New York has always been a hotbed of musical talent, and Central New York is no exception. From the hardcore scene to the emergence of punk rock, indie rock, shoegaze, folk-rock and much more, Central New York bands are characterized by the mix of their members, their local influences and their constant innovations. Here is a comprehensive guide to the 50 best rock bands from Central New York that have made an impact on the music scene. The National is one of the most renowned bands from Central New York.
Comprised of twin brothers Aaron and Bryce Dressner, brothers Scott and Bryan Devendorf, and vocalist Matt Beringer, the group solidified when they all moved to Brooklyn in 2001. Beringer's deep and haunting baritone voice resonated through the intricate, dark corridors of the American psyche that the songs explored, and quickly brought the band into the spotlight. Kiss is another iconic band from Central New York. Mainly associated with the Detroit scene, Kiss was formed in New York in 1973 with the original line-up of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. The group's trick of taking on comic-book-like characters when they acted struck a chord with a large fan base, and while their trick now seems exaggerated, their early years were extremely successful. The glam rock style that the group adopted musically picked up where groups like the New York Dolls left off, and even with subsequent line-up changes, it remained faithful to this sound throughout their extensive discography. Kiss is an important reminder that music is more than just sounds and sounds, the personalities and stories that accompany the bands that remain in the typography are just as important, for better or for worse. Ratatat is an important band from Central New York because they illustrate the direction that production, electronic music and hip-hop are taking.
Although they have only existed since the early 2000s, the duo formed by guitarist Mike Stroud and producer Evan Mast created an innovative electronic guitar brand that managed to become a sensation, something rare for a group whose work is almost entirely instrumental. Grizzly Bear is another popular band from Central New York. The project originated as a DIY adventure recorded at home by Edward Droste on a portable recorder in the early 2000s. It wasn't until Christopher Bear stepped in to help with some of the songs on the initial album Horn of Plenty that the group began to take shape. Later, Chris Taylor and Daniel Rossen joined the line-up and helped develop what quickly became a cult classic band, whose softer folk touch was balanced with percussion and electronic additions. Luna is another iconic band from Central New York.
The project was Dean Wareham's baby, formed when his former beloved independent group Galaxie 500 fell apart (partly because Wareham had bigger ambitions than the independent ones) in the early 90s. Their first album Lunapark from 1992 included their first single Slide. The sound didn't merge until 1994's Bewitched and '95's Penthouse. Le Tigre is another important band from Central New York. Originally conceived as a backing band for Riot Grrrl founder Kathleen Hanna's Julie Ruin side project The Julie Ruin, Le Tigre soon took on its own life.
Under the umbrella of electroshock genre, Le Tigre's mix of feminism and politics, left-wing messages and support for LGBT communities made them a perfect representative of the New York community in the late 90s and early 2000s. Galaxie 500 is another important band from Central New York. Caitlin White, Dean Wareham, Damon Krukowski, and Naomi Yang originally met at Dalton School in New York City but didn't start making music together until they attended Harvard. Around 1987 they began playing shows in Boston and New York. A demo they sent to Shimmer Disc label executive Kramer caught their attention enough to agree to produce for them. My Bloody Valentine's 1991 masterpiece Loveless is often considered a touchstone of Shoegaze sound but Galaxie 500 were also one of its first propagators.
Their other two albums On Fire (1989) and This Is Our Music (1990) were released by Rough Trade.