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2012 Sounded Good: The Best Breakout Music Acts In OC

midnight hour header
(credit: Midnight Hour

Orange County, more so than almost any other county in the country, continually supplies the music industry with top-tier talent. The OC Music Awards have christened bands that went onto rule the world, and every week another new band pops up in hopes of claiming the top spot. This was a great year for such bands, and myriad stellar performers broke out in a big way. These bands are primed and ready to reach the national scene.

devious means jason watts
(credit: Jason Watts)

The Devious Means

There are few bands in today's world that truly and honestly want to make people happy. The Devious Means proves it is one with every song, offering honest and thoughtful prose to lift up the listener while laying a foundation of solid rock and groovy roll. Guitarist Christopher Faris and keyboardist Rachel Anderson merge their voices into a unified storytelling device, something some bands risk but rarely pull off. Add in thundering drum work and a work ethic needed to make it big, The Devious Means took Orange County by storm in 2012.

The Silent Comedy

Nobody ever accused a band with great facial hair of being subpar, and The Silent Comedy is here to show that having a certain look means defeating preconceived notions. When the lights go down and the amps turn on, the blues-fueled folk rock gets tougher than fat-free steak. Its track "Bartholomew" was featured in the commercial for the critically acclaimed mini-series "Hatfields and McCoys," an event that introduced this local band to the entire country. It has shared the stage with such bands as Dave Matthews Band, Gogol Bordello and, most recently, The Heavy.

Related: Best Karoake Bars In Orange County

midnight hour
(credit: Midnight Hour)

Midnight Hour

Another unsigned Orange County band, Midnight Hour, has forced O.C. residents take notice. Self-described as summer vacation music, this purely American band has high energy and even higher potential. It made it to the finals of the O.C. Music Awards in 2012 and after a bit of roster swapping, its debut album "Modern Love" pulled off a successful campaign onto the Internet. Its blend of personal lyrics and technical ability made it a highlight in 2012.

Robert Jon & the Wreck

One of the newest bands around, Robert Jon & the Wreck, the five-piece blues/rock outfit is as hardworking as they come. Nominated for Best Blues at the 2012 O.C. Music Awards, these newcomers have traveled up and down the coast, as well as the biggest cities this country has to offer. While the band released it only album in 2011, 2012 is when it got in front of its fans and made a name for itself. Playing at showcases and O.C. staples such as the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa helped breed its ever-growing fan base, but it's the sweet licks and smooth jamming style that separates this band from the pack.

jeremiah red
(credit: Jeremiah Red)

Jeramiah Red

Winners of Best New Artist and Best Blues Band during the O.C. Music Awards In 2012, Jeremiah Red came out of nowhere to take over Orange County. Its blend of blues, Americana and old-fashioned rock is a breath of fresh air in a stuffed musical scene. Its debut EP came out a few weeks before last New Year's Eve, so it had all of 2012 to tour L.A. and San Diego and spread the word. The band features an electric acoustic and harmonica, something more bands need to add if they want to stand out in a crowded scene.

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Jesse Seilhan is a writer, editor and photographer from the California Bay Area. After moving to Long Beach, Jesse continues his passion for writing and music by covering concerts, interviewing top artists, and giving a dose of wisdom in a crazy, mixed-up musical world. His work can be found at

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