Lists are a sucker’s game—irresistible bait for music nerds and Internet trolls, and the lowest-common-denominator form of music journalism. Magazine editors pose breathless but unanswerable questions (“What/who is the best album/band/song/guitarist/etc. ever?”) and then either deliver the most boring, canonical response (see any Rolling Stone list of the last 20 years) or go so far in the other direction that they risk losing all sense (see Spin’s new list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, which includes dubstep producer Skrillex).
That said, here’s one recent list we can endorse, not only because the imperative in its title is slightly more palatable than the typical superlatives but also because it seems like an okay list (as long as you keep in mind the particular indie-twang perspective it represents): Paste’s “12 Tennessee Bands You Should Listen to Now.”
The list includes local power-popsters Plainclothes Tracy in the 12th spot (“an unassuming five-piece that manages to jump from innocent She & Him crooning to all-out grunge in a moment’s notice”); the Black Cadillacs at number eight (“‘Classic Fool,’ a single off their brand new album Run, melds Smoky Mountain picking with country-style delivery and a blues-inspired melody”); and local heavyweights the Dirty Guv’nahs all the way up at number three (“The Dirty Guv’nahs are one of East Tennessee’s most well-loved bar acts, and they are just not the type of band you analyze. The Dirty Guv’nahs are the type of band you dance to.”).
Paste’s list is topped by Memphis Big Star clones Star and Micey and Nashville blues-punk band the Kingston Springs. Also included: Memphis retro/old-time trio the Memphis Dawls, who are playing at Preservation Pub on July 1.