The Best Music Comes from NYC...Or Is It LA?

It seems I just don't know (but I DO prefer NYC bands).

By , Columnist

Point to the east, and there are a ton of great bands making music. New York City, where much of east coast music seems to come from, is a hotbed of creativity. And rightfully so because there is a huge population there with every form of musical taste and style that you could possibly imagine.

Point to the west for their contributions, and, like the east, you'll find a wealth of great music being imagined and recorded. From San Francisco to Seattle, and from San Diego to Los Angeles, you'll encounter no shortage of music.

Of course, there is every location in between those two coasts. Texas provides quite a vast number and variety of bands, some with a strong penchant for the old school psychedelia. Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, and, well, numerous other locations, all have their breeding grounds.

But there is one thing that you'll find about all of the US locales with a rich history of music — the differences between them all are quite noticeable.

From as far back as the '70s, when underground bands began to try and grasp their share of the glory that was there for the taking, we were all given greatness with each locale strangely unique, even noted for the kind of styles you could enjoy should you chose one place over others.

In the US, I have always found my favorites originating from the Big Apple, New York City for those unaware of the term. In fact, I would often start with NYC bands when hunting for new music. There was, and still is, a certain flavor and charm to the music — call it a rougher edge. The Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, Television, Wayne County, the Ramones, and New York Dolls were my favored selections as I grew up. Today, there are The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, Swans, Raveonettes, to name but a few.

Of course, the LA market held a strong sway over fans as well. With a lighter edge, there seemed to be a more laid back feel to bands. The Doors, Jackson Browne, the Eagles, the Runaways all held Hollywood in thrall. Today's LA bands include Foster the People, Foxygen, Green Day, and Mars Volta.

But scoot up north a bit to San Francisco, and the music became more psychedelic, a bit harder and a little more political. There you could find bands like Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Blue Cheer, Journey, Sly and The Family Stone, and Steve Miller, to name but a few. Today's SF bands include Neurosis, Bassnectar, and the Dodos.

Of course, there are many locales that produce fine music. The small group that I have mentioned here are just notable starting places. As an interesting poll-like experiment, I'd be interested in discovering which location that you turn to for your idea of good music. Let us know in the comments section below which region of the country appeals to your musical tastes!

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Matt Rowe began his life with an AM radio, listening to anything that was considered music. Since, he has labored intently to build a collection of music, paring it down, rebuilding, and refining as he sees fit. His decided goal is to keep up with new music by panning for the nuggets among literal mountains…

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