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Chapel Hill

Like Athens, GA, Chapel Hill is another college town that became a hotbed for musical innovation. In the 1990s, this North Carolina town birthed three indie rock heavy hitters: Archers of Loaf, Superchunk, and Polvo. In more recent years, acts like Ben Folds Five, Southern Culture On The Skids, and a host of folk and bluegrass bands characterize the city's musical community.

The dearly departed Mammoth Records was based in Chapel Hill, as was Merge Records, started by Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan of Superchunk. At the risk of offending any Tar Heels browsing the site, it's worth noting that Merge Records is now headquartered in nearby Durham, NC -- home to Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill's biggest rival. Sorry, Heels.