Best Band in Boston



Ellen Kempner’s vocal melodies have a tendency to shoot up high without warning, just like her hands on the fretboard of her guitar during bouts of frenzied rocking. It’s this…Read More

2015 Best Band

Speedy Ortiz

The commonwealth’s next great rock  ’n’ roll band? That’d be Speedy Ortiz, a quartet secretly amped on pop but swinging its guitars with a raw, righteous roar. The new Speedy...Read More

2011 Best Band

Dropkick Murphys

Okay, a crushingly obvious choice. But consider that the Dropkick Murphys were able to get Bruce Springsteen on their first new studio album in four years—a kickass, heartfelt record that...Read More

2002 Best Band, Live


Rubyhorse’s recent album Rise does not “sparkle” like their single, but it’s to catch these Irish rockers (who are Cork-to-Boston transplants) in the act. The band, which jammed on Conan...Read More

1998 Best Band, Cutting-Edge

Club d’Elf

The sound of the future is here. The band’s deeply hypnotic trance-grooves combine jazz, world, and electronica. Bass wizard Mike Rivard, percussionist Jerry Leake, sampler Jere Faison, and driving drummers...Read More

1998 Best Band, Ska

Tie: Bim Skala Bim and The Allstonians

Two acts ostensibly playing the same style, but each with a unique sound. The former’s catchier doubletimes tunes rocket you from your seat; the latters more sluggish, sparse style digs...Read More

1997 Best Band, Mariachi

Tacos El Charro

Jamaica Plain

There is a little bit of Mexico at this pinata-filled spot near Jackson Square. Despite the bright lights and the warm sangria, Tacos El Charro is worth it for the...Read More

1997 Best Band, Pop

Papas Fritas

Many starry-eyed bands crawl up from the primordial soup of Somerville, but few are chosen. On the trio’s latest Minty Fresh release, Helioself Papas Fritas consistently transcends the merely catchy...Read More

1995 Best Band, Cutting-Edge

Cold Water Flat

Okay, so Paul Janovitz of Cold Water Flat is the brother of Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz. There’s no sibling rivalry going on here. Buffalo Tom may have captured MTV and...Read More

1994 Best Band, Ska

Bim Skala Bim

Bim Skala Bim will continue to attract fans near and far with its unique blend of ska, reggae, calypso, and rock...Read More

1994 Best Band, Funk


The band counts one Berklee and five Wesleyan grads among its members, but don’t be deceived by such lofty credentials—these guys are out to have some serious fun...Read More

1992 Best Band, Dance-til-You-Drop

Taylor Made

A Motown band with infectious energy. Sizzling R &B brings sweet sweat to the dance floors of Boston...Read More

1992 Best Band, Local, Cutting-Edge

The Lemonheads

They can churn out music that sounds intensely tortured one minute, gently sentimental the next. Maybe it’s just us, but is Evan Dando (the group’s lead singer and guitarist) brilliant,...Read More

1991 Best Band, World Beat, Local


This 8-to-10-member band fuses calypso, African, and funk styles to make infectious, uplifting music that explains the packed houses and dancing crowds wherever it plays...Read More

1989 Best Band, Up-and-Coming


Charismatic singer Janet LaValley leads this tribe out of the valley and into the light at local clubs such as Axis, Grover’s, and TT the Bear’s. They’re awesome...Read More

1989 Best Band, Dance

Shy Five

They’re not shy; they’re fly. Here is the consummate bar band. They play with the audience as much as they play for them. Fun, fun, fun, whether they’re doing originals...Read More

1988 Best Band, Up-and-Coming

The Zulus

They called themselves Wild Kingdom until Mutual of Omaha told them to change their name or face a lawsuit. They tried the Gospel Birds, but Patty LaBelle’s publishing company, the...Read More

1988 Best Band, Just For Fun

The Band That Time Forgot

Short on pretense, long of fun, dressed alike in dark shades and navy jackets, this band plays straight and pure music right out of the sixties. There’s a girl thrown...Read More

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