The Reader’s annual Top Bands Lists (and “the rules” behind the selections)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:44 pm October 6, 2015
The Good Life at Maha Music Festival, 08/15/15. The band is among those included in The Reader's Top Bands List.

The Good Life at Maha Music Festival, 08/15/15. The band is among those included in The Reader’s Top Bands List.

by Tim McMahan,

The Reader‘s annual Music Issue is on newsstands now. Included in the coverage is the annual list of the top area bands.

In year’s past, we limited the list to 20, plus the “next 15.” This year the writers — Wayne Brekke, BJ Huchtemann and myself — submitted our lists of the top bands with no limit on the number. Needless to say, it made making the list less contentious and more inclusive.

Considerations made in creating the lists were: 1) quality of the bands, 2) activity in the past year, including releasing of new records, touring, etc., 3) impact on the local music scene, 4) performer / band members primarily live in Nebraska.

This is not a list of my favorite bands. In fact, there are a couple bands on my list that aren’t exactly my cup of tea, but there’s no denying their impact on the scene. A few bands I love, such as Dumb Beach, Gordon and Son, Ambulance, were left off because they didn’t release anything new in the past year.

My list, which is here, focuses mainly on indie music, while Wayne and BJ included other genres (Americana, blues, soul, etc.). There are a few names on their lists I would have put on mine, and vice versa. We didn’t want to “double the hill” so names only appear once on all the lists. You’ll have to pick up a copy of The Reader to see Wayne’s and BJ’s lists, as I don’t know where they are online.

As is the case every year, the lists generally provide a sense of curation of the local scene, and nothing more. If you don’t like the lists, make your own. For the most part, the bands listed below are no-brainers, though a few may be flying just below your radar and are worth checking out. Read the article for descriptions:

Icky Blossoms
Simon Joyner and the Ghosts
Digital Leather
Sam Martin
Miniature Horse
John Klemmensen & the Party
The Good Life
High Up

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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