Outside of Boston, New England isn’t traditionally thought of as a musical hub; however, the region continues to produce exciting new musical acts. In fact, Paste has already covered bands from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island as part of our 50 States Project. Today, we explore the music scene in New Hampshire, whose recent exports include Ray LaMontagne, Matt Pond and Okkervil River’s Will Sheff, with this list of eight bands from the state that are well worth listening to.
Current Album: Doug Tuttle (2013)
Tuttle was the guitarist and one of the principal songwriters for the now defunct MMOSS. After the dissolution of the band, he released his debut self-titled solo album last year. The LP’s 11 tracks possess a hazy psychedelic quality with subtle hints of pop and krautrock.
Members: Moselle Spiller and Franklin Russell Hoier
Current Album: TEETH (2014)
Moselle Spiller was born and raised in New Hampshire. She left for a stint when she was 18 to attend art school in New York City but returned and currently resides with her husband and musical partner in the house in Effingham in which she was raised. During this past spring and summer, they were a weekly staple in the Mount Washington Valley music scene, where they raised funds for the release of their third album, TEETH. The band describes itself as an “electrified honky-tonk surf duo.”
Members: Dusty Gray, Tim Gray, Matthew Jensen, Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki, Christopher Noyes
Current Album: Coming ‘round Again (2014)
This country and roots-rock outfit is known for their high-energy live shows. In 2012, Gray signed a songwriting deal with a major Nashville studio which led to working with songwriters including “Big Al” Anderson, who has written for legends George Jones and the Allman Brothers, and Josh Kear, whose co-written with Lady Antebellum and Carrie Underwood. Earlier this year the band was nominated for a New England Music Award in the category of “Americana/Roots Act of the Year.” They’ve opened for acts including Willie Nelson, Joe Nichols, Blues Traveler and Randy Houser.
Photo by Ted Goldstein
Members: Christopher Pappas, Kyle Fredrickson, Ryland Cook, Zach Jones, Mike Bloom
Current Album: “You Better Mean It” (single)
Elle Belle, the moniker of Pappas, currently resides in Los Angeles, but there’s no doubt where his roots lie (just ask him to show you the tattoo of the outline of the Granite State that runs along his left forearm and he’ll gladly oblige). The psych-rocker was raised in New Hampshire, attended college in Connecticut and returned to his home state to write and record. He then met Fredrickson, another New Hampshire native, and the two wound up in Boston before moving to the West coast after being signed to Little Records (Rilo Kiley). Fans of Temples, Allah Las and King Tuff will appreciate Elle Belle’s blend of psych and garage rock.
Members: Laina Barakat, Paul Venezia, Jeff Costello
Current Album: The Wayward Ark (2011)
Barakat, who in addition to the piano plays the pump organ, xylophone, dulcimer, Celtic harp, whistles, and kazoo, is the front woman of the indie-folk rock, GirlandPiano. Barakat’s songwriting is heavily influenced by Over the Rhine, with whom she has previously workshopped her songs. The band’s current album, The Wayward Ark, was produced by Vinx, whose credits include Stevie Wonder, Sting and Herbie Hancock.
Members: Carson Lund, Erik Lund, Eric Bolton, Wayne Whitaker
Current Album: Summer Home (2013)
Indie rock outfit, Old Abram Brown began in 2007 and draws its name from a 19th century hymn that its members used to sing in elementary school music class. In 2008 they were finalists in WFNX’s (Boston) contest to open for Coldplay at the TD Banknorth Garden and in 2013 Buzzfeed featured their song “Tides” on its website. The band’s sound has aptly drawn comparisons to Cold War Kids and Delta Spirit. Old Abram Brown has spent much of the last year working on their next project forthcoming in early 2015.
Members: Brett Wilson, Tal Pearson, Mike Chadinha, Nick Mini, Billy Kottage, Andrew Riordan
Current Album: Live at Bella Terra Festival (2014)
The self-described “reggae rock dubtronica hybrid” formed in 2001 when Wilson, Pearson and Chadinha came together at Franklin Pierce University. Since they began touring heavily in 2004, they have shared the stage with acts including The Wailers, Matisyahu and The Mickey Hart Band. They are the recipients of the 2013 New England Music Award “Best Band in New Hampshire” and were a nominee for the 2008 Boston Music Awards’ “Best World Music Act.”
Members: Jake Mehrmann, Mike Filitis, Mike Effenberger, Jim Rudolf, Nick Phaneuf, Chris Klaxton
Current Album: Ephemera (2013)
The Tan Vampires formed after Mehrmann and Filitis’ previous group broke up shortly after recording their first EP. Mehrmann discoverd the RPM Challenge, which encourages musicians to write and record an entire album during the month of February. Based on the reception from those songs, he put together the Tan Vampires with musicians he had known for years. Fans of Wilco and Local Natives will enjoy this roots rock sextet.