Best of Boston


2016 BEST Band


Ellen Kempner’s vocal melodies have a tendency to shoot up high without warning, just like her hands on the fretboard of her guitar during bouts of frenzied rocking. It’s this unpredictability that brings excitement to Dry Food, the debut album… read more»

2015 BEST Band

Speedy Ortiz

The commonwealth’s next great rock __’n’ roll band? That’d be Speedy Ortiz, a quartet secretly amped on pop but swinging its guitars with a raw, righteous roar. The new Speedy album, Foil Deer, gives the same goosebumps you got back… read more»

2011 BEST Band

Dropkick Murphys

Okay, a crushingly obvious choice. But consider that the Dropkick Murphys were able to get Bruce Springsteen on their first new studio album in four years—a kickass, heartfelt record that hit number six on the Billboard Hot 200. And now… read more»

2002 BEST Band, Live


Rubyhorse’s recent album Rise does not “sparkle” like their single, but it’s to catch these Irish rockers (who are Cork-to-Boston transplants) in the act. The band, which jammed on Conan O’Brien’s show in the spring, tears up the stage with… read more»

1998 BEST Band, Cutting-Edge

Club d’Elf

The sound of the future is here. The band’s deeply hypnotic trance-grooves combine jazz, world, and electronica. Bass wizard Mike Rivard, percussionist Jerry Leake, sampler Jere Faison, and driving drummers J. Hilt and Erik Kerr preside over the jams, or… read more»

1998 BEST Band, Ska

Tie: Bim Skala Bim and The Allstonians

Two acts ostensibly playing the same style, but each with a unique sound. The former’s catchier doubletimes tunes rocket you from your seat; the latters more sluggish, sparse style digs a deep groove. Plus, you have to love the ‘Stonians… read more»

1997 BEST Band, Mariachi

Tacos El Charro

Jamaica Plain

There is a little bit of Mexico at this pinata-filled spot near Jackson Square. Despite the bright lights and the warm sangria, Tacos El Charro is worth it for the flavorful Mexican food and the hip, campy mariachi band. As… read more»

1997 BEST Band, Pop

Papas Fritas

Many starry-eyed bands crawl up from the primordial soup of Somerville, but few are chosen. On the trio’s latest Minty Fresh release, Helioself Papas Fritas consistently transcends the merely catchy to achieve solid Beatles-reminiscent pop you don’t mind having stuck… read more»

1995 BEST Band, Cutting-Edge

Cold Water Flat

Okay, so Paul Janovitz of Cold Water Flat is the brother of Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz. There’s no sibling rivalry going on here. Buffalo Tom may have captured MTV and My So-Called Life, but CWF’s new CD on a major… read more»

1994 BEST Band, Ska

Bim Skala Bim

Bim Skala Bim will continue to attract fans near and far with its unique blend of ska, reggae, calypso, and rock. read more»