Three Nebraska Bands to Watch: via Josh Soto, Dominique Morgan and Jeff Harder

The complexity and vastness of Nebraska’s robust music scene presents a unique conundrum. Often, acts that deserve attention — for hustle, quality, intrigue, whatever — fly under the radar, no matter if they’re wet behind the ears or grizzled veterans.

We polled musicians, promoters and venue owners to get a sense of which bands are killing it but for whatever reason haven’t received the requisite attention. Read on for the latest pair of responses, as High Up’s Josh Soto, R&B singer Dominique Morgan and Hand Painted Police Car’s Jeff Harder each give three must-see Nebraska acts.

Which bands are on your list? Email explaining which ones and why.

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Josh Soto, High Up

photo by Chris Dinan

Band 1: Slow Stoics

The core of this band are brothers Thommy & Danny Berger-Deroos, and I have been a fan since they started back when Danny was still in Jr. High! Their musicianship surpasses their age by decades. Slow Stoics write songs that bring warm, comforting rays of aural sunshine to the listener, and you can’t help but sway to their grooves when you see them live. Slow Stoics released their debut album (which has been in the works for the past few years) April 15 at the Slowdown.

photo by Chloe Ekberg

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Band 2: Ridgelines

I have known Mike Johnson for years now, and we played together in the band Feel Tight. Ridgelines is the actualization of an artist who has discovered their pure, true voice. Imagine instrumental beats guided by spacey melodies & samples built to be the soundtrack of a camping trip to Yosemite. Ridgelines makes the music that takes you to the tops of mountains, and deep into space on a starry night. Check Ridgelines out next April 23rd at Milk Run!

photo by Will Stott

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Band 3: Hand Painted Police Car

Straight up, these dudes kick ass! HPPC are disciples of old-school punk rock that take me back to my hometown of Venice, CA. Rick Agnew picked them to open for him a while back at the Lookout Lounge, and that’s when I was baptized by their swift guitar, deft bass, and powerhouse drums. Frontman Danny Vigilante also keeps the crowd energy focused and pumping. I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with them at HN’s Take Cover show at O’Leaver’s, and after hanging with them I can say they are really sweet dudes as well!

photo by Gerald Glaza

Dominique Morgan, singer/songwriter

photo by Cara Wilwerding

Band 1: Jus. B

If you listen to the title track from his album Party Soul and dont get up and move you might wanna see a doctor … because you’re dead. Jus.B has one of the most amazing voices in our scene – clean and clear but layered with soul. If Luther Vandross had an heir apparent it would be him.

photo by James Dean

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Band 2: M.O.B Squad Click

Hip Hop needs new blood and these guys are it. Heavy beats and rhymes based on real life experience. Everything they put out gives you a birds eye view into living, growing and surviving as a young black man in America. They are what’s next for me in Hip Hop.

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Band 3: Cat Deluca

So I’m all about allyship and supporting female musicians in a world where they have to fight 10 times harder than the rest of us. That being said I don’t just dole out my support all willy-nilly. I’ve watched her craft her album in studio over the last year and I can say she is dopeness personified. She is brash and confident and innovative. Whether on the guitar or the keys in the word of Beyonce – “she slays all day”.

photo by Nickolai Hammar

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Jeff Harder, Hand Painted Police Car

photo by Marco Meyer

Band 1:  Super Moon

These guys are one of my favorite bands on the scene right now. Great riffs and a real Sabbath style swing and groove to go with some great early thrash vibes. Stonerlicious.


photo by Adam LaRose

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Band 2: No Thanks

Another of my favorites right now. For the younger generation to come up with a vintage punk sound and stage presence is a real treat. They harness a classic Dead Kennedys guitar sound and shake it up with a Bauhaus vibe that shines through. And the antics of the singer always keep you guessing. Great band.

photo by Lindsey Yoneda

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Band 3: Montee Men

Talk about a power trio. The brute force of [drummer Matt] Baum and [guitarist Chris] Laughlin from Desaparecidos and Pro Magnum respectively channel volume and aggression into a neat little package. Then add Chris Kelley has an immense fuzz bass growl.


photo by Adam LaRose