Hands can be so many things: welcoming, scolding, loving, clenched into a fist. With Hands as your name, you have to both capture emotion and prove that the music you create with your own is worthy of the moniker. Luckily these Hands are up to the challenge.

Hands makes music like a rip tide, swirling in overlapping loops and riffs, slowly enveloping you. The group’s members – Geoff Halliday, Ryan Sweeney, Sean Hess and Alex Staniloff – craft their hypnotic sound from a single dropping note that builds into a reverberating roar that crashes over you like a wave. It’s a mesmerizing trick that they pull off on their debut LP, Synesthesia. Building off the success of their Massive Context EP (Small Plates) released in 2012 and a 7” to be released on White Iris in January, songs like “Videolove” and “Trouble” show Hands’ innate ability to blend instruments and electronics into a deep texture that moves ethereally through genres. Hands moves from rock to synth-pop to skyrocketing stadium anthem, often within the same song. The interplay of Sweeney’s esoteric guitar riffs, Hess’ technical tempos, Staniloff’s thumping bass and Halliday’s soaring vocals and affected keyboards help Hands build a dynamic atmosphere, where a lesser band would only manage empty atmospherics.

A relative newcomer to the LA scene, Hands began as a two-piece from Philadelphia before Halliday and Sweeney headed west and added the low and thump of Hess and Staniloff. The band made a mark on the scene immediately, quickly playing packed shows across the country including stops at SXSW, CMJ and Deluna Fest, headlining Echo Park Rising, sessions with Daytrotter, and a west coast jaunt with Maps and Atlases. Hands’ ability to win over fans with their feverish live show and dance-party-ready sound has already earned them opening spots for the likes of Deerhoof, DeVotchKa, Foster the People, and Kimbra as well as playing shows to sold out crowds at venues across LA.

For now, Hands’ graceful and danceable indie rock is still under the radar, as evidenced by their spot in TIME Magazine’s “11 Bands You Don’t Know (But Should)” List, but they are quickly rising to the surface, bringing their melodies and thumping beats with them. Over the past year, Hands has built a devoted following for their evolving palette of sounds, soaring melodies, and complex looping song structures. With overwhelming responses to first listens of the record and Hands hitting the road for most of 2013, surely this is the year that Hands will start to make waves. Big big waves.

Be Calm Honcho

Be Calm Honcho is a quartet of sugared, salty hams, living in San Francisco with a lumpy lunch sack of strange strengths. Born on the eve of 2013, Shannon, Alex, Mikey & Jacob have been tenderly prying open the soft spots of rock ‘n’ roll and inserting a dreamy and toothsome rawness. They’ve pooled their geographic wizardry from the idle bayous of Lafayette, LA [Jacob], citrus groves and strip malls of the San Fernando Valley [Alex] and the lush Bay Area motherboard [Shannon & Mikey], and are now ramping up to the release of their first full-length album titled Honcho Dreams, which is set to be released on Crossbill Records this Summer.

In order to get the full Lifetime movie of the origins of Be Calm Honcho, one needs to whirlwind back a year or so ago when Shannon told Alex she knew how to cut a boy’s hair, so he came over for a cut and was made to wait outside while Shannon researched on the Internet how to do the thing she said she knew how to do, but did not. In exchange for the good intentioned but poorly executed cut, Alex let Shannon borrow his keyboard for a string of solo shows she was doing around Davis, CA. In time, Shannon transformed Alex into her boyfriend and the two of them moved on to San Francisco to further enjoy their love, and love for music.

Shortly after getting settled in San Fran, Alex was called upon to audition for a 7-piece rock band looking for someone who could juggle and play trombone. Naturally … he could do both. It’s at this part of the tale where Alex and Shannon meet Mikey and Jacob – who, unbeknownst to them at this time, will come to fully form what is now Be Calm Honcho.

One year into the project, BE CALM HONCHO is up to all kinds of good. A debut album out in spring 2014, a bunch of cool new outfits and polarizing opinions to propagate via video, dance & song and a pretty laid back attitude are on the menu for these kids, so eat up, this one’s on them.

Ally Hasche and The Bad Boys

Ally Hasche is a singer/songwriter from Northern California and currently resides in Los Angeles. Her style is versatile but can be most popularly described at indie folk, with blues and rock n roll influence. She is currently in the process of writing an EP while staying active in the music scene and playing shows. Kris Rosa and Kevin Martinez assist her as Ally Hasche and The Bad Boys.

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