This year's crop of Bands to Watch incorporates a wide array of sounds and styles, ranging from the confessional rhymes of rapper Dominique Larue to the intergalactic explorations of prog-rockers EYE. One thing unites these disparate artists, however: each has undergone some seismic shift in the last year that should propel them to new heights.

This year's crop of Bands to Watch incorporates a wide array of sounds and styles, ranging from the confessional rhymes of rapper Dominique Larue to the intergalactic explorations of prog-rockers EYE.

One thing unites these disparate artists, however: each has undergone some seismic shift in the last year that should propel them to new heights.

EYE added a new member - bassist/multi-instrumentalist Michael Sliclen - and entered into a creative renaissance that pushed its sound even further into the cosmos. The Sidekicks recorded with famed producer Phil Ek, who inspired the band members to dig deeper and work harder than ever before, resulting in the career-best (and just-released) Runners in the Nerved World. Dominique Larue learned to drop her guard, penning increasingly heartfelt verses equally adept at getting heads nodding and minds spinning. Following a brief flirtation with California, Damn the Witch Siren recommitted to Columbus, building a home studio and allowing its sound to move in shadowy new directions. Finally, All Dogs recruited a new guitarist into the fold, NONA's Nick Harris, and stepped back to give both the lineup and material the time and space needed to develop before beginning February recording sessions for its full-length debut.

"I'm kind of glad we waited, because I really wanted the songs to be crafted and taken care of and thought out," All Dogs singer/guitarist Maryn Jones said in a mid-January interview at an Old North diner. "I don't even feel ready yet." (Jones, clearly joking, punctuated this admission with a laugh.)

Ready or not, Columbus, we expect big things from all of these artists in 2015. Join us at Skully's Music-Diner on Saturday, Jan. 31, for our annual Bands to Watch celebration featuring performances from Damn the Witch Siren, Dominique Larue, EYE, All Dogs and The Sidekicks. As always, admission is free. Read on to learn a bit more about this year's selections.

Bands to Watch through the years

2014

Angela Perley & the Howlin' Moons Bummers Cliffs Counterfeit Madison Post Coma Network DJ set: DJ Giovanni

2013

Cadaver Dogs The End of the Ocean Forest & the Evergreens The Girls! The Saturday Giant DJ set: George Brazil

2012

The DewDroppers Freaky Franz Monster Rally Meechie Nelson Sundown DJ set: Bruni

2011

Alleyes Path P. Blackk & Fabrashay A The Town Monster Way Yes The Wet Darlings DJ set: Self Help

2010

Andrew Graham and Swarming Branch Saintseneca Shin Tower Music Struck By Lightning Nick Tolford & Company DJ set: roeVy

2009

Couch Forts The Crimson Armada The Main Street Gospel This Is My Suitcase Tin Armor

2008

Fly Union Rosehips Sinkane The Slide Machine Young Wise

2007

Brainbow The Catalyst Blake Miller Outer Spacist Paper Airplane

2006

Heavy Mole Pretty Weapons Psychedelic Horseshit The Squares Zero

2005

Envelope Necropolis Sweetheart Terribly Empty Pockets Times New Viking

2004

The Blue Revision The Cinema Eye Deadsea Diet Illogic

2003

The Means Monster Movies Silencio Teeth of the Hydra Two Cow Garage