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Arts and Entertainment

The Best Local Bands To Watch In 2013

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We asked music writers and DJs in Los Angeles which acts to look out for in the upcoming year. They responded with recs that spanned a full spectrum from stoned pop-punk to gothic chamber pop to straight-up indie rock masquerading as "tropical crunk."

REGAL DEGAL: Just when you thought that the marrow had been sucked out of post-punk revival, Regal Degal are a reminder than guitars can attack as hard as a break beat. Josh Da Costa mocks pompous DJs and sex addicts and the rhythm section sounds like they've absorbed the lessons of Nigeria '70 -- as channeled through The Television Personalities. These guys have been ready for prime for too long. People need to start paying attention. -Jeff Weiss, Passion Of The Weiss
Recommended reading: "Regal Degal Is the Real Deal"

HAIM: The L.A. sister trio (and their unrelated drummer) are just a few sparks short of completely exploding in 2013. Luckily, they've got a full matchbook: look for transatlantic buzz, opening gigs for Mumford & Sons and their major label debut to set things off by the time you can say "Coachella." -David Greenwald, Rawkblog
Recommended reading: "Bands To Watch 2013 + Playlist," "Sister Act: 6 Questions for Este Haim of L.A.'s Haim"

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LAS CAFETERAS: An indie Latin group playing Mexican Son Jarocho music with an alternative edge. They are developing as the favorites in the L.A. Latin scene. I believe they are the only Latin group from L.A. representing at this years SXSW festival in Austin. -Eddie Cota, Levitt Pavilion
Recommended reading: "Las Cafeteras Defy Tradition", "The Ten Best Latin Alternative Albums of 2012," Latin Albums To Look Out For In 2013 (part 1 & part 2)

WHITE ARROWS: White Arrows' music does not sound much like "tropical crunk," despite how lead singer Mickey Schiff described it to us last year. Nope, it's pretty much standard issue white guy indie rock circa now, with guitars, bass, and some electronic flourishes. But what melodies! Nearly every "Dry Land Is Not a Myth" track is an earworm, with Schiff's unusual, enchanting voice giving emphasis to odd vowels, creating intrigue by disguising words. Which is to say: Who knows what he's saying, but we love what he's saying. -Ben Westhoff, LA Weekly
Recommended reading: "Stand Back: These Los Angeles Bands Are About to Blow Up"

PAGEANTS: Pageants is former Avi Buffalo band member Rebecca Coleman, who has a swoon-worthy voice and an excellent knack for writing catchy melodies and attention-grabbing words. Her first 7" is set to be released in early March on Rough Trade Records. -Marion Hodges, KCRW

LITTLE RED LUNG: Little Red Lung is a wonderful little band whose music is an exciting amalgamation of chamber, pop and rock à la Tori Amos-meets-The Dresden Dolls-and-Florence & The Machine thanks to the genius of songwriter/vocalist Zoe-Ruth Erwin. The band recently announced it's begun working on its full-length debut album. -Ivan Fernandez, Afroxander
Recommended reading: "Little Red Lung: Slightly Gothic, Slightly Victorian, Slightly Cabaret"

DAM FUNK: The pioneer of modern funk has been holding it down by hosting a weekly club called Funkmosphere at both The Virgil in Silverlake and Carbon in Culver City. He may be releasing a new album this year on Stonesthrow Records. -Eddie Cota, Levitt Pavilion
Recommended reading: "Dâm-Funk: Keytar Hero"

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COLLEEN GREEN: Although she's originally from Massachusetts, Colleen Green now embodies the laid-back California atmosphere that she inhabits. She writes minimal pop-punk songs with sincere lyrics and has an affection for smoking weed. Be sure to check out her latest album, Sock It To Me, when it comes out on Hardly Art Records later this year! -Mukta Mohan, KXLU

KAMASI WASHINGTON: He has been helping lead a younger and fresh jazz scene here in Los Angeles. An album is expected to be released this year on Brainfeeder Records (Flying Lotus). -Eddie Cota, Levitt Pavilion

TIME AND ENERGY: Built on a flurry of frenzied guitar loops, hazy feedback, skittering percussion and cool keys, Brennan Roach and Jorge Rios perform the work of four band members with only a standard amount of sweat. Their lush, pop mosaics develop slowly—spatters and slaps of whatever instruments they happen to have at the ready. On any given song, they trade off instruments a handful of times, recording parts on top of each other on the spot. -Nate Jackson, OC Weekly
Recommended reading: "Your Nominees for the 2013 OC Music Awards"

THE DECODERS: A new group in L.A. that has only been around for probably over a year. They remix classic soul music with a reggae vibe. They are getting played on KCRW and have gotten some national media. -Eddie Cota, Levitt Pavilion

LA FONT: One of LA's better examples of the classic guitar-based indie-rock quartet has been honing their live show through tons of gigs over the past couple of years. They've finally got a new album ready to go that captures the energy of the current new school of garage rockers with the dynamics of much of today's chart-topping indie bands, setting them up for universal adoration (at least by fans of quality music). -Eric J. Lawrence, KCRW

LAURA LAURA: We at KCRW debuted Malcolm, our new digital submission system (check it out here), last year (in part to alleviate the sheer tonnage of CDs cluttering my office) and in the very first burst of submissions this band blew me away with their song "Not Far to Go." Don't know much else about them, but if they can manage to build on this start, they could dominate much of my listening in the new year. -Eric J. Lawrence, KCRW
Recommended reading: "Interview: LauraLaura"

CAYUCAS: As much as KCRW takes a global approach to discovering music, it's always
nice to find something that sneaks its way into our playlists from our own backyard (literally, as they are from Santa Monica). A stealth signing to Secretly Canadian, their debut full-length doesn't come out until April, but already it is making listeners and DJs alike antsy in anticipation. -Eric J. Lawrence, KCRW
Recommended reading: "Cayucas: Local Band We Love"