Yesterday, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats released a touching Mother's Day tribute video
for their single "Hey Mama", and it got us thinking. The Missouri-bred, Denver-raised artist and his amazing big band have an incredibly unique sound. If you're from the Midwest (like me), and you spent your childhood with various alt-rock and country songs playing hopscotch on your radio, then you probably know where to look for bands that remind you of your cornfield-filled childhood. But if you're not, and love Nathaniel's new album Tearing at the Seams
, well you might need a little guidance. That's what our columnRecommended If You Like
is here to do. Here's a few bands that sound just like what was playing on the radio in my dad's 1998 Honda Civic (@92.3 WTTS, PLEASE PLAY SOMETHING NEW, I beg you, from my Indiana youth of yore).
This band is from Indiana, which is obviously why I am putting them on this list. But that's not the only reason. Their bluesy, rockabilly rootsand occasional pop sound makes them the perfect band to soundtrack your bluegrass summertime. Trust me on this one. The summer after high school, I almost
went to see them with some friends, and had I attended that Garfield Park show in Indianapolis, I think it probably would've been the most exciting moment of my Midwestern youth...which isn't saying much given that I know a few people who went cow tipping for fun.
"Sedona", "My Cousin Greg", "On the Road"
2. Anderson East
OK, the video above is a little stripped down...but we obviously can't resist an opportunity add our own session to a post. Like Nathaniel Rateliff, Anderson East turns up the brass for some full-band, high-drama tunes full of lush instrumentation and twangy vocals. His latest full-length Encore
features all the best bluesy tracks you could ever want. Overall, he's sure to get you dancing in a cornfield when you're looking for something to do with an Indiana girl on an Indiana night.
3. The Suffers
The Suffers are a 10-piece vintage soul band that originally started as a jam band and went from there. They only have one full-length out (plus a handful of singles) but with minimal material, they've still managed to make a splash. Perhaps you've seen 'em on this very site? Basically, this band is what should play in every vintage diner across America.. Good thing Waffle House is a Midwestern staple.
"Peanuts", "Mammas", "Do Whatever"
4. Alabama Shakes
If you're not familiar with the Alabama Shakes then you clearly need this list. I am so glad we are doing this. They're a little noisier than Mr. Rateliff, but you definitely won't be disappointed.
"Hold On", "Sound & Color", "Goin' to the Party"
5. The Shouting Matches
Coming out of Wisconsin (no, we are never leaving the Midwest, so stop asking), this bluesy folk-rock band is heavy on the bass and doesn't let up on the vocals either. With band members like Phil Cook and Justin Vernon from Bon Iver, you won't miss out on the action with this group. They sound like someone took Nathaniel Rateliff, dried out the twangy guitar a little bit, and left him to go wander in the desert for way too long.
"Gallup, NM", "I Had a Real Good Lover", "7 Sisters"
6. Little Big Town
Little Big Town lean decidedly more towards country than rock'n'roll. Nevertheless, discounting country music is like discounting pizza and ranch dressing; a combination most people don't even know they are probably into. Full of woozy vocals, a country drawl and held together with jangling guitar and lush piano tunes, this band will take you down south real soon.
"Girl Crush", "Day Drinking", "Pontoon"
7. Kurt Vile
Everything that you need to know about Kurt Vile
is in this post written right here, but we'll give you a quick run-down in case you're too lazy to check it out. He's the chilled-out, slacker rock-dad we've all been waiting for. If you were curious if anyone out there makes proper stoner music for people who are sick of listening to Mac DeMarco, Kurt Vile has your answer.
"Pretty Pimpin'", "Walkin on a Pretty Day", "That's Life Tho (Almost Hate to Say It)"
8. Shakey Graves
Regardless if you go for more electronic sensibilities, or you prefer something more lo-fi ones, Shakey Graves can do it all. From a recorded set of demos and B-sides on the Donor Blues EP
that feature only Graves' gravelly voice and his banjo, to Can't Wake Up
, his latest full-length that dropped just last Friday May 4th and is full of jazzy electronic, twanging folk-rock tunes, Shakey Graves covers a full range of sound so you won't get bored anytime soon.
"Tomorrow", "Pay the Road", "Counting Sheep"
9. Langhorne Slim
Langhorne Slim, while he still fits squarely within Americana and rock'n'roll, is a little bit of an outlaw. Seriously, watch this vintage session we filmed with him
. The man was literally climbing the walls. The chorus to one of his best songs ("Life Is Confusing) is simply him repeating, "Life is confusing and people are insane" which, while true, is a difficult phrase to find yourself wanting to blast out your window when you're speeding down the highway. Somehow he pulls it off. Most of Slim's songs are a mix of the woefully raw and jangly optimism. Don't ask, just listen.
"Life is Confusing", "Changes", "Sea of Love"
10. The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers are pretty much the most earnest band you will ever listen to. This quality about them is endearing to some and aggravating to others. For the most part, they're your classic folk-rock band with some buzzing electronics on one end and some super lo-fi, Bob Dylan-sounding stuff at the other. The full range is a lot to handle (they have more songs and albums out than they should for a band that started in the early aughts), so you'd better get started.
: "Offering", "Ain't No Man", "Murder in the City"