Ourstage College Clash: Review of the Best College Bands in New England

Quinn Strassel told me this. I didn’t say that they were the Best College Bands in New England. But Ourstage did, and have gone through heavy toil to build a really good website to democratize the value of bands in the eyes of the common people. There are small quirks and problems to how the system works, but I could say this might be the best system I can find on the net that can define what people think is good and what sucks ( My band, The History Righters, suck on here. I am FUMING ON THE OUTSIDE, but crying naked in the fetal position on the inside.)

Four Bands: I will review them, and tell you Ourstage’s winner, including my own true winner. Let’s take a look shall we.

Zach Hillyard Band
The Zach Hillyard Band

This band is pretty slick. They have that good tight sound coordination with the organ sound and the bass. The guitar complements it all with coming in with great rhythm riffs. The lead singer has decent lyrics; they come off pretty strong although I can pretty much say they are radio pop to a beat ( I just think if Maroon 5 stole music, this band could easily be a victim, and vice-versa).

Throughout all of that, I can’t see this band being the best in all the six states of the fake-liberal federation. The sound, really reminiscent of Maroon 5, Vertical Horizon, Dave Matthews, & all of that non-controversial soft rock, doesn’t place it anywhere to define it as “amazing”. As a live band, and given their tightness with their instruments, I think they are worth seeing.

But to place this band anywhere as someone I am going to Digg or post a youtube love video about them, would give me the chance to simultaneously shave my pubes and throw pieces of them at my girl while she is showering. Because if I am going to be crazy enough to like this band, I probably will be crazy enough to shave my pubes and decide to chuck them at the people I love the most. Sorry Zach!


Brian Bergeron

Two Soft Rock Bands are vying for the title of Best college Bands in New England? Out of all the people making bands, buying synths, snorting coke, ranting about Coco Crisp vs. Jacoby, being fake-liberals and squirming over minorities moving into their neighborhoods, being fake-conservatives and whining about losing tax subsidies on business, being fake-libertarians and simultaneously condemn corporate ownership… woah, big digression. Most of it is just hateful lies:)

Ok, back to cocaine, snorting coke, ranting about sports, being around all types of crazy people, selling their guitars to survive the recession, playing music at Berklee or the Conservatory, having a record collection that is worth a two-story house, drinking and throwing stuff out of windows, starting sports riots, doing covers of Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, experimenting with a band with 5 telecasters etc. You think with all of this madness that occurs ( or could occur since the last two paragraphs were bullshit) that the band would have a little more balls and less Americana than Briano sticking his guitar in my direction ( nice pic though ).

I am not against the Country/ Americana genre. If anything, the musicians in these bands have more experience and abilities to create music than most other types of groups out there. But there is so much of it out there, and it is easily popularized with an Abercrombie background music vocal, motionless lyrics, and a cute frontman who has nice hair and puppy-dog eyes ( Can you see these types of bands with a lead singer who looks like this?).

It takes VERY LITTLE to make this genre sound good and it always is good enough to pass by other bands who were easily better, but probably not received as quickly.

Everything about this band is OK, and the lyrics are sparse ( which make the riffs even more redundant when you don’t hear much in front of it).

When they do have lyrics, some are pretty good ( ” When I ran into you in the bar by mistake/ The guy you were with I almost punched in the mouth”), but like his actions, his music halted from doing the unnatural, performing the untamed. It is tamed, it has no emotion, it didn’t punch me in the mouth, and I shake my head, wishing that it would.

Last two bands are equal to me. They lack the ummphh I need that would want me to listen to them more than once. But fans, you fucking picked them! And you wonder why Dick Cheney is an asshole and does his shit without regard to popular American thought.


Sam R-P

Sam R-P ( Is he in the world of Tron?)

His music is actually not that bad, and it varies from song to song. In the song Remember, he has a girl backing up vocals. It is pretty decent, but it is pretty tame. This is a song I feel I have heard in many a dorm rooms, while the dealer passes an 8th you know is .2 short of the mark. But hey, the market’s tumbling, so daddy’s money will save you at least another year of free drugs. And the dealer always has chill parties with girls and Pabst; are you complaining? I hope not.

Although his songs are nice, it reminds me nothing more than a decent jam session between roommates that knew each other for about two years, and they like Dylan, Velvet, STP, Zep, Hendrix, and maybe Pearl Jam ( Magic Sky riff is familiar).

” A shooting start knows where we are/ because its watching from above all day long.” Shooting stars are never there all day long. I know I am harping on the smallest lyric which could mean anything, but most of the lyrics aren’t really good.

“In a Dream” is actually really well done. I enjoy listening to this song; if more songs folow that emotion, I can see how this guy can go above the latter two bands.


Ameranouche is a string trio instrumental, and by far the most unique band of the four. I don’t want to guarantee them as winners because I think their is a method to easily be instrumental than it is to write and produce songs. But nonetheless, I really enjoy listening to the band.

I have little to say about them because like the others, they don’t float over as something different. But they do approach that realm, and is a band I will give more a listen to in the future as I find more content.

Spike’s Blues is a really fun song to listen to. Wouldn’t be surprised if a publishing deal to place it in a movie or show would be on the way in their futures.

The Ourstage Winner for Best College Band in New England:
winner ourstage The Zach Hillyard Band

They won it because of music fundamentals and doing everything right. In sports, that is the equivalent to watching the New Jersey Devils trap defense. My vote for the best band by far goes to Ameranouche. But, I do understand people’s short attention span for virtuoso instrumentals ( I tune off even when my friends try to play John McLaughlin, but will go nuts over Castle Made of Sand.).

This wasn’t done to showcase great bands ( except for Ameranouche ) but to showcase the good job Ourstage.com is doing and hopefully lead more sensible people to come around and check out the talent. For now, the Americana Pop is getting a lot of high praise from this contest. Let’s hope these contest pools won’t be as diluted in the future.

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