Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The best Chicago bands?

Wilco, courtesy

It's impossible to come up with a list of the best bands in Chicago because:

1) It's too subjective.
2) There are so many bands in Chicago that nobody could possibly know them all, therefore nobody is capable of making such a statement.

However, it can't be denied that there are certain local bands that are more well known than others, and have even developed a considerable fan base outside the city. Below are the bands that, based on both local and national recognition, people seem to consider some of the best the city has to offer.

Do you agree or disagree, and why? Who are your personal "bests"?

Wilco - Everybody seems to like Wilco. I don't recall ever reading or hearing anyone say anything bad about them, which is pretty amazing in a city with such a diverse and robust music scene. Sometime between the band's formation in 1994 and today, their unpredictable alternative rock meets alternative country sound has made them a sort of revered, untouchable force in local music.

The Smashing Pumpkins - Seeing as how the Pumpkins are quite possibly the most popular and notable band ever to come out of the Windy City, there was no leaving them off this list. Millions of people grew up with the band's music throughout the 1990s and still rank them among their top favorites. Even after Billy Corgan resurrected the Pumpkins in 2006 sans half the original members, interest has remained incredibly high, as illustrated by the fact that the band is playing three eagerly-anticipated home town shows in November.

Catfish Haven - The soul-infused indie rock of Catfish Haven has won them legions of fans and praise from the likes of Spin, Pitchfork and All Music Guide, as well as slots at events such as Lollapalooza and CMJ Fest. If you frequent shows in Chicago, chances are you've seen them caught them either opening or headlining.

The Redwalls - The Redwalls are another post-2000 local band that has managed to rise to national recognition. It doesn't hurt that the band's brand of Beatlesesque pop/rock is extremely easy to digest, full of catchy hooks fit for mass appeal. The band has scored high profile appearances such as "The Late Show with David Letterman" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," and NME Magazine recently named them one of "The Most Exciting Bands in America."

The Ponys - In 2005, Rolling Stone had this to say about The Ponys: "While other American indie bands fuss themselves into a lather straining to redefine the templates of 'garage rock' or 'post-punk,' the Ponys just get it the hell done." Apparently that's an opinion a lot of people agree with, as the band has become one of the most buzzed about to come out of the city in recent years.


  1. What about Hum, Triple Fast ACtion and Urge Overkill ?

  2. umphreys mcgee....even though they were formed in south bend they have called chicago home for a few years and tour extensively world wide to sell out crowds

  3. Check out Tragickiss One of Chicagos hardest rock bands at Night Cap 10pm July 22nd 2011

  4. What about Milano? (

  5. Hey Great bands listed above, To find more
    Check out