Buffalo might be primarily known for football, wings and cold weather, but look a little closer and it’s clear that there’s much more to it. It’s a city full of art, creativity and most importantly, great music.
These five underground bands represent the best of the Queen City’s diverse, dynamic music scene. Support local music by streaming them on Spotify or, even better, catching them live at a number of beloved local venues. Check out The Spectrum’s musical roundup from last October for more.
This duo nurtured their creative partnership through virtual open mic nights during the pandemic, but have since brought their “harmony-driven” indie rock in person to stages across Buffalo. Musicians Sara Elizabeth and Courtney Ann are a natural pairing, with voices that complement each other perfectly. Tuesday nite’s music has an ambient feel to it that evokes dream pop acts of the 90s. Their lush debut singles “hope” and “following after me” are full of hazy synths, fingerpicked guitar and plenty of reverb.
For fans of: boygenius, Mazzy Star
Fans of dark, confessional alternative pop will love this synth-based trio. They’ve released a steady stream of singles since 2021, with a full-length project on the horizon for later this year. Try their most recent single, “Can’t Get Over You,” a deceptively danceable heartbreak anthem with dreamy vocals and a driving beat, or “Say,” a gloomy, 80s-inspired cut from their 2021 debut EP. The up-and-coming band tours nationally these days, but can still be caught at hometown venues like Mohawk Place and Babeville.
For fans of: The 1975, MUNA
Spud’s Bandcamp page describes their music as “potato punk.” That may not be an actual genre, but if it was, it would be defined by distortion, piercing guitar riffs and powerful vocals. Their recent demo, “Sheeple,” is a great introduction to their passionate, rough-hewn music, with vocalist Demiya Browning belting over a lo-fi punk beat. Spud’s visceral music is perfectly suited to a live setting — luckily, they’re not hard to find on Buffalo’s live music circuit, playing regular shows at venues like Nietszche’s and Hot Mama’s Canteen.
For fans of: Bikini Kill, Sleater Kinney, anything 90s
Goodbye Metro’s lineup is pretty unconventional for a rock duo. It’s hard to tell upon first listen, but the band features not one, but two bassists — no guitar to be found. Just dual basses. (“Double the bass, double the fun,” their Facebook page says.) One plays a distorted lead and the other lays down the rhythm. But it’s not just a shtick; the band’s slick, experimental sound is extremely cohesive and full-bodied.
For fans of: Metric, Silversun Pickups, and… bass, duh
Whitetails’ music sounds like it was made to be listened to in an idyllic cabin in the woods. The musical project of singer-songwriter Jonathan Bobowicz, the band is driven by vulnerable lyrics and folksy acoustic guitar. Their most recent single, “Haunt You,” is perfect for an early spring drive with the windows down.
For fans of: Hozier, Fleet Foxes
Meret Kelsey is the senior arts editor and can be reached at email@example.com
Meret Kelsey is an assistant arts editor at The Spectrum.