12. Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Creative Commons / Willem van Bergen

The college-town of Boston, Massachusetts has been a hotbed for rock music activity in the last few decades.

In the 1960s, Boston was heavily entwined with the burgeoning folk scene, but in the 1970s and 1980s heavy and alternative rock largely took over as the main musical output of the city.

Hard rock favourites Aerosmith and Boston and new wavers The Cars are probably the best known and commercially successful bands to emerge out of Boston.

The Pixies and Mission of Burma meanwhile, are strong representatives of the city’s hugely significant alternative rock scene of the 1980s and 1990s.

Mission of Burma burned brightly for a few years in the early 1980s with memorable live shows and seminal releases such as their legendary début EP Signals Calls And Marches and first full length V.s.  They broke up soon after, though the acclaim for their groundbreaking work grew almost as loud as their guitars, and the band finally reformed in the early 2000s and are still active today.

The Pixies abrasive but melodic rock, coupled with the surreal lyricism and screaming delivery of their leader Black Francis, helped  kick-start an alternative rock revolution which would culminate in the rise of Nirvana and bring mainstream attention to the thriving American rock underground.

Though the band would split before achieving significant commercial success of their own, their cult status continues to grow to this day, as the next generation of college kids discover the wonders of Doolittle and Surfer Rosa.

It is also worth mentioning dream pop stalwarts Galaxie 500 and indie rock heavyweights Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr. The former were a significant critical if not commercial success who were highly influential in the birth of the ‘slowcore’ movement of the 1990s. The latter two both formed in the state of Massachusetts, who played and made their names in the many clubs of Boston.

Boston has enriched rock ‘n’ roll history to such a level that we can forgive the city for the rise of local poppers New Kids On The Block.

Associated acts: Mission of Burma, Pixies, Aerosmith, The Cars, The Modern Lovers, Galaxie 500, The Lemonheads, Folk Implosion, Lou Barlow, Frank Black

Landmarks: The Rathskeller