College Basketball’s Sweet 16 Ranked by Best Local Music
Los Angeles is the winner of the big (um) dance, CBS Sports says
The annual college basketball March Madness tournament starts its Sweet 16 round of games tonight, and in its honor, CBS Sports has ranked each school’s city by its music scene. With teams from all around the country squaring off for the NCAA title, the list manages to include Beck, N.W.A., Tom Waits, Kim Deal, Guided By Voices, the Stooges, Slint, Ashlee Simpson, Calexico, Garbage, and many more. And while we have our quibbles — we don’t expect a college basketball writer to know about Maximum Ames Records any more than you’d expect us to have compelling thoughts about how well Michigan State has been playing since its players got healthy again (oh, but we do!) — it’s a fun read. Let the arguments start here. President Obama, you’re invited to weigh in, too.
CBS Sports’ Sweet 16 city rankings by bands/music:
16. Ames, Iowa (Iowa State). Who they name: Modern Life Is War, Leslie and the LY’s, and (sort of) the Mountain Goats. Who they’re missing: The Poison Control Center, and the full stable of the previously mentioned Maximum Ames Records, including a new album April 1 from self-proclaimed power-poppers TWINS. Plus, Pennyhawk and Wolves in the Attic. Nearby Des Moines’ Max Jury recently opened for Lana Del Rey. Watch TWINS’ “Babe City” video below.
15. Storrs, Connecticut (Connecticut). Who they name: Including nearby Hartford, we get Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath, Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba, and Guster drummer Brian Rosenworcel. Oh, and Weezer leader Rivers Cuomo, of course. Who they’re missing: Hey, Cassie was born in Connecticut! Listen to Cassie’s 2012 “King of Hearts” (more words about it here) below.
14. Madison, Wisconsin (Wisconsin). Who they name: Garbage, Tar Babies. Who they’re missing: Justin Vernon is from Eau Claire. Violent Femmes and many other bands are from Milwaukee. Garbage man Butch Vig’s legendary Smart Studios was in Madison, so there’s a Nirvana connection. Watch Garbage and Screaming Females cover Patti Smith’s “Because the Night” below.
13. Tucson, Arizona (Arizona). Who they name: Linda Ronstadt, Calexico, Howe Gelb’s Giant Sand, and (sort of) Neko Case. Who they’re missing: Plenty of bands from Phoenix, including Meat Puppets, and Chrissie Hynde lived in Tucson for a while, but beyond that we’d have to check with SPIN’s Tucson-residing contributor Mike Powell. Watch Calexico’s “Two Silver Trees” video below.
12. East Lansing, Michigan (Michigan State). Who they name: The Verve Pipe and (sort of) Stevie Wonder. Who they’re missing: John Olson of noise groups Wolf Eyes and Dead Machines, plus the tape label American Tapes, is from East Lansing. Listen to Wolf Eyes’ “Village Oblivia” below.
11. Knoxville, Tennessee (Tennessee). Who they name: Kenny Chesney, Atticus, Superdrag. Who they’re missing: Royal Bangs. The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney produced the band’s 2013 album Brass, and you can hear “Octagon” below.
10. Waco, Texas (Baylor). Who they name: Ted Nugent, Jessica Simpson, Ashlee Simpson, Roy Hargrove, and (sort of) Willie Nelson and Little Feat. Who they’re missing: Beloved new jack swing group Hi-Five, outlaw country singer Billy Joe Shaver. Listen to Hi-Five’s “I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)” below.
9. Lexington, Kentucky (Kentucky). Who they name: Vince Gill, Naomi Judd, Sunday Best, John Michael Montgomery, and (sort of) the Backstreet Boys, plus a whole lot of bluegrass. Who they’re missing: Richard Hell grew up there, for one. And plenty of bands call nearby Louisville home, which we’ll get to later. Listen to Hell and the Voidoids’ “Blank Generation” below.
8. Charlottesville, Virginia. Who they name: Dave Matthews Band, Son of Bill, the Hackensaw Boys, with passing mentions of Modest Mouse, Yo La Tengo, and Pavement. Who they’re missing: Well, for starters, they’re really burrying the lede on Pavement. And if we’re talking Virginia, Clipse’s Pusha T and No Malice are from Virginia Beach, as are the Neptunes’ Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, plus Timbaland. Though DMB’s Carter Beauford is a chopsy drummer and all. Watch Pavement’s “Gold Soundz” video below.
7. Lousville, Kentucky (Louisville). Who they name: My Morning Jacket, Slint, Wilson Pickett, Joan Osborne, Black Cross, and (sort of) Peter, Paul, and Mary and Nappy Roots. Who they’re missing: Will Oldham a.k.a. Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Crain, Rodan, and Wax Fang. Listen to Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s version of Oldham’s Palace Music song “New Partner” below.
6. Palo Alto, California (Stanford). Who they name: The Grateful Dead, Joan Baez, Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, the Kingston Trio, the Donnas, and (sort of) Third Eye Blind and Jefferson Airplane. Who they’re missing: The new-age label Windham Hill was for years run by Palo Alto resident William Ackerman. Below, listen to Fleetwood Mac’s Buckingham-led, Balearic-leaning “Big Love.”
5. Ann Arbor, Michigan (Michigan). Who they name: Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, the Stooges, Brownsville Station, Andrew W.K., and (again) Olson’s Wolf Eyes, who clearly have the hand-as-a-map state on lock, plus (sort of) Madonna. Who they’re missing: It’d be a stretch to lump in Detroit — oh, you know, just Motown, Detroit Techno, Jack White, and Kid Rock — but Cybotron lives in Ann Arbor, and Mayer Hawthorne hails from the town that hails the Wolverines, too. Also see: Pity Sex, Chit Chat, Bad Indians, Shigeto. Listen to Pity Sex’s “Fold” below.
4. Dayton, Ohio (Dayton). Who they name: Ohio Players, Guided by Voices, Hawthorne Heights, Zapp, Swearing at Motorists, and, impressively, Kim Deal. Who they’re missing: “People can try to make Dayon a scene,” GBV’s Bob Pollard told SPIN in 1994. “Good luck.” All right, then, but let’s not forget about Brainiac. Listen to the Enon-affiliated band’s “Go Freaks Go” below.
3. San Diego, California (San Diego State). Who they named: Stone Tempe Pilots, Blink-182, Tom Waits, Jason Mraz, Iron Butterfly, Switchfoot, P.O.D., Augustana, Slightly Stoopid. Who they’re missing: New York’s Cults have S.D. roots, and the varied scene has also nurtured Pinback, Dum Dum Girls, Crocodiles, Castanets, Drive Like Jehu, Tristeza, Album Leaf, the Soft Pack, the Palominos, Rocket From the Crypt, Unwritten Law, Louis XIV, and many more we’re surely forgetting. Watch locals Red Pony Clock’s “Image Is Nothing (Thirst Is Everything)” video below.
2. Gainesville, Florida (Florida). Who they name: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bo Diddley, Hot Water Music, Sister Hazel, Less Than Jake, Against Me!, For Squirrels. Who they’re missing: Charles Bradley is a Gainesville native, and OWSLA-signed avant-folkies Hundred Waters are from there, too. Watch Against Me!’s video for “Black Me Out,” from 2014’s Essential Transgender Dysphoria Blues, below.
1. Los Angeles (UCLA). Who they name: The Beach Boys, the Doors, Snoop Dogg, Rage Against the Machine, Mötley Crüe, Bad Religion, Beck, Etta James, Guns N’ Roses, the Byrds, Tool, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sublime, Black Flag, the Eagles, Frank Zappa, Dr. Dre, N.W.A., 98 Degrees, Van Halen, Toto, Weezer, Porno for Pyros, Hoobastank. Who they’re missing: With Los Angeles, it’s almost impossible to know where to start. Let’s just put Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse here and wait for tip-off tonight.