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    By Colin Joyce

    Every band with a mind for long-term success makes its way to New York City. Or Los Angeles. Or Seattle. Or Boston, Chicago, Portland, Austin, or Atlanta. It's easier to find a crowd, to play shows, to become a part of established communities and mechanisms for the promotion and distribution of your music if you make your way to a place that bands actually play.

    There are, however, some notable exceptions. There are ambient composers in secluded Georgia forests, bearded folkies in cabins in Wisconsin, notable songwriters stowed away in desolate areas of California. Sometimes it works better to not play into the system, to stay unplugged, to not force yourself to succumb to the pressure cooker that is a major market. What follows is an exploration of 15 of the best active bands plying their craft far off of the beaten path, an examination of their motivations, and how their locales inform their art.