There is so much to say about the city of trees in a gem state often mistaken for a potato. Too many Idaho inside jokes?
If you are still confused, I am talking about Boise, Idaho, the sleeper city of the northwest that often gets pushed aside. Sure, it gets mentioned in magazines as the outdoorsy city to live in thanks to its big city appeal with out all the people clogging it up. But what always seems to be forgotten is the fact that Boise does indeed have an independent music scene and a budding at that.
Out of this city of trees, which isn’t entirely accurate since you’d only be referring to the trees that surround the meandering and inspiring Boise River and not desert and high mountains off in the distance, comes a thriving music scene that focuses on myspace and word of mouth for recognition often packing small venues to the rafters with locals looking to add an experience to an Internet pages music player.
There are two bands in particular that are worth mentioning out of everything musical that Boise has to offer. First off, we have ATTN, or Attention for those in need of vowels. Their name follows a recent and small trend in band naming in which you remove the vowels so they appear to be vanity plate ready. Of course, more prominent examples of this can be seen with MGMT, PWERFL Power, perhaps the most popular o them all, MSTRKRFT. ATTN sound is all their own. Ambient and atmospheric, they combine trans-esque drum beats with synthesizers guitars and bass to create music that is a combines of dash Postal Service, a little STS9, a hint of RJD2 and a few teaspoons of Radiohead. It is all instrumental with cuts and clips of vocals here and there that are manipulated to work with the synthesizers. The real treat from these 6 musicians is their live show that adds a strong visual element to their music that then becomes the focus drowning the audience’s senses in the experience. Since they only tour in the northwest, for now that is where you will have to catch them, so if you find yourself in that neck of the woods, look for a show.
Band # 2 is the duo known as In The Shadow of the Mountain. While only two members, they are able to create a big sound that is not only instrumental, but has a punk rock meets Minus the Bear feel. They bring a lighter and faster paced vibe that is experimental and at the same time incorporates familiar elements in song structure. “Buffalos”, the one song on Myspace that they have posted, is a great example of this ending with a long slow breakdown that is a well used departure from the more punk rock inspired introduction that shows what these two can do. They too are known for their live shows as most independent musicians are, but as apposed to ATTN, In the Shadow of the Mountain focuses on the intensity of the drums and keeps a high energy show going through out.
D.C., Chicago, New York, and Seattle have all been known for the wealth of music that they bring, but smaller often ignored cities are producing music along the same caliber. So if you love music and the northwest, check out Boise and while your there, go to some shows.