There are hundreds of bands in Boise, so consider this short list (in no particular order) of relatively new groups a musical Whitman's Sampler—you'll get a taste of what Boise bands have to offer, you'll want more and you might even find a new favorite flavor.
Local groups like Wolvserpent, Uzala, Oceans Are Zeroes and Sun Blood Stories impeccably balance thunderous power with touches of gentle beauty— Ealdor Bealu joins that list with spacey drones, stately tempos and pensive melodies. Carson Russell's low groan and Rylie Collingwood's ethereal soprano create a vocal yin and yang, while Collingwood's basslines intertwine with Russell's and Travis Abbott's elegant guitar lines and Craig Hawkins' lumbering drums. It's tempting to create a new sub-genre for this soothing-yet-rousing sound: Maybe therapy metal.
This crew would make the list on the talent of young MCs Clev Speech and ATG alone, but Earthlings Entertainment also includes in its ranks the all-female Corevette Dance crew. Plus, the group's website features reviews, opinion pieces and interviews with artists like Zion I and Ill Gates.
Glenn Mantang and the GOV
GOV stands for "Guardians of Virginity," so you can probably guess good taste and decorum aren't high on GM&GOV's list of priorities. If you want some good-natured, well-crafted, trashy fun, however, this "bluegrass disco porn metal boy band" will not dissapoint. For proof, check out the Daytrotter session the band did during Treefort Music Fest 2016.
Lounge on Fire
According to frontman Nathan Norton, Lounge on Fire's application to play a music festival was rejected because of a feature on the band in Boise Weekly. Apparently, festival organizers objected to Norton's closing quote.
The rejection didn't bother Norton—actually, he was quite proud, and Lounge on Fire needn't worry anyway: Lots of people like LOF's funky grooves, good cheer and goofy fashion sense (they have a thing for garishly embroidered shirts) just fine.
Before the members of Marshall Poole could drink legally, they delivered show-stealing performances. Now, they're even better, shifting effortlessly from soulful grooves to full-throttle heavy metal. Michael Hoobery's drums and Seth Graham's keyboard provide a solid platform for Rider Soran's youthful vocals and fiery guitar—but Marshall Poole's secret weapon is Melanie Radford, whose sultry voice and nimble bass playing would be stunning from a musician twice her age. Check out MP's hard-rocking debut Totem (Defendu Records, 2015) and watch for Pasadena, due late 2017.
"We're just assholes," Charlie Ritch, drummer for melodic hardcore band Stepbrothers, told Boise Weekly in 2015. Maybe so, but Stepbrothers' Why the Fuck Would Anything Nice Ever Happen? (WavePOP Records), was one of the best local releases of 2015. Its pained lyrics, screwball humor and high-powered musicianship bode well for the follow-up, which will hopefully be finished soon.
The Sun and the Mirror
Long, slow compositions loaded with drones and feedback aren't everyone's cup of tea, but if you let it wash over you, this experimental ensemble's music becomes hypnotic. Start with the 22-minute track on the band's Soundcloud and if you like it, look for the group's debut later this year.
Sun Blood Stories
Sun Blood Stories started as Ben Kirby's solo project, but it's just as much Amber Pollard's band now. Her eerie, fearsome wail and hallucinatory guitar dominate It Runs Around the Room With Us (self-released, 2017), providing the perfect foil for Kirby's laconic drawl and rippling, yowling slide riffs. Drummer Jon Fust holds the groove no matter how jarring the tempo changes get and, together, this dark psychedelic trio makes some of the most challenging, exciting rock music in the Northwest.
Tylor and the Train Robbers
Thoughtfulness and maturity aren't usually thrilling, but Tylor and the Train Robbers make them sound that way. Frontman Tylor Ketchum puts a new twist on honky-tonk cliches or avoids them altogether while his assured, weathered croon serves as the ideal vehicle for plainspoken words. Add Jason Bushman and Flip Perkins' smooth grooves and Johnny "Shoes" Pisano's well-schooled guitar and you have everything you could want in a young country band: They respect tradition, but they're also savvy enough to make it their own.
When he inducted the E Street Band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bruce Springsteen observed, "Real bands are made primarily from the same circumstances, the same needs, the same hungers [and] culture ... They're forged in the search for something more promising than what you were born into."
Western Daughter, comprising friends who grew up together near Idaho Falls, seems to validate the Boss. You could certainly come up with a worse explanation for how this barely two-year-old rock band creates such powerful, sophisticated music. "You're not alone," Taylor Hawkins sings on Driftwood Songs (Take This to Heart Records, 2017). The chemistry among the bandmates conveys the same message.