[Elevator 2012] :: Bands On The Rise

A recurring feature of music journalism this century is the mindless prediction of who will "blow up" in the following year. This always feels a little odd coming from mainstream outlets like Rolling Stone, Spin and the BBC. A little like Fox News complaining about the "mainstream media", you think, but you are the mainstream media. If these artists are appearing in your pages, Spin Magazine - let's shatter the fourth wall here - they are already "blowing up". In fact, you're helping that happen. Which means, the only people you can trust on the eve of the 2012 calendar year are relatively small publications with no specific skin in the game and no control of the outcome. That's us. See how we did last year and with regard for the bands that might just make it real this year, in no specific order, your Elevator Bands of 2012 after the jump.

Dry The River

"No Rest"

We had the pleasure of seeing Dry The River twice this year and can promise, once the right syncs happen for this band and once the marketing and publicity machine gets moving behind them, they will grab a piece of the pie Mumford and Sons practically invented three years ago. They will be in the trailer for some uplifting Hollywood movie. They will end up in the soundtrack to some TV show you like watching. "New Ceremony" was one of our top songs of 2011 and next single, "No Rest" might be even better. If you're ever feeling short on pathos, fast forward to the top-of-the-room chorus of "No Rest" and scream, for all your worth, "I loved you in the best way possible." It will be how the US music consumer feels about this band in 2012.

Theme Park


Theme Park was a supposed one-trick pony (the Talking Heads thing) and proved to be much more through the middle and end of 2011, releasing a string of excellent singles from the true David Byrne-channeling "Milk" to the sublimity of "Wax". Of course, this won't prevent true Talking Heads fans from hating them on principle. But for the average music consumer of the 2012, Theme Park has an opportunity to release a fantastic LP and blow us all away. The sound is an undeniable throwback, but the musicianship from this group is also second-to-none, creating familiar feeling arrangements full of hooks and singable choruses.

We Barbarians


With a new degree of boldness, We Barbarians both moved from the West Coast to Brooklyn and shaped their sound around big guitar lines and huge choruses. Our favorite rock band playing in the city, the guys from We Barbarians look poised to release a fantastic record in 2012 and secure the backing of a good imprint from a major label. If you haven't seen their live show, do it shortly. If you have seen the live show, you've shared time and space with industry professionals, one of whom will need to get their pen out and risk what short-supply financial capital they have behind this band. They play harder than anyone touring right now and, without any definite proof, we suspect they are playing a potential, big new single live.


"I'm His Girl"

Everyone in your social circle is picking Brooklyn's Friends to be one of the biggest break-outs of 2012. We will add our voice to the choir of believers on the hooky, slow-drive pop. "I'm His Girl" built on the seductive beauty of "Friend Crush" and "My Boo", for all its absurdity, is a perfect example of the R&B pop that this band rolls out of bed spitting. Their debut LP will be out in the coming months and it will be some of the most sultry and come-hither music of the year. You will be, effectively, powerless in the face of Samantha Urbani and her band.

The Good Natured

"Video Voyeur"

The English electro-poppers The Good Natured are easily and frequently compared to La Roux, who shattered everyone's expectations two years ago. The ebullience of the arrangement on "Video Voyeur", a bunch of carbonated synths bubbling to the top in the chorus, bears out this comparison with compliment not derision. A scream-along good time, The Good Natured have a full length coming out on Parlophone in 2012 and sound poised to hack into the computers of millions of fans on this side of the ocean looking for self-affirming girl pop that makes no apologies and also doesn't make anyone feel too uncomfortable. That, friends, is the label's sweet spot, and it's why you'll be hearing more and more from this band.

St. Lucia

"All Eyes On You"

With an aesthetic that very nearly trumped the message, New York City's St. Lucia spat a vibe that was so unmistakeably equatorial, it warmed any space it played in. With big singles still under wraps for 2012 and one of those innate senses for melody that make management teams look at each other with arched eyebrows, the great Caribbean sound looks ready to secure a major label deal in 2012 and sync up with some commercial syncs. Is it impossible for this kid to get a deal with Columbia? It's like Washed Out, but built to kill a mainstream audience. And you, sitting in the sun, couldn't care less about getting run over.

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