Va-almost You

Matt Pond PA
Song: "Green Shirt"
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
About: Matt Pond PA (a person and a band) play beautiful, bittersweet, orchestral pop like Disintegration-era Cure or vintage Peter Gabriel. The quintet (which includes The Rachel's Eve Miller) has released 3 stellar full length albums. Pop Matters Magazine says, "Matt Pond PA creates delicate, soft-spoken music that possibly can only be described as beautiful."
Webpage: www.mattpondpa.com

Hem
Song: "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes"
Hometown: New York, NY
About: Hem are a unique 8 piece ensemble that play lush American music that is both majestic and intimate. Their debut album garnered raves from NPR's All Things Considered and landed them tour dates with Beth Orton. The New York Times says, "Hem explores the backroads of Americana with understated grace."
Webpage: www.rabbitsongs.com

Fastball
Song: "Busy Bodies"
Hometown: Austin, TX
About: Fastball hit it big in 1998 with their perfect pop hit, "The Way". Their catalog full of infectious melodies and solid songwriting make it clear that this trio is more then a Top 40 guilty pleasure. Entertainment Weekly says, "Fastball nail the power-pop concept... whistleable riffs, mistakable-for-vintage hooks, and the wryest possible sincerity."
Webpage: www.fastballmusic.com

Grand Champeen
Song: "No Action"
Hometown: Austin, TX
About: Grand Champeen play gritty post-punk inspired RAWK without gimmicks - just great songs played like they mean it. Their straight ahead, high energy, live shows have made them one of Austin's rising stars. Artvoice says, "absolutely one of the best young bands around.in style and passion, they are the bar-rocking post-posits of The Replacements and Uncle Tupelo."
Webpage: www.grandchampeen.com

The Damnations
Song: "Still Too Soon To Know"
Hometown: Austin, TX
About: The Damnations sweet sisterly harmonies and revved up country rock sounds so good it reminds listeners of glory of The Band and the intensity of X. Their national debut, Half Mad Moon, landed the band on the Conan O'brien show and on the pages of Rolling Stone and People. Rolling Stone says, "The Damnations mix gamy Appalachian rowdiness and raw punk-rock passion...creating an imperfect sense of sorrow and bliss."
Webpage: www.damnations.com

Vic Chesnutt, Jack Logan, and Mr. and Mrs. Keneipp
Song: "Alison"
Hometown: Athens, GA
About: Vic Chesnutt has emerged as the South's premiere singer-songwriter with 8 critically acclaimed albums to his credit. Self-proclaimed "mechanic-songwriter" Jack Logan has produced 5 albums of perfect lo-fi pop (including 1994's heavily acclaimed Bulk). Husband/Wife, musicians/producers Kelly and Nikki Keneipp collaborated with Vic on last year's fantastic Merriment album and have worked with Jack on several projects. The Montreal Gazette says, "Chesnutt is the kind of cranky individualist America and rock 'n' roll just don't make enough of anymore."
Webpage: www.backburnerrecords.com

Li'l Cap'n Travis
Song: "Blue Chair"
Hometown: Austin, TX
About: These boys one-up Ween on tongue-in-cheek, bong-in-hand country, writing wit-laced tunes and performing them with shit-faced bravado. Add a dash of Pavement slack-rock and some Brian Wilson inspired harmonies and it's pretty clear why LCT is drawing big crowds all over the Lone Star State. The Austin American Statesman says, "Li'l Cap'n Travis are like hallucinating in the desert while listening to Faron Young. It's a mesmerizing Country sound, but what country? What galaxy?"
Webpage: www.lilcapntravis.com

Brenda Kahn
Song: "Watch Your Step"
Hometown: Austin, TX
About: A veteran of New York City's "Anti-Folk" scene (which also included Beck and Michelle Shocked), Brenda Kahn has recorded 6 albums of her own unique style of gritty, urban folk. New Mass Media says, "Kahn shows her true love for the dark, urban underbelly and accents it with origami-sandpaper-rose-like vocals; lilting yet scratchy, and a wonderfully tight rock band that knows how to play a folk song too."
Webpage: www.womanrock/brenda

Jon Auer
Song: "Beyond Belief"
Hometown: Seattle, WA
About: As a member of two of Power Pop's greatest bands, The Posies and Big Star, Jon Auer's angelic voice and gift for arrangements has made him a legend to underground pop geeks everywhere. Since the Posies sort-of break up in 1998, Auer has released two fantastic solo E.P.s and has toured and recorded with ex-Posie Ken Stringfellow. Splendid says, "Jon Auer is one of the most underrated tunesmiths of his generation."
Webpage: www.pattern25.com

The Deathray Davies
Song: "Men Called Uncle"
Hometown: Dallas, TX
About: The Deathray Davies mix classic garage pop with the modern fuzz of bands like the Pixies and the Apples In Stereo. Huge in their native Dallas, the DRD have toured with Pete Yorn, Old 97's, Superdrag, and Dressy Bessy. Pop Culture Press says, "arguably the best band of the newly revitalized Dallas rock scene... their real forte is tilt-a-whirl Nuggets-inflected rock-n-roll with dizzying sing along hooks crammed into every corner."
Webpage: www.deathraydavies.com

Kev Russell's Junker
Song: "Indoor Fireworks"
Hometown: Austin, TX
About: Frontman for Austin's hillbilly-jam poets, The Gourds, Kevin Russell is known for pushing the boundaries of American roots music. His down-home take on Folk, Country, Rock, and old timey weirdness has earned him comparisons to The Pogues, Los Lobos, and The Band. The All Music Guide says, "acoustic textures blow a dusty film over Russell's saloon croon as he delivers the Texas equivalent of old-time British Pub Rock."
Webpage: www.thegourds.com

Tywanna Jo Baskette
Song: "Just A Memory"
Hometown: Nashville, TN
About: Tywanna Jo Baskette had been a fixture on the Nashville music scene as a model before her haunting, plaintive singing voice and simple direct songs started earning her comparisons to outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston and Nico. Baskette is currently collaborating with producer Dennis Herring (Camper Van Beethoven, Counting Crows) on her debut album. Flagpole says, "With her little girl voice, nursery rhyme-like arrangements, Baskette reminds one so much of an updated and twangy version of Jonathan Richman."
Webpage: n/a

Okkervil River
Song: "Riot Act"
Hometown: Austin, TX
About: Okkervil River's music packs the introspective intensity of Bright Eyes into the dense, intricate arrangements of Neutral Milk Hotel. Their recently released Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See has earned them a rabid fanbase as well as critical raves David Fricke of Rolling Stone, MOJO, and Alternative Press. Rolling Stone says, "in a crowded field of young spectral-country bands, Okkervil River pine and crawl with enriched instrumentation... and a gripping cross of drowsy understatement and lightning bolts of anxiety"
Webpage: www.jound.com

The Mendoza Line
Song: "Sleep of the Just"
Hometown: New York, NY
About: Musically, the Mendoza Line play catchy and fuzzed out indie pop (think Yo La Tengo) full of pretty harmonies with just a touch of twang. Lyrically, their songs are wrought with smart self-deprecation and the bittersweet taste of failed romance (think Richard Thompson or Belle and Sebastian). Last year's Lost In Revelry CD earned them praise from legendary critic Greil Marcus. Spin says, "the Mendoza Line evoke the sound of traffic lights reflected through rolling rock empties, of clothes permanently reeking of cigarette smoke"
Website: www.mendozaline.com