Every semester, mtvU identifies five up-and-coming artists that are primed to jump from campus favorites to household names. Here are the 5 bands you need to spring forward with as winter comes to a close. Take a look and tell us your favorite.
“Nothing Is Wrong”
Cloud Nothings story is a dream come true for aspiring musicians everywhere. The band is the brainchild of Cleveland, OH’s Dylan Baldi who in 2009 was spending a lot of time making music in his parents basement and uploading it to imaginary myspace band pages he created. Much to his surprise, he was contacted one day by a tour promoter offering him a gig. He dropped out of college, assembled a band and yadayadayada, it’s 3 albums later and Cloud Nothings has toured nationwide earning much critical praise for their hook-laden, vibrant and raw rock. The new album Attack On Memory, branches out from Baldi’s original more-solo creations, with the legendary Steve Albini producing and the whole band contributing to the songwriting process, the resulting work is not only higher fidelity but boasts more sophisticated instrumentation that has led to a more robust live presence. These recent evolutions are paying off. The bands audience is obviously growing and they are now nominated for Breaking Woodie at this years Woodie Awards in Austin, TX. Here is the quirky, riot of a video for “Nothing’s Wrong.”
“Songs For Teenagers”
From underground DIY punks to indie trendsetters Florida’s Fake Problems, composed of vocalist/guitarist Chris Farren, bassist Derek Perry, drummer Sean Stevenson and guitarist Casey Lee have come a long way in the past 5 years. Their second album Real Ghosts Caught On Tape is a crystalization of the bands frenetic energy and diverse influences into a sophisticated sound that can’t easily be categorized but can easily be enjoyed. The band prides itself on it’s versatility. As singer Farren explains “Creatively we always molded our band from the beginning so that we’d be able to do anything and tour with anyone from Against Me! to William Elliott Whitmore to even the Dillinger Escape Plan,” and obviously the bands plan is working as they also may walk away with a Breaking Woodie award at March’s mtvU Woodie Awards in Austin, TX.
How could you not like Real Estate? Led by singer/guitarist Martin Courtney, guitarist Matthew Mondanile (who also rocks out in his excellent side project Ducktails), bassist Alex Bleeker, Jackson Pollis on drums and Jonah Maurer on keys and guitar, the NJ band reminds me of those rare kids in high school, who due to their easy demeanor and effortless likability, were able to get along with the preps, the jocks and the freaks all at the same time. The band pulls off a similar effortless charm in their music and happily the charming lo fi gems from the bands self-titled debut recorded in Courtney’s apartment are still evident in the more clear and sophisticated production quality of their latest album Days. Just peep the video for “It’s Real” and try to deny the urge to hang out watching 16mm films with these dudes and their awesome dog.
Garage rockers Sleeper Agent, composed of drummer Justin Wilson, singer Alex Kandel, singer-guitarist Tony Smith, bassist Lee Williams, guitarist Josh Martin, and keyboardist Scott Gardner have come on full force in their first year as a band. Going from playing local shows in the tight knit music community of Bowling Green, KY to earning fans nationwide touring with Cage The Elephant. Singer/guitarist Smith, who writes all the music and lyrics, describes the bands approach as such “My previous band was very introspective and complicated, so we under-thought everything, and just went for it.” And went for it they have, their album Celebrasion is full of melodies hopped up on waves of the pure enthusiasm often incarnate in youth. The band’s performance at SXSW 2011 got a lot of attention and they just might bring their year full circle with a Breaking Woodie award at the Woodies this March in Austin. So beat a pinata with the band in “Get Burned” below because even if they don’t win the Breaking Woodie they have definitely had a year worth ‘celebrasioning.’
Born Travis Tatum Mills, 22-year-old Californian T. Mills has gone from crafting songs in his bedroom on his laptop to national tours, major label status and a Breaking Woodie nomination in just two years. T. Mills mixes a wide range of genres into a sound that is totally unique that he has dubbed Hip-Pop. Just listen to the boys influences “My dad is a huge Elvis fan. My mom was huge into Queen. My first CD that I can ever remember seeing was Nirvana Nevermind. I listened to The Eagles. My uncle was a huge Bone Thugs N Harmony fan, and he kind of got me into all of the hip-hop and R&B. He gave me an Usher tape when I was probably six years old. He gave me an R. Kelly tape. He got me into 2pac. I listened to a lot of Souls of Mischief. Pink Floyd was hella cool. Placebo. Once I got on the Internet, my tastes went all across the board. There was no genre I wasn’t listening to. Sade. Eric Clapton. Bob Dylan.” T. Mills really is definitely an artist for this millenium, as he has used digital technology and the internet to build not only his songs and influences, but also his fan base and career. He is currently prepping his major label debut and is ready to reach even more fans saying “I’ve grown and matured and I’m becoming a real artist and writing real songs that are important to me. I feel like I can reach more people with the songs I’m making now.”
Who will it be this week? Vote and tell us in the comments section below.