My favorite part about writing for buffaBLOG has to be discovering new local music that rivals anything you would hear on the radio. Buffalo really does have a plethora of talent just waiting to be discovered and if this blog can help push just one of these bands forward, perhaps even help them make a career in music, then I think we've done something special. But how do we decide who to put on this list when there are only 10 slots? Well, we need to take a number of things into consideration: Did they put out any new music this year? Is it available on vinyl or CD? How do they market themselves online? Do they have a bandcamp page or are they still using that myspace page (ugh) from 4 years ago? Have they found their 'sound' or do they seem like too much of everything? These are the types of things we take into considerations while narrowing our list from 50 bands to the top 10. Make no mistake, this list is certainly subjective, but in our hearts we here at buffaBLOG believe that these bands below have truly done the best jobs in the Western New York area in 2011.
The Andrew J. Reimers Country-Punk Extravaganza!-Beggar's Pay (Demo 2011) by buffablog2
9. Bill Times A Billion - There isn't a more charming garage-pop duo in the greater Western New York area than Bill Times A Billion. Just give me some guitar, some drums and the occasional trumpet in a song that's under 2 minutes and I'm sold. So what if they don't have a lot of songs. So what if their shows don't generally run longer than 30 miniutes. The important thing is that they craft some catchy tunes that stay in your head for days.
Bill Times a Billion - Clean Pick by buffablog2
8. The Bird Day - With a 7 song mini album & a couple of singles released early this year, there was pretty much no way we could keep last years top band off our list for 2011. Sure they moved to the west coast last month, but when you think about it, they spent more than enough time opening up for major indie bands at Soundlab and Mohawk to make our list this year.
The Bird Day - Chain Gang by buffablog
7. Arctic Death - The last holdover from our 2010 list, Arctic Death had one roller coaster kind of a year. First there was the mix up with the vinyl pressings, causing an extremely late shipment of the debut LP. Then the drummer left for school putting the band on hiatus. But with an improved stage presence, a loyal fan base and ridiculously awesome debut, they still did more than enough to make our list of 2011.
Golden by ARCTIC DEATH
6. Black Umbrella - Psychedelic glam pop sounds like a good place to start. Black Umbrella have a sunny vibration that can get your foot tappin' and your finger snappin'. Aside from a natural talent to craft awesome indie songs, the band also puts in a ton of effort, producing a solid EP this summer and most recently, the stellar LP Tussie-Mussie.
Black Umbrella - Gospel Of The Grenadines by buffablog2
5. Applennium - What started as a side project from Dave Calos of Bearhunter (our 4th best band of 2010) and friends Stacey Stoll & Chris Groves has blossomed into a fantastic band in its own right. Applennium create music that's a touch lighter on the rock side but no less entertaining. They have a beautiful yet eerie sensibility that most bands couldn't create even if they wanted to. Think of the Modest Mouse side project, Ugly Cassanova and combine it with Califone. Beautiful indie rock, plain and simple.
Applennium-Fizzle by buffablog2
4. Nelson-Type - For most bands, debut shows are full of broken strings, timing miscues, and lots and lots of feed back. Not these guys. When Kevin Scoma and Trey Hollowood premiered their self proclaimed "dream-rock" band at Mohawk Place earlier this year, they were nearly flawless and left the audience in a sort of nostalgic awe. If you combined Beach House with Weezer, you might come close to radness that is Nelson-Type.
Our Summer by Nelson-Type
3. The Mordaunt Sisters - If you want to know the shortest way to get on this list, invent your own genre. No one else in Buffalo does horror folk like The Mordaunt Sisters. Their unique brand of witch house meets indie Americana is utterly fascinating. But there is more to the Mordaunt Sisters than creepy pedal steel over layers of acoustic strumming guitar. Songs can evolve before your eyes and what may have started as a slow cooking soul number will transform into the type of loud psychedelic rockage that would make the Besnard Lakes blush.
The Mordaunt Sisters - Hirschfield by buffablog2
2. Bryan Johnson & Family - Bryan Johnson & Family earned they're way to the top of our list by doing something no other band in Buffalo will do. Playing sunny, deck-party rock, the likes of which haven't been heard in...well, ever. It's no secret that Buffalo is a town that likes its bluesy guitar, drums and bass focused rock n' roll. It sometimes feels like there are 15 different bands that play the same music in this town. That's why it feels so refreshing to hear something different like Bryan Johnson & Family. It's lighthearted, friendly, inviting and a band that isn't trying to impress you with the size of their guitar. Sure, their Vampire Weekend meets Real Estate vibes aren't for everyone, but for us here at buffaBLOG, these guys make us smile.
Bryan Johnson & Family - Deck Party by buffablog
1. Roger Bryan & the Orphans - There is nothing that Roger Bryan and the Orphans didn't do right in 2011. They started off the year by building some internet buzz when they released a very professional teaser trailer for there forthcoming album 37. They followed that up by releasing their first single "In the Red" on Bandcamp and announcing that each single would be matched with b-sides and exclusive videos and artwork. Then they released 37 (on vinyl mind you) on June 21st with an album release party at Mohawk that was as packed as I've ever seen the dive bar. Finally, they continued to play shows through out the year with just enough frequency to make each show special without ever sounding overplayed. And lets not forgot how wonderful the album 37 actually is. Strong, adventurist, heartwarming, and beaming with pure roots Americana, it's an album that stayed in my record player for months. In a lot of ways, it sounds like bits and pieces of all my favorite indie folk artists rolled into one. As we described it in our album review earlier this year, the album has "the crunchiness of modern alt country forefathers Uncle Tupelo, the angst heavy college rock riffs of the Replacements, the subtle soul of Wilco, and of course, the heart on your sleeve earnestness of Adams." It's an album that I would proudly put in my top 10 of 2011. Hell, I might even put it in my top 5. And did you see them at our Holiday party? They killed it! So congratulations Roger Bryan & the Orphans. You are our favorite band of 2011.
Roger Bryan & the Orphans - Anchors by buffablog