Explore the Phoenix

How We Chose the Winners


The Phoenix has been down many roads this year, from the dance tents of Coachella, to the grainy garage-punk showcases of Austin’s South by Southwest, to the house parties of NYC hipsters. So in March, when we started hashing out our yearly list of the best new bands from each state in the union, we already had plenty to talk about. To make the tough calls, music editor Michael Marotta rounded up a team of Phoenix regulars including Liz Pelly, Daniel Brockman, P. Nick Curran, Barry Thompson, and Sam Ueda. We called up college-radio programmers in Nebraska, Facebooked indie promoters in Iowa. We searched the shit out of Bandcamp. During epic listening sessions at our Brookline Ave HQ, we narrowed each state’s contenders down to the best four or five, then fought late into the night over the relative merits of Kansas’s Hospital Ships versus Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk.

In total, we listened to a fuckload of great music.

And we still ended up with more gems across this great land than the format would fit — which is why we’re listing a runner-up in each state. So we lied, sort of: it’s actually more like 100 bands, 50 states.

Finally, after realizing that we really had to deliver on a stellar new Massachusetts band — since last year’s pick, Dom, has since become kind of a big deal on the national radar — we got Curran (also of You Can Be A Wesley) and Stereo Telescope’s Kurt Schneider to record a blistering live set by Earthquake Party, the Allston garage-punk trio we’ve picked to represent the home team on this list. We’re releasing the exclusive five-song EP as a free download. To get it, just click on the Bay State at thePhoenix.com/50states.