Brian Travis’ top 5 favorite indie bands in LA

I’ve been so focused on making the new BTB album lately and I wanted to take a look up from my own project to shine some light on a handful of other great indie bands in LA that deserve your attention and admiration. There are a ton of great acts that are not getting their just desserts and the following are 5 indie bands in LA that we’ve performed with or know as friends and peers. Please check out their music, like their FB pages and become a fan of indie artists who are working hard to make great art in an era when the industry is flooded with artists trying to make a name for themselves.

The following are bands/artists that have the BTB seal of approval. Enjoy:

#5: Julia Albert

Julia Albert is a fantastic LA area singer/songwriter who’s 2009 EP, “More Real Than This” is a real charmer. Catchy hook laden melodies and lyrics delivered with a soulful and rich vocal style. The songs on her EP are about the trials and tribulations of all aspects of love that anyone can relate to. The album boasts a timeless quality and one can hear how much of a class act Julia is in the slick (but not overproduced) production. Unfortunately I could not find any music videos for this artist which is a shame because having seen her live a number of times I can attest that her unassuming beauty and charm really shines through when performing live. Here is a link to her website where you can hear her music:

#4: Ace Gonzalez & The Surfilm Sound

After years of being a consummate sideman for many amazing projects in LA (including a 10 year stint as lead guitarist and founding member of The BTB) Jason “Ace” Gonzalez has struck out on his own with his own surf rock project that is a soundtrack album for an imaginary surf rock film. This record was painstakingly written over a span of 10 years and recorded in fits and starts in the spaces between professional session and side gigs as a guitarist, working a full time job and family commitments (Jason is a husband and proud father of 2). Truly a labor of love, his record: Songs From An Imaginary Surf Movie has a lot of fantastic 70’s rock elements and really great instrumentals from a master of his craft playing with a group of journeymen musicians. It’s hard not to enjoy this album, and when the band plays their sets live they sync up the jams to a raw edit of a real surf movie shot by Jason himself. Totally Radical.

For more info:

#3: Laura Slade Wiggins

I’ve know Laura a long time (she’s opened for the BTB a number of times and joined us onstage singing back up) and I love her quirky songwriting style and her pop-rock sensibilities. She has an EP out called “Laura Slade Wiggins is Clementine” and it is a great debut effort. Laura is already well known for her acting roles in film and TV but I have a feeling we are going to hear a lot more great music from her as her career develops. This is a great song about the various ways there are to do away with your ex:

#2: Simon Stokes

I was introduced to the music of Simon Stokes when I was working with Michael Starr on the BTB album The Bigger Picture. Michael was playing guitar with Simon’s band and I went to see them live a handful of times and really enjoyed his highly distinctive rough’n’raspy gravel voice and raw, gritty, trashy hard-rocking bluesy sound. Check it out and turn it up LOUD!

#1: Vette

OMG Vette. I love this band and I love Dawn DeMone. DeMone is often described as a cross between Joan Jett and Pat Benatar, but I actually think that both Jett and Benatar wish they were Dawn DeMone. Dawn’s band Vette simply rock in a very old school 70’s 80’s way with hooks so deep that you cannot get them out of your head long after the music has stopped. The melodies were born for radio and the look of the band, especially the peppy, sassy “cheerleader-gone-bad-girl” look of the lead singer really nails down the whole package and makes Vette a commercially viable LA indie band that is currently being overlooked by major labels, however I get the feeling that I won’t be saying that for long because the band have been getting some songs placed into TV shows and garnering attention for their brilliant 8 song EP “Heartbreak 101”. Vette’s sound owes a great deal to Cheap Trick and Rick Springfield but you can hear other influences as well (such as early Van Halen and pre-80’s Queen). For your listening pleasure is their video for “Balloon” (I can hear a little “We Will Rock You” in this one). Be warned: It’s difficult to take your eyes off the pretty lead singer…as no one looks more adorable playing a Rickenbacker than Dawn DeMone.

One thought on “Brian Travis’ top 5 favorite indie bands in LA

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