7 L.A. Bands You Need to Know

With Guns N' Roses, No Doubt, and many others getting their start on our local soil, L.A.'s music history is hard to beat. And, the latest crop of SoCal bands proves the best may still be yet to come.
From a brother-sister duo that manages to sound both soulful and demure, to a female folk singer whom we can only describe as Harry Nilsson's pulse mixed with Jenny Lewis' punch, each of these seven groups boasts a style entirely unique, distinct, and, without a doubt, highly addictive. So, go ahead and check them out — just make sure to update your iPod afterward.
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Photo: Courtesy of Cayucas.
Cayucas
If there was a soundtrack for driving down PCH (sans any traffic) on a perfectly sunny morning, it would be Cayucas' debut LP Bigfoot . Listen to lead singer Zach Yudin croon "Did you see me up there?" on the band's title track and without even trying you'll taste salt on your lips, smell the SPF, and feel the warmth of a very hot sun beating down.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jenny O.
Jenny O.
Did that aforementioned mix of Harry Nilsson and Jenny Lewis pique your interest? Well, meet Jenny O. The kind of timeless talent that every era hopes will come along, her songs weep with honesty and heartbreaking sweetness. Listen to her here, and expect many great things to come from this one.
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Photo: Courtesy of Wardell.
Wardell
Wardell is made up of Sasha and Theo Spielberg, a brother-sister duo that's already caught the attention of everyone from Diane von Furstenberg to Jay Z to...us! Releasing their 4-track EP earlier in the year, the breezy-meets-soulful band will reel you in, get you hooked, and still maintain a total air of mystery.
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Photo: Courtesy of Papa.
Papa
You know the scene in Jerry Maguire when Tom Cruise fiddles with the radio while driving, and stumbles upon Tom Petty's "Free Fallin?" Well, Papa doesn't sound like that, but their music definitely makes for the same feeling. The band's songs boast the kind of epic build-up and release that make up the best Bruce Springsteen songs. And, especially with the recent influx of waifish boy bands singing strange, whispery, white noise, it's great to finally have guys that sound loud and exciting.
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Image Courtesy of Kisses.
Kisses
The real-life couple behind Kisses just released their sophomore album Kids in L.A., and it's pretty much just one really rad throwback. Rather than spelling it out, we recommend watching their latest music video in all of it weird '80s awesomeness. Trust, it's really good.
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Photo: Courtesy of Warships.
Warships
There's something about labeling a band as "indie pop" that causes many to assume what they're about to hear will not only be the work of amateurs, but, worse, that it will sound exactly like all the others in the genre — completely devoid of anything unique. Consider Warships proof that indie pop implies neither assertion. With a debut EP out earlier this year, and whisperings of a full album in the works for 2014, the five-piece band makes the kind of music we don't ever want to turn off, nor can we even pinpoint what it is exactly that makes it so crazy addictive (listen to the song "Heater" and you'll understand). Either way, we're sold.
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Photo: Courtesy of White Arrows.
White Arrows
Some say the boys of White Arrows like to be a bit of a mystery, but that seems like a misconception. Take a listen to their debut LP Dry Land Is Not a Myth — a mix of global beats, synth pop, and other funky fresh things — and it becomes clear that it's more about the fearless, exploratory, Peter Pan-like carefreeness that seems like a mystery post-childhood. It's not just freeing to listen too; it literally sounds like freedom. Yep, a night of wild dancing is definitely in your near future.
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