Following an especially memorable 2013 edition (in early 2014), First Avenue announced another impressive and certainly eclectic lineup for their Best New Bands of 2014 showcase, scheduled as always soon after the start of the new year on Jan. 17. That’s a Saturday night, which usually guarantees the newbies a large crowd compared to a weeknight. Click here for tickets and more info.
First Ave staff polls local music insiders and makes their own picks to compile the lineup each year, which also comes down to the performers' availability and willingness to play (which explains the absence of a any more-obvious newcomers of 2014).
Here’s a quick rundown of who’s playing:
PaviElle French: Crossover poet, dancer, actor and neo-soul/R&B singer with an impressive eight-man band that includes members of Sonny Knight’s Lakers. Following in Lizzo’s shoes, she’s also booked to play one of the Current’s 10th anniversary parties the following weekend. Read our recent profile of French.
Tiny Deaths: Lizzo’s former bandmate in the Chalice, Claire de Lune, stepped into more of a Beach House/Phantogram-type ambient-rock soundscape on record with Grant Cutler (ex-Lookbook), and then turned it into a band with Votel’s Ben Clark and auxiliary members of Night Moves. Here's our write-up on the record.
Warey: The newest of the “new bands,” this group only just started a monthly Icehouse residency last week but was a shoo-in because of who’s in it: Polica singer Channy Leaneagh, with her former Roma di Luna bandmates Ben Durrant, James Everest and Ryan Lovan.
Zuluzuluu: While he showed hints of Afrobeat, reggae, dub and psychedelic funk influences on his 2012 effort “Cornbread, Pearl & G,” rapper Greg Grease dives full-bore into that hazy sonic territory in this chilled-out, experimental group, also featuring DJ Just Nine, keyboardist Taylor Johnson, and MPC player Trelly Mo.
Suzie: Night Moves co-founder Mark Ritsema steps up to the mic and steps out in glammy, androgynous attire in this new side-project, offering echoes of new wave, Bowie and Solid Gold-style synth-rock.
Sam Cassidy: Fresh off opening Ike Reilly’s Thanksgiving Eve gig at First Ave, this cabinetmaker-by-day folk-rock newcomer shows traces of Father John Misty and local fave Actual Wolf on his newly issued debut, “Debt,” recorded with help from members of the Red Daughters and Jeremy Hanson (Tapes ‘n Tapes) and Rob Skoro (Mason Jennings).