Every local music aficionado knows about Brooklyn. It’s a hotspot for local music and urban art. Many well-known bands from the 80’s and 90’s have roots tying back to Brooklyn’s independent music network, as well as more recent indie rock bands such as MGMT. Something about the diversity found in Brooklyn’s art scene makes it a hotbed for creative, indie expression.
What most people (sadly) don’t know is that another, similarly diverse city has been producing local independent music for nearly a decade in the most unlikeliest of places: Provo, Utah.
Provo’s unique creative atmosphere and expansive independent music network has birthed a number of high quality indie artists and bands, including Joshua James, Neon Trees, Fictionist, and most recently Parlor Hawk. These are some big names within the indie/local music community. Most of these bands have been at or near the top of iTunes’ download charts in last few months, and there is no sign of them letting up.
(Check out Neon Trees!)
There are a few things that Provo has that most cities don’t. First, the indie music community has a very strong hub, a high-quality venue called Velour Live Music Gallery, as well as a few other, smaller local venues. And it’s unique location in Utah allows it to disperse new creative indie rock to a very large audience.
Velour is designed like a vintage Baroque Indie Rock chapel, yet it is clear from the way Corey Fox, the owner, runs things that Velour is there to support the bands. Only the best bands are selected to play weekend shows, but up-and-coming bands are encouraged to play at the weekly acoustic nights and semi-annual and highly competitive Battle of the Bands concerts. It’s an incubator for indie rock and creative music.
Because Utah is a haven for Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), many come from all over the United States (and to a smaller extent, the rest of the world) to visit Utah. Then they take the new music they’ve found in Provo back home.
Double the effectiveness of this principle for the two college campuses (BYU and UVU) located in Provo. Indie rock attracts college students like ants to a spilled can of Classic Coke. The Indie Rock then steeps into the collective college soul throughout the semester. And the students become musical carriers when they return to their out-of-state hometowns for vacations.
This dissemination of new music has created Provo’s vast independent music network, while the local community generates lots of potential bands and different types of music.
Keep an eye out for any bands coming out of Provo. Odds are that they’ll go far.