Location: Olympia, Washington Estimated Population: 47,698
If you take a trip to Washington, no matter the reason, you're probably going to Seattle. Business trip, family vacation, or tour stop, you're more likely to end up in the far Northeast of the state than the capital, which lies just about an hour drive to the south. But largely due to the work of Beat Happening's primary songwriter Calvin Johnson, Olympia is home to a disproportionally large number of bands itself. In 1982, Johnson founded K Records, which (along with his work in Beat Happening) managed to kickstart the whole American wing of twee. K was, and is to this day, a reminder of the DIY ethos that punk embodied in the first place, though its own rebellion was against punk aesthetics. Johnson's charmingly inept work as Beat Happening, and to this day under a variety of other monikers including his birth name, was a cutesy and sarcastic middle finger to the macho aspects of hardcore. Years later, a whole host of bands in Seattle made their way to major labels by appearing not to care. The difference in Johnson's case was that he actually didn't. It's hard to imagine that being possible anywhere but Olympia.