SPIN.com’s Artist of the Year tournament, which has pitted 32 bands against each other over three weeks of no-holds-barred competition, has been trimmed down to the “final four.” Starting Monday (Feb. 26) at 9 A.M. EST a rock face-off will commence as Detroit-based outfit the Silent Years vie against Boston’s own Boys Like Girls while north of the border rockers the Sam Roberts Band duke it out with Alabama-bred five-piece the Rewinds. Check back the following Monday to see if your band will move into the final showdown.
SPIN.com caught up with each of the contending acts to size-up the competition, expose the significance of a potential AOTY crowning, and reveal plans for tentative celebratory festivities. INTERVIEWS BY WILLIAM GOODMAN & BRIANA MOWREY
ALL AGES CHAMP: Boys Like Girls
“We’re really, really stoked. It’s amazing the fans have brought us this far,” frontman Martin Johnson told SPIN.com while prepping for the band’s performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live yesterday (Feb. 22). But in light of the Boys Like Girls’ swelling popularity, Johnson dons a humble and appreciative demeanor. “I still feel like we have a long way to go…but what’s really special is that the kids have taken the time to vote,” he said.
>> Read Boys Like Girls’ Artist of the Day feature
UNDERGROUND CHAMP: The Silent Years
“It’s really surreal, I’ve read Spin for so many years…I can’t believe we’re considered,” reflected Silent Years frontman Josh Epstein on the indie rockers’ ascent of the AOTY ranks and prospective conquest. Although Epstein said his band loves their competitors’ music, the Detroit-based quartet have planned a celebratory feast replete with “wine and eggplant parmesan,” and Epstein asserts the band hates to break a date. “We want to beat the hell out of everyone,” he said. .
>> Read the Silent Years’ Artist of the Day feature
INTERNATIONAL CHAMP: The Sam Roberts Band
Stunned centerpiece of Canadian quintet the Sam Roberts Band, Sam Roberts said he’s “still emotionally in Round 1.” Roberts attributes success to the fact that they “just enjoy playing the music” from their latest long player Chemical City and the Internet’s power: “A couple of rounds ago we got a message from the Rewinds saying ‘We like your music.’ I thought it was a pretty classy act on their part!” Not that it makes the rivalry less heated. “I think a lot of bands don’t admit that they get into these things. I have to admit that the pulse has been racing a couple of times!”
>> Read the Sam Roberts Band’s Artist of the Day feature
INDIE CHAMP: The Rewinds
Speaking from his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, Rewinds guitarist Shane Jewell revealed that entering the AOTY’s final four is “huge” for the upbeat power pop fivesome and that “the exposure certainly couldn’t hurt either.” Even though Jewell confesses the Rewinds “feel like the underdogs” as the band competes with more seasoned indie acts, the southern axe shredder states the band’s unexpected propulsion AOTY’s fourth round is accredited to the their exhaustive touring regiment, loyal fan base, and acclaimed live show.
>> Read the Rewinds’ Artist of the Day feature
Talk: Which two bands will battle in the final round?