September 9, 2001
12:06 AM   Subscribe

I just came from a terrific set by the local (Pittsburgh) band Boxstep and was curious, do you have a favorite "local band" or two (i.e. probably unheard of outside your city/area) you would recommend? What makes them worth checking out? [more inside]
posted by arco (23 comments total)
I support "local music" on principle, but I find that more often than not the band is not well-known because they're really not all that great. Boxstep, really, is the first "local band" I've heard that sounds truly special and interesting to me. For starters, that have an odd instrumentation (two guitars, bass, drums, piano, two violins and accordion), but it's not "gimmicky." I particularly like the way they take a simple, elegant melody, then layer instruments on top of it until the guitars (and, often, violins) spiral off in different and interesting directions before resolving the original melody (in waltz time, no less!).

Anyway, what band in your city do you think transcends the "average local band" level, and what makes them so good? Links with samples would be appreciated. I'm curious to see what's out there beyond the Top 40 or "national alternative" lists, and I think you MeFi-ers probably have good (and eclectic) taste in music.
posted by arco at 12:14 AM on September 9, 2001

A few friends of mine have a band called Frayed, they've done about 100 gigs around London. Several mp3s available on their site, their new single 'Girls Get It Better' (mp3) is probably the best. They are, admittedly, almost mainstream pop-rock, so not quite as eclectic as Boxstep!
posted by wackybrit at 12:39 AM on September 9, 2001

Well not truly local, but Mason Jennings hands down for, "Yup, going somewhere". For truly local, Straphanger, though there are no MP3s on the site... damn Isaac anyway.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:01 AM on September 9, 2001

there is a quite good punk band playing around north london at the moment called the parkinsons. they are from portugal and quite amusing as the singer tends to get naked onstage a lot. have been featured on radio 1 and even played at the reading festival.
posted by mokey at 3:46 AM on September 9, 2001

I'm not a particularly big fan of The Blues, but this man's talent transcends genre. I've never heard or seen anything quite like it. Literally a one-man band.
posted by dong_resin at 5:05 AM on September 9, 2001

Kaitlyn ni Donovan is a very talented musician from Alaska currently active in the Portland music scene. Her Songs for 'Three Days' album is highly recommended.
posted by D.C. at 5:17 AM on September 9, 2001

being so far from the world, not too many people probably know about the brisbane music, but make no mistake, we can claim some of the greatest bands of all time. right now rival flight are really doing it. and cassetto are coming through too!
posted by afro at 5:57 AM on September 9, 2001

If you're ever in Northern Florida and are in the mood for some death-metal-jazz, you should check out Rick Derris.
Yes, it is a Kevin Smith reference.
posted by saladin at 6:54 AM on September 9, 2001

In Minneapolis, check out anything with drummer Dave King. He plays with the art-core band 12 Rods, emo group the Love Cars, and one of the top young jazz bands in the nation, Happy Apple.
posted by emoeby at 8:32 AM on September 9, 2001

Boy band The El Conquistadors never ceases to get the ladies hot, and make the men jealous.

Mind you, local band is relative, when they're playing "destinations" like Mercury Lounge and the Cutting Room, but until they get a stadium show, they're gonna be a local band to me.
posted by swerdloff at 9:14 AM on September 9, 2001

In Baltimore, I really like landspeedrecord!
posted by Trampas at 9:21 AM on September 9, 2001

Maktub, out of Seattle. A transcendence of genres held together by a vocalist of amazing clarity and range. In New York, I'm impressed with the work Vijay Iyer is doing in jazz.
posted by harrycaul at 9:45 AM on September 9, 2001

When I was in Orlando there was this great group called The Backstreet Boys whom I thought would go places, but I hadn't heard from them since they went on tour in Germany a few years ago. Anyone know what happened to this excellent vocal group?
posted by lesingesavant at 11:45 AM on September 9, 2001

Another Baltimore band that I would recommend is All Mighty Senators. I first saw them about 8 or 10 years ago, and they've gotten better & better. Just a blast live, and they've started touring all over. Check 'em out if they come to your town.
posted by gimli at 12:10 PM on September 9, 2001

I've come across the jazz/funk group Hot Box a few times between SF. and LA. What makes this group so special is the outstanding musicianship of its members (Max Hart/keyboard, George Ban-Weiss/bass, and James Neil/drums), who separately appear in other bands as well, worth visiting.
posted by semmi at 12:34 PM on September 9, 2001

Cincinnati-based band The Simpletons are worth checking out. Bright, guitar filled, mid-western yet not parochial, think maybe Toad the Wet Sprocket, Freedy Johnston, and the psychodots. The guitar players are the attraction, really capable pair of guys who handle the song-writing together. One of the better (only?) things going on in that town.
posted by O Boingo at 3:21 PM on September 9, 2001

If you like good loud rock music, check out Land of the El Caminos from Chicago.
posted by Vek at 6:24 PM on September 9, 2001

Homunculus, a band from my college (Indiana U) is still together a few years after graduation, living in a house in Cincinnati, where they're apparently incredibly regionally popular. I saw them when I visited NYC recently, I couldn't believe they haven't been signed yet. They're creative, fun, funk/rock, very danceable, with a seemingly good following. I also like the Berkeley-based Colonel Knowledge and the SF-based Griddle. Er, no, I'm not, uh, sleeping with their keyboardist or anything. Heh. ;p
posted by fotzepolitic at 8:42 PM on September 9, 2001

If you live around NYC and are into the whole Buckley/Nick Drake/intense melodic thing, check out Pamela Miller -- MP3s here.
posted by alexfw at 7:58 AM on September 10, 2001

I don't konw if they qualify as local or not anymore since they do a bit of touring around the nation, but I'm rather fond of the Honeydogs from minneapolis. In my opinion, they've passed up the jayhawks for best "alt-country" band from minneapolis. And they do a killer cover of Prince's "Darling Nicky" in concert :)
posted by jnthnjng at 9:46 AM on September 10, 2001

The saddest thing, for me, about moving away from Atlanta almost two years ago was that I wouldn't get to go to Changelings shows anymore. Their website says their sound is a "unique blend of classical, Middle Eastern, ambient pop-fusion." Umm... they're sort of Dead Can Dance-y and sort of Miranda Sex Garden-y and sort of Cocteau-Twinny and, hell, I don't know.

If fame were in any way related to actual talent, this band would be huge.
posted by Sapphireblue at 10:02 AM on September 10, 2001

A now defunct harcore band Coalesce put on the some best shows i've ever seen.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:07 AM on September 10, 2001

To continue the Minneapolis local scene. Wookie Foot is a pretty good sublime/long beach dub type band. Plus they have great house parties.
posted by nbl0001 at 11:11 AM on September 10, 2001

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