How We Chose the Winners

OUR ANNUAL SEARCH FOR THE BEST NEW MUSIC IN AMERICA

It’s been well documented that the late, great Johnny Cash had been everywhere, man. But after the past few weeks, so has the Boston Phoenix. In hunting high and low for the next great band to emerge from each of the Lower 48 — and those remote lands you only hear about on TV, Hawaii and Alaska — our music staff uncovered everything from surf rock in Idaho to experimental hip-hop in Tennessee, and even electronic folk in Florida that hopefully won’t make you chew anyone’s face off.

We also made Friends in New York, took some Catnaps in Pennsylvania, found Tropical Girls in New Mexico (alert border patrol!), and even skyhooked Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s chillwave spawn in Rhode Island. He’ll make you dance like a motherfucker.

Under virtual road-trip captain (and music editor) Michael Marotta, the Phoenix rounded up a team of ace writers — Perry Eaton, Nina Mashurova, Patrick McDermott, Liz Pelly, Barry Thompson, and Nick Johnston — and traveled the country on the strength of the environmentally friendly engines of Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, and Tumblr, reaching out to friends across the land at college radio stations, blogs, record labels, booking agencies, and live venues. We took suggestions, we made suggestions, and we deliberated over each state in endless debate sessions here at Phoenix HQ. We used our personal experiences at SXSW, Coachella, Primavera Sound, and every other show, gig, party, and event we’ve each attended over the past 12 months to present to you the best new band in each state.

As a bonus, we’ve also included a record label from each state you should have on your radar. They’re not necessarily the best or the most famous, but they’re labels that are doing good, strange, and intriguing things. They say it’s insane to run a label in 2012; if so, we welcome these innovative cats to our asylum.

Get on board, and hit the road with us. We’ll take you everywhere.

CHECK OUT THE 50 BEST NEW BANDS IN AMERICA