10 Columbia Bands to Watch in 2012

Borrowing from Paste Magazine, which has done this recently for our Atlanta neighbors, here’s a list of ten new-ish bands from the Columbia, SC area that you need to pay attention to this year:

1. Can’t Kids: Adam Cullum from Magnetic Flowers used to have a band of his own that I really liked called Falling Off a Building. Can’t Kids are a different animal altogether from either that band or the Flowers, but the combination of raucous sounds and the cello of Amy Cuthbertson is powerful stuff (btw, drummer Jessica Oliver and I are NOT related, as far as I know). Check out their excellent EP on Bandcamp here.

2. Black Iron Gathering: Last year saw these guys making some real strides performance-wise, and they’re getting out more around the state and beyond this year, I’m sure. One of the best live bands in town right now, and their cover choices mixed into the shows has been inspiring, as on the clip below:

3. Dixie Dynamite: I love to tell the story about the first time I saw Dixie Dynamite leader Matt Goudelock playing live–it was as a solo acoustic opener for heavy rockers Isabelle’s Gift at a biker bar in Lexington County, where he had the tough-as-leather crowd eating out of his hand playing outlaw country covers. Goudelock brings that Waylon Jennings 4/4 stomp to his new band’s original music as well, making them a great hard country addition to the local scene.

4. Forces of a Street: Not a new band but one that’s been somewhat overlooked locally so far, I think. I posted just the other day about their label/promotional venture Post-Echo, which is plenty ambitious all by itself. Justin Schmidt and company are showing a wide array of sounds and styles on the new album Pro Icarus, from which the song/video below comes.

5. The Fishing Journal: the biggest buzz in town in 2011 surrounded this outfit featuring former Death Becomes Even the Maiden member Chris Powell and ex-Restoration drummer Josh Latham along with Mercy Shot bassist Reno Gooch. They’re poised for more of the same this year, as every live show so far has been well-attended and well-received.

6. Those Lavender Whales:
The new album Tomahawk of Praise isn’t number one on the WUSC playlist right now for nothing, as Aaron Graves has a uniquely endearing outlook on life which comes shining through in his precocious-sounding indie-pop tunes. I fully expect this band to conquer at least the indie-rock version of the world soon.

7. Right To Fall: As generic and similar as most hard alt-rock is these days it’s hard to get excited about yet another seemingly over-testosteroned outfit, but these guys have something going on outside the usual stereotype. Jeremy Scott screams a bit, sure, but he also sings unusually well for a heavy band’s vocalist, forcing them to lean more toward melodic tension than simple sledgehammer riffs. Like their buddies in Obraskai, they also have impeccable taste in making music videos, as you can see in the clip below.

8. Post-Timey String Band:
One listen to this acoustic duo’s throwback-sounding style and you’ll be hooked, if not dragged, into a previous century where girls were saucy and guys were dapper. Vaudevillian as they can be, and entertaining to a T.

9. By the Bull: Nick Brewer of The Memorials and other previous endeavors has a new hard rock trio, and like a bull in a china shop they’re poised to incur some serious damage. check out the short clips in this video just posted online:

10. Global Soul Revolution: the new vehicle of celebrated bassist Reggie Sullivan, even without hearing them yet I can guarantee this will be a band you’ll need to check out. With various jazz luminaries, his own Reggie Sullivan Project, and also until recently with John Wesley Satterfield, Sullivan is a class act who lights up any stage he sets foot upon.

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