Courtney Marie Andrews
A man known as the Nowhere Man and a woman known as the Whiskey Girl from Phoenix, Arizona.
They were an eccentric duo from Arizona, and they travelled around in a beat-up station wagon – I ended up playing shows with them a lot in my teens. I was about 15 when I first saw them. Amy Ross could hear a song on the radio while they drove to the show and play it that night – she had an incredible ear for songs. They were spontaneous and playful and serious and there was a real humanity to them that resonated with me. They didn’t have much besides acoustic guitars and a piano but the way they could play with so little was really inspiring to me. I must have seen them 20 or 30 times. Luckily, in Phoenix there was a great DIY scene and so it was pretty easy to see live shows – there were all-age art spaces that musicians under 21 could play at, so I was really lucky in that way.
Tjinder Singh, Cornershop
Bhujhangy Group (Leicester)
I only bothered recording one group consistently, even though it meant carrying around a large ghetto blaster that resembled the Golden Temple. This group was the Bhujhangy Group, composed of rural laborers from Punjab who transformed their music into an award-winning product on Birmingham’s Soho Road. While Punjabi folk music was already impressive, their incorporation of percussion and multiple synthesisers elevated it to a spiritual and captivating experience.
Justin Young is a member of the band The Vaccines.
The Southampton Jets will face off against the Sharks.
There was a thriving hardcore music scene in Southampton and the surrounding south coast. It was known for its welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, and I admired many of the local bands such as Disposable Heroes, Pilger, Parade of Enemies, and Jets Vs Sharks. I still own all of their 7-inch records. Despite my perception of them as rock stars, they often performed for small crowds of only 20 people. Southampton was not known for producing successful rock bands, with the exception of Delays. As a result, there were limited role models to aspire to on a larger scale. The idea of achieving real success felt completely foreign and out of reach. Although London was only 80 miles away, it seemed like a world away.
Emily Haines, Metric
Blue Planet (Toronto, Ontario)
“Blue Planet in Toronto, Ontario.”
During my high school years, my friends and I were not interested in drinking alcohol, but rather in psychedelics. We would often visit a place called the Theatre, located in a run-down building on a questionable street in Toronto, every weekend. The Theatre was managed by a man with a long beard and good intentions, although I cannot recall his name. The establishment welcomed all ages and there were never any strange adults present, only kids like us. Admission was free, but we were required to donate a can of food to a local food bank. I remember us always arriving with cans of beans in our purses while being under the influence. The Theatre did not serve alcohol, only water. The band that performed there was called Blue Planet, a blend of Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead. It was a gathering of happy, stoned teenagers who mostly danced and hugged. Reflecting on it now, I realize it was like a utopia.
Pierce Jordan, Soul Glo
“Emerging from Destruction” (Huntingtown, Maryland)
Around 2005 and 2006 in Calvert County, MD, there existed a beloved deathcore group called Rise from Ruin. It has been a long-awaited moment for me to shine a light on this band, but truthfully I am unsure of the exact date they disbanded – possibly around 2007. At the time I discovered them, I was heavily into metal music. The band had two vocalists and drew inspiration from Job for a Cowboy and As Blood Runs Black. In my later years, I played youth basketball in the county and encountered their bassist Mitch as he coached one of the opposing teams. They were outstanding.
The Joy of Africa (Gqeberha, South Africa)
My mother and her sisters were members of a choir known as the Joy of Africa, with my father serving as the president. I chose to join this choir because during my childhood, I was unaware of what a band was. My mother introduced me to artists like the O’Jays and the Temptations, but I didn’t realize they were part of a band until I was older and came across Myspace. Growing up, I was only familiar with choirs, orchestras, and steel drum groups because that was the musical world I knew. I adored being part of the Joy of Africa, as it wasn’t just about singing but also making a positive impact. My mother supported the women in the choir by organizing things like sanitation pads. When I began writing and recording music, my first instinct was to layer my vocals to create a choir-like sound, as that was what I was used to.
Stuart Braithwaite, Mogwai
The Yummy Fur (Lanark)
The band Yummy Fur had already been established in the Glasgow music scene for a few years before Mogwai formed. Members Paul Thomson and Alex Kapranos eventually went on to form Franz Ferdinand. As someone from Lanarkshire, where Yummy Fur originated, I can attest to the quality of their records. Their songs are clever and humorous, with a cartoonish feel influenced by early Roxy Music and the Fall. Their performances were popular among a dedicated group of fans in Glasgow. While breaking out internationally requires a lot of investment and support, Yummy Fur’s indie style may have made it challenging. However, their smaller shows in Glasgow were consistently well-attended and it’s great to have a band like them that brings people together.
Capdown (Milton Keynes)
The band released two albums under the British punk label, Household Name. Their first performance left a lasting impact on me, and I made sure to attend every show afterwards. While looking through my gig scrapbook, I found that I had kept all of their tickets. Their stage presence was electric, and as a 13-year-old, I loved the energetic atmosphere of moshing and stagediving at their concerts. Even at daytime shows, the intensity never wavered. This was my introduction to live music, and I made friends by arriving early and seeing familiar faces in the queue. Queuing up became its own ritual.
Fishing in the city of Dallas, Texas, in Japan.
During my time in high school, I developed a strong admiration for the Dallas-based band, Fishing in Japan. This four-member group, known for their indie-pop style, formed in 2018. Interestingly, my current friend and collaborator, Wolfgang Hunter, started the band while also attending the same high school as my sister. The school, which focused on performing arts, naturally attracted many students interested in joining bands. However, Fishing in Japan quickly became a crowd favorite. I vividly remember riding in my sister’s car on the way to school and being captivated by their unique blend of pop and rock. It was a “This is amazing!” moment that has stayed with me.