« A sneak peak at tonight's drink list | Main | Recapping last night's Midnight Sun Social »

October 30, 2009

10 Spot: The 10 best unsigned Baltimore bands

10 spotLast week, when I asked you for nominees for Baltimore's most promising unsigned bands, I had no idea I'd get so much feedback.

We topped 400 comments -- the most a post has ever received on Midnight Sun. That's really impressive. Thanks again, everybody, for all your suggestions. I was turned onto a few solid Baltimore bands I'd never encountered before.

I put a lot of time and thought into this list. It ran in today's paper. And here is a link to a great photo gallery of all the bands on the list.

OK, so, here's my list ...

Two years ago, it would have been much easier to name the 10 best unsigned Baltimore bands.
That was before the word got out about Baltimore's boiling-over music scene. Since then, record labels like Sub Pop, Thrill Jockey and Merge have swooped in and signed several of the city's best bands. But there are still plenty groups who deserve some recognition.

Here are 10 of the most promising Baltimore bands.
1. J-Roddy Walston and the Business

Nobody rocks quite like J-Roddy. They serve up blistering, old-time rock 'n' roll, complete with big riffs and big hair.
2. Caleb Stine
Stine is a forward-looking Americana singer/songwriter with a firm handle on the past.
3. Ellen Cherry
A keen sense of melody and a soft yet striking voice make Cherry's songs standouts.
4. Fools and Horses
This guitar band delivers biting, down-the-middle rock songs with panache.
5. Among Wolves
The versatile musicians in Among Wolves can handle reverb-soaked harmonies or stripped-down alt-country with ease.
6. Victoria Vox
Vox is a hard-working ukulele troubadour with tasteful songwriting and a heartfelt voice.
7. Nelly's Echo
Simply put, Nelly's Echo knows how to work a groove.
8. Can't Hang
Every city needs a hard-partying reggae and roots rock group, and Can't Hang knows just how to throw down.
9. Dropout Year
When it comes to catchy pop punk, Dropout Year has the potential to be one of the area's next breakout bands.
10. Eureka Birds
Thoughtful instrumentation and canny lyrics make the Eureka Birds a band to watch.

Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog
Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:30 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Local music


What about the Westminster band, "The Dames Jeans". They hit some pretty strong tunes.

It's obvious there's some really talented muscians in and around the Baltimore area. The response to your article was incredible! Congratulations.

I maintain that J Roddy Walston & The Business make my rock and roll dreams come true. You, Sam Sessa, are good at lists.

I saw J Roddy Walston & The Business open up for the Hold Steady. It was rock and roll awesomeness overload. Those guys are good old fashioned rock and roll and the album is great too.

you need to check out A Cool Stick. Their album release party is this coming thursday, Nov. 5th, at Rams Head!! they are very good

amen to victoria vox and ellen cherry. they are totally awesome, hardworking, and nice people to boot.

Check out the Billy Redfield Band for a great local artist. He has two albums that are off the charts but should be ON the charts.

I'm surprised you didn't include Ballyhoo in your list of overrated unsigned bands. And I totally disagree with the sentiment that it would have been easier to come up with this list two years ago. Baltimore's music scene may have just blown up to those outside the area, but we've long known Baltimore to have some truly awesome bands (and other than J Roddy, I wouldn't have included any of these acts in my Top 25). That says less about the acts you mentioned and more about the ones you didn't.

I can't believe ILYAIMY is not on your top 10 list. Wow. Your list looks like a bad weekend at artscape.

I'm really surprised Rest AMong Ruins wasn't on this list!

How about Tony Sciuto Band, The Rayvns, and/or The Loft?
What ever happened to these guys?
The biggest band of late would have to be SR-71 (Mitch Allen Sherr's gig)

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "s" in the field below:
About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

Most Recent Comments
Recent tweets
Sign up for FREE nightlife alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Photo galleries
Stay connected