I’ve always dreamed of living in a city with a burgeoning music scene. Going somewhere thriving such as Portland, Austin, Seattle or Nashville would be great, but even better is the possibility of landing in a city where the indie scene is either in its infancy or adolescence.
It appears as though my wish may have finally been granted. Just a few months before I arrived in my new home of Madison, Wis., the city’s first breakout act, PHOX, released its self-titled debut album in June.
The group received plenty of buzz from top tastemakers and earned some best-of-the-year nods. And deservedly so.
The group, which is actually based an hour north of here in Baraboo — just outside of tourist trap Wisconsin Dells — officially formed in the spring of 2011 when singer Monica Martin joined a collection of musicians for what was supposed to be a one-off performance at a local show.
Fast-forward nearly four years, and the group has released a pair of EPs, opened for such bands as Blitzen Trapper and The Lumineers and recorded its LP in Justin Vernon’s home studio in Eau Claire, Wis.
The music itself revolves around Martin’s stirring lyrics and voice, backed by solid instrumentation from Davey Roberts (drums), Matt Roberts (keyboard), Jason Krunnfusz (bass), Matthew Holmen and Zach Johnston.
PHOX are currently touring the eastern half of the country before hitting the festival scene this spring and summer, where they’re sure to see their fan base grow exponentially.