By Zachary Swickey
We’ve covered quite a few diverse rock acts for Bands We Like – from the soul-powered retro pop of Fitz & the Tantrums to the always evolving musings of Dredg – and all of the groups had a stellar year in 2011. Other Lives will soon be the opening act for Radiohead, El Bronx fulfilled their own fantasy by appearing on Conan’s late night show, and The New Regime’s Ilan Rubin is now the new drummer for Tom DeLonge’s side-project, Angels & Airwaves. We’ve taken the liberty of rounding up the five bands to keep an eye on in the New Year and wonder which one you think will be the breakout act of 2012?
Check out the Bands We Like All-Stars and vote in our poll, after the jump!
Mariachi El Bronx
Seriously, we can’t recommend the Spanish-soaked sounds of Mariachi El Bronx enough. The group – a Mariachi side project of LA punk heathens The Bronx – clearly has a firm, respectful grasp on the niche genre. It’s downright crazy how much wide appeal a band so unique actually has, but their songs are infectious (“48 Roses” and “Revolution Girls”) and occasionally rather deep (“Holy” and “Poverty’s King”). They just opened for the Foo and are now in the midst of an overseas jaunt. Vibrant strings, piping trumpets and tatted-up dudes in charro suits – what more could you possibly ask for?
Things already seemed to be falling into place when we profiled Other Lives back in August – the group was about to venture on the road as the opening act for Bon Iver’s West Coast run. Well, they must have been received favorably to say the least, considering next spring they’ll be the proud opening act of Radiohead’s first full-fledged tour behind their latest effort, The King of Limbs. Other Lives also dropped a beautiful music video for their album’s title track, “Tamer Animals.” This band is most definitely going places and we’re enjoying watching the journey.
Fitz & the Tantrums
We simply can’t imagine anyone not falling in love with the music of Fitz & the Tantrums – whether it’s your grandma or your little brother, the music speaks to everyone. Their throwback sound is deliciously nostalgic and the group is a living homage to the great soul music of yesteryear. The LA-based six-piece have been road warriors throughout 2011, making appearances at SXSW, Austin City Limits and the Voodoo Music Experience to name a few. Check out their Christmas tune, “Santa Stole My Lady,” to swing into the holiday vibe a little early!
Talk about a fearless band. Dredg are unafraid to constantly (and drastically) evolve their sound with each new effort. With five albums now under their belts, the band has covered a great deal of musical terrain and took it even further with this year’s release, Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy, which was produced by the legendary underground genius Dan the Automator (Gorillaz, Head Automatica). There’s no telling what direction Dredg will take for their next album, but we can’t wait to find out.
The New Regime
If anything, The New Regime is an example of the amazing abilities of mankind in general. You see, The New Regime is a one-man show – 23-year-old Ilan Rubin makes and arranges every sound heard from the band. A drummer at heart – he just officially replaced Atom Willard as the drummer for Angels & Airwaves – Rubin was only 20 years old when Trent Reznor asked him to drum for Nine Inch Nails on their farewell tour. The musical virtuos’s solo offerings as The New Regime will leave you astounded. This guy’s amazing!
Vote now through Thursday, December 8 at noon! We will have the results for you Friday, December 9. And don't forget to spread the word in support of your favorite band!