10 Los Angeles Bands to Look Out for (and One Bonus)
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
The Los Angeles area has been known for years to supply the world with some of its most cutting edge, up-and-coming acts. From the Sunset Strip to Echo Park, Southern California bands display top of the line songwriting and performance chops while looking to make it big in Hollywood. It’s a melting pot for styles all around the city; there is hip-hop, pop. folk, rock, metal, psychedelic funk, and more. Today, we are going to tell you 10 of the rising Los Angeles groups to keep your eye on with a bonus act mentioned at the end!
I met SOKOJO while co-lining on a bill with them in the mid-city at The Mint LA. They’re one of those bands that just made me stop and think to myself, “Dang. I like this. They are good.” Although I have a soft spot in my heart for any guitarist wielding a Gibson, the blues indie band remained gripping throughout the performance with heavy rock riffing and heartfelt lyrics.
While they are gigging out often with several shows cancelled recently due to the pandemic, SOKOJO has only officially released two songs, “More” and “Something Real” on SoundCloud. However, I’ve noticed on their social media, during this time, they have been in the studio recording a few new songs. It’s exciting to hear new music is being created by this musical group.
The founding members are twins Kris and Kyle Soekotjo. Growing up in San Francisco, a scene known for its rock history, the duo realized how impactful music is for its listeners. That’s what lead to their starting of SOKOJO. Add to the mix, Sebastian Neudeck on drums and the band proves to have great dynamics. Check out their music here: https://soundcloud.com/sokojo
2. KARA CONNOLLY
With a luxuriously spontaneous air to her way of songwriting, Kara Connolly is great in the way that she melds pop music with folk country. Her debut album, “Life in Rearview”, boasts the single of the same name. It’s absolutely catchy and the lyrical content makes one think, “What have I left behind, and what have I left behind that I can’t remember?”
Her full debut album, “Life in Rearview”, put Kara on the map almost immediately, as it made it onto the first round ballot for “Best Pop Album of the Year” at the GRAMMY Awards. Additionally, it was nominated for two Hollywood Music in Media Awards (Best Independent Music Video and Best Message Song/Social Impact).
We can expect big things from Kara, as she remains open-hearted to her listeners and brings us the message of a well-lived life. You can check out Kara Connolly’s music on all major streaming platforms, including Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7z1txpxDu73WkZKUhM7WKp?si=HKza0VsZS8ayLpm1hu8L4w — Watch her recent video “Marry Me”: https://greenweddingshoes.com/kara-connolly-marry-me-exclusive/
3. DINA RENÉE
Sporting captivating hooks and uplifting good vibes, Dina Renée can be seen all about Los Angeles. From hosting karaoke nights where she belts her vibrato or performing at places on the Sunset Strip, Dina always keeps the audience entertained with her authentic pop star personality. Her most recent single, “What I’m Not Gonna Do”, is glossy and bright. The song contains several layers of instrumental styles including synth, beats, and in the bridge, an acoustic guitar.
Her melodies are unique and bring the listener into the now. So much so, it has lead Dina Renée to become a success, while being herself and encouraging others to do the same. She plays the piano and sings popular music in a way that makes us all want to go back to the 2000’s or late nineties.
Her music video for "What I'm Not Gonna Do" is nothing less than awesome with a funny edge. It showcases her totally getting fed up with a significant other who just doesn’t get it. Ending with the note, “It’s not you. It’s him”, the video reminds us to stand up for what we know is right in a relationship. Check it out, filmed in her Barbie Pastel Palace, a dream come true:
4. THE HIGGS
I’ve been a fan of The Higgs for a while. The first time I saw them play was at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom a couple years back in Denver, Colorado. They certainly had a hype going on then and continue to now. It turns out they are based in Southern California, which proves to be great for our jam band rock scene here in Cali.
I realized this while seeing them play at their recent sold out Troubadour show where they opened for Twiddle in March 2020. It was fun, the place was packed to the gills, and the band was fresh. They continue to be something new every time I see them play with heavy emphasis on the jamming and potential improv of the moment. The band blends funk, rock, and jazz elements to keep the audience dancing.
Recently, the group has released an 11 song album titled “Rose Will Fall - Mixtape”. It’s their second live album compilation. This is right on point, as the band is known for their live performances, especially with their dedicated fan base in the jam band scene. For the project, they collaborated with J.P. Hesser of Cast Away Studios. Listen to the album release here: