When the new year begins we here at WW's Music Bunker (located 5,000 feet below the Earth's crust, and directly beneath the former location of Satyricon) begin our countdown, waiting calmly for the next installment of the PDX Pop Now! Festival. We scour the Internet, breathlessly looking for any signs of life in the PDX Pop camp and praying for any scrap of information about the fest. Well, you can imagine how sore our arms and hands are from the high fiving we've been doing since the e-mail went around yesterday announcing, well, a lot about the 2012 PDX Pop Festival and annual compilation.  

The board of directors has locked down the dates of this year's event—July 20 - 22 at Refuge PDX—and are ready for their first volunteer meeting at Refuge (at 116 SE Yamhill), to be held on January 12 at 7 pm. 

And, excitingly, they're ready to start listening to potential tracks to fill out the 2012 edition of the PDX Pop Now! Compilation, a two-disc set that lets music fans at home and around the globe see what's been shaking out in the Portland scene over the last 12 months. So, if you're a band and want to submit something, head to the PDX Pop Now! website to do just that. You've got until February 26 to do just that. 

But, hey, PDX Pop Now listening volunteers...if you're paying attention, we'd like to give you three suggestions for bands that we think would make great additions to the 2012 comp. 

Ghost Animal - This duo has been quiet on the home front for the past year or so as drummer Marisa Rowland has been overseas studying, but she is about to return home, join forces again with guitarist/vocalist Michael Avishay, and unleash some more glossy shoegaze-y twee pop goodness on us all. Avishay has been kind enough to give me an advance listen to some of the tracks they recorded before Rowland took off and they are glorious and shimmering and perfect for a summertime soundtrack. 

iLLmacuLate - I am ready to proclaim that 2012 could be the year that hip-hop explodes here in Portland in the way that metal/heavy rock did in 2011 (and, no, Casey Jarman did NOT making me write that). There's too much talent working on too high of a quality level right now for it not to be so. So, we encourage PDX Pop to represent the hip-hop community with a track from another artist with some new music coming out this year. iLL's got the flow, got the beats, and has the swagger to move to the head of the class in '12. 

Eight Bells - Was it two or three years ago that the mighty SubArachnoid Space played one of their last shows at PDX Pop Now? Whatever it was, the loss to the psych/stoner rock community was huge, and is only now being filled by this new project featuring former SAS members. Eight Bells carries on that spirit of far-reaching fiery space rock via their three-song monster of an EP Isoceles. It runneth over with Iommi-esque riffing and time signatures that belie the band's love of a good prog rock jam.