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Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon is an American rock band that formed in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1999. The band is composed of brothers Anthony Caleb Followill (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Ivan Nathan Followill (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Michael Jared Followill (bass guitar, backing vocals), with their cousin Cameron Matthew Followill (lead guitar, backing vocals).
The band's early music was an upbeat blend of Southern rock and blues influences, but it has gradually expanded throughout the years to include a variety of genres and a more alternative, arena rock sound. Kings of Leon achieved initial success in the United Kingdom with nine Top 40 singles, two BRIT Awards in 2008, and all three of the band's albums at the time peaking in the top five of the UK Albums Chart. Their third album, Because of the Times, also reached the number one spot. After the release of Only by the Night in September 2008 the band achieved chart success in the United States. The singles "Sex on Fire", "Use Somebody", and "Notion" all peaked at number one on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. The album was their first Platinum-selling album in the United States, and was also the best-selling album of 2008 in Australia, being certified platinum nine times. The band's fifth album, Come Around Sundown, was released on October 18, 2010. Their sixth album, Mechanical Bull, was released on September 24, 2013.
The three Followill brothers and cousin Matthew, grew up in Oklahoma and Tennessee with their father, Ivan Leon Followill, a United Pentecostal Church preacher, and their mother, Betty-Ann. Caleb, Jared, and Nathan were born in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, and attended Mount Juliet High School, while Matthew was born and reared in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. According to Rolling Stone magazine, "While Ivan preached at churches and tent revivals throughout Oklahoma and the Deep South, the boys attended services and were occasionally enlisted to bang on some drums". They were either home-schooled by their mother, or enrolled in small parochial schools at this time. Except for a five-year period when they settled in Jackson, Tennessee, the Followills' childhoods were spent driving through the southern United States in a purple 1988 Oldsmobile, camping for a week or two wherever Ivan was scheduled to preach.
In 1997, Nathan and Caleb relocated to Nashville and embraced the rock music and lifestyle they had previously been denied, attempting to break into the music industry in the process. While there, they met songwriter Angelo Petraglia who helped the siblings hone their songwriting skills and introduced them to the musical influences of Thin Lizzy, The Rolling Stones and The Clash in particular. Their youngest brother, Jared, who had briefly attended public school, was more influenced by the music of the Pixies and The Velvet Underground. When he and their cousin Matthew also moved to Nashville in 1999, Kings of Leon was formed.
By 2002, Nathan and Caleb had received interest from a number of music labels and eventually signed with RCA Records, which initially insisted on putting a band together for the two of them. In an interview with Billboard, however, Nathan outlined how they told RCA, "We don't want to be Evan and Jaron. We're going to buy our little brother a bass, he's a freshman in high school. Caleb will teach himself the guitar, Matthew played guitar when he was 10 and I'll play the drums. They said, 'All right, we'll come down in one month and see you guys.'" Later in the interview Caleb admitted to the brothers "kidnapping" their cousin Matthew from his hometown in Mississippi for him to join the band. They told his mother that he was only going to be staying for a week but never allowed him to return home. They locked themselves in the basement and literally spent a month down there. "And at the end of that month the label people came and we had "Molly's Chambers", "California Waiting", "Wicker Chair", and "Holy Roller Novocaine".
The band's first record, titled the Holy Roller Novocaine EP, was released on February 18, 2003. At this stage, Jared was only 16 years old and had not yet learned to play the bass. The release of Holy Roller Novocaine gave the Kings of Leon a significant amount of exposure, receiving a 4/5 star rating from Rolling Stone magazine. All of the songs released on the EP were co-written by Angelo Petraglia, who also produced the record, and four of the five songs would later be released on Youth and Young Manhood. The versions of "Wasted Time" and "California Waiting" on the EP differ from their album versions, however, with the first having a more tense riff and different vocal style than the same track off Youth and Young Manhood, the second being recorded in a rush to finish the EP.
The Followills' debut album, Youth and Young Manhood, was released in the UK in July 2003 and in the United States later that August. The album was recorded between Sound City Studios in Los Angeles and Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, California. It was produced by Angelo Petraglia and Ethan Johns. According to Rolling Stone magazine, the band's retro-chic look and blend of Southern boogie and gritty garage rock inspired comparisons to both Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Strokes. The album became a sensation in the UK and Ireland, where NME declared it "one of the best debut albums of the last 10 years" and The Guardian described the band as "the kind of authentic, hairy rebels The Rolling Stones longed to be".
The band's second album, Aha
Shake Heartbreak, was released in the UK in October 2004 and in the United States in February 2005. Building on the Southern-infused garage rock of their first album, the album broadened the band's domestic and international audience. The album was again produced by Angelo Petraglia and Ethan Johns. "The Bucket", "Four Kicks", and "King of the Rodeo" were all released as singles, with "The Bucket" rising into the Top 20 in Britain. "Taper Jean Girl" was also used in the 2007 movie Disturbia and the movie Cloverfield in 2008. The band garnered accolades from several of their rock peers, including Elvis Costello, and also toured with Bob Dylan and Pearl Jam during 2005 and 2006.
The band's third album was titled Because of the Times and was released on April 2, 2007 in the UK, and a day later in the United States, preceded by the single "On Call", which became a hit in the UK and Ireland. It debuted at number one in the UK and Ireland and entered the European charts at number 25, selling approximately 70,000 copies in its first week of release.
In 2008, Kings of Leon released its fourth studio album, Only by the Night, on September 19, which subsequently entered the UK Albums Chart at number one and remained there for one more week. Only by the Night also had two single-week stints as the UK number one album in 2009, one directly after the BRIT Awards. In the United States, the album reached number four on the Billboard Charts. Reception to the album was the most polarized yet, with the British press granting the album glowing reviews. The album was officially named as the UK's third-biggest-selling album of 2008 and the biggest-selling album of 2008 in Australia. "Sex on Fire" was the first single released for download in the UK on September 8. The song became the band's most successful as it peaked at number one in the UK and in Ireland. They won Best International Band and Best International Album at the Brit Awards in 2009, where they also performed "Use Somebody" live. Kings of Leon also performed on March 14, 2009, at Sound Relief, a benefit concert, for the Victorian Bushfire Crisis.
The song "Crawl" from this album was released as a free download on the band's website on July 28. The third and fourth singles were "Revelry", which peaked at number 19, and "Notion", which peaked at number 24. Only By The Night was certified Platinum in the United States by the RIAA for selling one million copies in less than a year after its release. In 2008, Kings of Leon headlined the Glastonbury Music Festival, and in 2009, the band headlined a number of music festivals, including Reading & Leeds, Rock Werchter, Oxegen, T in the Park, Gurtenfestival and Open'er Festival in Poland, Europe, along with Sasquatch, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits in the United States.
The band released its first DVD, Live at the O2 London, England, on November 10, 2009. It was later released on Blu-ray Disc on November 24, 2009. The footage was filmed in London's Arena on June 30, 2009, when the band performed a 22-song set in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 18,000 fans. In an interview with Billboard.com, drummer Nathan stated, "England is really the first place we broke (...). We figured what better place to make a live DVD than where the fans have been the craziest for the longest." The show featured songs from all four of the band's albums, and Nathan continued by saying, "We just put the cameras in the back of our minds and acted like they weren't even there."
In 2009 Kings of Leon founded Serpents and Snakes Records, a record label including such bands as The Features, Snowden, Turbo Fruits, and The Weeks.
On January 31, 2010, Kings of Leon took home the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Rock Song for "Use Somebody" at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.
The band's fifth album, called Come Around Sundown, was released on October 18, 2010 in the UK, and October 19, 2010 in the U.S. It was recorded in Nashville and New York between February and June 2010 with Jacquire King and Angelo Petraglia once more at the helm. Following the release of Come Around Sundown in Australia, the band released all the tracks from the new album on their website.
In June 2010, the band embarked on a tour visiting more than 50 cities in North America and Europe. The tour dates ran from June 5 to September 23.
August 22, 2012, Jared and Nick Brown from Mona revealed their song "No Tell" under the name Smoke & Jackal. On August 23, 2012, when asked if it was the end of Kings of Leon with Smoke & Jackal announced, Jared said "Not even close. Working on album six very soon". Kings of Leon bassist Jared Followill confirmed that the band had finished recording their sixth LP, which should see release September 2013, NME reports. The album title Mechanical Bull was revealed on June 7, and the album released on September 24. The album's first single, entitled "Supersoaker", was released on July 17, 2013.
Young the Giant
Young the Giant is an American indie rock band that formed in Irvine, California, in 2004. The band's line-up is Sameer Gadhia (lead vocals), Jacob Tilley (guitar), Eric Cannata (guitar), Payam Doostzadeh (bass guitar), and Francois Comtois (drums). Formerly known as The Jakes, Young the Giant was signed by Roadrunner Records in 2009 and released its eponymous debut album in 2010. The band's first three singles, "My Body", "Cough Syrup" and "It's About Time" reached the top five of the US Alternative Songs chart.
The Jakes formed in 2004 in Irvine, California. Consisting of Jacob Tilley, Addam Farmer, Kevin Massoudi, Ehson Hashemian, and Sameer Gadhia, the band's name was an acronym of the members' first names. After several personnel changes, the group's lineup by 2008 consisted of Gadhia (born July 10, 1989), Tilley, Hashemian, Eric Cannata, Francois Comtois (born May 20, 1988) and Jason Burger. With two members still in high school and the others each attending different colleges, the Jakes recorded an EP, Shake My Hand, with producer Ian Kirkpatrick and decided to put their schooling on hold to focus on music. Burger left the band to pursue an education at Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and Comtois took over as the drummer. Shortly thereafter, longtime friend and collaborator, Payam Doostzadeh, joined as bassist. In 2009 the band played four shows at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. The band's song "Texas Tea" was played during an episode of MTV's The Real World: Brooklyn, and "Paid the Piper" was featured on A&E's The Beast. Another song, "Cough Syrup", received airplay on the Los Angeles radio station KROQ. In December 2009, the band announced they had changed their name to Young the Giant.
Young the Giant spent 2010 touring with Minus the Bear and Steel Train while working on its debut album with producer Joe Chiccarelli. After the band finished recording in early June, they played additional shows with Marina and the Diamonds, The Futureheads, Neon Trees and New Politics. Several songs—including "My Body", "I Got", and "Strings"—were leaked online in advance of the album's release. On October 26, Roadrunner Records digitally released the eponymous Young the Giant album, which Amazon.com hailed the third best rock album of 2010. The album received a physical U.S. release on January 25, 2011. The album was released in the UK on May 2.
The band's first single "My Body" was released to U.S. radio in January and went on to peak at number five on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. The song was offered as a free download on iTunes for the week beginning January 9, and was featured on an episode of American Idol. The band performed the song that month on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Fuel TV's The Daily Habit. The official video for the single, which features actor Bryan James, was directed by Justin Francis.
In March, Young the Giant headlined the Billboard Showcase at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. In May, the band played the Sasquatch! Music Festival, the BBC's Later... with Jools Holland and The Great Escape Festival in Brighton. English singer Morrissey, on the fan site True to You, declared Young The Giant as one of his favorite new bands. The music video for the group's second single, "Cough Syrup", premiered in June. The band was named MTV's PUSH Artist of the Week on July 4.
An extended play (EP) featuring remixes by such artists as Two Door Cinema Club, Tokyo Police Club and Ra Ra Riot was made available in September for free through Young the Giant's Facebook page. Fans were invited to create their own remixes with the opportunity for their entry to be featured on the EP. In August, the band played on the main stage at Lollapalooza.
Young the Giant performed during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28. The band began a tour with Incubus two days later. The exposure from the VMA performance propelled Young the Giant onto the Billboard 200 albums chart, where it eventually peaked at number 42. Sales for "My Body" climbed 220 percent on iTunes, helping the single reach number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Young the Giant played at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in September, and a month later they performed songs from their debut album for an episode of MTV Unplugged which debuted online in November.
The band released a music video for non-album track "West Virginia" in January 2012, and started their first major headlining tour in February. They also headlined mtvU's first-ever Woodies Tour which began later that month. Darren Criss' character Blaine Anderson covered "Cough Syrup" on the season three episode of Glee titled "On My Way". The song featured during the attempted suicide scene with Max Adler's character Dave Karofsky.
"Apartment", the band's third single, was released in February and peaked at number 26 on the US Alternative Songs chart. The music video for the song premiered in April 2012. The group performed "Apartment" and "Cough Syrup" on a May episode of NBC's Today, and CNN Newsroom profiled the band a month later.
On May 3, 2013, Sameer Gadhia announced on the band's website that they will be going into the studio to work on their second album, which will be produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen.
On October 28, 2013, Young the Giant released "It's About Time", the lead single from the band's sophomore album, Mind over Matter. On December 9, 2013, Young the Giant also released "Crystallized", another single from the band's sophomore album. The album was released on January 21, 2014 via Fueled by Ramen. The band enlisted Grammy-nominated producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen to produce the album for the Southern California group.
The New York Times called the album "a sharp, electric album that has the cool reserve of the Cure matched with the arena mind-set of, say, Muse (though without that group’s mechanical air)."
Kongos is a South African alternative rock band consisting of four brothers: Johnny, Jesse, Dylan and Daniel Kongos. They spent their childhoods in the city of London and in South Africa. They compose, record and perform in Phoenix, Arizona. The four men are the sons of John Kongos. They are of Greek origin and have attended the Greek Saheti school in Gauteng, South Africa. The film Holy Motors used their song "Come with Me Now" in the official trailer.
The band's debut album Lunatic was released in 2012. Kongos' single "I'm Only Joking", from their album Lunatic topped various South African charts including all three of Tuks FM's charts and received copious airtime on 5FM and on many other stations in South Africa. The music video for the song debuted on TV 5 on SABC 3 and was in rotation on MKTV. Their second single "Come with Me Now" was in rotation on both 5FM and Tuks FM. The song appeared on the 5FM Top 40 and the Tuks FM Top 30 charts.
In late October 2013, the band self-released Lunatic in the United States. In 2014, both "I'm Only Joking" and "Come with Me Now" began receiving noticeable exposure in the United States, gaining momentum in airplay on radio and being featured in television commercials there. As a result, the band was signed by Epic Records in late January 2014 and the band re-released Lunatic. "Come with Me Now" has sold more than 70,000 copies as of March 2014.