Far too many lists of the best bands from Massachusetts begin with Aerosmith and end with James Taylor (with Joan Baez somewhere in-between). Not to knock either of those Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, OK, to totally knock both those Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, they’re not at all indicative of the state where they hail from. The music scene in Massachusetts, and in particular Boston, has been/is stronger and, well, better than “Jaded.”
If you want to show your Boston Pride today, listen to these bands, 10 of the best from the Bay State.
The best of the bunch. Not even all the ill-will the Pixies have received from their never-ending, increasingly lazy reunion can dent their claim as one of the greatest rock bands of all-time. Four albums, all classics.
Most bands that get played incessantly on “oldies rock radio” don’t deserve the royalties they’re earning. We’re talking Steve Miller Band, Aerosmith, that one Bob Seger song that isn’t the good Bob Seger song-level awful. The Cars are one of the few exceptions. Even after listen #472,028, the power pop of “Just What I Needed” still sounds great.
Goofy 1970s garage rock with a serious kick to it. Think: Boston’s New York Dolls.
About as good as melodic lo-fi can be. Lou Barlow’s other band, Dinosaur Jr, isn’t too shabby, either.
A post-punk band that played so loudly and with such little abandon that they had to split up in the 1980s because guitarist Roger Miller developed tinnitus. Luckily, they reformed in 2002 and have since released four solid, slightly less catastrophically loud albums, including last year’s Unsound.
The Modern Lovers are so integral to Boston that a state representative is trying to make their “Roadrunner” the official song of Massachusetts.
Back in the 1980s, Boston had one of the country’s best hardcore scenes, led by the Ian MacKaye-approved SSD.
A softer, sweeter, funnier Velvet Underground. On Fire is an all-time masterpiece.
There are other, potentially “better” bands that could have been on this list — the Lemonheads, Morphine, Passion Pit, etc. — but none of those groups have beaten down Nazis at their concerts.