All-Time Best Band: The Long Winters All-Time Best Solo Artist: Agafon Krukoff Best New Band: Portugal. The Man
“Like most small American towns,” writes Alaska native John Roderick on the Long Winters’ Web site, “Anchorage is a conservative and insular little shithole.” But, he goes on to say, it’s where he learned all his important life lessons. So, even though the thoughtful indie quartet are technically from Seattle, let’s be honest: it’s Roderick’s band, and all the band’s songs (including “Fire Island, AK”) channel the frontier flavor of his home state. Drop whatever you’re doing now and listen to “The Commander Thinks Aloud.” | As the leader of ’60s garage outfit the Crusade (from the town of Sitka), Agafon Krukoff sang fuzz-toned-happy, psychedelic nuggets. As a solo artist, he offered “Here I Sit in Alaska,” a bit of pre-punk three-chord country lunacy about tearing the limbs off king crabs. Plus, he’s a native-born Aleut who later became the mayor of Adak, a miniscule island 1200 miles off the coast of Anchorage, near frickin’ Russia. Deal with that shit, Jewel. | Armed with an arsenal of Pink Floyd and Led Zep riffs, a falsetto-ed frontman, and grungy watchcaps, Wasilla’s Portugal. The Man also features a challenging band name with an annoying period in its midst.