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The top 10 Tampa music stories of 2012, No. 4: Festival, national love for The Applebutter Express, Zulu Wave and Merchandise

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(It’s the end of the year, and just as we did in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Soundcheck is counting down the year’s top local music stories as determined by your humble Soundcheck editor. We’ll be counting down two each day through New Year’s Eve.)

Tallhart may have been the band that signed to a national label. But three other Tampa Bay artists got some big-time, largely unexpected love on a national level.

Jammy bluegrass outfit The Applebutter Express got the break of a lifetime in May, when they learned they'd been invited to perform at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. It was an unprecedented opportunity for a local band, and the group made the most of it. Ever since they returned, they've been one of the busiest acts in town.

Indie rock group Zulu Wave was also invited to perform at a national festival this year -- and while it may not have been as big as Bonnaroo, the exposure was arguably even better. The CBGB Festival saw them performing at Times Square in New York alongside The Hold Steady, Superchunk, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Duff McKagen's Loaded.

And then there's Merchandise, the low-profile punk/New Wave outfit that found powerful new fans in Pitchfork and The A.V. Club. Pitchfork, in particular, seemed smitten with the group, publishing a glowing 2,500-word interview in July, giving their album Children of Desire a 7.8 and inviting them to perform with Death Grips and Angel Haze in Brooklyn.

Will any of these artists be the next Tallhart, or the next Blind Man's Colour (who were, at one time, the next Animal Collective)? We'll have to wait and see in 2013.

PREVIOUSLY ON THE TOP TAMPA MUSIC STORIES OF 2012:

No. 10: The return of arena rock

No. 9: Machine Gun Kelly laces up, takes over Tampa

No. 8: The Ritz Ybor becomes Tampa's hip-hop heaven

No. 7: Metal venues play musical chairs

No. 6: The USF Sun Dome reopens

No. 5: Tallhart goes national

[Last modified: Thursday, December 13, 2012 12:16pm]

    

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