The Summer’s Best New Bands: Local Music Insiders Pick Their Favorite New Local Acts
In March, the masses spoke about their favorite local bands in our Best of the Rogue poll. They chose, Slow Corpse.
But for our summer music preview, we skip the masses and poll the experts. We reach out to the folks on the ground level of the local music industry every night (the soundpeople, the bookers, the musicians themselves, those best-placed to have insider-knowledge of the local music scene), and we ask them who their favorite new acts are, acts that the voting public at large hasn’t had time to get hip to yet.
Our criteria is simple: the act must be based in our coverage area, and have gotten its start, or only started playing out in the last year. What came back was gold.
You may not know these local musicians yet. But you will. How do I know? Last year’s industry favorite in this poll was Slow Corpse, the band readers chose as their favorite in Best of the Rogue.
The Juniper Berries
Take a dash of the classic NW lo-fi sound, blend with the inventiveness of Sonic Youth or The Books, and garnish with a furious punk energy onstage and you’ll get The Juniper Berries. Guitarist Joshua Stirm’s long-simmering recording project has pretty much ruled the year in local music, with a full lineup, a NW tour, live shows that made locals lose their gawdamn minds, and even a small distribution deal through Portland’s Hovercraft Records for a cassette release of their breakout debut, Don’t Breathe in Through Your Mouth. Can’t wait to see what they have in store for next year.
The Rogue Underground
Local supergroup, The Rogue Underground went from zero to sixty in no time at all. The band features John Johns of Impulse Control and Keenen Pruett of Blender, and despite being less than a year old has already headlined nearly every local club, and made appearances at regional festival stages. The combo of funk and rock is just the thing to get the dancefloor moving, and the band’s furious devotion is helping it improve at logarithmic rates.
The members of Local News all voted for themselves in this poll. But since we didn’t count those votes, it’s lucky for them that a lot of the other local experts we reached out to did as well. The band’s high-energy guitar-rich power-pop is catchy and danceable, and the band is just bit as likely to impress audiences with the high quality of its songwriting as it is with its love of stripping down to rock pants-free onstage. Both are reasons the band plays the valley nearly every weekend, and has started branching out to regional festivals in Nor-Cal. Think of bands like The Flamies Groovies, The Nerves, The Exploding Hearts, and Jimmy Eat World, and then think: why don’t they have an album to listen to yet?
King Roy Wing
Southern Oregon isn’t short on Americana bands. But ones that stand out from the pack are a bit of a rarer breed. King Roy Wing is that local great white buffalo; a string quartet with great songs, soulful harmonies, and some wicked fiddling. We like ‘em so much, they even played at our Best of the Rogue party back in March.
Honorary runner-up mentions go to indie-folksters The Elephant, Southern Oregon’s indisputably loudest band, Alphaluxx, and the chiptunester, Crapppy Blue. Keep your eyes on them as well, cause they’re all going places.