As we all know, Carson Daly isn't good for much. But I have to give him — or, more accurately, Last Call's talent booker — credit for bringing the excellent Los Angeles band Nico Vega on the show to play a couple of songs last spring, after which the buzz surrounding the trio grew exponentially. It was the first time that most of America got to see what the rock underground has known for a couple of years: Aja Volkman is a riveting, primal beast of a singer and performer: a wide-eyed, raven-haired, and supremely physical frontwoman who channels Karen O's early Yeah Yeah Yeahs caterwaul, the soulful roar of the BellRays' Lisa Kekaula, and, strangely enough (but you'll understand when you hear it), the metal bellow of Quiet Riot's Kevin DuBrow. Behind her, guitarist Rich Koehler and drummer Dan Epand create a garage-blues stomp that owes at least some of its sweaty grooves and raucous swagger to Led Zeppelin and Zep-acolytes The Black Keys and The White Stripes. Following some self-released EPs, Nico Vega issued its self-titled full-length debut earlier this year on MySpace Records. Sure, MySpace's social-networking site is about as useless as Carson Daly anymore, but now that both have given Nico Vega their big break, the band's tunes and potent live show should make them pretty unstoppable from here on out.
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