The origins of instrumental heavy metal group Scale the Summit date to 2004, when guitarists Chris Letchford and Travis LeVrier met as students at the Los Angeles Musicians Institute, then came into contact with fellow scholar and drummer Pat Skeffington, before completing their lineup with bassist Jordan Eberhardt several months later. Two years of rehearsal and sonic self-discovery followed until, at the end of 2006, all of the musicians relocated to Letchford's hometown of Houston, Texas and finished sculpting their exceptionally technical brand of "adventure metal," as they like to call it, for release on a self-financed debut album, immodestly named Monument. Turns out their confidence was largely justified by the impressive amalgam of progressive exploration (think Cynic, Dream Theater, Kong) and sheer virtuosity (reminiscent of instrumental guitar heroes like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai), and it wasn't long before Scale the Summit were racking up accolades from some of the world's most respected heavy metal magazines. This also earned them a contract with L.A.'s Prosthetic Records, and a return to the studio for the recording of the group's eagerly anticipated sophomore album, Carving Desert Canyons, which was released at the start of 2009. The band returned in 2011 with its third album of technical guitar wizardry, The Collective. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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In the winter of 2013, Wonderbitch sprouted from a fertile galaxy of childhood friends and numerous stagnant projects in Bloomington, Indiana. Those in the cluster ready to break the heavy orbit of their liberal college town brought together their sounds- psychedelic, spiritual and progressive- and transplanted to Austin Texas, home of infinite gigs and the love of love. From a weighty foundation of Pink Floyd, Genesis and Muse, Wonderbitch wraps up cool Steely Dan musicality with the danciness of Franz Ferdinand and the nostalgic sheen of smooth mid 80s pop. Wonderbitch currently writes, records and performs in Austin as they continue to cultivate their show into a lovingly explosive and enveloping experience to bring to stages large and medium.
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Nathan Quick has a soulful voice, tasteful melodies, and crisp guitar playing that will have you wanting to come back for more time and time again. He is an up and coming artist with alot to share, so be sure to check him out! His sound draws from a vast pool of genres from classic rock and roll to contemporary singer-songwriter and is something everyone can enjoy!
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Los Angeles three-piece Sir Sly make atmospheric and moody electronic-tinged pop music. Formed in 2012, Sir Sly feature vocalist Landon Jacobs along with Jason Suwito and Hayden Coplen. In 2013, Sir Sly released the EPs Ghost and Gold. ~ Matt Collar
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Stardeath and White Dwarfs is an experimental rock band from Norman, Oklahoma, formed in late 2004. The band has released one album, one single ("Toast & Marmalade For Tea" on Half Machine Records) and an EP, as well as contributing to The Flaming Lips' 2009 remake of The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.
The band consists of Dennis Coyne, Casey Joseph, Matt Duckworth and Ford Chastain. Lead singer Coyne is the nephew of Flaming Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne.
They released the "That's Cool" EP in 2005. They released their first full-length album, entitled The Birth, on vinyl (with digital download) on May 19, 2009 and on CD on June 9, 2009, on Warner Brothers.
Stardeath and White Dwarfs have toured with Deerhoof, British Sea Power, Band of Horses, Starlight Mints, Explosions in the Sky, Tame Impala, and The Flaming Lips. They have opened for The Flaming Lips at the Tulsa, Oklahoma D-Fest Festival 2007, on their New Year's Eve shows in 2007 and 2008, and during a brief tour in 2009. They also played the 2008 Wakarusa Festival.
In the fall of 2012, Stardeath and White Dwarfs began playing shows with New Fumes, Linear Downfall, and Spaceface. Around the same time, they collaborated with The Flaming Lips, along with New Fumes, Linear Downfall and Spaceface, to do another song-for-song cover of an album. This time, it was the classic debut of King Crimson, In the Court of the Crimson King. They called it Playing Hide and Seek With the Ghosts of Dawn, and released it in November 2012. In 2013 they contributed to "The Time Has Come To Shoot You Down…What A Sound," a reworking of the Stone Roses debut album, also with The Flaming Lips, New Fumes and friends.
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Based in Philadelphia but also spending time in New York, Man Man formed with members Honus Honus (vocals/synthesizer), Tiberius Lyn (drums), Clint Killingsworth (bass), and Steven Dufala (guitar/trumpet). Man Man made their album debut in 2004 with The Man in a Blue Turban with a Face, and Six Demon Bag followed in 2006 with Lyn replaced by new drummer and songwriter Pow Wow (Chris Powell). As they established themselves over the next few years, the eclectic quartet welcomed Brown Sugar (Adam Schatz) and Shono Murphy (Bryan Murphy) to their line-up after the exit of Killingsworth and Dufal, and played shows with artists such as Cat Power, Adam Green, Mirah, U.S. Maple, Aereogramme, Need New Body, and Bardo Pond. Over the course of 2008's Rabbit Habits, 2011's Life Fantastic, and 2013's Oni Oni Pond, the band segued into a more standard pop approach without compromising its bizarre musical style. ~ MacKenzie Wilson
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A crucial figure in the Southern branch of the extreme metal community, Dax Riggs was born in Evansville, IN, on October 15, 1973, where he lived with his mother after the divorce of his parents. As Riggs edged into adolescence, he began to question his mother's devotion to the faith of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and he moved to Houma, LA to live with his father. While initially Riggs didn't care for life down South, in his teens he developed a passion for rock & roll, and after singing with a pair of short-lived local bands, Riggs became the lead vocalist with the pioneering sludge metal band Acid Bath, featuring guitarists Sammy Duet and Mike Sanchez, bassist Audie Pitre, and drummer Jimmy Kyle. While Acid Bath's punishing but trippy, groove-laden sound would prove to be deeply influential, the group's audience was frustratingly small during its existence, and the band called it quits in 1997 after the death of Audie Pitre in an auto accident. After fronting a short-lived group called Daisyhead & the Mooncrickets, Riggs re-emerged on the music scene with Agents of Oblivion, which also included Acid Bath guitarist Mike Sanchez as well as Alex Bergeron on bass, Jeff McCarty on drums, and Chuck Pitre on keyboards.
Agents of Oblivion's sound was as doomstruck as Acid Bath, but the approach was more subdued, showing the influence of traditional hard rock and blues in its slower tempos and smoother melodies. Agents of Oblivion released one album in 2000, but broke up not long after completing a tour to support it. After the collapse of Agents of Oblivion, Riggs formed a new band, Deadboy & the Elephantmen, which sported a stripped-down, blues-based sound and featured Riggs playing guitar as well as singing. The group's first album, 2002's If This Is Hell Then I'm Lucky, was a full-band affair, with Riggs joined by Jason Dupre on guitar, Chris Gautreaux on bass, and Jeff Lecompte on drums, but he pared the group back to a duo for 2005's We Are Night Sky, with Riggs joined by drummer Tess Brunet. In late 2006, Brunet quit the band, and as Riggs was recording Deadboy & the Elephantmen's third album with a rotating crew of musicians, he opted to abandon the group moniker and release the music under the name Dax Riggs. Featuring some of Riggs' most powerful and emotionally incisive music to date, We Sing of Only Blood or Love was released in the summer of 2007. For 2010's Say Goodnight to the World, Riggs recorded in his home studio with Austin, TX locals Charley Siess (drums) and Kevin Fitzsimmons (bass). ~ Mark Deming
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Punk rock band 30 Foot Fall went through frequent lineup changes before settling down to its current lineup of singer Butch, drummer Brian, bassist Rubio, and guitarist Jason. Initially the band consisted of vocalist Billy, bassist Jeff, guitarist Tony Avitia, and Rubio on drums. Rubio -- the one constant from the start -- stayed, while the singer and guitarist went on to work with the band I-45. By the band's second gig, Billy was out and Butch was in as vocalist. Bassist Jeff lasted slightly longer, but after three gigs he was a goner and Mitch stepped in to take over his duties. With this interim lineup, 30 Foot Fall put together a pair of cassettes that were released by Broken Note Records. The lineup was in for another shakeup, however, when bassist Mitch wed and left the Houston area to settle in New Mexico. With the band in need of a new bass player, Rubio gave up his spot on the drums to fill the position. The former drummer for the Houston band Fortress, Damon Delapaz, came on board next.
The group started to play out in cities that included Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. During this period 30 Foot Fall put out a 7", Elementary School Love, and Yo Mama's Records issued 500 copies. The band's lineup changed yet again by the close of 1994, when guitarist Avitia dropped out. The band played each of its next two shows with a different guitarist, both of whom had worked previously with the group I End Result. The first guitarist was P-Nut. He was followed by Chris, who ended up staying a bit longer. Less than six months later, the band put out Divided We Stand, an album issued by Fuzzgun Records. A period of touring followed. Early in 1996, Twistworthy Records released the 7" Junior High Sucked. More touring followed, this time throughout Louisiana and the band's home state, Texas. The album's title track was later featured on Punk Bites, a compilation put together by Fearless Records. Not long after, the label inked a deal with the band, and 30 Foot Fall set to work recording Acme 143.
Paranoid Records, a label out of Houston, issued the 7" Cartoons in 1998. The band included two of Cartoons' three tracks, "Ida Know" and "Throwaway," on a later album. Following the release of the 7", drummer Delapaz left the band to join the group River Fenix, which mutated into Fenix TX. Corey stepped in briefly to fill the gap until he was replaced by Brian, formerly of the band Middlefinger. Nitro Records offered 30 Foot Fall a contract in 1999 and issued the album Ever Revolving, Never Evolving. The band is featured on almost two dozen compilations. ~ Linda Seida
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After logging several years of experience with sludge metal icons Cavity and doom prognosticators Acid King, among other bands, New York-based vocalist and guitarist Jason Landrian and L.A.-based drummer Rafael Martinez began working in 2001 on a new project that would ultimately become known as Black Cobra. An eponymous EP eventually saw the light of day in 2004, followed by the full-length Bestial in 2006 and mini-album Feather and Stone in 2007, by which time the duo had developed into a vicious, super-distorted heavy metal machine reminiscent of Mastodon and High on Fire. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Featuring the crystalline vocals of Stacy King, Sucré write the kind of dreamlike pop songs that get lodged into your head before the very first chorus even kicks in. Rounded out by Stacy's husband, Darren King, on drums, and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Larson, the trio's debut album, "A Minor Bird," is an enchanting blend of '60s psychedelia and the intimacy of '70s singer/songwriters. Stacy's voice proves to be at times a whisper of mist, and at others a tumultuous ocean that flawlessly weaves across infinite landscapes of strings, horns, and percussion on each of the album's 11 tracks.
Upon hearing something as deliberate and intricate as Sucre's music, it is hard to believe that the three began working together without any intention of actually becoming a band. "During my first holiday visit to Darren's family in Missouri, we went to Jeremy's studio and just for fun, recorded a cover of "Silver Springs" my favorite song by Stevie Nicks. After that I began sending Jeremy unfinished demos and he started turning them into these beautiful pop symphonies. About three songs in I realized we had something special and that we had to make a record of it." Spinner calls it "pop music of the highest order."
There's a certain whimsical feeling to the way Stacy's vocals mesh with Darren and Jeremy's instrumentation. Stacy explains her songwriting process: "I suppose I don't have a standard way of writing, but a lot of times the songs start with me writing a few chords, a melody, and then little hints of lyrics. Sometimes Jeremy will send me a piece of music and I'll record myself as I'm writing the melody on top of the music, and then I'll listen back to it right away to see if I liked anything. Sometimes Darren gives me a beat and I get so excited and inspired. I love running with whatever each of them gives me to work with."
Featuring the irresistible lead single "When We Were Young," and orchestral delights "Hiding Out" and "Troubled Waters," "A Minor Bird" will surely appeal to fans of forward-thinking pop. "Incredible music... Stacy's honeyed vocals are tough to ignore," gushed MTV.com about the album. "We had the time of our lives making this record because we were just trying to make music that we loved and nothing else. We just wanted to make something beautiful. Coincidentally, every single song on the record is about love and romance", tells Stacy.
Larson, true to form, appears as a one man philharmonic, seamlessly layering an orchestra's worth of instruments to sound as if they were played by 100 individuals each with their own soul and mastery of their craft. While multi-tracking a plethora of instruments is common practice for artists these days, few artists are as good as Larson as orchestrating them so cohesively and seamlessly. Darren, following suit, would be better defined as a percussionist than a drummer on this one, creating layers that would require the precision of many limbs working together to replicate in real time. Fans of his will not be disappointed.
Stacy isn't worried about pulling off their lush material in a live setting: "Well, the record was made solely by Darren, Jeremy and I. But we didn't want to limit ourselves. We wanted to go as far as we could and push our limits and give the record a lot of color. And I'm so glad that we didn't scale back due to what we thought we could pull off live. Darren and Jeremy are wonderful producers as well as live producers, so I feel confident in their abilities to plan a show that we're all proud of." Like Stacy, Darren is also a road warrior, manning the drum kit for MuteMath since their formation in 2002.
When asked about plans for the future, Stacy responded with certainty, "We want to make beautiful music and share it with people... the more we do that, the better."
Sucré is Stacy King, Darren King and Jeremy Larson.
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Atlanta's beloved sons the Black Lips entered last year through a screaming cloud of sweat, smoke, blood, and beer mist, in front of a dangerously packed hall in New Orleans' French Quarter. If a band's bipolarity runs on a touring vs. recording-an-album spectrum, then the previous year was the mother of all manic spells. After a spring and summer running the usual festival circuit in North America and Europe, the Lips embarked on a two-month fall tour of the Middle East. They were tailed by Georgia rock-doc royalty Bill Cody, of Athens, GA - Inside/ Out fame, who filmed the band playing for kids in Tunis and Cairo who had just overthrown their government, kids in Iraq who barely have a government, and
kids in Dubai whose government is richer than God (and might control a genie).
As Cody assembled his footage into the feature Kids Like You and Me, the band returned home from the New Year's maelstrom and began settling into album mode. Songs had piled up in the two years since 2011's Arabia Mountain. "We went into the studio with about 80% of the record written," says
bassist Jared Swilley. "which is a little more than usual for us. Joe (Bradley,
drums) usually puts together all the parts for his songs on his own, and Ian (St.
Pe, guitar) writes a lot of his music. I like to make mine a little more collaborative, like Cole (Alexander, also guitar)."Recording for Underneath the Rainbow ("We were going to call it The Dark
Side of the Rainbow, then we googled it and realized that's what they call that thing where you watch The Wizard of Oz while listening to Pink Floyd and it syncs up") was split between New York with Thomas Brenneck, who was recommended by Arabia Mountain producer Mark Ronson, and Nashville with the the Black Keys' Patrick Carney, who offered to help produce in a Mexico city hotel room just before dawn. "It was one of those super-late-night/super-early-
morning drunktalk sort of situations, so we weren't sure if he meant it," explains
Jared. "People do that all the time."
Early internet conjecture, based around on the album's lead single ("Boys in the Woods"), Carney's choice of a country studio in Nashville, and an offhand reference to "roots music," pegged Underneath the Rainbow's sound as a blend of southern rock with throwback C&W and blues. Which is a weird description for a record containing the first Black Lips' song with a prominent
synth ("Funny"), and even less apt for an overall album that owes just as much to
the kiwi pop of New Zealand's South Island and the Chicago South Side's Crucial
Conflict as it does the standard American South. "They got it all wrong," says
Jared, "they were asking 'Is there a "radical departure" or "new direction" on this album?' so I said, no it's still roots music, which is what we've been doing from
the start and which all rock and pop music derives from.""Although ["Funny"] is a new direction as far as it having more of a commercial sound," adds Cole.
"Honestly, that synth getting in there was a fluke."
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Since its inception in 2009, the Archnemesis sound has been in a constant state of evolution. With musical beginnings firmly established through a strict regimen of classical training on the cello and piano, eventually jazz theory and composition crept in, and more instruments like bass, drums and guitar were discovered and learned. The culmination of this vast musical knowledge ultimately shaped the Archnemesis sound before propelling it through a variety of analog stratospheres and into the digital realm of electronic music production. With a sound based primarily in, but not limited to, "electro hip-hop soul", Archnemesis continues to evolve musically and socially by encompassing all styles and genres of music while simultaneously welcoming in all the fans that follow those genres.
Through extensive national touring, Archnemesis has created a steadily growing fan base aptly dubbed the "Nemesis Army", and strives to create an un-biased community both online and at live shows where anyone can express themselves without discrimination. Also, by using music as a platform for outreach, Archnemesis is constantly generating new and innovative ideas to foster a community and encourage change.
When not touring, Archnemesis has managed to compile an extensive catalogue of EP's, LP's remixes and collaborations. Beginning with the 2010 release of the EP Diamonds and Glass, the full-length albums People's Radio and Every Man For Himself were both well received by fans and critics alike. The remixes of Kendrick Lamar's "Backseat Freestyle" and The xx's "Do You Mind" both charted on The Hype Machine and saw extensive play from DJ's across the country. A fourth EP, Follow Me, was released in July of 2013, and it took an even bigger step towards truly defining the Archnemesis sound.
With an unequaled afro and amazing light show, every Archnemesis encounter is a full sensory experience, one that is highly charged and delicious. This energetic live approach has been brought to such acclaimed festivals as The Hangout Music Festival, Lights All Night, Camp Bisco, Electric Forest and SnowGlobe, as well as theatres and clubs across the country. With momentum building and no signs of slowing down, Archnemesis continues to create an amazing live experience at clubs and festivals while steadily growing the ever-faithful "Nemesis Army" and working towards positive change.
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The fourth album from San Diego-bred five- piece Delta Spirit, Into the Wide was born in a flood-ruined, cave-like, rat-colonized room in the band's new hometown of Brooklyn. After spending more than a year writing together in the windowless studio they rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy wreaked its havoc, the group resurfaced with a batch of demos and headed to Georgia to team up with Ben Allen (a producer/engineer known for his work with artists like Animal Collective and Deerhunter). Recorded near an old shipping yard in Atlanta, Into the Wide intimately captures the claustrophobia of Delta Spirit's creative space, turning that tension into a moody meditation on the restlessness of city life, growing older, and longing for escape. With its lyrics largely inspired by the murder ballads of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, Into
the Wide proves more darkly charged than anything the band's ever offered up before but—thanks to their command of both indelible melody and sprawling, atmospheric arrangements—ultimately emerges as Delta Spirit's most gloriously heavy album so far.
For Delta Spirit (vocalist/guitarist Matt Vasquez, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Kelly Winrich, guitarist Will McLaren, bassist Jon Jameson, and drummer Brandon Young), the raw, nervy energy running throughout Into the Wide stems partly from the band's return to the more free-and-easy approach they embraced in making their debut album, 2008's Ode to Sunshine. "On that first record we had no idea what kind of music we were going to make—we just went up to a cabin and pressed record and went for it without any fear," says Young, who sparked the founding of Delta Spirit back in 2005, when he spotted Vasquez busking in the streets of downtown San Diego. So while Into the Wide continues to push forward in exploring new sonic territory (as on 2010's History From Below and the band's self-titled 2012 release), Delta Spirit have also restored a sense of kinetic flow to their communal songwriting process. "When we were writing there were these songs that we really labored over and tried to polish," says McLaren. "But in the end, those songs didn't belong to us. The tracks that make up the album were the ones that happened quickly and naturally and just instantly felt good to us."
Despite that lack of polish, each of the songs on Into the Wide is driven by lavishly textured arrangements and a deeply heady emotionalism. Hazy and hymnlike, "Push It" opens the album by personifying the U.S.A. as a beat-down, reluctantly indestructible woman and musing on the rival forces of decay and idealism that define American life today. From there Into the Wide gives way to the triple-threat of the triumphant, guitar-fueled "From Now On," the frenetic and punch-drunk "Live On" (an ode to surviving bully brutality, inspired by Vasquez's Texas childhood), and the groove-powered yet anthemic "Take Shelter" (Winrich's celebration of being hopelessly lost but still finding your way to the light). The album then leads into "Hold My End Up," a haunting and howling epic that builds to blistering intensity in its lament of "school shootings and movie-theater shootings and that darkness that lives in us and the loneliness of the inner monologue," as Vasquez explains.
Into the Wide sustains that forward-charging momentum as songs journey from Middle America to Georgia to Reseda to the California wilderness, the possibly mythical locale serenaded on its dreamy, gauzy-guitar-laced title track. On the deceptively soaring "Patriarch," Vasquez twists his own past experience with evangelical group The International House of Prayer into a story of a cult-stolen girl who believes that God has called on her to kill herself. ("I've always been fascinated by that whole element of American music," says Vasquez of the song's murder-ballad-esque approach to storytelling, "and I love the idea of trying to carry it into the 21st
century and writing songs that have a simple theme but take you on a journey in just three minutes.") The album's second half also features such standouts as "Language of the Dead," a stomping piece of psych-pop that name-checks both Bob Dylan and Robert E. Lee in its send-up of hero worship ("Throw your idols into the sea/Dreamers, get your own dream"). And on "The Wreck," Into the Wide comes to a close with a gorgeously stark piano ballad that's equal parts lovely and aching in Vasquez's tribute to his wife's enduring faith ("They all warned you ‘bout me/Don't give your heart to a wreck").
As Delta Spirit's most sonically expansive album yet, Into the Wide somewhat paradoxically owes its broadened sound to the band's holing up in what McLaren calls their "dreary, EPA Superfund of a practice space" for months on end. "We're lucky to have it, but being stuck in this room with no windows and dreaming about getting back out into the world and into nature and seeing the country again seemed to pull something deeper out of us," notes Jameson. Adds Winrich: "That sense of feeling trapped in our studio and in the city definitely gave the album more of a weight than our previous records, and played a big part in this being our moodiest record yet." But when it came time to record, relocating to Maze Studios in Atlanta helped breathe new life and brighter energy into the songs selected for Into the Wide. "One of the most of the important things was getting back to all of us being in a room together for every single song and recording everything live," Young points out. "I think Ben even lied and said the AC was broken so we'd all be in there sweating like we do when we're onstage."
Keeping an eye toward the live experience is always essential to Delta Spirit, who name playing 293 dates in 2009 as one of their top points of pride. "We just want the songs to be as epic and meaningful as possible when we play them in front of people, which is the be-all and end-all for us as a band," says Vasquez. In moving toward creating music that's transcendent for their live audience, Delta Spirit strive to stay focused on the singular benefits of communal songwriting. "There's something sort of magic about getting five incredibly distinct personalities to get behind something they can each claim as their own, instead of having the music be the product of one person's specific vision," Jameson says. What's more, Vasquez adds, that commitment to collaboration ends up being infinitely rewarding once the band takes the stage. "To be able to play something and think ‘I created this' is one thing," he says. "But to have five different people standing together onstage and all of us feeling the vibration of that at once, that's kind of amazing."
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Nashville's Kopecky Family Band isn't a family in the specific sense, but a close community of friends who generate a kind of diversely instrumented and melodic folk-pop together. Founded by Kelsey Kopecky and Gabe Simon in 2007 after a dorm room jam, the group eventually stabilized with a lineup of Kopecky (vocals, keyboards, and bass), Simon (vocals, guitar, and horns), Steven Holmes (guitar, lap steel guitar), David Krohn (drums), Markus Midkiff (cello, guitar, and keyboards), and Corey Oxendine (bass, guitar, and horns), and it's a versatile group, with members often switching to different instruments, all of which gives the Kopecky Family Band a broad sonic palette. The band released three EPs, Embraces (2008) and The Disaster and Of Epic Proportions (both in 2010), before signing with ATO Records and issuing a debut full-length album, Kids Raising Kids, in the spring of 2013. ~ Steve Leggett