L.A. Unheard: Seven CMJ-bound bands
As they did earlier this year at the South by Southwest Music Festival, Los Angeles' rising bands will head eastward once more in hopes of getting signed, getting noticed or at least getting somebody to blog about them.
Here are seven local acts making the trek to New York's CMJ New Music Marathon that we're keeping an eye on.
Lord Huron: This isn't Lord Huron's first rodeo. Some of the group's first shows as a full band came at last year's CMJ, but anyone's who's seen them in the 12 months since can attest to the Carribean-inspired jam-rockers' growing performance prowess. News of a full-length debut remains a ways off, but look for Lord Huron to road-test some new material.
TiRon & Ayomari: The hip-hop duo (and L.A. Unheard alumni) released a full-length collaboration, "A Sucker for Pumps," earlier this year. It's full of smooth, luxurious-sounding beats and casually on-point rhymes, a 180 from the abrasive horror-rap repped by some of their better-known local colleagues.
Electric Guest: The genre-hopping L.A. act corralled Danger Mouse to produce its 2012-due debut album, with the producer's influence evident on the filtered vocals and taut bass lines of "Awake." The nearly nine-minute "Troubleman," all cooing harmonies and crisp acoustic chords, is the year's best future Zooey Deschanel movie end-credits anthem.
FIDLAR: The group's full-throttle "DIYDUI" EP nods back to the L.A. hardcore scene of yore, even as the slacker-bro lyrics ("I don't have a job and I don't have a phone / Don't have a life and I'm always stoned") probably makes an opening slot on the next Wavves tour inevitable.
Emperor X: Don't call it a comeback -- Emperor X's Chad Matheny has been recording albums of idiosyncratic bedroom pop for years. But new album "Western Teleport" is earning deserved attention for songs such as "Canada Day," which sound like Chad VanGaalen producing Ben Gibbard.
A House for Lions: With the band's catchy, emotive sound -- equal parts dusty alt-country and lovelorn late '90s alt-rock -- we're surprised debut EP track "Let Back" isn't as big a hit as "Pumped Up Kicks." Maybe they need more synthesizers?
Chelsea Wolfe: The singer's end-times goth-rock got our attention earlier this year with sophomore set "Apokalypsis," and she's held it since with a murky Nick Cave cover and the art-house video for "Mer." Too bad CMJ's too early for Halloween.
Photo: Lord Huron performs at the Autry National Center in January. Credit: David Greenwald for the Times