With the Internet, is any artist really “local” these days? After all, word of mouth no longer requires a slow-and-steady crawl: With a well-placed Bandcamp demo, an unsigned band can get a brand-new song heard by fans from Kansas to Kathmandu, without leaving its practice space.
But make no mistake: A level playing field means an ungodly signal-to-noise ratio, and if anyone can be heard anywhere, then you’d best believe everyone is trying at once. Many of the old rules are more important than ever: New bands survive and thrive by finding a following at home — by honing their craft on stage and in the studio — before they try to conquer the world.
Those seeking the elusive Next Big Thing would be wise to look for the bands that have made something of themselves in the cities that spawned them. From Seattle and Los Angeles to New York and Philly to Austin, the Twin Cities and beyond, we consulted the picky and passionate experts at top public radio stations to proselytize on behalf of the bands they love locally. If these experts have any say in the matter — and, come to think of it, they do — then you’ll hear a lot more about their picks in the months and years to come. —Stephen Thompson
“God, you did everything you promised, and I’m thanking you with all my heart. You pulled me from the brink of death, my feet from the cliff-edge of doom. Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life.”—(Psalm 56:12, 13 MSG)