Argument-baiting alt-weekly the Boston Phoenix celebrates “Independents Day” (heh) for the second year in a row by publishing a “Best Band” omnibus broken down by the 50 states. Last July, the paper was ambitious enough to hand out such geographically divided distinctions as “All Time Best Band,” “All-Time Best Solo Artist,” and “Best New Band,” naming New York’s respective winners to be the Velvet Underground, Mary J. Blige, and Yeasayer. This reliably led to comment-section hijinks like, “You guys are smokin’ major illegal drugs if you think Mary J. Blige is a better solo act than Billy Joel,” which was absolutely the intended consequence.
This year, the Phoenix has cut their workload down by two-thirds and singularly picked 50 “Best New Bands in America.” New York’s victor is not, to the shock of Impose readers everywhere, Dinowalrus. Instead, our Northern neighbors have informed us that New York’s Best Emerging Band is Capillary Action, a gang of jazzbo time-sig wonks who sound like June of 44 and Artie Shaw records playing simultaneously. A contrarian choice, perhaps, considering that everyone in this metropolitan area with a feedback pedal is pretty much auditioning for a Cemetary Gates gig, and these guys stand no chance of getting one soon. But somewhat confusing too, since Capillary Action has been around, in one form or another, from 2004. Far more interesting than deciphering the arbitrary criteria of Red Sox fans: the selection for Alaska’s best emerging artist, Stubby’s Crack Co., who traffic in gypsy-slop jams like, “Bag Lady Song” and “There Ain’t No Santa Claus.” Since Blender‘s dead, somebody’s gotta dig up this undiscovered jewels–good job, Phoenix! Also, ahem.
“Best New Bands in America” [Boston Phoenix]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 2, 2009