The punk rock band Alkaline Trio was formed in the Chicago suburbs in 1996, by founding members Rob Doran, Glen Porter, and Matt Skiba. After teaming up with Asian Man Records, Alkaline Trio released two EPs, Sundials (1997) and For Your Lungs Only (1998), before releasing their full-length debut, Goddamnit, in 2000.

Goddamnit was a moderate hit in the United States, as was the follow-up, Maybe I’ll Catch Fire (also 2000), but Alkaline Trio found itself with greater success overseas, most notably in the United Kingdom, where the band continually charted both albums and singles for the next ten years. The releases From Here to Infirmary (2001), Good Mourning (2003), Crimson (2005), Agony & Irony (2008), The Addiction (2010), and My Shame Is True (2013) spawned the top forty UK singles: “Stupid Kid,” “Time to Waste,” “Mercy Me,” “Burn,” and “Help Me,” which also found its way into the top twenty in the United States.

Although Alkaline Trio has undergone numerous record label switches, and members Rob Doran and Glen Porter left the band in its earlier years, Alkaline Trio continues to perform and record with the current lineup of Matt Skiba (guitar and lead vocals); Dan Andriano (bass and vocals); and Derek Grant (drums and vocals.) Alkaline Trio recently announced that they are preparing for their nineth studio album, scheduled for release sometime in early 2018

The American rock band known as Alice in Chains was established in Seattle, Washington, by founding members Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell. Long before Alice in Chains rose to fame as one of the most significant rock groups of the grunge era, Layne Staley had been working as a vocalist for a band known as Alice N’ Chains, when a chance meeting with Jerry Cantrell forged a friendship between the two musicians. After the original Alice N’ Chains disbanded, Jerry and Layne decided to form a new group, modifying the name to Alice in Chains.

After the addition of Mike Starr and Sean Kinney, Alice in Chains entered the studio and began recording demos. The group’s first demo, The Treehouse Tapes, found its way to the managers of the currently successful group, Soundgarden. The managers negotiated a deal with Columbia Records, and Alice in Chains found itself with its first record deal in 1989. Before releasing a major label debut album, Alice in Chains released the EP We Die Young, and the title track became an instant hit. The band entered the studio to record a full-length debut, Facelift, which was released in 1990.

Facelift was a moderate and slow-simmering success at first, until the release of the album’s single “Man in the Box.” With heavy airplay on both radio and MTV, the single rose into the top twenty and brought the album with it, ultimately making Facelift one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the grunge period and bringing Alice in Chains a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance for “Man in the Box.”

Alice in Chains followed Facelift with Dirt (1992) and Alice in Chains (1995), giving audiences the additional hit singles: “Sea of Sorrow,” “Them Bones,” “Rooster,” “Down a Hole,” “No Excuses,” “I Stay Away,” “Don’t Follow,” “Heaven Beside You,” “Over Now,” and “Get Born Again,” to name a few. During this period, Alice in Chains garnered nine Grammy nominations, and it certainly appeared as though they were on a steady rocket ride to the top, experiencing the best of good fortune.

That luck ran out with the untimely death of Staley in 2002. Although Alice in Chains had already embarked on a lengthy hiatus during which time individual members pursued other projects, the passing of Staley left the future of the band in question. But in 2005, the remaining member of Alice in Chains reunited for a benefit concert, and the band decided to forge forward with William DuVall replacing Staley. The band released the album Black Gives Way to Blue in 2009, followed by The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here in 2013.

Today, Alice in Chains continues to perform and record with the current lineup of DuVall, Jerry Cantrell, Mike Inez, and Sean Kinney. The band recently toured the United States in 2013 and Europe in 2014, and is expected to add more live performance dates in the near future.

The French black metal band Alcest was established in 2000 by the already established artist known as Neige. Initially, Neige was joined by Argoth and Aegnor, and the trio released a debut 4-track demo tape in 2001. The EP, Tristesse Hivernale, garnered Alcest some attention, but soon thereafter Aegnor and Argoth left the group, making Alcest a solo endeavor for Neige.

Neige forged forward with Alcest, releasing the follow-up EP Le Secret in 2005. Le Secret brought Alcest to the attention of Prophecy Productions, and after signing a recording contract with the company, Alcest released the debut album Souvenirs d’un autre monde in 2007. Souvenirs was followed by Ecailles de Lune (2010) and Les Voyages de l’Ame (2012.)

Alcest was recently joined by drummer Winterhalter in 2009 to make the band a duo. The band continues to perform and record, and most recently released the album Shelter, in 2014.

The American rock band known as Alabama Shakes was established in 2009, in the city of Athens, Alabama. The band’s earliest beginnings go back to when Brittany Howard and Zac Cockrell were both high school students who started a songwriting collaboration. Both musicians were drawn to “roots rock,” and so after adding Steve Johnson and Heath Fogg to the lineup, they formed Alabama Shakes and started performing around the local area.

Alabama Shakes released a debut self-titled EP in 2011, which immediately began to garner them significant attention. After performing at the CMJ Music Marathon showcase in New York, Alabama Shakes found itself on MTV’s 2012 list of Eleven Artists to Watch. An offer from ATO Records brought the band its first major record deal and a return to the studio to record a full-length debut album.

Boys & Girls arrived in 2012 and was an immediate smash hit. The single “Hold On” began to climb the charts, and Alabama Shakes spent the rest of the year performing on such television shows as: Conan, Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Saturday Night Live. The band also performed at Bestival (on the Isle of Wight), the Glastonbury Festival, and at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Ultimately, Boys & Girls went on to earn Alabama Shakes multiple nominations at the Grammy Awards, in the categories of: Best Recording Package, Best Rock Performance, and Best New Artist.

Alabama Shakes is definitely a band on the rise and one to watch. The group recently finished studio work on their next album, Sound & Color, which is due out in 2015. The band is also scheduled to perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the Rock Werchter festival (in Belgium), and the Byron Bay Bluesfest (in Australia), in the spring and summer of 2015.

The rock band Against Me! was formed by Tom Gabel in Naples, Florida in the late 1990’s. Following the release of a 1997 demo, titled Against Me!, Gabel joined forces with Kevin Mahon and additional demos and EP’s followed. Eventually Mahon was replaced by Warren Oaks with the addition of James Bowman, and Against Me! Is Reinventing Axl Rose, the band’s debut, was released in 2002.

Additional albums followed: Against Me! as the Eternal Cowboy (2003), Searching for a Former Clarity (2005), New Wave (2007), and White Crosses (2010), with the band’s sophomore effort rising into the Top 40 on the independent albums charts. The albums spawned the singles: “The Disco Before the Breakdown,” “Cavalier Eternal,” “Sink, Florida, Sink,” “Don’t Lose Touch,” “From Her Lips to God’s Ears (The Energizer),” “White People for Peace,” “Thrash Unreal,” “Stop!,” “New Wave,” “I Was a Teenage Anarchist,” “High Pressure Low,” and “Russian Spies/Occult Enemies.”

In 2012, founding member Tom Gabel went public with his transgender struggles, and began the transition to live as a woman. Gabel has since taken the name Laura Jane Grace, and with current Against Me! members James Bowman and Atom Willard (who joined the band in 2013), Grace has returned to the studio for the recording of the band’s next release, Transgender Dysphoria Blues.

Against Me! continues to perform and record with the current lineup of Laura Jane Grace, James Bowman, Ingie Johansoon, and Atom Willard. In recent years the band has also launched Total Treble Music, their own record label. The band’s seventh and most recent album, Shape Shift with Me, was released through this label in 2016.

The American alternative/punk-rock band known as AFI (A Fire Inside) was established in the early 1990’s, by founding members Vic Chalker, Mark Stopholese and Davey Havok. The two musicians met while they were still in high school and began performing together under the name A Fire Inside. Although Chalker left the band early in its inception, to be replaced by Geoff Kresge, AFI performed for a few years until the members graduated from high school and went to college, scattering around the country.

A reunion performance in 1993 at the Phoenix Theater in California brought the members back together and they decided to reinstate the band and pursue a full-time career as musicians. AFI released Answer That and Stay Fashionable, their debut album, in 1995. The album was moderately successful, spawning the singles “I Wanna Get a Mohawk (But Mom Won’t Let Me Get One),” “Cereal Wars,” and “Nyquil.” AFI’s humorous lyrics and unconventional themes made the band a quick underground favorite, and after signing to Nitro Records, they returned to the studio to record a second album.

Very Proud of Ya arrived in 1996, followed by Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes (1997) and Black Sails in the Sunset (1999.) AFI continued to experience moderate success, but enjoyed its biggest breakthrough with The Art of Drowning, which arrived in 2000. Art of Drowning was followed by Sing the Sorrow (2003), which was even more successful, and then: Decemberunderground (2006), and Crash Love (2009.) Collectively, the albums spawned the alternative hits: “Girl’s Not Grey,” “The Leaving Song Pt. II,” “Silver and cold,” “Miss Murder,” “Love Like Winter,” “The Missing Flame,” “Medicate,” “Beautiful Thieves,” “I Hope You Suffer,” and “17 Crimes,” which was featured in the film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

AFI continues to perform and record with the current lineup of: Davey Havok, Jade Puget, Hunter Burgan, and Adam Carson. The band has grown to be known for its post-hardcore style which borders on the genre of “horror punk.” AFI most recently released the album Burials, which arrived in 2013.

A Perfect Circle band members
Maynard James Keenan, Billy Howerdel, James Iha, Matt McJunkins, and Jeff Friedl

The rock supergroup known as A Perfect Circle was established in the late 1990’s, bringing together Tool’s vocalist and front man (Maynard James Keenan) and guitarist Billy Howerdel. Over the years the band has experienced various changes to the lineup, bringing in other notable musicians from highly successful bands, but at the start Keenan and Howerdel were joined by musicians Troy Van Leeuwen (of Failure) and Tim Alexander (of Primus.) A Perfect Circle performed its first live performance in the summer of 1999 and was an instant smash hit.

Mer de Noms, A Perfect Circle’s debut album, arrived in the following year and rose to the top five on the Billboard albums charts. The album spawned the singles “Judith,” “3 Libras,” and “The Hollow.” Two more albums followed (Thirteenth Step in 2003 and eMOTIVe in 2004), giving audiences the singles “Weak and Powerless,” “The Outsider,” “Blue,” “Imagine,” “Passive,” and “By and Down.” A Perfect Circle embarked on a hiatus in 2005, after performing to a sell-out crowd in Denver, Colorado, and the band’s individual musicians returned to work on other projects in the meantime. Three years later, A Perfect Circle regrouped and began writing new material, although it would be a number of years before any of it was released.

A Perfect Circle returned to touring and live performances in 2010, appearing on such programs as Last Call with Carson Daly and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and hitting the stage at such festivals as Lollapalooza, Edgefest, Boonstock Music Festival, and Rock on the Range. In the meantime, A Perfect Circle continued to write and prepare new music, and in the fall of 2013, the band released the compilation album Three Sixty and announced plans for another studio album to release within the next year.

A Perfect Circle continues to perform with the current lineup of Keenan, Howerdel, James Iha (of the Smashing Pumpkins), Matt McJunkins (of Puscifer), and Jeff Friedl. The band most recently released the box-set A Perfect Circle Live: Featuring Stone and Echo (2013.)

A Day To Remember band members
Jeremy McKinnon, Neil Westfall, Joshua Woodard, Alex Shelnutt, and Kevin Skaff

The rock band A Day to Remember was established in Ocala, Florida by founding members Bobby Scruggs, Joshua Woodward, Jeremy McKinnon, and Tom Denney in 2003. Shortly after coming together, A Day to Remember began an extensive touring schedule to drum up a fan base, bringing them to hundreds of US cities in their first year. The performances and growing buzz caught the attention of Victory Records, and A Day to Remember signed to their first record label in 2005.

A Day to Remember released the debut album From Those Who Have Heart in 2007. The album rose into the top twenty on the Heatseekers chart, but it was the follow up album, Homesick, that garnered A Day to Remember significant success after its release in 2009. Homesick rose into the top twenty on the charts and spawned the breakout single, “Have Faith In Me.” Since Homesick, A Day to Remember has released the albums What Separates Me from You (2010) and Common Courtesy (2013), featuring the singles: “All I Want,” “All Signs Point to Lauderdale,” “It’s Complicated,” “Right Back at It Again,” and “End of Me.”

A Day to Remember is on the rise and definitely a band to watch. With the current lineup of McKinnon, Woodard, Neil Westfall, Alex Shelnutt, and Kevin Skaff, A Day to Remember continues to tour extensively. The band has plans to return to the studio for a new album, expecting within the coming year.

5 Seconds of Summer band members
Luke Hemmings, Michael Clifford, Calum Hood, and Ashton Irwin

The Australian pop rock group known as 5 Seconds of Summer was established in 2011, founded by members Ashton Irwin, Calum Hood, Michael Clifford, and Luke Hemmings. Drawing from the influences of bands such as Green Day, Blink-182, and All Time Low, 5 Seconds of Summer formed in Sydney while the members were attending Norwest Christian College together. The group began performing around the local area and recording their gigs, uploading the videos to YouTube.

It wasn’t long before the YouTube channel began to establish a following, garnering interest from fans and industry alike. 5 Seconds of Summer settled on a publishing deal with Sony ATV Music, but the band initially continued to rely on self-propelled social media to further increase their fan base instead of seeking a major label deal right away. The payoff worked; 5 Seconds of Summer’s debut EP, Unplugged, reached into the top 5 on the Australian iTunes chart, and the group received further support from fellow artists such as One Direction, which publicly endorsed the band and brought them along as their opening act for their 2013 tour.

It was this exposure that finally brought 5 Seconds of Summer to the market in the United States, ultimately earning them a record deal with Capitol Records. With the current hits “She Looks So Perfect” and “Wherever You Are,” 5 Seconds of Summer has already earned awards for Breakthrough Band (MTV) and Aussies’ Fave Hot New Talent (Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards), in addition to nominations from the World Music Awards.

5 Seconds of Summer has recently entered the studio to complete work on their self-titled major label debut, set for release this year.

311 band members
Nick Hexum, Doug "SA" Martinez, Aaron "P-Nut" Wills, Tim Mahoney, and Chad Sexton

The American rock band 311 was established in 1988 in Omaha, Nebraska, founded by vocalist Nick Hexum. After recruiting Chad Sexton, Aaron Wills, and Jim Watson to round out the lineup, 311 released an independently produced EP, Downstairs, featuring the song “Feels So Good.” Two more EPs followed: Unity and Damnit, and by the early 1990’s 311 was headlining shows in various local clubs, garnering local attention and establishing a following.

Eventually, 311 caught the attention of Capricorn Records, which signed the band in 1991. 311’s debut album, Music, arrived two years later. Music was moderately successful, as was the follow-up album (Grassroots), but 311’s biggest breakthrough came with their third album, a self-titled release which featured the song “Down.” “Down” began to receive heavy airplay on mainstream radio, eventually rising to the number one spot on the rock charts. The single “All Mixed Up” also fared well, eventually pushing the album 311 to multi-platinum status.

Since that time, 311 has released the albums: Transistor (1997), Soundsystem (1999), From Chaos (2001), Evolver (2003), Don’t Tread on Me (2005), Uplifter (2009), and Universal Pulse (2011.) The albums spawned the additional top twenty rock hits: “Transistor,” “Come Original,” “Flowing,” “You Wouldn’t Believe,” “I’ll Be Here Awhile,” “ Amber,” “Creatures,” “Love Song,” “Don’t Tread on Me,” “Hey You,” “It’s Alright,” and “Sunset in July.”

311 continues to perform and record. The band most recently released the album Stereolithic, featuring the songs “Five of Everything” and “Showdown.” 311 also released the live album 311 with the Unity Orchestra: Live from New Orleans, in 2014.

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