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Best New Band

1st Place: Softly, Dear
2nd Place: Hounds Before Lions
3rd Place: The Rattlenecks

The Best New… categories are always some of the most interesting, giving us a peak into what’s on the horizon in the Chippewa Valley. That holds true with this year’s best new bands. Leading the pack are the up-and-coming indie rockers Softly, Dear – a country-influenced rock group consisting of musicians almost all new to the scene. Behind them is Hounds Before Lions, a group of UW-Eau Claire music students who write understated, poignant indie ballads (but I can attest they aren’t afraid to bust out the rock at live shows). Finally, coming in third are The Rattlenecks, a new band featuring familiar faces. The Jim Pullman-led folk group is reminiscent of Fleet Foxes or Dawes. –Thom Fountain