9. Autonomics (30.5 pts)
SOUNDS LIKE: Going out, getting hammered, hugging your friends, forgetting your problems and not worrying about the hangover.
NOTABLE VOTES: Oregon Public Broadcasting music director Jarad Walker, Drew Lazzara of the Haute Garbage podcast.
A decade on as a band, Autonomics feels as if they're still in their formative years.
That might be because fleeing their home of Bend for the greener musical pastures of Portland eight years ago caused them to reconsider who they are. Or maybe it's because the band has never really stopped tweaking their sound, hoping to land on one that sticks.
But there is one constant in the Autonomics milieu, and it's probably their greatest trait—that is, their ability to make everything in the world seem all right, if only for the moment.
"We are escapists, but not in a 'run away from your problems' kind of sense," says drummer Evan Leikam. "If someone has a shitty day, puts on one of our songs and feels just a little better, that's a huge mark of success for us."
If last year's high-water mark, Debt Sounds, is any indication, Autonomics is closer than ever to hitting on a formula that works. The record careens between unbuttoned rock 'n' roll and anthemic punk, celebrating girls and drugged-out nights with punchy rhythms and raw production. It's music that's as therapeutic as it is thrashing. And right now, that kind of visceral catharsis is more important than ever.
Autonomics is still in a state of flux. Last October, the band lost their longtime bassist, Leikam's twin brother, Vaughn, to shifting personal responsibilities. But the hard work they've put in over the last decade is starting to pay off, by way of radio play, heightened online streams and a new booking agency.
"A lot seems to be kind of falling into place right now, which is a great feeling after grinding for so long," Leikam says. "We're realizing now that the grind never really stops, though—you just get better at it."
NEXT GIG: April 29 at the Know.
Best New Band Intro | No. 1: Sávila | No 2: Black Belt Eagle Scout | No. 3: Frankie Simone | No. 4: Amenta Abioto | No. 5: Maarquii | No. 6: Brown Calculus | No 7: Sunbathe | No 8: Blackwater Holylight | No. 9: Autonomics | No. 10 (tie): Public Eye and Wynne | Who's Got Next? No. 11-20 | The Complete Ballots