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Sure, you've heard of the 10,000 Maniacs. And the Goo Goo Dolls are becoming a household name. But did you know that there are other really great local bands that are just as talented? You didn't? Well, then, it's my job to introduce you to Buffalo's local music scene.

The first band up is Indispute. I went to school with the three guys in this band, and let me tell you, they're awesome! This band is totally punk.

I know, I know. You're probably thinking that punk means the same three chords over and over again. Wrong! This band is probably the first punk band that can count past three! (No offense intended.) Indispute combines frank, honest lyrics with cool guitar chords. They've had several member changes and a few rocky spots, but with a new bass player on board, they're back and better than ever. Indispute hasn't been playing out a lot lately, but if you get a chance, go see them.

McCarthyizm's witty, provocative sound has been compared to R.E.M. Their CD "Vesuvio" is filled with pop tunes that make you want to dance. Their shows are full of energy and enthusiasm. If you're into local music, you know McCarthyizm has been playing out a lot lately. They were at the Showplace Theater with Girlpope in July, and at the Allentown Art Festival Music Fest, and downtown at Thursday at the Square. If you're in the mood for some cool tunes, check this band out.

Scott Carpenter and the Real McCoys also played at Thursday at the Square in August. They have two CDs out -- one is self-titled, the other is called "2 a.m. Tragedy." Both are available at Media Play, and they're worth the $10.99 price tag. The songs are pop-influenced with just enough country twang to make it worth your while. Scott Carpenter and the Real McCoys have been busy touring lately, and word is that they're planning to release a live CD soon. With songs like "Love Maria" and "Reach Up," I suggest you run -- don't walk -- to your nearest concert venue and check them out.

Johny Vegas is a Syracuse band that has been very busy making a name for themselves. Their first release, "Dog," is a crowd-pleasing CD with great tunes. Johny Vegas has been touring lately, but perhaps you caught them while they were in town at the Allentown Art Fest Music Fest. Johny Vegas' style is subtly pop, touched up with great melodies and even better lyrics. If you're anxiously waiting for more of this band, have no fear. Johny Vegas is scheduled to release a new CD shortly.

The Tails have released their debut CD, "Spiral World," and went out and toured a bit, drawing fans and appreciation. The Tails also played a lot of local gigs. For example, they were at Nietzsche's in August with Elk, and they also performed at the Erie County Fair. Recently the Tails released their second CD, "Extended Play." Their sound is hard to define -- a combination of guitar-laced and alternative pop. This is definitely one local band you should check out.

Buffalo has a terrific music scene going on right under your nose! It's time you discover for yourself. You won't be sorry.

Vanessa Olszanski is a junior at Sweet Home High School.

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