Recently Paste released their list of the bands and artists to be listening to now from Alabama. It’s a part of a series that they are doing on the best bands in each state. It’s a great idea. I’m a sucker for lists, so I was completely on board. I read and listened to them all.
I would be extremely hard pressed to argue against their list, too. As their cut-off point seems to be around ten or twelve for each state, they got close to nailing it for the Yellowhammer State. The inclusion of Nell Robinson, who doesn’t even live in Alabama (only was from here), and Fire Mountain, whom I’ve never heard of, are the only questionable inclusions from my point of view. In fact, many of those artists made my very own best bands of Alabama list at the end of last year.
But this is where I’d need to point out that the list is was gathered by reader submissions. That’s right: Paste didn’t have a lot of homework to do, really, other than to probably pick amongst those who got the most votes.
Therefore, I should be saying that Paste’s readers got it pretty right. Kudos to those who have time to submit to such. You did right by me.
However, there are a few bands that were completely left out that had me scratching my head, and I’m still baffled. Where the hell were the Alabama Shakes? Okay, they’re popular enough, and Paste was probably looking for up-and-coming bands. Fine.
What about Phosphorescent? If we’re counting bands and artists that were simply born in Alabama, both Phosphorescent and the Drive-by Truckers should be on the list, right? Well, you have to cut off some or else end up with a huge list. And some of them were mentioned briefly in the introduction to the list. And again, those two are probably just a bit too big to be included.
I think that Baak Gwai, Underhill Family Orchestra, Model Citizen, and Callooh! Callay! should’ve been considered, but maybe those are personal biases, due to my love for those bands. So, I’ll leave those out; I get it.
Which brings me to the perhaps the two biggest exclusions: The Dexateens and The Bear. I have no idea how those two did not make the list. And, yes, I definitely thought to submit them. How could they not have made others’ lists as well? I’m a little amazed. Okay, The ‘Teens were listed in the introduction. Maybe they, too, were a little to big for the list? That’d be odd, but I’m trying to justify. But, The Bear? Someone’s not listening, because if they were, they’d be floored by that band.
And my final rant: there were absolutely zero bands from Tuscaloosa on the list. And since this was a reader-submitted list, this means that Tuscaloosa fans and folks were sitting on their hands for this one. With all the excellent bands in town, it’s high time that Tuscaloosa stop being the little brother of music in the state. A lot of that is up to us — we people of the city.
Sometimes, no one knows how great your place is unless you toot your own horn.