MASSACHUSETTS - SPEEDY ORTIZ
SONG TO DOWNLOAD: "Silver Spring"
The first listen to Speedy Ortiz’s “Taylor Swift” creates a feeling that’s hard to pinpoint. It’s like stumbling across Cinemax After Dark as a teenager — it may be uncomfortable, it may be beautiful, or it may be something in between. Poignant, and dirty, at times, it is Speedy Ortiz’s sly way of conjuring up interesting emotions, and it is making tidal waves out of Western Mass. Even in their infancy, the quartet already has three releases, the latest of which, Sports EP, they will be touring the country behind all summer long. Speedy Ortiz channels the Gen-X angst that never went stale, both in their grungy instrumental rumble and in the fearless songwriting of lead lady Sadie Dupuis. While their sound may make ’90s kids feel at home, it sticks around to pluck the heads off their Barbies, drink all their whiskey, and send a big “fuck you” to the Man. The result is everything you would want representing our fine commonwealth.
CALIFORNIA - FIDLAR
CITY: Los Angeles
SONG TO DOWNLOAD: "No Waves"
After two years of championing California beachy-blonde sunny-day girl-pop in “50 Bands, 50 States” (Puro Instinct in 2011, Best Coast in 2010), we almost went that same route with Bleached in 2012. But the more we debated, the more the conversation shifted back to the dry gutters of SoCal. Scuzz-pop crew FIDLAR (who narrowly beat out Trash Talk and Terry Malts in our longest state debate of 2012) are what would have happened if the Pixies grew up as skateboard rats on the other side of the country: a jangly, drunken romp along the rock gardens and pavement, coating harmonies in phlegm and fast-food burger wrappers. On tour with the Hives this summer and at Lollapalooza in August, FIDLAR’s brand of wart-pop is antsy and aggro without losing its melodic edge. This one’s for the down-and-out bros who are broke and cheap, and DGAF.
LOUISIANA - CADDYWHOMPUS
CITY: New Orleans
SONG TO DOWNLOAD: “The Weight”
Sean Hart and Chris Rehm have been friends since childhood. Together, as Caddywhompus, they make some of the most engaging experimental pop this side of Merriweather Post Pavilion. While their earliest songs are mostly catchy slices of energetic stoner-pop, their latest EP, The Weight, shows off their most evolved, elaborate avant-garde rock to date. On tracks like “The Weight” and “Age of Wild Spirits,” the duo blend bizarre arrangements, effects-pedal gloom, and lots of shredding. But for all of The Weight’s technical complexity, Caddywhompus radiate juvenile energy. They approach their high-intensity psych-jams with an open-minded, fuck-it-all attitude, and the effect is dizzying. Watch any YouTube video of the pair doing their thing live and it’s pretty clear that they’re just two best friends playing weird pop songs — and making as much noise as they possibly can.
VERMONT - HAPPY JAWBONE FAMILY BAND
SONG TO DOWNLOAD: “Book of Fire”
“Big sound. Sounds like 2011 but bigger. Recorded with big-time mics by a real pro. Minimum dust cloud. Maximum fever. Even people with bad taste are thrilled with that midnight sucker punch. It hits like a half ton of silk.” That’s what Happy Jawbone Family Band have to say about their latest record, O.K. Midnight, You Win!, and that’s what Happy Jawbone Family Band are all about. Family values. Loveable weirdness. Open-armed New England folk enthusiasm. Sunglasses on stage-wearing, tambourine-shaking sing-along-inducing good times. O.K. Midnight, out on Feeding Tube Records, is just as catchy and only slightly less delirious than their debut albums, On the Wrong Side of the Candy Machine and Family Matters, which were each 40-track-long odysseys through hits like “I Saw Charlie Chaplin in a Piece of Steak” and “This Cold Wind, I Didn’t Mean 4 it 2 B SOOO Cold.”