Research Triangle, NC
The towns of Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham that make up North Carolina's university-centric Research Triangle share more than just a love of college basketball. The area overflows with a booming music scene as bands perform at over 100 venues like Cat's Cradle, Pour House, and Local 506, in addition to under-the-radar festivals like Hopscotch Music Festival.
The area is home to acts such as Ryan Adams and Ben Folds Five, but its real power center is Merge Records, one of indie rock's defining music labels, and its standout roster of iconic local acts like Superchunk, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and Archers of Loaf. If that's not enough, the more blues/country-oriented Yep Roc Records is based in nearby Hillsborough with worldwide distributor Redeye Distribution also close by in Haw River.