a proper album, and after you hear it you won’t want to listen to many other people sing.
Haim – One of our favorite sister acts focuses on its material now that Danielle gets a break from her work as an in-demand touring musician.
Hands – It’s been a slow grind, but every time I caught the indie quartet in 2011 (five, maybe six times?) their complex web of synths, vocals, guitars and samples has gotten more mind-blowing. Like a lot of longtime followers, I’d do a somersault on Sunset Boulevard for an EP that had a finished version of “Magic Fingers.” Just sayin’.
Harriet – Alex Casnoff (Dawes, Papa) is doing his own thing, and early returns are promising.
Hot As Sun – It’s about time for another EP (at least) from this deliriously fun, slightly warped art-pop duo.

A House for Lions (pictured at Tarfest) – Purveyors of gorgeous anthemic rock should have a release ready later this year.
IO Echo – In demand as a touring act for years, the mystical shoegazers finally have a label deal (stay tuned for details) and an album on the way.
Jenny O. – Jonathan Wilson-produced full-length slated for early ’12, and she already has a deluge of supporters.
Lady Danville – If you liked the UCLA-bred trio’s harmonies when you saw them live in 2011, you’re going to squeal over the recordings. Pristine pop, endearingly executed.
LA Font – Get on the quartet’s Kickstarter bandwagon, will ya? Indie-rock this sharp deserves to get out there.
Tyler Lyle – Folk singer-songwriter and relative newbie to L.A. Just playing a hunch here.
Milo Greene – Release coming on Chop Shop Records. Boy/girl harmonies, boy/boy/girl harmonies, boy/boy/boy/girl harmonies – they’re all beautiful and exuberant. It’d be a perfect album for springtime.
Miracle Days – Springing from the ashes of Dusty Rhodes & the River Band, this duo could be your new favorite boy/girl band crush. It’s gonna be mine.
Monte Mar – Pop sophisticates with jazz backgrounds, this quintet immediately made noise with its debut EP. Local Natives fans should give it a listen.
Pageants – Everything Rebecca Coleman has done has screamed “next indie-pop darling.” Here’s hoping an album, or at least an EP, lands in my lap(top) soon.
PAPA – Darren Weiss and gang certainly looked (and sounded) like the next big indie-rock sensations last week at the Echo, even beyond their undeniable single “I Am the Lion King.”

Races (above) – A spring release for the sextet’s debut on Frenchkiss Records? That’d be nice. In the meantime, catch one of their feel-good live shows.
Soft Swells – Album coming soon from the new alliance between Tim Williams and Matt Welsh.
Superhumanoids – I flirt with hyperbole here, but the all-new material they played last week in Echo Park sounded like it’s from an album that will be in BBLA’s Top 5 of 2012. It just sparkled.
Useless Keys – Impressive new material sounds less angular, more post-punk/shoegaze-inspired, and the quartet’s wall of sound is as ferocious as ever.
Evan Voytas – Falsetto-wielding electro-soul has linked up with newly hip Dovecote Records. Look for a full-length on the heels of Voytas’ January EP release.
Nick Waterhouse – The Innovative Leisure imprint’s rising star embraces the spirit, sound and style of the ’50s, and before.

White Arrows (above) – The L.A. quintet has shed its “electro Strokes” label and cultivated a psychedelic electro sound that’s all their own. Continue dancing to their singles until that full-length lands.
Youngblood Hawke – Party-rockers you’d actually want to have a conversation with (maybe even check out their lyrics). Word of an impending label deal (stay tuned) and work on a full-length are signs these guys will be taking their party on the road.

Name-checking: Y LUV, the Ross Sea Party, Francisco the Man, Irontom, Bleached, Kiev, Bethpage Black, Deap Vally, Il Albanico, Burroughs.

Photos by Bronson except top photo of Hands, which is by Andrew Herrold