Tuesday Top 10 is a new feature here at Surviving the Golden Age. Every week we will post a new top ten list. For the inagural edition, we look at the top ten New Hampshire artists. With the New Hampshire primaries captivating the political world today, I thought it would be a good time to look at New Hampshire’s musical landscape. Unfortunately after deciding this, I realized that the state has a pretty tiny population so this list is much closer to being all the musicians in New Hampshire rather than just the best. A smashing way to being the new feature, eh?
10. The Queers
The Queers have been releasing music for the better part of 20 years. With their strong affinity for surf music/culture, it is hard to believe they come from New Hampshire. Their home town of Portsmouth is on the water but I do not think anyone is surfing in Portsmouth Harbor. The Queers last album was 2010’s Back to the Basement, released on Asian Man Records.
MP3: The Queers “Punk Rock Girls”
09. Sarah Silverman
Sure, Sarah Silverman is more known as a comedian but she did release a musical accompaniment to her show, The Sarah Silverman Show. Like her show, it was completely ridiculous.
08. Mandy Moore
At this point, Mandy Moore is much better known as an actress than as a singer but back in 1999, the 17-year-old scored a platinum album with So Real. Mostly propelled by the success of the single “Candy,” sold more than 5 million copies worldwide. Subsequent follow up albums were never able to duplicate the success of her debut. She continues to release music with her last album, Amanda Leigh being released in 2009.
For the past decade or so, Ellissentials has created music that mixes breakbeat, house, and techno into one energetic yet ethereal mix. Who would have thought such sounds would come out of Center Barnstead, New Hampshire?
06. Drop Goblin
With an affinity for Norse culture that is usually reserved for black metal fans, Drop Goblin is actually a dubstep producer from Manchester, New Hampshire. Manchester being the New York City of New Hampshire, it is no surprise that Drop Goblin is not quite the most famous resident. That honor probably goes to Seth Myers of SNL fame. Sorry Drop Goblin.
05. Will Sheff of Okkervil River
This one might be a stretch too. Okkervil River consider themselves an Austin, TX band but lead singer/songwriter Will Sheff was born in Meriden, New Hampshire. As the creative force behind Okkervil River, he is credited with writing “Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe,” the opening track to the band’s 2007 album, The Stage Names. The track was #81 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007. It would be the biggest accomplishment of anyone ever from Meriden but fellow Meridian Ben Cherington was recently named General Manager of the Red Sox. Guess Will Sheff is going to have to aim for a triple platinum album to beat that one.
04. Jon Spencer
Hanover, New Hampshire is known for a couple of things: Dartmouth College, being named the sixth best place to live in America by Money Magazine and CNN, and being the birthplace of Jon Spencer. All right, the Jon Spencer thing might not be true, especially since a lot of awesome people have been born in Hanover including fellow musician Al Barr but Jon Spencer Blues Explosion have been rocking for over 20 years.
MP3: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion “Bellbottoms”
03. Ronnie James Dio
There are a bunch of states where Ronnie James Dio would top the list of musicians born but in New Hampshire, he ranks third. He is among hard rock royalty being the second best singer of Black Sabbath and fronting his own band, Dio. An elf of a man with a powerful voice, Dio sadly passed away in 2010.
MP3: Dio “Holy Diver”
02. Ray LaMontagne
Although Ray LaMontagne‘s contributions to music are not probably as great as Ronnie James Dio, I give him credit for being a fairly popular musician and not giving up his New England roots. Born in Nashua, NH, LaMontagne now resides in Western Maine. He is best known for his debut album, Trouble which went gold in the US and platinum in the UK.
01. GG Allin
When you think of the big, bombastic ridiculousness that is GG Allin, it is hard to believe he originated from Lancaster, New Hampshire. Noted for his live performances which includes self-mutilation, eating his own feces, and attacking audience members, GG Allin was the most extreme 80s punk. But all good things must come to an end and Allin met his in 1993 when he overdosed on drugs in New York City.
MP3: GG Allin and the Jabbers “Bored To Death”