Boston does its battle of the bands right. Organized by Anngelle Wood of Boston's local music program Boston Emissions, the Rock 'n' Roll Rumble begins Tuesday night at TT the Bears in Cambridge. Thirty-four years since its first contest, it remains one of the best platforms for bands to showcase their sounds in New England.
The rules are pretty simple: To qualify, a band has to be from New England and not been a participant in the Rumble before. Other than that, everything's fair game.
The 24 bands, selected from more than 80 submissions, run the gamut from lounge pop and Americana to ball-bustin' metal. There's but one winner, to be named on April 26.
Below are some of Locally Amped's favorites.
NEW HIGHWAY HYMNAL: Lead singer Hadden Stemp definitely has a voice fit for punk rock, yelping and distortion included in the package. The North Shore trio's full-length, which came out last year on former Boston Phoenix music editor Michael Marrotta's record label, Vanya Records, has been on my playlist for awhile. Their psych-laden garage rock will definitely make any space feel like a DIY rock show.
PARKS: Locally Amped sure is a fan of Parks — we debuted their video of "Learn to Fight" back in January. The sunshine pop of Brian E. King, formerly of now-defunct Boston pop outfit Oranjuly, will keep things light at the Rumble. Jangly ones like "Modern Fiction" and the uber catchy "Sweater Weather" should get some attention.
TWIN BERLIN: It's pretty surprising that this three-piece post-punk revival band hasn't Rumbled before. They've been around since '09, hit MTV and even recorded with Travis Barker. Their take on rock hits pretty close to the Strokes, but they do find their own corner of distorted, pleasant hook-laden songs.
THE OKAY WIN: Boston rock needs some melodic expansiveness in its arsenal, and this five-piece is the answer. More likely to be crooning emotive dirges than pushing up the volume, Jed Gottlieb rightly compared them to Built to Spill in his Rumble preview. They might not be best for bringing me back to my teenage bedroom years, but they do it quite well.
CAMDEN: This three piece has sing-songy power pop down to a T. They can break out elaborate guitar solos in the midst of dirty ditties, but they also can woo crowds with '90s alt rock. They've already had exposure at SXSW, even scoring a recording session at Brooklyn's Converse Rubber Tracks afterward last March. Oh, and they can pull off a song with a title like "(Talking on the) Telephone."
VELAH has a dark, post-punk charm about them with ethereal, expansive crescendos.
WHITE DYNOMITE, made up of four Boston dudes who have been playing the city's rock circuit in different outfits for a while, rightfully call themselves a "punk-soul explosion."
COYOTE KOLB dirty up their rock Americana style — and they're one of the only bands on the list with a banjo.