11 Nebraska Bands You Should Listen to Now (2022)

If you live on one of the coasts, Nebraska might be one of those states where you wonder if people actually live there. They do—I have family scattered across the state’s eastern region to prove it—and enough of them are even musicians to have formed one of the most vibrant scenes in the country, thanks to folks Saddle Creek Records and acts like The Faint, Bright Eyes and Cursive. There are the rootsy, alt-country bands you’d expect from such a rural area, but there’s also a surprisingly rich culture of hard rock, blues and funk. As part of our 50 States Project, here are 11 bands from the Cornhusker State worth taking a listen to.

1. The Decatures

11 Nebraska Bands You Should Listen to Now (1)
Hometown: Omaha
Members: Charlie Encell, Ryan Call, Patrick Stutzman
Current Album: Fat Kids Lp (2013)
The Decatures are just getting started—they’re barely old enough to buy a beer in the bars they play in—but their rock’n’roll/blues sound brings to mind influences like Hendrix and the Black Keys. Formed in 2011 by a trio of high school friends, the guys of The Decatures jam out guitar solos that deserve to be blasted through a loudspeaker on high volume, and vocals that sound as hard-driving as a Jack White tune. The Decatures released their debut album, Fat Kids Lp, in 2013.

2. Eli Mardock

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11 Nebraska Bands You Should Listen to Now (2)
Hometown: Lincoln
Current Album: Everything Happens for the First Time (2013)
Once upon a time, Eli Mardock was the lyrical genius behind Nebraska sextet Eagle Seagull. Group drama led to a break-up in 2010, but Mardock proved his hauntingly cutting vocals are just as satisfying when he’s flying solo. He can make a song into pretty much anything he wants: an anthem for the brokenhearted. A carefree tune full of whimsy and quirky ideas. No matter what Mardock’s trying to say, he empties the tank every single time.

3. Icky Blossoms

11 Nebraska Bands You Should Listen to Now (3)
Hometown: Omaha
Members: Derek Pressnall, Nik Fackler, Sarah Bohling
Current Album: Icky Blossoms (2013)
During the blizzard of 2011, Sarah Bohling, Derek Pressnall and Nik Fackler were bored. So they formed a band. Within a year the electropop trio was signed to Saddle Creek Records, and they released their eponymous debut album in 2012, which was produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek. They left Nebraska for a tour across North America soon after, but now, they’re back home and hard at work on a second release.

4. Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers

11 Nebraska Bands You Should Listen to Now (4)
Hometown: Lincoln
Members: Josh Hoyer, Justin G. Jones, Brian Morrow, Ben Kushner, Tommy Van Den Berg & Mike Dee, Josh Bargar, Hanna Bendler, Kim Moser & Megan Spain
Current Album: Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers (2014)
Don’t let the geography fool you: the Midwest can be soulful too. Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers are something of a musical clown car: nine musicians, all on different instruments. This variety means that their tracks can include horns, keyboard, guitars—basically, anything they want. But frontman Hoyer, who has both featured in other Nebraska groups and performed solo for years, is the band’s sole songwriter, and has a tremendous ear for how to get all these instruments to flow together. The group released their eight-track first effort earlier this year, but is already preparing to debut more new material in the coming months.

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5. Kill County

11 Nebraska Bands You Should Listen to Now (5)
Hometown: Lincoln
Members: Josh James, Ringo, Brad Kindler, Joe Salvati, Jon Augustine
Current Album: Dust in Wire (2013)
Listening to Kill County’s 2013 album Dust in Wire, you feel like you should be sitting in a pickup truck in front of an abandoned gas station on a blue highway, nursing a beer and wearing a baseball cap. The members of Kill County are scattered between Nebraska, Texas and Michigan, but even so, their music manages to feel like coming home. It comes off as desperate and lived-in, like all the best outlaw country tunes, and evokes all the nonchalance and untidiness of worn-out blue jeans and the Nebraska cornfields.

6. Kris Lager Band

11 Nebraska Bands You Should Listen to Now (6)
Hometown: Originally from Lincoln, now based in La Vista
Members: Kris Lager, Jeremiah Weir, John Fairchild, Brandon Miller
Current Album: Swagadocious (2012)
The Kris Lager Band’s jazz-soaked, blues-infused brand of rock is the kind of toe-tapping rhythm that sometimes you just need to make it through a day. They’ve got five albums to their name, each showcasing more authenticity and sense of self than the last. Over the past decade, the band has opened for the likes of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Blues Traveler and Indigenous, and finally headed out on their own this year with a tour across the Midwest.

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7. The Midland Band

11 Nebraska Bands You Should Listen to Now (7)
Hometown: Columbus
Members: Tom Adelman, Scott Henggeler, Butch Owens, Jake Reisdorff
Current Album: Reflections (2012)
The Midland Band performs the kind of songs that you’d expect to hear playing during the montage scene of an ’80s sports movie. The Columbus-based quartet is all about the progressive rock guitars and keyboards, with a side of jazz thrown in. Their high-energy live shows often take a detour for impromptu improvisational jams, and feature a healthy mix of cover songs and original tunes. As the band lineup has shifted throughout the years, so has The Midland Band’s sound, but that ever-changing nature is just how they like it.

8. Rock Paper Dynamite

11 Nebraska Bands You Should Listen to Now (8)
Hometown: Omaha
Members: Joseph Janousek, Andrew Janousek, Scott Zrust, Trey Abel
Current Album: I’ve Seen Days (2011)
This quartet consists of brothers Andrew and Joseph Janousek and their pals Scott Zrust and Trey Abel. The whole gang hails from the rural parts of Nebraska, but made a name for themselves in the Omaha music scene in 2007 with their self-titled EP, which established their trademark southern/garage rock sound. In 2011, Rock Paper Dynamite was named Omaha’s Best Rock Band by the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards, and they’ve opened for the likes of Ben Kweller and Those Darlins.

9. Snake Island!

11 Nebraska Bands You Should Listen to Now (9)
Hometown: Omaha
Members: Allan Schleich, Thomas Olk, Garret Schmelzel, Ian Mansfield
Current Album: Evil Music (2013)
The psychedelic blues sounds of Snake Island! harken back to legends like The Doors and Zeppelin, as the band never hesitates to turn up the volume and smash a few guitars. (Okay, they don’t really do that, but the music would lend itself to it quite nicely.) Each member of the Omaha group has a different musical preference, and they all fuse together to form a punk rock psychedelic blues feeling. Basically, you have to listen to get it. The lyrics tend to take a backseat, and let the instrumentals shine through in anthemic tunes like “Dirty Bones” and “Evil Music.”

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10. Stonebelly

11 Nebraska Bands You Should Listen to Now (10)
Hometown: Lincoln
Members: Mike Hollon, Kevin Korus, Dave Mejia
Current Album: Perspectives & Perceptions (2014)
Stonebelly is a walk through multiple generations of American music, incorporating elements from each decade and a mix of pop, rock, blues and reggae. The group released their first effort back in 2012, but it’s really their sophomore album, Perspectives & Perceptions, that’s got everyone talking. The album feels alternatively rootsy and thrashing, homey and head-banging—after all, the guys of Stonebelly are self-proclaimed “musical sponges,” and that range has earned them a following on the Lincoln music scene.

11. Universe Contest

11 Nebraska Bands You Should Listen to Now (11)
Hometown: Lincoln
Members: Timothy Perry Carr, Joey “Tokyo” Humpal, Brenton Neville, John Freidel, Jon “Bonehart” Dell
Current Album: We Are the Rattlesnake (2014)
Like the honey badger, Universe Contest really just don’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks. The Lincoln-based rockers joined forces with one another in 2010 to form Winners of the Best Band in the Universe Contest Three Years Running (that was a bit long, so they shortened it to Universe Contest). Their second full-length album, We Are the Rattlesnake, is a mix of dark humor and attention to musical detail, oscillating between LOL-worthy lyrics and somber melodies, and boasting memorable song titles like “The Day the Earth Took Pills,” “Doo Without Papers” and “Squirrels.”


What's a good band to listen to? ›

From Arctic Monkeys to AC/DC, The Beatles to Biffy Clyro, here are the essential groups you need.
  • Arctic Monkeys. Arguably the best British band of the Millennium? ...
  • Foo Fighters. The nicest man in rock. ...
  • Blur. ...
  • The Beatles. ...
  • Oasis. ...
  • Guns N' Roses. ...
  • Green Day. ...
  • AC/DC.
3 Jan 2019

What music do they listen to in Nebraska? ›

The Music of Nebraska has included a variety of country, jazz, blues, ragtime, rock and alternative rock musicians. Several towns across the state have active musical venues, with several communities having a particularly important musical legacy.

Where can I find local bands to listen to? ›

Here, we list the eight best websites to find band members and bands in your locality.
  1. Join-A-Band.com. Join-A-Band.com is a website where musicians from across the globe can find bands or band members. ...
  2. Hendrix. ...
  3. BandFinder. ...
  4. Reddit. ...
  5. Craigslist. ...
  6. Open Mic Listings Sites. ...
  7. Local Directories. ...
  8. Google Maps.
4 Mar 2022

Who is the most popular band 2022? ›

After breaking 23 records in 2021 alone, the popular Kpop band, BTS, have been included in the 2022 Guinness World Records Hall Of Fame, as per a statement issued by the Guinness franchise on Friday. "The Boys are in the book.

Who is the best band in 2022? ›

Fontaines D.C. win Best Band In The World at the BandLab NME Awards 2022. Fontaines D.C. have bagged the award for Best Band In The World at the BandLab NME Awards 2022.

What is the #1 band of all time? ›

#1 - The Beatles

The Beatles had a short run of only 10 years from 1960 to 1970, but they're still the best-selling artists of all time by far. If you were to add in their solo albums and side groups, they'll hold that record forever.

Who is the most famous band ever? ›

The Beatles are most likely the most popular band ever, so choosing just one year proved to be difficult. To date, they hold the record for most No.

Who is the biggest band ever? ›

Artists by reputed sales
  • The Beatles.
  • Elvis Presley.
  • Michael Jackson.
  • Elton John.
  • Queen.
  • Madonna.
  • Led Zeppelin.

Is anyone famous from Nebraska? ›

In 1974, Hilary Swank was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. She's won two Academy Awards for Best Actress: Boys Don't Cry (2000) and Million Dollar Baby (2005). Henry Fonda was born in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1905. In 1982, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor: On Golden Pond.

What famous person lives in Omaha Nebraska? ›

Warren Buffett

He is often called the Oracle of Omaha. Warren still lives in Omaha and has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth to philanthropic causes.

Are there any rappers from Nebraska? ›

Nebraska Rappers

In previous years, years going back to the 1990s and 2000s, there were local Omaha rappers like Full Clip, King Kliff, Steelo Too Fooly, Toot, Blackguy, and a handful of others.

How do I find local underground bands? ›

Discover The Next Big Thing With These 9 Underground Music Sites
  1. Radio Reddit. Radio Reddit is a great site for finding new music created by independent artists and bands. ...
  2. Hype Machine. ...
  3. SoundCloud. ...
  4. Vimeo Music Store. ...
  5. r/ListenToThis. ...
  6. Absolute Punk.
20 Jun 2012

Who is the #1 artist right now? ›

As of October 2022, Ed Sheeran has the most monthly listeners on Spotify for a male artist, and Dua Lipa has the most monthly listeners on Spotify for a female artist. Sheeran is the most-followed male artist, and Ariana Grande is the most-followed female artist.

Who is the #1 artist on Spotify? ›

As you can see below, with just over 84 million monthly listeners, Ed Sheeran remains comfortably in the lead, despite having not released a new studio album since = in October 2021. With 84.31 million monthly listeners, Sheeran is just shy of 5 million ahead of Justin Bieber, who has 79.66 million.

Who is the No 1 singer in world? ›

Top 10 Best Singers of All Time
1Michael JacksonPop, Soul, Funk, R&B, Rock, Disco, & Dance
2Stevie WonderSoul, Pop, R&B, Funk, & Jazz
3Marvin GayeSoul, R&B, Funk, Pop, & Jazz
4Freddie MercuryHard Rock, Music Hall, Glitter, & Prog Rock
6 more rows
31 May 2022

Who is the most popular band in 2020? ›

This was determined by a variety of factors, including Billboard chart success, cultural impact, and Grammy nominations. The biggest band of 2020 is none other than K-pop sensations BTS, who just had their first No. 1 song in the US.

Is BTS bigger than The Beatles? ›

They've also both swept up a vast number of awards, BTS with a staggering 407, The Beatles with 12, bearing in mind a lot more award shows exist now compared to when The Beatles were active.

Who is the #1 artist on Spotify? ›

Most monthly listeners
RankArtistMonthly listeners (millions)
1Ed Sheeran78.13
2The Weeknd77.34
3Justin Bieber70.92
4Harry Styles68.50
27 more rows

Who is the biggest rock band currently? ›

Even so, despite the fact they literally couldn't give their last album away, U2 remain the world's biggest rock band live.


1. Dropkick Murphys "Blood" (official video)
(Dropkick Murphys)
2. Mr. Mister - Broken Wings
3. Metallica: Whiskey in the Jar (Slane Castle - Meath, Ireland - June 8, 2019)
4. Lady Gaga - Million Reasons (Official Music Video)
(Lady Gaga)
5. The Killers - Mr. Brightside (Lyrics)
(Shadow Music)
6. P.O.D. - Youth of the Nation (Official Music Video) [HD]

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