Alabama may not have a reputation for being the “happening place” when it comes music, but here are few artists that prove that creativity isn’t bound to any particular city or state.
Lee Bains and the Glory Fires (Birmingham / Southern Rock)
This unashamedly-southern act mixes conventional regional rock influences with rapid-fire vocal delivery that conjures memories of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. Bains doesn’t mask his political ideologies one bit (even evidenced by many of the track titles), and the partisan approach certainly doesn’t earn the band “punk stripes”, but the group offer a new perspective on an oft-tired genre.
The Secret Sisters (Mobile / Indie Pop)
The Secret Sisters craft a soothing blend of modern pop the features prominent harmonies, traces of Americana, and intoxicating arrangements. Add in a Grammy nomination and a cover EP of favorites from Julian Casablancas (among others) and it’s clear this group is making a name for themselves.
Witch’s Wall (Birmingham / Surf)
Witch’s Wall is set to release their new album on 10/14 which makes them a prime candidate to keep an eye on. The band’s latest single is “very chill” and mixes surfy sounds with vibrant synthesizers for a result that is simply… fun.
The Wanda Band (Huntsville / Indie Pop)
The fact the Wanda Band’s press continues to remind us that Wanda Wesolowski is still in her twenties reveals two things: first, many of the established (or locally-favored) bands are, uh, getting up there in age, and secondly, that her approach to songwriting shows a certain mature and fresh flavor that the scene needs. The Wanda Band is currently working on their sophomore LP, but you can check out their debut on all streaming services and Bandcamp.
Little Raine Band (Birmingham / Jazz Fusion)
This Birmingham band mixes prog-rock influences and smoky vocals with brass and malleted percussion for a result that verges on a jam band experience as much as it feels like a video game soundtrack. The compositions are largely-instrumental which makes this a great band to study to – if your brain can handle the continuous changes in dynamic.
Jayne and the Huntsmen (Huntsville / Americana)
Don’t judge an album by its cover – What About Me might boast a simple, drawn aesthetic. But its title track is reminiscent of turn-of-the-century female icons like Avril Lavigne, Nelly Furtado, and Michelle Branch. And while not every song shows the same overt rock bent, it’s telling that this band is capable of more than they’re letting on.
Audiophile (Birmingham / Pop-Punk)
I used to looooove Yellowcard growing up. Audiophile reminds me a lot of that. Enough said.
Analog Missionary (Silverhill / Prog-Rock)
Hailing from the Eastern Shore community of Silverhill, Analog Missionary employ unconventional instrumentation alongside dynamic female vocals for an experience that sets them apart from the other acts on the lists in several key areas. The band also run their own studio where they host performances, adding in an immersive touch for the community.
Ghost Atlas (Birmingham / Post-Hardcore)
Jesse Cash of ERRA has formed Ghost Atlas as his solo project, and it hits hard. It’s just about what you’d expect based off association, and Cash pays homage to riff-heavy forerunners of the genre with ease.
Camping In Alaska (Huntsville / Emo)
I hate the term twinkle daddies, but Camping In Alaska are twinkle daddies. And honestly, who can say no to tapped guitars and violin on the same track?
WRAY (Birmingham / Space Rock)
WRAY take a unique approach on the indie rock genre by incorporating elements of psych, new wave, and post-punk. It’s as dark and it is ethereal; it’s floating in space somewhere between the sun and moon.
Glories (Birmingham / Post-Rock)
This is the first purely-instrumental act on the list and they capture a broad set of sonic textures effortlessly.
Homebody (Tuscaloosa / Pop-Punk)
Placing Homebody in a particular genre is a bit of a challenge – they sit somewhere at the intersection of pop-punk, mall emo, and post-hardcore and the result is an accessible and emotional set of songs. They don’t reinvent the recipe, but they nail it precisely.
Empire Springs (Birmingham / Alternative Rock)
Empire Springs feels nostalgic of the halcyon days of radio rock. The band somehow mix with Owl City/AJR type vocals with the instrumental chops of bands like Karnivool for a result that’s definitely easier on the ears but doesn’t shirk technicality either. Plus cinematic concept albums are always exciting.