Bands don’t just jump from playing in their garage to playing at SXSW overnight. Usually a “new band” has years of touring and recording under their belts before they grab the attention of non-Pitchfork readers.  All 5 of these acts have been grinding for years, but it was in 2012 that their recordings and live performances starting making serious noise in the industry.

Best New Bands

Alabama Shakes

album: Boys & Girls

The meteoric rise of the Athens, Alabama natives saw them go from releasing their first four-song indpendent EP to performing on the Late Show with David Letterman in only eight months.

Chiddy Bang

album: Breakfast

Chiddy & Xaphoon Jones have been making waves on the underground since 2009, but the song “Ray Charles” off their debut studio album hit like a tsunami on the UK charts in 2012.


Cloud Nothings

album: Attack On Memory

Nothing about Dylan Baldi’s vision for his indie band’s future seems cloudy. SPIN, NPR, and The New York Times have all hailed the singer-songwriter’s musical style as a fresh take on the punk-pop genre of the 1990’s.

Django Django

album: Django Django

The art-rock quartet from Scotland has released only one recording in it’s 3 year history. The result? Their self-titled debut of psychedelic/worldbeat fusion music received universal acclaim.


album: Time Capsules II

Brad Oberhofer’s self-released singles, “o0Oo0O0o” & “Away Frm U”, caught the ears of several record labels. The noise pop crooner’s sudden success eventually led to his band’s career-making 2012 album produced by Steve Lillywhite of U2 and Dave Matthews fame.

Previous: Best Music of 2012 (So Far) Part 1Part 2

Next: Best Music 2012 (So Far) Part 4

Agree? Disagree? Share your favorite new bands of the first half of 2012 in the comment section.