2013’s Breakthrough Bands
As these St. Augustine pop-punkers like to say, lead singer Mikey O’Hara brings the queer-positive Queen, while guitarist Ryan Palm, bassist Nick Commoditie and drummer Matty Pius bring the hairy, hard-rocking Beef. Pulling from older influences like The Ramones and The Cramps and more recent contemporaries like Hunx & His Punx and (gasp!) Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, Queen Beef opens for nearly every national garage-rock act that Commoditie brings to town. But these sexy, sassy blokes have earned their own stripes, too, releasing a kick-ass cassette on Burger Records last fall – and they're setting their sights on SXSW in Austin this spring.
The Dog Apollo
Chris Rudasill, Daniel Mauger, Kenon Seymour and Chad Villarroel aren’t reinventing any rock genre wheels. Instead, these longtime friends and UNF students turn standard alt-rock tropes on their heads with tunes that are equal parts elaborate and epic. The Dog Apollo has opened for national acts like Bloc Party and Crocodiles, won a battle of the bands to play The Big Ticket festival and wowed everyone around them with a hardcore commitment to the local scene. Combine that with laser-focused energy and a recent debut on Spotify and iTunes, and The Dog Apollo looks to scale the indie rock mountain sooner rather than later.
Grant Nielsen has his hands in many area pots. As “Dr. Concussion,” he performed for more than a decade with infamous First Coast party-starters Fusebox Funk. As the owner of Black Key Designs, he creates websites, marketing collateral and other multimedia solutions for area small businesses. And as media manager for The Elbow, he spreads the gospel about Downtown bars, event spaces, restaurants, art galleries, shops and clubs. But Nielsen’s latest project, JacksonVegas, stands out from that crowded CV thanks to elegant folk-pop songwriting and a multifaceted live lineup that elevates the band to impressive heights. We speak for all of Northeast Florida when we say we can’t wait for the first full-length, Grant.
Parker Urban Band
These five musical lifers – husband and wife John and Juanita Parkerurban, Myrna Stallworth, Adam Kenneway and Chanel Miller – inject rousing, soul-stirring energy into their original material, which skews toward soul, roots rock and funk. Though they’ve confined themselves to mostly local shows since forming in 2012, their electrifying energy and emotional delivery points to the possibility of greater mainstream acceptance – think Alabama Shakes with better harmonies and more heart.
Twin brothers Anthony and Zach Dewar moved from West Palm Beach to St. Augustine around 2012, but they rarely stay home for long, plying their quasi-mystical psych-folk trade anywhere they can. But we should still be damn proud that The Dewars call the Oldest City home, because their two DIY full-lengths, “Songs from the Neverglades” and “Adult Sing-a-longs,” are both freaky, finely wrought slabs of visionary weirdo pop. After their multiple appearances at New York City’s CMJ Music Conference, the only thing holding The Dewars back from further critical success is their spooky clairvoyant spidey-sense – they call it “twindividuality” – which, when put into action with traded-off instruments and interlocked vocals, can scare the hell out of us regular single-born folk.