Low cost of living, tight-knit musical communities and off-the-hook festivals make these zip codes the place to be.
Orange County, CA
Everyone knows No Doubt, Social Distortion and The Offspring are from Orange County, but lately, it’s Fullerton’s Burger Records — an indie label that keeps its offices in a strip mall — that’s keeping the scene alive. Young bands from the Death Valley Girls, Ty Segall and Guantanamo Baywatch have all benefited from the prevailing DIY aesthetic in OC — not quite as polished as its neighbors in LA for sure, and still rebellious enough to just earnestly want to sweat it all out through rock & roll.
The Observatory has become a venerable institution for bands new and old, but big venues that draw crowds: The Honda Center houses legends such as Thrice and newbies like Twenty One Pilots. And everywhere in between? All-ages venues like the Doll Hut in Anaheim let adolescent punks roam free.
Nashville is the biggest American music industry hub outside of NYC and LA, but it’s always been associated with country. Still, pop stars such as Taylor Swift, JEFF the Brotherhood and Coin have transcended the genre, so despite the fact that hundreds still line up to get into the iconic Bluebird Café still, it’s now truly the home of all flavors of rock & roll.
It’s the kind of place where everyone is a musician, everyone is your friend, and all your friends are in bands and also play in your bands. Yum.