By Wade Evans
Summer days and summer nights are soon approaching and I thought it only made sense but to shine some light on 11 artists to check out this season. The artists range from up-and-coming to those releasing new material and touring this summer. I hope these artists give your iTunes a boost for the days of sunshine, water and friends.
1. Destroy Rebuild Until God Returns is the first band on our summer spotlight. Led by former Chiodos frontman, Craig Owens, D.R.U.G.S. has been constantly touring and promoting since their self-titled debut album was released in early February. Be forewarned though, this band does have a heavier, darker tone than most rock bands. D.R.U.G.S. will be on the Warped Tour this summer, traveling across the nation. Be sure to check them out in Atlanta or St. Louis.
2. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Mac Miller has had some company in his recent spotlight. Friend and label mate Wiz Khalifa has been a huge success for Rostrum Records, thus Mac Miller has started to gain a following and recognition since signing to the popular label. At 19, Mac has had two highly rated releases with his mix tape, “Best Day Ever,” and his most recent E.P. “On and On and Beyond.”
Check Out: “Donald Trump” and “Wake Up”
3. My go-to band at work or in the car has to be Parachute. Hailing from Virginia, these 2008 graduates have been on tour non-stop with the likes of the Plain White T’s and The All-American Rejects. Their hit song “She is Love” broke onto the Billboard Top 100 in late 2008 and early 2009 from their debut CD “Losing Sleep.” Their sophomore album, “The Way it Was,” releases May 17 and is poised to have many hits. In fact, the two released singles “Kiss Me Slowly” and “You and Me” are both currently Top 20 singles on iTunes. They will be playing a show in Memphis in August with the Goo-Goo Dolls, so check them out.
Check Out: “You and Me” and “Something to Believe In”
4. Matt and Kim may be the most dynamic live duo currently flying under the radar, which lands them here on this spotlight. I recently got to see this band perform at the Rites of Spring festival at Vanderbilt and was blown away by their performance. This dance, punk, pop band from New York has had more of a following since the 2010 release of their album “Sidewalks.” Highly received and rated, this album eventually made it into the Top 5 Albums on both the rock and indie charts.
Check Out: “Cameras” and “Block After Block”
5. Eric Church is the lone country artist on this spotlight, but for a good reason. Church has had huge success lately with his chart-toping songs “Smoke a Little Smoke” and “Hell on the Heart.” Signed to Capitol Records Nashville, Church has been touring with Jason Aldean for the past year, promoting and supporting his albums. However, in February Church released the highly praised “Homeboy” as a single for his July 26 album release, “Chief.” Highlighted as one of the main artists for this summer’s Country Music Awards Fest in Nashville, Church will satisfy the hearts of all country music lovers.
Check Out: “Hell on the Heart” or “Homeboy”
6. Sleeping with Sirens is an American post-hardcore band from Orlando, Fl, currently signed to the popular rock label RISE Records. The group is known primarily for vocalist Kellin Quinn’s very high and wide vocal ability, from which even the name for the band was directly derived. Their second album, “Let’s Cheers to This,” was released May 10. The first song from the album, “Do It Now Remember It Later,” was released April 7. Known for putting together a great live show and being ever intentional with fans, SWS has become a staple band for this hybrid genre.
Check Out: “Let Love Bleed Red” and “With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear”
7. Wale is an American rapper from Washington, D.C. In 2008, Wale signed to Interscope Records and his debut album Attention Deficit was released in 2009 with the singles “Chillin,” “Pretty Girls” and “World Tour.” As of now, Wale is signed to Maybach Music Group, courtesy of Maybach’s own Rick Ross. Wale’s rise to fame took a turn for the better when his track “No Hands” was featured as the No. 1 hip-hop single of the year, featuring Waka Flocka Flame and Roscoe Dash. His recent deal with Maybach Music has him set up for a huge 2011 and 2012.
Check Out: “Breakup Song” and “Chillin”
8. Big Sean is the rapper poised to have a huge summer in 2011. This California native has been on the radar since early 2009 when he signed with Def Jam Records. With multiple mix tapes and collaborations in 2010, Big Sean has created a following and hype regarding his June 21 release, “Finally Famous.” Touring with Wiz Khalifa this summer, expect to hear more and more as the album gets closer to its release date. Also check out his verse in “All of the Lights Remix” with Lil Wayne and Drake — you will not regret it.
Check Out “My Last” or “All of the Lights Remix”
9. Looking for an up and coming rock group similar to Kings of Leon? Then look no further than the Nashville group Safetysuit. With their huge No. 1 song “Stay” in 2008, Safetysuit has had consistent success both on the road and on the charts. They have spent most of 2011 so far in the studio preparing their sophomore release. Not much is known about this album except for the recently released single “Get Around This,” which has soared to the top 10 singles list on multiple charts. Their debut album, “Life Left to Go,” is a must-have and is currently selling for $7.99 on iTunes.
Check Out: “Down” or “Get Around This”
10. Jack’s Mannequin is an American alternative-rock band formed in 2004, originally hailing from Orange County, Calif. The band began as a side project of Andrew McMahon, the frontman for Something Corporate. While this band has been around for a while, Jack’s Mannequin has recently gained a large following and recognition. Their first album, titled “Everything in Transit,” was released in August 2005 and received a positive response from fans and critics alike. Their second album, “Glass Passenger,” was highly received and created the following the band has today. In a recent interview, Andrew McMahon announced that the bands third album, “People and Things,” was co-written with Relient K’s Matt Thiessen. Look for singles to be released soon and enjoy the bands previous releases.
Check Out: “Dark Blue” and “Spinning”
11. My final suggestion for this summer may be the heaviest artist you have heard of. August Burns Red is the American Metalcore Christian band from Pennsylvania. The success of this band goes back to 2008 when the band released “Messengers” through Solid State Records. Huge breakdowns, clean vocals and highly technical music shot this band to the forefront of the hardcore scene. Selling out multiple tours throughout 2008 and 2009 gave the band much hype and promotion for their third album, “Constellations,” which peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard charts in October 2009. On March 31 August Burns Red revealed their website, which has a countdown to their 4th album-release date — June 21. On April 5, the band revealed the name of this upcoming record on their website and Facebook as “Leveler.” Backed by their headliner status for this summer’s Warped Tour, August Burns Red is set for a huge 2011.
Check Out: “Meddler” and “Composure”