Five Local Bands Who Should Be Huge in 2012

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Mary Bell/OC Weekly
Young The Giant wins the prize for the breakout band of Orange County in 2011. Turn on an alt-rock station, google the word "young," and ask Morrissey who his favorite new band is and you'll have your answer--2011 belonged to Young the Giant. "Cough Syrup" was probably only second to Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks" in over-played catchiness by new talent. It had grown men and women walking around, happily singing under their breath about life being to short to care about anything and drinking cough syrup.  They played the MTV VMAs, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Billboard's SXSW party and Sasquatch! music festival in Washington in 2011, all riding the enormous waves of their first full-length release.

We've exported several great bands to airplay and beyond. Most notably in the last few years we've spring boarded acts like Local Natives, Cold War Kids and Delta Spirit into indie-fame (even if some of them did jump ship to LA later). Some punk rock staples have spawned from our fair stretch of land, and KROQ in the late '90s just wouldn't have been the same without us (Offspring? Lit? You're welcome!).

So we present our picks for local five bands to keep watch for in 2012. Go see them while you can for less than $40 and before they catch a taste of success and run away from OC forever. 

Nicole Vaughn & Her Lovely Band

Mary Bell/OC Weekly

Nicole Vaughn's career picked up steam in 2011 with the addition of a full-live band and the release of her best album to date, Say It. The album was partially produced by Kelly Winrich of Delta Spirit and features hyper-personal lyrics that are extremely relatable. They touch on broken families ("Everything We've Built"), classic literature like Lolita ("Too Young") and Farewell to Arms ("Soldier") and broken hearts (uh, pretty much everything else). Her next release, will be the first recordings with "Her Lovely Band."

Her Lovely Band are the ship that keeps her afloat in a sea of singer-songwriters. Drummer Garrison Giali and guitarist Kris Butcher come from a punk background and give their act an an essential extra punch. Husband Dylan Bowes and backup vocalist/percussionist Eli Balmer complete the band's sound. Fans still mourning the breakup of Rilo Kiley can find solace in Nicole Vaughn & Her Lovely Band.   

They're nominated for Best Country/Americana in the 2012 OC Music Awards and received a nomination for Best Folk in 2011. We named them Best Folk Act in our 2011 Best Of issue.

The Gromble

Chris Victorio/OC Weekly

The Gromble are arguably the biggest band out of south county right now. One word seems to float above the rest when looking to describe these guys: fun. First off, they're named after this guy. Beyond that, their live shows exude a charismatic energy as do their interviews.

The buzz about this quintet got louder in the early months of 2011 with their self-titled EP release (featuring the band members as cartooned-woodland creatures on the cover) and their OC Music Awards nomination. They have a deal with 37 Records in Westminster and will release a full-length soon. 

The Gromble is in the running for Best Live Band in the 2012 OC Music Awards (Weekly reporter Brandon Ferguson chose them as the best band of the night one showcase). They had a residency at the Detroit Bar in November--something that's helped bands like Foster the People and the Cold War Kids into public consciousness.

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