6 Under The Radar Bands To Keep Your Eye On In 2012

by (@unclegrambo)
Fallulah, St. Lucia, Of Monsters & Men, The Lumineers

(Clockwise, starting Upper Left: Fallulah, St. Lucia, Of Monsters & Men, The Lumineers)

We’re still recovering from the week we just spent down in Austin, Texas, for the 2012 South By Southwest Music Festival. It’s been four days since we got home, but our ears are still ringing and the taste of barbeque is still fresh in our mouths. During SXSW, most of the headlines were dominated by Fiona Apple’s stunning return to the scene and Eminem’s surprise appearance during 50 Cent’s front-to-back performance of Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, but now that we’ve had a few days to put the fest in perspective, some of our favorite performances came from bands that have not yet reached household name status.

We asked a few members of VH1’s CMI (Creative Music Integration) group —they’re the people who determine which songs appear in our on-air programming— to give us a quick summary of acts that they really enjoyed during their time down in Austin, artists whose music seems likely for future sync opportunities in commercials, TV programs or films. So, fire up your Spotify and start sampling bands that you’re likely to hear a lot more from as 2012 progresses.

Swan Dive, an official SXSW venue, was packed to the brim, sweltering hot, and buzzing with energy in anticipation for Doomtree, a hip hop collective out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Armed with an eclectic sound that blends hip hop, R&B, and bluesy rock, this group of seven distinct MCs preformed with the aggressive energy of a punk act and just the right amount of hip hop swagger. Songs like “Little Mercy” with its blues-inspired vocals and dramatic, motivational lyrics (“We’re so hungry / We’re so thirsty / But I’m gonna hunt until it hurts me”), Doomtree’s music might fit perfectly in a commercial for an upcoming sporting event or a Nike commercial if they went down an edgier route.—Monsé, Creative Music Integration Assistant
For Fans Of: Grieves

This Copenhagen-based songstress impressed a sizable crowd during her short Saturday night set at SXSW. She performed a few songs off her debut album Black Cat Neighbourhood (2010) and one new song although she added, “I suppose it doesn’t really matter because I’m new to all of you.” Songs like “Only Human” and “I Lay My Head” showcased her strong lyrical skills, expressive vocals, and vibrant instrumentation peppered with catchy handclaps and whistling. Fallulah has managed to create a richly layered musical landscape that has the potential to fit nicely within shows where it could add that extra oomph to a light hearted, upbeat scene in a female driven dramaedy (think Grey’s Anatomy) or teen drama (Pretty Little Liars).—Monsé, Creative Music Integration Assistant
For Fans Of: Florence + The Machine, Lykke Li, Marina and the Diamonds

Indie folk with impressive songwriting. Their songs would fit well within emotional scenes. Their most recent single, “Ho Hey”, could work for commercial use with its upbeat outcry of “Ho hey!”, steady drum beat, and piano hook — it’s dynamic enough to hold a viewer’s attention.—Lacey, Creative Music Integration Assistant
For Fans Of: Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons

One of the most anticipated and buzzed about bands at SXSW, this Icelandic sextet did not disappoint. They delivered folkie pop tunes filled with catchy hooks and harmonizing male & female vocals that, while cool and collected, could also burst through the electrifying and soaring instrumentals. The addition of the trumpet and accordion on songs like “Six Weeks” and “Little Talks” contributed to the rich layering of their soundscape and went well with their quirky, imaginative lyrics. “Little Talks” is perfectly suited to drive the narrative of a commercial.—Lacey, Creative Music Integration Assistant
For Fans Of: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Arcade Fire

St. Lucia was definitely a stand out amidst the music madness that is SXSW. This indie band, newly signed to Columbia Records, boasted some very catchy synth pop, dreamy male/female vocals, groovy bass lines, and even some tribal chanting (“We Got It Wrong”). They definitely play up the nostalgia angle with melancholic romantic lyrics splashed across synth-heavy dance pop instrumentals. Their music is energizing and instantly classic and their strong Eighties vibe give this potential for use in promos/commercials.—Isaac, Creative Music Integration Music Supervisor
For Fans Of: M83

Female fronted Wild Belle were a fantastic way to kick off the SXSW experience. Hints of reggae and retro soul were threaded throughout their set. They’ve also got a baritone sax player, a unique instrumental addition not often seen in popular music.—Isaac, Creative Music Integration Music Supervisor
For Fans Of: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

[Photos: via Facebook]

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