Who will be CultureMap's Last Band Standing? Meet the bands, Part One
CultureMap’s Last Band Standing contest is off the ground, and now is the time for you to vote on which local band will take home the title. Based on our readers' suggestions, we have selected 16 of the area's best up-and-coming bands to compete against each other in a bracket-style elimination competition.
Your votes will decide which bands move on to each round, ultimately crowning CultureMap's first ever Last Band Standing.
Bands represent all of the pockets of the Austin music scene, from outlaw country and traditional bluegrass to soul, funk and pure punk. Today, we’ll introduce the first half of the 16 bands in the competition. Take a look at the choices, and then get to voting.
What Crooks brings to the already-diverse Austin country music scene is a reformed, modern style of outlaw country, deeply rooted in Texas tradition. In Crooks’ latest endeavor you’ll find a common honky-tonk thread: drums reminiscent of classic, pared down Johnny Cash, and Merle Haggard-influenced guitar licks (think “Big City”). But you’ll also discover well-developed horns sections and skilled fills by fiddle phenom Warren Hood and Grammy Award-winning accordion legend Flaco Jimenez (of the Texas Tornados).
The Carper Family
The Carper Family trio is no stranger to Austin’s country music hubs. Frequently seen playing White Horse, Mean Eyed Cat and the Continental Club, this family is also no stranger to the road and national attention. In fact, the band's latest album, Back When, was named Best Country Album by the Independent Music Awards in April. With a panel of judges that includes music icons like Keith Richards, Tom Waits and Tori Amos, that little award grants big bragging rights for the Texas trio.
KP and the Boom Boom
A night with KP and the Boom Boom's mix of funky beats and soul will get any crowd on its feet, dancing and feeling good. KP and the Boom Boom play a funky brand of neo-soul that is often spotted at such music hubs as the Continental Club. "We just want to spread the love and give a positive message to people. That's definitely what our music is all about," says front woman Kate Priestly.
The Sour Notes
Austin-based band The Sour Notes features a rotating cast of musicians, but always includes founder Jared Boulanger. This year, the band broke out of the local scene, playing an impressive set at Houston's Free Press Summer Fest as a six-piece group with a rotating set of male and female vocalists. Plus, three synths (!) and lots of summer-y sounds.
Mother Falcon is a spectacle of a local band. Rarely does one see so many talented, young (and classically trained) musicians take to Austin's indie stages. A full stage of stringed instruments and soft, haunting sounds offers a nice departure from the noise-rock that sometimes overtakes downtown venues. Mother Falcon’s music is subdued and powerful, both in the size of the band and its inherently refreshing nature.
Befriend the Bears
Befriend the Bears has a sound that isn’t so easy to categorize. The acoustic folk/psychedelic rock/jazz ensemble plays a self-described "liberal mix of emotion and musical mess.” On or off local stages, Befriend the Bears calls its uncharacteristic music "a sound that takes you to a tripped out laser show on your grandparents' back porch." That's a place we'd all like to visit, isn't it?
Formed by some of Austin's punk rock stalwarts, The Midgetmen has been a force in local music for 10 years. Its members are grown-ups whose day jobs have morphed into careers, and for whom playing music is just a really fun thing to do while getting drunk with friends. Though it may be a side gig these days, The Midgetmen's show doesn't disappoint. (See the Weird Al 10th Anniversary tribute show for a proper example.)
Want to stomp your boots to some acoustic tunes rooted in folk tradition? Hello Wheels melds acoustic sounds with rich harmonies and deep storytelling elements. Listen up for this alt-folk band that has been a welcomed sound at the Cactus Cafe and on KUT.
CultureMap's Last Band Standing competition runs through Oct. 2. The fun culminates in a Last Band Standing party at The Parish on Wednesday, Oct. 10, featuring sets from the final two bands (decided by you!) plus a special headliner, to be announced soon.
Stay tuned for your introduction to the second half of our Sweet Sixteen contenders tomorrow.