This Thursday, Rusty’s Surf Ranch will begin the preliminary round of its 15th Annual Emerging Artist Competition.

Its first bracket includes four bands, each playing a 30 minute set, starting at 8 p.m.: Crimson Apple, Electric Parlor, KULA and Trackless.

Continuing a tradition that began in 2011, when the Rusty’s EAC winner opened for the band Dawes, the winner of the competition will open one of this year’s 10 Twilight Concert Series summer dates. The EAC first runner-up will win a $500 showcase gig on Rusty’s stage.

Crimson Apple, who will be playing the 8 p.m. slot, is an all girl pop alternative band made up of four sisters.  The group is originally from Hawaii and moved to California in November to pursue music more. Crimson Apple released their debut album, “Hello,” last September. The band enjoys a lot of instrumental music, as well as bands like Young the Giant, Paramour and cites Japanese rock as of our their biggest influences. Band members include, Colby Benson (lead vocals/keys/keytar), Shelby Benson (rhythym/lead guitar/vocals), Carthi Benson (bass/vocals), Faith Benson (drums) and Rachel Look (lead guitar/vocals/flute). Shelby said the sister group learned about the competition online and is excited to be part of Rusty’s contest. “We are looking forward to getting to meet all the bands and play with them and have the chance to show our music to their fans and have our fans see theirs,” Shelby said. More information about the band can be found at, http://crimsonappleband.com.

Electric Parlor, who will be playing the 8:45 p.m. slot, is a rock and roll band, but describes themselves as “the bluesy soulful rock and roll,” with heavy guitar riffs and heavy drums. The band says they have been described as “Black Sabbath meets Janis Joplin.” The band says that, while they all share similar influences like Led Zepplin, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, they also are influenced separately by bands like Iron Maiden. Band members include, Monique Alvarez (vocals), Kris Farr (guitar), Josh Fell (bass) and Zachary Huling (drums). “We’ve played battles of the bands before but the main thing we are looking to get out of this is to meet other bands and play with them,” Huling said. “Music is subjective, you know so it’s going to be interesting to see how it goes. But we are excited to be part of it.” More information about the band can be found at, http://www.electricparlormusic.com.

KULA, who will be playing the 10:15 p.m. slot, is an L.A.-based four-piece band that has been together for almost four years. According to the band, they come from a very diverse array of musical backgrounds, with influences including classic rock, Led Zeppelin, progressive rock and some blues. The band just released their second album last year, and their new EP should be available by the end of the summer, or early fall. The band’s members are from all over, including New York, Detroit and Santa Barbara. Band members include, Elizabeth Jeanette (vocals), Ryan Janke (drums), Mike Wendland (guitar) and Eric Fortier (bass). “I know that the winner gets to open at TCS and that would be really cool,” Wendland said. “Playing with other bands will be great too. And the chance to get on stage at TCS and play at the pier would be awesome.” More information about the band can be found at, http://www.kulamusic.com.

Trackless will be playing the 9:30 p.m. slot as a last minute subsitution. According to the band’s website, they were originally from the Midwest and recently relocated to L.A. The band’s music combines elements of R&B, soul, and pop. Band members include, Jeremy Jones (vocals), Jordan West (drummer/vocals), Jon Nelson (keyboard) and William Smith (guitar), both of whom provide powerful solos and solid support during live shows. Their website states that the band has put out two full-length albums and won two battles of the bands. More information about the band can be found at, http://www.tracklessmusic.com.

Rusty’s Surf Ranch is located at 256 Santa Monica Pier. There is no cover charge for the preliminary round shows.

jennifer@www.smdp.com