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Local Sound

For Your Playlist


Nothing beats fresh tunes from up-and-comers, especially when they have hometown bragging rights. But these musicians didn’t just grow up in our backyard; they’re starring in a national ad campaign, getting radio airtime, and winning band competitions.


Photo by Thomas Delgado

» Band one

Via Coma

Claim to fame: This trio won Live 105’s BFD Local Band Stage contest and the opportunity to play the sold-out show among big-name bands like Angels and Airwaves and Jane’s Addiction.

Sounds like: The experimental sounds of The Mars Volta.

East bay roots: Rob Marshall, the bassist and vocalist, and pianist Jesse Kyle attended Acalanes High, and guitarist Nic Gracia went to Orinda Academy. Marshall credits Stanley Middle School Music Director Bob Athayde for much of his inspiration.

Next gig: Catch the band’s piano-driven style at Oakland’s Stork Club on October 4.

Listen to: “Stitches” from the debut album, Figures. viacoma.us.


Photo by Noa Azoulay-Sclater» Band two

Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers

Claim to fame: One of the band’s Van Sessions, videos of songs performed while driving down the highway, drew more than 1.5 million hits on YouTube. John Oates shared Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers’ viral video that covered Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go for That,” and Ryan Seacrest also got in on the act, contracting exclusive Van Session videos for his website.

Sounds like: Bonnie Raitt’s soulful, folksy style.

East bay roots: Acalanes High grads, Bluhm and guitarist Deren Ney met in the first grade at Happy Valley Elementary.

On deck: Catch Bluhm rocking fall fashion in Gap’s national Shine campaign.

Listen to: “Jetplane” from the sophomore album, Driftwood. nickibluhm.com.


 Photo by Laura Ho

» Band three

Doe Eye

Claim to fame: Billboard chose singer Maryam Qudus to compete in its 2012 Battle of the Bands. She won the fan vote to represent the West Coast in the finals and performed in Vegas.

Sounds like: Whimsical and orchestral like Florence and the Machine.

East bay roots: Union City’s James Logan High grad.

Favorite moment: Hearing her first single, “I Hate You,” on Live 105.

Next gig: Doe Eye and her band of 12 booked San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill on October 27.

Listen to: The title track on the sophomore EP, Hotel Fire. ilovedoeeye.com.


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