When he first moved to Baltimore almost 10 years ago, Artscape visual arts coordinator Jim Lucio got quizzical looks from his friends in New York. "Why Baltimore? When are you coming back?" they would ask. Back then, Baltimore had a vibrant stable of bands -- Fascist, Fascist; Lungfish and Oxes, for instance -- but they weren't getting name-checked in Rolling Stone. That all changed a few years ago, when Dan Deacon, the Get 'Em Mamis and Wye Oak helped bring our scene into the national spotlight. "People don't ask me that 'When are you moving back?' question anymore," Lucio said. "It's sort of obvious." The recent shift says more about people outside Baltimore than it does about the city's music, which has long been eclectic and compelling. But it's undeniable that since the city's musicians have been getting more recognition, others have been drawn here to follow in their footsteps. Indie rock and Baltimore Club dominate, but there's so much genre cross-pollination that you have art rock-meets-jam bands like Animal Collective (pictured) and Future Islands alongside Baltimore Club DJs and hip-hop breakouts like Rye Rye. Want to learn more about Baltimore bands? It's as easy as ABC. Here are some of the most well-known acts around, organized "Sesame Street" style.
Josh Sisk, BALTIMORE SUN