This piece is a big step away from the content we usually produce, but we thought it would be a fun offseason idea. Because, why not? NFL or Packers fandom can present itself in many ways; today we’re looking at it through the lens of music.
And full disclosure, I spent far (faaaaar) too much time on this; over 40 albums are hyperlinked in this piece.
A little background information on me, Daniel, before we dive into this piece:
I was born in Wisconsin, but grew up around the midwest often founding myself at basement punk shows. For a time I was convinced I’d be a successful traveling musician (ha!). I spent a couple years after high school playing music and occasionally touring, mostly around the midwest and northeast. After that, I threw house shows (and acoustic apartment shows) in Indianapolis and then a few in Chicago.
My idea of looking at NFL cities/states and the music I feel represents them might be a little niche — but I’ll do my best to keep it engaging for someone who has never felt the unique, musky humidity of a midwestern basement show.
OK, we got that out of the way.
Where This Idea Came From:
I want to provide this piece as a tool for Packers fans to use to get pumped up on game day (not that most Packers fans need any help). Now this may just be me, but I’ve had the thought “Well the Packers are playing the Seattle Seahawks today, so to get up for the game I’ll listen to Jimi Hendrix and Sunny Day Real Estate.” Those acts are from Seattle, obviously. They represent the city of the team Green Bay is about to play (and hopefully beat). This is a cool way to conjoin two things I enjoy — the Packers and American music.
That unconscious habit served as the inspiration for this piece. I figured I’d do every NFL city/state so no matter who is on the Packers’ schedule there will be someone or some band from that area to listen to that day.
This whole collection is highly subjective, so don’t get too mad at me. Some cities/states have one selection whereas others get two selections. Some scenes are just too good to narrow down to one musical act. If you hate it, I don’t know, make your own list? It is true these selections trend heavily toward punk bands, especially from my teenage years. Why? Because it’s fun, damnit.
For your listening pleasure, I have linked albums from the acts I specifically mentioned from each city/state.
All “Best Albums” listed are hyperlinked, so click on them to enjoy the music. I went in alphabetical order to get all 32 NFL teams listed. Here we go!
To kick things off, we start with the Arizona Cardinals. They’ve been a thorn in the Packers’ side in recent history and been on the victorious side of a couple heartbreaking games. Which I suppose makes sense, when you think about one of the formative bands of mainstream (pop) emo comes from that state. This selection was pretty easy.
Who to Listen to: Jimmy Eat World
Best Album: Bleed America
Why not go with their most iconic and influential album?
Other Acts Considered: Stevie Nicks, Alice Cooper, Dear and the Headlights. I would have mentioned Scary Kids Scaring Kids if I was still 14 years old.
Atlanta is quite an iconic city when it comes to music. Obviously much of its identity is centered around rap and hip-hop as many acts in that genre have found great commercial success, but there is more to the city’s scene that just that. Still, we had to pay respects to our favorite hip-hop group from the city. And for Rodgers, one of his best games ever came in Atlanta in the 2010 Super Bowl run. That month he was as cool and smooth as Outkast.
Who to Listen to: Outkast
Best Album: Stankonia
This duo is iconic and it’s hard to fathom how many artists they’ve influenced. This album is full of hits, so we do feel a little cheap listing it. However it’s just that good.
Other Act Considered: Manchester Orchestra
There probably aren’t two acts more different than Outkast and Manchester Orchestra, but either are great for Packers game days against the Falcons.
I honestly don’t know very much about Baltimore’s local music scene, to be honest. But when the Packers take on the Ravens, which doesn’t happen very often, there is simply one band we’d recommend throwing on.
Who to Listen to: Pianos Become the Teeth
Best Album: Keep You
This is a band that hit the scene as a heavier emo, screamo-esque act and then quickly evolved into a thoughtful, artistic group that is best suited for listening to with coffee on a Sunday morning. This album is particularly touching.
Other Acts Considered: Animal Collective
Did you know that Good Charlotte is from Maryland, too? Pretty funny. My 12 year old self it pretty bummed I didn’t choose them as the band to listen to.
The Goo Goo Dolls and Spyro Gyra are all from Buffalo, New York. So, there are definitely some interesting choices for this city. The band Damiera is also from the city, a band my old punk band played with at one point. Alas, I went in another direction for this region.
Who to Listen to: Gregory and the Hawk
Best Album: Leche
Alright, I cheated a little bit on this one. Meredith Godreau (Gregory and the Hawk) grew up in Upstate New York and I figured that was close enough to Buffalo. It’s my list, I can break whatever rules I want. When the Packers, on occasion, take on the Bills she’s a great artist to throw on. Think relaxing folk with a strong ironic wit.
Other Acts Considered: Every Time I Die
Bands from the Carolinas always seem to love their region and their music scene. Truth be told, I don’t know a damn thing about their music scene. But the bands I’ve met from there have almost always been fun, so that’s something.
Who to Listen to: The Collection
Best Album: Ars Moriendi
This is a band I’d consider friends (OK, they’ve eaten burritos with me and slept on my floor after a show). But still, their music stands on its on. This album specifically deals with doubting the religion you were born into and other heavy issues. Again, when Green Bay takes on the Panthers, this is a nice early Sunday morning album — particularly good when paired with coffee.
Other Acts Considered: The Avett Brothers
OK, full disclosure I was fairly close to some people/acts in the local Chicago music scene for a few years, but I just couldn’t help myself from naming one band before all others. This is especially true if we’re recommending to listen to them to get pumped for a Packers-Bears game.
Who to Listen to: Alkaline Trio
Best Album: Good Mourning
I didn’t have a choice. This band is just so much fun. OK, well the first four albums are so much fun. Their later stuff, eh, doesn’t do it for me. But if you like pop-punk music with a straight-forward structure and hellish lyrics, they’re the perfect band to listen to. For the record, 13 year old me would have chosen From here to Infirmary as the best album.
Who to Listen to: Into It. Over It.
Best Album: Proper
This is just a fun, fun album. Easy listening, as far as midwestern emo goes. Evan Weiss is a guy I’ve met a few times in a few different cities; this is my favorite project of his. This album specifically rises above the rest.
Other Acts Considered: Cap’n Jazz, Rise Against
If you’re a fan of the classics, you really can’t go wrong with throwing on Earth, Wind & Fire, Chicago or The Smashing Pumpkins.
I love the city of Cincinnati. However the local music scene has always left a little to be desired for me. I don’t have a favorite band or artist from Cincy and I’ve never played a show there that’s worth a damn. But that doesn’t mean the city hasn’t boasted some incredible musicians over the years.
Who to Listen to: The National
Best Album: The National
Their debut album holds up as their best album. They hit the ground running and there’s just something uniquely American about their sound. It’s an honest album and listening to this on a Cincy-Green Bay game day would never be a bad idea. This selection was heavily influenced by my wife.
Who to Listen to: Bootsy Collins
Best Album: Stretchin’ Out in Bootsy’s Rubber Band
When it comes to funk music, Bootsy is as big and fun as it gets. This is an album that kicked off an incredible career.
Other Act Considered: Foxy Shazam
This was a ridiculous band that an old band of mine played with at a festival in Michigan. Do I like them? Not really, but were interesting and full of energy.
So Cleveland was a tough city to choose the acts for here. I do hold a personal grudge as Cleveland was, by far, the worst city I played in on a couple tours. It could have just been the venues that were booked, but man, not fun. But still, it has had some legendary bands come out of its metropolitan area.
Who to Listen to: Signals Midwest
Best Album: Latitudes and Longitudes
First off, fantastic band name. Second, I consider this band a more belligerent The Appleseed Cast, with a more conventional pop-punk outlook.
Other Acts Considered: Nine Inch Nails (this isn’t a band that I’m into at all… but I respect the niche they’ve carved out for themselves). Also, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Raspberries.
The fact that Vanilla Ice is from Dallas just has to be mentioned. I don’t know why, but it does. Meat Loaf, too. And then there’s Stevie Ray Vaughan, who tragically died in a helicopter crash in Wisconsin at the age of 35. But still, when it comes to the genres of music I throughout enjoy, Dallas didn’t as much to offer as I would have guessed.
Who to Listen to: Riverboat Gamblers
Best Album: To the Confusion of Our Enemies
An ode to punk music of old, this album is pure energy, pure fun. The hooks are catchy and I don’t see any reason why this album shouldn’t be put on the morning of a Packers-Cowboys game. It’ll definitely get you going!
Other Acts Considered: Nervebreakers, Teenage Cool Kids
Denver confounded me when it came to thinking about music from the area. I expected a longer list of impactful bands from the region, but like… The Fray? The Lumineers? Fine, I suppose. But the next time the Packers play the Broncos, I can’t promise the artist I went with will pump you up. I can promise that he makes pretty music though.
Who to Listen to: Gregory Alan Isakov
Best Album: This Empty Northern Hemisphere
This album is a contemplative, easy-listening American folk masterpiece. It delivers on its premise and would be a really nice way to ease into game day.
Other Acts Considered: Breathe Carolina
OK, so having grown up in mid-michigan and playing a good bit of music in Detroit and the surrounding areas there were a lot of directions to go with the Detroit selection. I have a ton of respect for Detroit’s historic music scene. Motown stands on its own reputation. However, when I really thought about it, one band rose to the top.
Who to Listen to: Bear Vs. Shark
Best Album: Terrorhawk
It’s just perfection. It’s chaotic, crude, intense and still refined. If you’re a fan of punk rock or progressive rock and haven’t listened to them, they might just be your new favorite band. This album is just so much fun.
Other Acts Considered: MC5, The Temptations, The Supremes, The Suicide Machines, The White Stripes (not for me, but I definitely get it), Iggy Pop (from Michigan, not Detroit)
Detroit has such an incredible music history doesn’t it? Endless legends to choose from and I didn’t even mention Bob Seger, Eminem or many other acts that have sold millions of records.
Also, my friend Jeremy Waun puts out fantastic lo-fi acoustic, folk-ish music. Check him out!
Green Bay Packers:
When it comes to the Packers we think it’s more than fair to be able to pull from both Green Bay and Milwaukee considering those are that team’s legitimate markets. Plus, the Packers played multiple games a year in Milwaukee from 1933 to 1994 and still reserve two home games a year to fans in Milwaukee.
Who to Listen to: The Promise Ring
Best Album: Nothing Feels Good
This band is emo royalty. Enough said. As far as midwest emo goes, very few acts have been more influential. This album is suitable any Packers game day; the midwestern vibes (if that makes sense) are palpable. So many bands that came after them tried to replicate their sound. Our collective Packers fandom can be proud of their contributions to the American emo music scene.
This, of course, is a band that you can listen to for any Packers game!
Other Acts Considered: Violent Femmes and Bon Iver (they almost count, the frontman is from Eau Claire, WI after all).
I simply have to mention that my best friend in the world is a Milwaukee-based artist and was in the short-lived, but legendary ‘screamo’ band Scowler (vocals) and now composes for and fronts an incredible, but more conceptual, symphonic band called Social Caterpillar. That’s him in the cover photo for this piece.
If you’re into honest, interesting music you simply have to check Social Caterpillar out! Here’s their bandcamp/discography. Do it! Once COVID is more under control, you’ll likely be able to see them on tour in a city near you.
And of course, we have to acknowledge and link to the greatest song ever written in the state of Wisconsin, a polka-classic by the Happy Schnapps Combo:
It’s just beautiful.
Houston isn’t the first city I think of when it comes to music. Honestly, it’s not the first city I think of when considering NFL teams either. Well, okay, the Oilers’ logo and ascetic was incredible. But I digress… Beyonce and Destiny’s Child really take the cake here, right? It’s not exactly my preferred genre of music, but it’s undeniable. Especially Beyonce’s newer music. ZZ Top is from there, too. That’s about all I have to say about that.
Who to Listen to: Days N’ Days
Best Album: Rogue Taxidermy
This band is incredibly fun. Think punk-folk or rockabilly music unapologetically and crudely delivered. It’s chaotic, which perfectly sums up the Houston Texans at the moment. Chaotic franchise, chaotic band. Makes sense to me.
Other Acts Considered: Fenix TX
I only mention them because they were one of those pop-punk bands from the turn of the century that will always stick with me. Haven’t listened to them in about 15 years, but certainly wouldn’t frown if you threw them on the jukebox the next time I’m at a dive bar.
Having lived in Indy for a few years while going to college I got involved in the local scene. Most of the bands I knew are long broken up, but to me, there’s one Indy-based band that stands above the rest.
Who to Listen to: Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s
Best Album: The Dust of Retreat
This band is so near and dear to my heart, but as goddamn hipster as it is to say, I only like their early stuff. This album is everything that’s great about them as a band even though it doesn’t include their hit “Broad Ripple is Burning.”
Other Acts Considered: The Contortionist (not a huge fan personally, but I respect them. If you love heavy, heavy music then check them out).
Florida currently has three NFL teams and there are numerous bands from all over the state that could be included for the different teams. However when the Packers are taking on a Florida team, I think it’s never a bad idea to throw on some pop punk.
Who to Listen to: You Blew It!
Best Album: Keep Doing What You’re Doing
When myself and my wife (my girlfriend at the time) were living in Chicago she wrote for an underground music outlet. She interviewed this band before and that’s what got me interested in their music.
Other Acts Considered: The Allman Brothers Band, Yellowcard (if I was 13 years old gain),
Kansas City Chiefs:
Having never been to Kansas City I can’t make any recommendations as to the best local bands, but as far as iconic bands… there’s one that rises to the top. They’re a good act to put on to get in a chill headspace before the Packers take on Patrick Mahomes and their mammoth of an offense.
Who to Listen to: The Get Up Kids
Best Album: Something to Write Home About
It’s a fun album, it’s an influential album and again, it’s going to help quell any anxiety you may be feeling about the Packers’ upcoming matchup with the Chiefs.
Other Acts Considered: Reggie and the Full Effect
I made a joke online once that a 90’s or emo cover band in Wisconsin should call themselves “Reggie and the Favre Effect” and no one laughed. So, yeah.
Las Vegas Raiders:
Las Vegas might as well be considered the epicenter of entertainment in America. Sorry Los Angeles, sorry New York. I’ve had to travel to Vegas for work for the last few years and let me say, it’s fun, but exhausting. When it comes to throwing on music from bands that come from there, just know you’re going to have some flamboyant bands to choose from.
Who to Listen to: The Killers
Best Album: Hot Fuss
There isn’t much to say about this album. It is exactly what it is. Fun, approachable, and they represent the city of Las Vegas well.
Other Acts Considered: Panic! At The Disco
I would guess this would be a band that many people would choose to represent Vegas. Many people, I’m sure. Not me, but many. They have fun, I suppose, so I shouldn’t be snooty. There’s something for everyone out there.
POURING ONE OUT FOR OAKLAND:
I feel for the people of Oakland. The team should still be there. But if you ever want to watch old Packers/Oakland highlights (you know the game I’m talking about), be sure to throw on the group listed below on.
Who to Listen to: The Coup
Best Album: Sorry to Bother You
The song, “The Guillotine” is an all-timer. Trust me. As far as rap groups go, few are as hilarious and intelligent as The Coup.
Los Angeles Chargers/Rams:
OK, let me start off by saying that there are an incredible amount of bands from LA worth mentioning. We couldn’t come close to naming all of the worthy contenders.
Who to Listen to: Touche Amore
Best Album: Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me
Honestly, they haven’t ever put out a bad album, but that’s the one I listed to in college, so that’s the winner. I don’t make the rules.
Who to Listen to: Blink-182
Best Album: Enema of the State
Lets not overthink things here, okay? When the Packers are facing a team from LA, throw on the pop-punk kings. Is the music good? I don’t know. Probably not, but they’re icons and this album is pure fun. Also, the nostalgia burns just the way you like it.
POURING ONE OUT FOR ST. LOUIS:
This is for the time that the Rams were in St. Louis. And for when the NFL inevitably comes back to St. Louis and then eventually leaves for LA again.
Who to Listen to: Foxing
Best Album: Grand Paradise
The Albatross will always be my favorite Foxing album, but Grand Paradise is definitely the best. These midwestern emo boys make such beautiful music and have grown so much over the last decade. They deserve your listen; maybe throw them on when the Packers play the Rams just for old time’s sake. Their newest album, Draw Down The Moon, is actually probably their best album. But it’s so new, I want to let it breathe for a little bit.
POURING ONE OUT FOR SAN DIEGO:
The Chargers were in San Diego for the entirety of their history before, sadly, moving to LA. So to honor that history, we have to mention a band we adore.
Who to Listen to: Pinback
Best Album: Pinback
This album is so chill, so clean and a perfect balance between math rock, emo and indie vibes. Personally, I could listen to this band everyday, but I especially will when the Packers take on the Chargers.
Also you simply cannot talk music and Los Angeles right now and not mention Phoebe Bridgers. My wife started listening to her last year and now I’m hooked, too. She’s probably my favorite solo act in LA right now. So freaking good.
Lynyrd Skynyrd is from Miami, apparently. Which was the weirdest realization I had while compiling this list. Although the more I thought about it, the more it started to make sense.
Who to Listen to: I Set My Friends on Fire
Best Album: You Can’t Spell Slaughter Without Laughter
This band, and this album specifically, is a time capsule to an era of alternative American music. It’s goofy. There is screaming, growling, heavy gain, but it’s also not conventionally heavy by any means. It’s just a good time, not a good album.
Other Acts Considered: The Monas
Minneapolis/St. Paul has a great music scene and there were a few good options (including smaller band like Victor Shores), but I decided to go the route of most fun. That is the band that’s listed below.
Who to Listen to: Motion City Soundtrack
Best Album: Commit This To Memory
This album steps on the gas from the beginning and doesn’t let up on it’s anxiety-filled, failed love, but enjoying-life-despite-it-all ethos throughout the whole record. No, the music isn’t amazing, but for what it is, it’s done amazingly-well.
Other Acts Considered: Prince (duh)
Obviously throwing on a Prince album on a Vikings game day is never a bad idea either. The Replacements deserve a mention. Banner Pilot probably doesn’t, but I’m going to mention them anyway.
New England Patriots:
Boston is known for having a tough music scene, a tough comedy scene, and well, maybe it’s just a tough city all the way around? Kind of like Philly, but a little more refined due to the world class universities that surround it. Boston’s hardcore scene has produced a plethora of notable bands, but to us, one rises above. When Green Bay faces this team (even without Tom Brady) it always seems like a good day to put on some heavy, angry jams.
Who to Listen to: Have Heart
Best Album: Songs To Scream At The Sun
If you’re in the mood to just play some music particularly loud, this is the album to put on. To me, this album is like a time capsule to the year I graduated high school.
Other Acts Considered: Defeater
They’re just as loud as Have Heart, but are probably a bit more commercially digestible, as far as hardcore music goes.
New Orleans Saints:
Few cities in the country has as deep of a cultural history as New Orleans. Music is a big part o that culture, no doubt, however for my music taste there isn’t a ton of meat on the bone. I am well aware that is more of an indictment on me than the city of New Orleans, but what can I say? When the Packers play the Saints though, there is one band I’ll specifically throw on.
Who to Listen to: Donovan Wolfington
Best Album: How to Treat the Ones You Love
Are they the best band from New Orleans? Of course not. There are tons of talented musicians in New Orleans. Great jazz, great blues and much more. However, I went with a fun pop-punk band instead because that’s just who I am.
Other Acts Considered: Mutemath
New York Giants/Jets:
The New York City teams are tough for a two reasons. One, there are so many great musicians from the city that it makes it impossible to narrow down. And two, these two teams play in New Jersey.
A younger me probably would have chosen Bayside as a band to listen to and that’s probably why I, uh, got a ‘Bayside is a cult’ tattoo when I was 18. What’re ya gonna do, right? Kids are stupid even when kids are me.
Who to Listen to: Dead Prez
Best Album: Let’s Get Free
Particularly this album. It’s probably one of the more important albums of our time, politically speaking. Their later stuff goes off the rails for me a bit, but this singular album remains fantastic.
Who to Listen to: Thursday
Best Album: Full Collapse
This is a nod to the fact that these teams play in New Jersey and also to the fact that Thursday influenced so many of the bands I grew to love. Plus this album is better than anything a New York band has put out. Not sorry.
Other Acts Considered: Bayside
Honestly, there are a hundred other bands/acts I could put here. But since Bayside compelled a younger me to get a tattoo, they get the shoutout.
As a whole, Eagles fans are known for being pretty ruthless, but I do enjoy visiting Philly and the music scene there has always been impressive.
Who to Listen to: mewithoutYou
Best Album: Brother, Sister
This was perhaps the easiest decision on the whole list for me. This band knows exactly who they are. If you’re into art that has a deconstructionist view of religion set to creative tunes, they’re your new band.
Who to Listen to: The Wonder Years
Best Album: No Closer To Heaven
The Wonder Years a modern day pop-punk royalty, if you ask me. They started as a joke and quickly grew into one of the most fun bands in the country. When the Packers take on the Eagles you can be I’m throwing this album on.
Other Acts Considered: Modern Baseball, Tigers Jaw*, The Mezingers*
For those who love classic tunes, Hall & Oates is your go-to jam when the Packers play the Eagles.
Note: *The Mezingers & Tigers Jaw are from Scranton, PA. So they fall closer to Philly than Pittsburgh, but they’re also a fun bands worthy of mention that fall into the pop-punk, emo mold.
The Steel City has an eclectic music scene. It’s anything but boring and again, there are some acts from other parts in PA that aren’t included here. We stuck just to Pittsburgh for this list. No, we didn’t include Wiz Khalifa, but if he’s your jam, right on.
Who to Listen to: Anti-Flag
Best Album: Die for the Government
To be clear, Anti-Flag is not anti-America. They’re patriotic, just in their own way. They are staunchly anti-war, that’s for sure. They’re a good listen if you’re feeling politically frustrated, but like many bands they’ve fallen off with recent releases. It happens, they’ve been putting out records since the mid-90s. However, this album holds up.
Who to Listen to: Mac Miller
Best Album: Swimming
It’s tragic that Mac Miller isn’t with us anymore, but his impact on music in Pittsburgh and beyond remains strong. The Packers don’t play the Steelers often, but when they do, this is a must-listen. His album Circles is fantastic, too, but Swimming remains the best upbeat game day album.
Other Acts Considered: Code Orange
They’re the heaviest band listed on this entire piece. If you’re into that, give them a listen!
San Francisco 49ers:
San Francisco has an incredibly rich music scene and the 49ers have a rich history of success as an organization. The Packers and the 49ers have a long history, too, with both teams being atop the rivalry at various times. For the act chosen for this city I had to go with a fun band that is one of my best friend’s Scott favorite bands.
Who to Listen to: Two Gallants
Best Album: What The Toll Tells
This band, although chaotic at times, knows exactly who they are. It’s fun music to throw on and it fits into the vibe of a 49ers-Packers game. Those games are always tense, so I didn’t think relaxing music really fit the vibe for this matchup.
Other Acts Considered: Dead Kennedys, Santana, Third Eye Blind
OK, I know I listed Jimi Hendrix and Sunny Day Real Estate in the intro (and they’re both worth listening to when the Packers go up against the Seahawks), but I went in a different direction for Seattle’s selections.
Who to Listen to: Minus the Bear
Best Album: Menos el Oso
This is one of my favorite bands and one of my favorite forks of 2000’s emo music; some would call it math rock, I guess. I really wouldn’t, but who cares. Nothing matters anyway.
Who to Listen to: The Blood Brothers
Best Album: …Burn, Piano Island, Burn
They’re chaotic, they’re loud, they’re crude and they’re worth every second. Think spastic post-hardcore punk with the sloppiness of grunge, but none of the radio appeal.
Other Acts Considered: Obviously Jimi Hendrix and Sunny Day Real Estate, but also Heart, Band of Horses. You can keep Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and the Foo Fighters. Nirvana can stay.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
I didn’t have a great reference point for the Tampa music scene and once I started to look, it didn’t get any better. I don’t know what it is. I love the city of Tampa, I like walking around Ybor city, I love the fresh seafood, I could go on forever, but the music scene just doesn’t move the needle for me personally.
Who to Listen to: From First to Last
Best Album: Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has A Body Count
So… this was definitely a case of “I liked this band when I was 15, so, they’re good.” Are they good? Eh, it’s hard to say. Probably not, but the Tampa music scene didn’t blow me away when doing research for this piece.
Ultimately, I’d say listen to whatever music gets you pumped up for the next time these two teams play, which might be in the playoffs this year. For the right person of a certain age, this album is definitely nostalgic.
Other Acts Considered: Set It Off
Apparently Trans-Siberian Orchestra is from Tampa. I have nothing more to say about that, but it’s noteworthy.
Obviously there could be any number of country bands listed here — good country acts, too. But since I am not particularly into country music I’ve decided to sidestep the genre. My fiancee would probably be upset if I didn’t mention that Paramore was from Nashville. But ultimately, a different band took to ‘who to listen to’ slot.
Who to Listen to: Free Throw
Best Album: Those Days Are Gone
I saw these guys play in Indianapolis, when I lived there, a few times. They put on a great live show. Surely this album would be fun to throw on the next time Green Bay faces off against the Titans. They have the *most* 2010s midwest sound of perhaps any band. Which is funny cause they’re not even from the midwest. If that interests you, check ’em out!
Other Acts Considered: Paramore (this one is for my wife, Ashlee, and her nostalgia)
Obviously there are hundreds of country acts and bands from Nashville worthy of mention. It’s not exactly my scene, but I respect their talents.
Washington Football Team:
Washington DC is one of the east coast’s strongest music scenes and I suppose that makes sense given the ever-present political backdrop. When the Packers go up against, well, whatever the hell this team is called in the future, this is the band to throw on.
Who to Listen to: Fugazi
Best Album: 13 Songs
There’s no reason to not go with a classic. As far as American punk/alternative music goes there are few bands more iconic than Fugazi. Why not yell along to “Waiting Room” before kickoff? That’s also what my Indianapolis house show venue was called “The Waiting Room.” So they had to be the choice for DC.
Other Acts Considered: Minor Threat
Again, you can never go wrong with the classics, right?
Other Packers-Music-City Connections:
OK, these aren’t really “connections” so much as excuses to list some bands and albums that I really like. These are some musical acts near to my heart, and worth your time, that didn’t fit into the 32 teams above.
Since this is my stupid list I chose to include them. If you don’t like that, well, why the hell are you still reading this?
Salt Lake City, UT:
The Alliance of American Football was a short-lived league, but had it existed many Packers fans would likely be ‘fans’ of the Salt Lake Stallions. They were Green Bay’s affiliated team. So, because that existed for a short time we’ll dive into that area of the country.
Who to Listen to: The Used
Best Album: The Used
Few albums have ever been more perfectly put together. And that’s not just my nostalgia talking… I don’t think, anyway. You can keep every other album they put out though, I’m good.
El Paso, TX:
As far as I’m concerned the Utah-based band, The Used, put out only one album — their self-titled. They (technically) put out other albums, but we don’t need to acknowledge that. I’m certain this album is an all-time great album, although it could be my nostalgia talking.
In honor of Aaron Jones re-signing with the Green Bay Packers, everyone should listen to the best band from his hometown of El Paso, TX.
Who to Listen to: At The Drive-In
Best Album: Relationship of Command
This is their best album, but In/Casino/Out is my favorite. There may not be band more influential to me, and many of my friends, than At The Drive-In. Of course, went ATDI broke up we were gifted The Mars Volta and Sparta. This group truly did put El Paso on the musical map.
Ahman Green, the Packers’ all-time leading rusher and the man that Aaron Jones is looking to overtake, is from Omaha, NE. So, we figured we should honor a few great musicians from there.
Who to Listen to: Elliott Smith
Best Album: Either/Or
Although From a Basement on a Hill is a strong contender for best album, just like pretty much all of his records are. He’s my favorite musician of all-time. His life was beautiful and a tragedy and Either/Or is a good album to put on after a tough Packers loss. Lean into the pain. Smith was born in Omaha, but spent most of his career on the west coast.
Who to Listen to: Cursive
Best Album: The Ugly Organ
It’s just one of those albums that you have to listen to on vinyl to fully appreciate. It’s a fantastic record and worth your time.
Who to Listen to: Bright Eyes
Best Album: I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
Not to go too far down a Saddle Creek Records rabbit hole, but I do think Conor Oberst’s most famous band deserves some attention here. This album is good. A few of their albums are pretty damn good.
Ahman Green’s hometown has had some pretty impressive musicians come out of it in the last 30 years. That strange little city certainly punches above its weight class.
To pay tribute to an absolute fan-favorite wide receiver, Jordy Nelson, we head to a state that doesn’t have an NFL team. Nelson, born in Kansas, has caught the second-most touchdowns in Packers history.
Who to Listen to: The Appleseed Cast
Best Album: Mare Vitalis
Just an incredible band that had many noteworthy releases, but for me, this album is the best.
To give a nod to David Bakhtiari’s part Icelandic heritage, we figured we’d mention the most famous band from Iceland. They’re a perfect band to listen to after a Packers game, win or loss, to unwind and reflect with.
Who to Listen to: Sigur Ros
Best Album: Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
This record is just pure bliss. Relax and enjoy.
Harry Styles, a big-time Packers fan, has to be included as well. He’s from England, but his dedication to the team makes him a must-mention on this piece. I don’t particularly love his style of pop music, but I do understand it’s ‘good’ and he’s one of the more adored single male artists on the planet right now. So he’s clearly doing something right. I’m just a weirdo writing about him on a Packers piece for some reason.
Who to Listen to: Harry Styles
Best Album: Fine Line
I don’t know what his best album is, so I chose his newest album. But if you like him I’m sure you have an opinion on the matter. Still, if the Packers ever play in London, I’ll throw this album on!
Alright… so was this an incredibly random way to celebrate my Packers fandom? Yes, of course, but I had a lot fun with it. Hopefully you found a few new bands to listen to along the way — especially as the 2021 season unfolds and the Packers play many of the teams on this list.
Go Pack Go!