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Your favorite band sucks.
July 5, 2008 5:10 PM   Subscribe

50 Bands, 50 States: The Boston Phoenix declares the best all-time band, best all-time solo artist, and best new band from each state.

West Virginia: The system cannot find the file specified.
posted by lunit (83 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Your favorite state sucks too.
posted by Poolio at 5:15 PM on July 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Utah:
All-Time Best Band: The Osmonds
All-Time Best Solo Artist: Donny Osmond


Really?
posted by starman at 5:17 PM on July 5, 2008


What, no [your favorite band here]?

West Virginia: The system cannot find the file specified.

No problem. Best all-time solo artist from WV is Patsy Cline, no matter what the Boston Phoenix says
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:19 PM on July 5, 2008


Vermont:

All-Time Best Band: Phish


>:(
posted by C17H19NO3 at 5:22 PM on July 5, 2008 [2 favorites]



Re: California
VAN HALEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! as good as the Beach boys were. VH might be the best American band ever!
By mjlew12 on 07/03/2008 at 11:26:58


Yeah, your favourite band sucks.
posted by sir_rubixalot at 5:23 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have a theory that Diamond Dave-era VH were actually the Beach Boys of their era since to thousands of East Coasters (like myself) and Midwesterners, they represented the California Dream of beaches, babes and partying. Songs like "Beautiful Girls" "Dance The Night Away" and "Panama,' are offered as evidence.

Discuss.
posted by jonmc at 5:25 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Best all-time solo artist from WV is Patsy Cline, no matter what the Boston Phoenix says

Was Patsy Cline from West Virginia?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:27 PM on July 5, 2008


Jonmc. Agreed.
posted by josher71 at 5:27 PM on July 5, 2008


Alabama:

All-Time Best Band: The Louvin Brothers
All-Time Best Solo Artist: Hank Williams

Hey, damn. They got that right. What do you know about that! Kudos to the Phoenix. Too bad they couldn't also get Sun Ra (born in Birmingham) into there somehow, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:31 PM on July 5, 2008


Re: Washington
Alice in Chains was a better BAND than Nirvana. Unfortunaly Curt is dead so Nirvana gets tha sympathy vote. Heart is the best Girl rock band EVER.
By mjlew12 on 07/03/2008 at 11:52:42


This guy is either a troll or he's listening to music through a cochlear implant, reveling in finally being able to halfway listen to the record collection he bought at a pot dealer's estate sale.
posted by bunnytricks at 5:31 PM on July 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Was Patsy Cline from West Virginia?

You know, I'd always thought so, but a look at her Wiki page indicates she was born in Virginia. Guess I was wrong.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:33 PM on July 5, 2008


they get props for this:

Arizona: All-Time Best Band: Sun City Girls
posted by porn in the woods at 5:36 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Alice in Chains was a better BAND than Nirvana. Unfortunaly Curt is dead so Nirvana gets tha sympathy vote. Heart is the best Girl rock band EVER.

He's wrong about Nirvana, but Alice In Chains had their moments. Heart were pretty good, too.
posted by jonmc at 5:40 PM on July 5, 2008


Best bands named after states: Alabama, Oregon, Texas, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas.
posted by davebush at 5:43 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pere Ubu for Ohio? Now, admittedly, I would have said DEVO, but nice to see Mr. Thomas get some respect.
posted by SansPoint at 5:47 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


they get props for this:

Arizona: All-Time Best Band: Sun City Girls


The Supersuckers would like a word with you, sir.
posted by jonmc at 5:49 PM on July 5, 2008


ken jennings did this just a couple months ago.
posted by jessssse at 5:51 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Isn't Utah known for its Jazz music?
posted by drezdn at 5:54 PM on July 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Missouri:
All-Time Best Band: Uncle Tupelo

Hey! Aren't they actually a Illinois band? I actually play in a band with one of the producers for Wilco's Being There. I rehearse right under the Gold Album.

Best New Band: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

I'm friends with these guys. In fact, I'm fairly certain they still have yet to return some gear of mine they borrowed. Seen my Tele, Phillip?
posted by sourwookie at 5:59 PM on July 5, 2008


While almost every choice is arguable, beyond the SCG they get props for HEALTH (CA) and Yeasayer (NY)
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 6:03 PM on July 5, 2008


Heh. I just noticed their homebrew video was filmed a block from my house. And ends at my Aunt's front door. Small world (small town, rather).
posted by sourwookie at 6:05 PM on July 5, 2008


All-Time Best Band: Phish

Yikes, sorry about that Vermont.

Nebraska's Best New Band: Tilly and The Wall . . .WTF Nebraska?

Nevada, The Bleachers not bad Nevada, not my thing but I could listen to the whole song so thats something.
As for the southeast, why the fuck do we not have any artist that are not a bunch of whiny white boys still playing that god damn "indie-navel gazing-decembrist/my morning jacket shit. I'm really let down. Are these really the best new bands? Shoot me now.
posted by nola at 6:07 PM on July 5, 2008


That's an excellent list.
posted by plexi at 6:23 PM on July 5, 2008


Hold on. While Hazel Adkins is West Virginia's best solo artist because he's the only one who stayed there, Trent Reznor gets to be Pennsylvania's best solo artist despite spending all but the first three months of his career elsewhere?
posted by ardgedee at 6:31 PM on July 5, 2008


I have a theory that Diamond Dave-era VH were actually the Beach Boys of their era since to thousands of East Coasters (like myself) and Midwesterners, they represented the California Dream of beaches, babes and partying. Songs like "Beautiful Girls" "Dance The Night Away" and "Panama,' are offered as evidence.

I'm not a Beach Boys fanboy, but I will say that the fanboys are right about Brian Wilson's songwriting. At its best it's really something else, like pop music perfected and refined. I will also admit that there was a time I really liked VH, many years ago, and I even saw them with David Lee Roth and with Sammy Hagar. But I was just a snot nosed kid. Anyway, Eddie Van Halen was a pretty good songwriter with moments of brilliance, but I would not call his music influential in the same kind of way that the Beach Boys was. The Beatles considered the Beach Boys a major influence, particularly Pet Sounds and its influence on Sgt. Pepper's. As great and vital as Diamond Dave and Eddie were in their prime, they never reached such a pinnacle.

But, sure, they took over the California surf band mantle. I don't think people saw them the same way as the Beach Boys, in more than just the songwriting aspect. But they were (are?) a quintessential California band.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:35 PM on July 5, 2008


I can't believe they did this on 50 separate pages.
posted by loiseau at 6:49 PM on July 5, 2008


I've never even heard of the Oregon ones. Which is strange, seeing as a lot of good bands I have heard of have come out of Portland.
posted by Caduceus at 7:02 PM on July 5, 2008


I wonder if they'll make the bold and daring move of declaring Nirvana Washington's best?
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:05 PM on July 5, 2008


krinklyfig, I'm not comparing them in terms of quality (although, I like both bands quite a lot, but the Beach Boys are far superior) just saying that in terms of what they represented to much of their audience, there was a definite similarity.
posted by jonmc at 7:14 PM on July 5, 2008


Well I might have chosen Cheap Trick over Big Black for Illinois, but proud to represent Miles Davis (although John Prine is a local boy I would I could get behind as well).
posted by readery at 7:19 PM on July 5, 2008


Well I might have chosen Cheap Trick over Big Black for Illinois,

My opinion on this question should go without saying.
posted by jonmc at 7:22 PM on July 5, 2008


Well I might have chosen Cheap Trick over Big Black for Illinois

Would it be uncool of me to cast a ballot for Chicago? (Terry Kath-era only).
posted by stargell at 7:52 PM on July 5, 2008


Yeah, given the loosy-goosy criteria they use for some of these choices, I think a stronger case could be made for either John Coltrane (b. 1926 in Hamlet) or Thelonious Monk (b. 1917 Rocky Mount) as North Carolina's best solo artist. No disrespect intended toward George Clinton, of course. Even so, it's a little more interesting than most of the "best bands" lists that tend to get posted here.
posted by Rangeboy at 8:04 PM on July 5, 2008


stargell, when they were Chicago Transit Authority they were OK, and they have a place in my pantheon for writing "Make Me Smile" which was covered to great effect by afro-filipino salsa master Joe Bataan.
posted by jonmc at 8:05 PM on July 5, 2008


Hmm, no mention of Quarterflash in the Oregon entry.
posted by geekyguy at 8:23 PM on July 5, 2008


kinda hardens your heart, dosen't it?
posted by jonmc at 8:31 PM on July 5, 2008


This just in: The state of New York is more than just NYC.

Really.
posted by tommasz at 8:44 PM on July 5, 2008


I gotta agree with their choice for Massachusetts (the Pixies), although either the Cars or Aerosmith would have also made good choices.

Gawrsh, embarassment of riches.
posted by yhbc at 8:44 PM on July 5, 2008


Stand still nola, and I'll happily shoot you.

And then listen to the Decemberists some more.
posted by jokeefe at 8:55 PM on July 5, 2008


*paints bullseye on face, cranks dropkick murphys to 11*
posted by nola at 9:06 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


jokeefe, yew shoot nola an' I'm shure as shit gunna shoot yew. N'then I'm a'gunna go shoot thuh Dee-cembrists, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:10 PM on July 5, 2008


Wait wait a minute, she just winged me but now I've only got one ear. Oh cruel fate, why the hell did I tempt her?
posted by nola at 9:19 PM on July 5, 2008


Well, if she just winged you then, I guess I'll spare her and the Decembrists. But don't feel so bad about the ear... van Gogh did okay with just one.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:25 PM on July 5, 2008


I was so psyched NOT to see Aerosmith for Massachusetts...only to see that they are apparently the best band from New Hampshire (bummer, New Hampshire). I had no idea.
posted by naoko at 9:26 PM on July 5, 2008


Oh, and about the Decemberists, is that just a terribly unflattering camera angle or does Colin look like crap these days?
posted by naoko at 9:28 PM on July 5, 2008


Also: nola, I don't really think of the Decemberists and My Morning Jacket as being especially similar.
posted by naoko at 9:33 PM on July 5, 2008


Sun City Girls over Giant Sand?
nah.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:43 PM on July 5, 2008


The NY and CA choices are pretty random (NY - Velvet Underground and Mary J Blige, CA - Van Halen and Dr. Dre), although it's understandable since there are so many bands from there. I definitely would have picked The Ramones over the Velvets, even though I love them both.

I agree with a lot of these (MI - The Stooges, MN - The Replacements, MA - The Pixies, TX - 13th Floor Elevators), which is unusual for lists like these. For MN, they couldn't decide between Prince and Bob Dylan for solo artist. I'm not a big Bob Dylan fan, but isn't he far more associated with NYC? I had no idea he was from Minnesota. Prince, on the other hand, I think still lives in Minneapolis and represented it throughout his career.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:44 PM on July 5, 2008


Oh, and Florida's best band and solo artist were Lynyrd Skynyrd and Tom Petty. LOLFlorida.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:45 PM on July 5, 2008


Heh, Michigan. Dabrye's not even the best guy on his label. And white boy or not, The Temptations are better than the Stooges. Stooges are easily top five, though, I'll give 'em that.

Also, despite a little bit of curve-throwing, this list does seem like it should prefix everything with a note that this is Rockist Canon territory.
posted by klangklangston at 9:50 PM on July 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sun City Girls over Calexico for Arizona? I mean... whatevah! I actually stumbled randomly on a Sun City Girls reunion show the other day... I dunno about that project. I mean... it wasn't really, you know, listenable.
posted by ph00dz at 10:02 PM on July 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was so psyched NOT to see Aerosmith for Massachusetts...only to see that they are apparently the best band from New Hampshire (bummer, New Hampshire). I had no idea.

Well, I for one would much rather have Aerosmith than Phish.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 10:02 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


rhode island rocks, as usual.
posted by brandz at 10:46 PM on July 5, 2008


The Willamette Week wrote about this a couple of days ago, pointing out that a lot of states best now reside in (or did reside in--Mr. Fahey), uh, the Willamette valley.

I've never even heard of the Oregon ones.

Greg Sage and Tim Hardin, doomed to never be known. *Shakes head and goes to bed.*
posted by sleepy pete at 11:49 PM on July 5, 2008


Ken Jennings and the Phoenix can both kiss my ass for saying REM (who I do actually like) are better than the Allman Brothers; the solo artists for both GA and SC were right on, though. Ken Jennings got the SC band right, though; both sites get props for leaving out Hootie and friends.
posted by TedW at 12:32 AM on July 6, 2008


Holy shit you people all talk like you think your taste in music has some objective basis. Wow. It's fucking hilarious.
posted by tehloki at 6:02 AM on July 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


And white boy or not, The Temptations are better than the Stooges. Stooges are easily top five, though, I'll give 'em that.

I'd go with the Four Tops and the MC5 myself (with maybe an honorable mention for Mitch Ryder).
posted by jonmc at 6:16 AM on July 6, 2008


It's kind of a crap indicator anyway. Single bands rarely determine the sound that's identified with a state. A much more interesting and reliable marker would be best all-time record label/best all time producer.

And definitely the Tempts over the Four Tops. But Holland/Dozier/Holland really deserve the most credit imo.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:31 AM on July 6, 2008


But Holland/Dozier/Holland really deserve the most credit imo.

HDH were a genius team, no doubt, but without vocalists like Levi Stubbs, Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin, those records would not have been as great, and you listen to songs, you don't read them.
posted by jonmc at 6:35 AM on July 6, 2008


What's with the Phish hate up there? Is there a better VT band?
posted by tinkertown at 6:56 AM on July 6, 2008


Yeah, jonmc, brother, I gotta say, with songs/arrangements like "Psychedelic Shack", "Ball of Confusion" and, need I say it? ..."Papa Was a Rolling Stone", I just can't see putting the Tops over the Temps. But, hey, like the old saying goes, different spokes for different yolks...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:09 AM on July 6, 2008


flap, don't get me wrong, I love the Tempts, but for me, it's all about Stubbs' vocals, which outsrip just about anybody at Motown except for maybe Marvin Gaye.
posted by jonmc at 7:22 AM on July 6, 2008


and "Psychedelic Shack" gives me hives. "Ball Of Confusion" was cool though and was well covered by Anthrax, of all people.
posted by jonmc at 7:23 AM on July 6, 2008


Well, definitely, Levi Stubbs has a very, very pleasing voice. Man, men just don't really sing like that anymore, do they?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:37 AM on July 6, 2008


exactly, I'm sick of mumbling and whining. Guys, it's OK to sound off like you got a pair.
posted by jonmc at 7:42 AM on July 6, 2008


i like this list. it doesn't overlook the obvious, but it throws in some great underappreciated indie bands & some interesting choices for best new band.
but ph00dz, while i love calexico, i take exception with the sun city girls not being 'you know, listenable.' the inclusion of scg and a discussion that brings up calexico is precisely what i *like* about this list.
and please do not dis hasil adkins. that is all.
posted by msconduct at 7:44 AM on July 6, 2008


I'm with msconduct, actually. The list is really interesting. My home state of Kansas has Charlie Parker, The Embarassment, and a great band called Ad Astra Per Aspera who are not only super nice people, but also used the state motto for their name. There are a lot of other musicians I can think of from the state who deserved this honor (Gene Clark comes immediately to mind, Zoom is another because they were the best rock band I've ever seen), but I'm happy with those chosen and most people haven't heard of a lot of the bands from there anyway.

I've been putting off actually looking through most of it, but I think that the reliance on lesser-known bands is admirable and not something you usually see in these sorts of lists.
posted by sleepy pete at 8:15 AM on July 6, 2008


If Holland-Dozier-Holland get the credit for the Temptations' earlier stuff, then Norman Whitfield ought to get the credit for their psychedelic-soul period. But I think that line of argument is bullshit anyway, and, though I hate the word, kinda 'rockist,' or perhaps 'auteurist' (more a film term, though). Soul music is usually a pretty collaborative medium, and people keep trying to read it like it's Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter stuff.
posted by box at 8:21 AM on July 6, 2008


(Well, Motown-style soul music is a collaborative medium, anyway.)
posted by box at 8:26 AM on July 6, 2008


If Holland-Dozier-Holland get the credit for the Temptations' earlier stuff, then Norman Whitfield ought to get the credit for their psychedelic-soul period.

The Funk Brothers ought to get some credit for both, and for all the other artists records, too. Like you said, it was a collaborative medium. and not just Motown either. Stax-Volt wouldn't have been as good without these cats, either.
posted by jonmc at 8:47 AM on July 6, 2008


and while we're on the subject, being in a house band/backup group teaches a musician a little something about efficiency and avoiding showboating and aiming efforts toward the song above all. This is one reason why The Band (after their long history backing Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan) were such astounding outfit when they stepped out on their own.
posted by jonmc at 8:51 AM on July 6, 2008


Uncle Tupelo is from Illinois. Suggest The Morrells (aka The Skeletons).
posted by kirkaracha at 9:03 AM on July 6, 2008


I agree. The Skeletons/Morrells are really amazing. And friends of mine. Over the years I've been incorporated into the house band/session community based around those guys (they own a studio here where the likes of Wilco and Jonathon Richman hang out).
posted by sourwookie at 9:44 AM on July 6, 2008


Fuck Superchunk. I'm so sick of hearing the constant lament about how great things used to be here when Superchunk was in vogue. Archers of Loaf were way better anyway.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:54 AM on July 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


When Bookhouse came to LA for a meetup, he talked about working the alt-weekly in St. Louis, and how every readers poll always wanted to claim Wilco as hometown heroes because Tweedy and Farrar had lived there (and Tupelo actually did start in Saint Louis, though the guys were from Illinois). Apparently, even though Farrar still lives there, no one likes Son Volt.
posted by klangklangston at 10:06 AM on July 6, 2008


Florida's best band and solo artist were Lynyrd Skynyrd and Tom Petty. LOLFlorida.

Because obviously Florida's best band should be Deicide. Skynyrd's actually a pretty good choice, I think, all things considered.

That they picked Wild Sweet Orange instead of the Dexateens for best new Alabama band was mildly distressing. WSO are so....nice...and....dull....and....meh..... oh well.

The best band from New Hampshire is The Queers, and fuck anyone who says different.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:10 AM on July 6, 2008


When Bookhouse came to LA for a meetup, he talked about working the alt-weekly in St. Louis, and how every readers poll always wanted to claim Wilco as hometown heroes because Tweedy and Farrar had lived there (and Tupelo actually did start in Saint Louis, though the guys were from Illinois). Apparently, even though Farrar still lives there, no one likes Son Volt.

and what of the Bottle Rockets?
posted by jonmc at 10:19 AM on July 6, 2008


Florida's best band should be KC and the Sunshine Band.
posted by box at 10:41 AM on July 6, 2008


Gar! The Black Lips? I guess after seeing those kids when they were getting started, it's hard to take their fame seriously.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 12:03 PM on July 6, 2008


Stax-Volt wouldn't have been as good without these cats, either.

Absolutely, not to mention that the Blues Brothers would've been waaaay not as good without those same cats. The BB band included Booker T. and the MGs alumni Steve Cropper, "Duck" Dunn and Willie Hall.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:34 PM on July 6, 2008


Nice to see Woody Guthrie getting the nod in Oklahoma.

It's funny to me personally that Aerosmith is also on the list, because it reminds me of a ridiculous debate I had with some cow-orkers a few months ago about who had made a greater impact on music between these two recording artists widely separated by time, style and popularity. Their unshakable contention was Aerosmith, and they were completely incredulous that I would or could believe that Woody Guthrie was more important to the history of music.

One of my cow-orkers got out his cell phone and called four different people in a row, surveying six people total. Of the six, two had heard of Woody Guthrie; none could name a song he wrote or performed. All six could name at least three Aerosmith songs, except for one person, who could only name two. I persisted in my folly.

"Hey Bill, this is Roy. Pretty good, how're you doing? Good. Listen, I have the president of the worldwide Woody Guthrie fan club here, and we were hoping you could settle an argument for us..."

In the words of George Sand's lover Alfred de Musset, "How glorious it is - and also how painful - to be an exception."

ps: for similar one-page-per-factoid lists in the past, mefites more diligent and/or OCD than myself have compiled the total list and posted it to the blue -- anybody? Anybody? Bueller?
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 4:52 AM on July 7, 2008


I was so psyched NOT to see Aerosmith for Massachusetts...only to see that they are apparently the best band from New Hampshire (bummer, New Hampshire). I had no idea.

This was a bit of a bummer for me to see as well. I was hoping that their Sunapee origins would be overlooked.

That said, my favorite celebrity-in-real-life moment comes as an indirect result of these origins. About seven years ago, I was on a company cruise on Lake Sunapee. Steven Tyler had famously (locally) filed suit against the main boat tour operators demanding that they stop pointing out his vacation house during tours. As such, we all thought of him as a bit of dick.

Anyway, we round the cape, and the tour guide begins his "someone famous lives here, but we can't say who!" routine. We're all from the area, so know it before he even says anything, but everybody looks over to the sun deck, where a tall, skeletal man is tanning. Hearing the boat, he stands up and looks out at us. He's probably 100 yards a way, but we nonetheless hear, over the boat's engines, clear as day:

"yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyYYYYYYYOW! WE LOVE YOU SUNAPEE BOAT TOURS! BA-DOP-BWEEDOP!"

Almost certainly a boilerplate response, but I've never thought of Steven Tyler as being even slightly dickish since then.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:00 AM on July 7, 2008


Oh, and it's also great to see Jon Spencer on there, even though it's foolish to put him in the same stratosphere as Dio. Spencer went to my high school, and when I worked on the yearbook, I was able to find (steal) the edition from his graduating class. ('87, I think. Don't have it in front of me.) While it was fun to see random candids of him around the school, I was particularly excited to see his "senior section", the 1/3 page that allowed for free-form design and expression.

Not surprisingly, but rather disappointingly, it was pretty standard teen angst black swirly junk.

Still, if I can point my parents to the correct box where it resides in their attic, I'd be happy to scan and post if anyone wanted to see it.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:07 AM on July 7, 2008


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