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Boston's Best Local Rock Bands

Boston is the birthplace of a plethora of legendary rock bands: the Cars, Pixies, Mission of Burma and many more. In the '90s, "alternative" rock music was blessed by Boston-based artists the Lemonheads, Juliana Hatfield and Buffalo Tom. The music scene still lives on, here are five Boston rock bands that carry on the Beantown tradition.
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If you graduated from a New England college in the '90s, chances are good that the acoustic-pop band Guster played at your school. Darlingside is a string-rock band that is a proper heir to the Guster mantle. The group's tunes have that hopeful, yet wistful nature that Guster embodied. Darlingside is comprised of Sam Kapala (drums, vocals), Don Mitchell (guitar, vocals), Auyon Mukharji (mandolin, violin, vocals), Harris Paseltiner (cello, guitar, bass, vocals) and David Senft (vocals, bass guitar, guitar). Its debut album, "Pilot Machines," is now available for purchase from iTunes and the band's website.

Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library
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Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library

Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library will steal your heart with its cover of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' "The Weeping Song." The current incarnation of Memorial Library is Epstein, Lisa Battiston, Sophia Cacciola, Susannah Plaster, Rachel Leah Blumenthal, Jane Allard, Catherine Capozzi and Johnny Blazes (vocals). Similar to Darlingside, it also has a folk-rock edge, with strings galore. Band members are referred to as "librarians" with various occupations within the band, such as "Due Date Stamp Cleaner" and "Senior Cataloguer of Plague-Era Autobiographies." Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library tunes may be purchased online in digital or CD format via its website.

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If you're looking for something a bit heavier, Doomriders is the solution. Recommended for fans of Entombed, Thin Lizzy, Motörhead and other super-wicked-mega awesome heavy rock bands. Doomriders is fronted by Nate Newton of Converge with Chris Pupecki (of Cast Iron Hike) on guitar, Jebb Riley on bass and Chris Bevalaqua on drums. The quartet recorded its first two albums for Deathwish at Godcity Studio in Salem, MA. The group's third full-length album for Deathwish is due out in the summer of 2013.

Related:  Boston Area's Best Music Producers

mean creek
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Mean Creek

Winner of the Boston Music Award 2012 Album of the Year for its release "Youth Companion," Mean Creek swirls up memories of Boston's alternative rock heyday. Band members Chris Keene (vocals, guitar), Aurore Ounjian (lead guitar, vocals), Erik Wormwood (bass) and Mikey Holland (drums) capture a sound that is shoegaze, indie rock and alt-country. The group has this fantastic sound with DNA rooted in Mission of Burma, X and The The.

Parlour Bells at the Paradise Rock Club July 2013

Parlour Bells

Fronted by Glenn di Benedetto, Parlour Bells has grown in the past year to become one of Boston's best rock bands. Di Benedetto has a great David Bowie-meets-Iggy Pop stage presence. Lead guitarist Nate Leavitt is astoundingly good and bassist Brendan Boogie is rock solid. Some of its most memorable live moments are when keyboardist Magen Tracy and di Benedetto play off each other on songs like "O Holiday." "Airwaves" is sure to bring a tear to the eye. The band is often active in the community and was quick to contribute "Airwaves" to "Allston Pudding Presents: Boston Marathon Relief Mix Tape" to raise funds for the One Fund Boston.

Related: Best Places To Get Your Classical Music Fix In Boston

Amy Galante is a lifelong Massachusetts resident. By day, she works at a university library. By night, she is a freelance writer for, covering film, music, and geek culture.

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