It's time to shake off the doldrums of winter -- and what better way than by looking ahead to all the exciting music that's on the horizon?

1. Coming Attractions

1/25

It's time to shake off the doldrums of winter -- and what better way than by looking ahead to all the exciting music that's on the horizon?

The range of upcoming albums is diverse, from indie faves like TV on the Radio, the Kills, and Foo Fighters to love 'em, hate 'em pop starlets Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. And, of course, we've got Snoop and Wiz, too. -- written by Andy Battaglia

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2. Coming Attractions

2/25

It's time to shake off the doldrums of winter -- and what better way than by looking ahead to all the exciting music that's on the horizon?

The range of upcoming albums is diverse, from indie faves like TV on the Radio, the Kills, and Foo Fighters to love 'em, hate 'em pop starlets Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. And, of course, we've got Snoop and Wiz, too. -- written by Andy Battaglia

START THE PREVIEW >>>

3. SNOOP DOGG

3/25

Doggumentary Music (Priority/EMI)
Release date: March 29

The Skinny: "Doggumentary features Willie Nelson, Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa, Jeezy, E-40 and more." There's good reason to read such a line in a news announcement and retain only four words of it, namely the first four, which tease the prospect of Snoop Dogg and the old Red Headed Stranger together at last. If you squint, it makes sense for more reasons than just a shared devotion to smoking weed, and it's not even necessarily all that novel on an album that also includes a cast as varied as Bootsy Collins, Gorillaz, T-Pain, Too Short, and R. Kelly. So it goes on album #11 for Snoop, who put together 21 tracks and gave some of them nothing-if-not-Snoop-like titles suchas "I Don't Need No Bitch," "Gangbang Rookie," "This Weed Iz Mine," and "Toyz N Da Hood."

Fast Fact: Snoop Dogg to TMZ after Willie Nelson got busted for weed in Texas late last year: "Man, they better leave Willie the fuck alone, man."

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WATCH: Snoop Dogg, "Wet"

4. PETER BJORN AND JOHN

4/25

Gimme Some (StarTime International)
Release date: March 29

The Skinny: It's been a little while since Peter Bjorn and John broke out with "Young Folks," one of the best songs to incorporate idle whistling ever, so now it's time for the hook-minded Swedish band to see if the scale of such a hit will stick. Nobody ever talks about the trio without using the word "catchy," and for good reason: There's a studious, or certainly studied, way in which Peter Bjorn and John songs play out, almost like erector sets with every verse and chorus installed for maximum possible efficiency and allure. For Gimme Some, they teamed with an outside producer for the first time -- fellow Swede Per Sunding, who's worked with the Cardigans -- and early singles "Second Chance" and "Breaker Breaker" have an intriguing way of sounding like they could have been made any time between the mid '60s and now, without sounding the least bit washed over by time.

Fast Fact: Bandmember Bjorn Yttling worked as a producer on Lykke Li's lauded new album Wounded Rhythms.

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LISTEN: Peter, Bjorn and John, "Second Chance"

WATCH: Peter Bjorn And John, "Second Chance"

5. WIZ KHALIFA

5/25

Rolling Papers (Rostrum/Atlantic)
Release date: March 29

The Skinny: Wiz Khalifa shot up the list of great deliverers of football-inspired rap songs of all time with "Black and Yellow," a big single that borrowed its titular colors from Khalifa's beloved hometown Pittsburgh Steelers. It only obliquely referenced football, but it still served as a sort of rallying cry for the team as they crept into the Super Bowl. The song also traffics in Khalifa's distinctively laid-back, even lazy, sort of sing-song rap delivery, draped over a lumbering beat with lots of low-end and left out to dry. There's weed all over the place in his sound, and it's not exactly hidden in the title of Rolling Papers or its attendant "Green Carpet Tour" (even if the latter is, at least in part, meant to call out ecological green).

Fast Fact: Khalifa has six facetattoos, of which he told MTV: "I try to make it tasteful, you know. I don'twant to do anything that's gonna make me look different. But I'm a little crazyso I gotta express that."

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WATCH: Wiz Khalifa, "Roll Up"

6. BRITNEY SPEARS

6/25

Femme Fatale (Jive)
Release date: March 29

The Skinny: Britney's back, and it says a lot about the scattered state of pop in 2011 that it's not even close to clear what that means. Does she count more these days as a musical act or a tabloid casualty? Or is she a recovering musical act, or a former tabloid casualty who learned to take time away in the interest of rebirth? Spears's stated goal for Femme Fatale was to make a "fierce dance record," and in addition to monolithic electronic sounds there's a lot of cut-up weirdness in the singles released so far. Producers Dr. Luke and Max Martin figure into the bulk of the album, and others enlisted include will.i.am (for "Big Fat Bass").

Fast Fact: The Swede Martin has worked on a ridiculous number of pop anthems, including Ace of Base's "Beautiful Life," Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way," Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone," Pink's "So What," and Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl." He also wrote a little ditty in 1999 called "…Baby One More Time" for a sunny young upstart who has since seen some hard times.

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WATCH: Britney Spears, "Hold It Against Me"

7. THE KILLS

7/25

Blood Pressures (Domino)
Release date: April 5

The Skinny: A band named the Kills is probably not going to be especially shy or demure, but still: Few groups these days make as good on the rawness and romance embedded deep within rock'n'roll. Not romance in a flowers-and-hors de oeuvres kind of way, but more like tattered copies of old paperbacks about punk and the Velvet Underground and all the ways that sex seemed to drip from rock in its most bad-ass days. Frontwoman Alison Mosshart did lead vocal duty on two records for the Jack White-helmed Dead Weather, but for the Kills' fourth album, Blood Pressures, it's just Mosshart and searing guitar ace Jamie Hince (who told SPIN he took to playing through seven amps at once in sessions for the record in Michigan).

Fast Fact: Mosshart first came up as a rocker in the Florida punk band Discount, whose releases came out on a label called Liquid Meat Records.

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WATCH: The Kills, "Satellite"

8. RAVEONETTES

8/25

Raven in the Grave (Vice)
Release date: April 5

The Skinny: There's regular reverb and then there's the great, gloppy, gothic reverb that haunts the recent Raveonettes single "Forget That You're Young." It's an intriguing opening salvo from the Danish-bred duo of Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner (fast: think of two better names in rock… still waiting), who profess to having taken great pleasure in going darker than usual for their sixth album. The Raveonettes' sound has a peculiar way of being both futuristic and licked by the entire history of rock, owing to lots of fuzz and hints of influences going back to the '50s with stopovers in many of the decades surrounding. But, Sune says, “This is the first album we've done which doesn't feature the signature Raveonettes surf drumbeat. None of the tunes have any real sunshine to them." Cue the moonlight instead.

Fast Fact: Sharin Foo made an enemy in model Kate Moss a few years ago, when Moss was none-too-pleased that her boyfriend (the Kills' Jamie Hince) had hung onto some relics from his past relationship with Foo, including a vial of her blood.

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WATCH: Raveonettes, "Forget That You're Young"

9. FOO FIGHTERS

9/25

Wasting Light (Roswell/RCA)
Release date: April 12

The Skinny: Foo Fighters grow more fascinating by the year, as what started seemingly as a side-project lark settles more and more into the status of an institution. How many fans of Nirvana in their heyday imagined drummer dude Dave Grohl, savage as he was with the sticks, as a worthwhile songwriter and star-with-staying-power in his own right? The answer to that is precisely none, but the irony is that Foo Fighters have done more, in terms of volume and time, than Nirvana ever did. For their seventh album, the band recorded all to analog tape (read: no computers) in Grohl's garage in California, with production by Butch Vig and mixing by Alan Moulder. A couple of notable guests chipped in on Wasting Light as well: Bob Mould and erstwhile Nirvana bassist Krist Noveselic.

Fast Fact: Is that Lemmy from Motorhead driving like a maniac in the coolly cruddy new video for Foo Fighters' "White Limo"? Why yes, it certainly is.

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WATCH: Foo Fighters, "Rope"

10. TV ON THE RADIO

10/25

Nine Types of Light (Interscope)
Release date: April 12

The Skinny: TV on the Radio have covered lots of ground in ways that make more sense than seemed possible at the start -- not because they lacked for promise but because there really wasn't another band that sounded much like TV on the Radio, and thus no way to know which way they'd go. After expanding their sound and growing it out on 2008's Dear Science, the group stayed busy with other projects, as is their wont: Dave Sitek worked on Maximum Balloon and produced for others far and wide, Kyp Malone unleashed his side-project Rain Machine, and Tunde Adebimpe leant his voice to Massive Attack and the cool prog-hip-hop artist Beans. Now it's time for their fourth album together, and two songs released to tease — "Will Do" and "Caffeinated Consciousness" — do well by their brooding, rustling, static-electricity rock sound.

Fast Fact: Bassist Gerard Smith was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and won't be touring with the band. Their supportive response: "With Gerard's legendarily willful disposition...it might just be cancer that has the problem."

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WATCH: TV on the Radio, "Will Do"

11. THURSDAY

11/25

No Devolucion (Epitaph)
Release date: April 12

The Skinny: The New Jersey hardcore band decided to go a little less hardcore for their sixth album, or at least less expressly hardcore-punk. They've spoken of wanting to open up the sense of visceral rawness and claustrophobia of records past, and influences for No Devolucion (translation: "no returns") include the Smiths, the Cure, Mogwai, and Portishead, as well as the novelists Cormac McCarthy and Don DeLillo (both known for being powerful and creepy while maintaining a mysterious lightness of touch). The first single, "Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart," throws out a wealth of gleaming atmosphere and some heady rhythmic experimentation, not to mention a sense of pop play that frontman Geoff Rickly told SPIN he had to warm up to after wanting for so long to continue as "the band that we were when we played the basements and VFW Halls."

Fast Fact: The cover for No Devolucion was designed by Brooklyn-based paper-cut artist Mia Pearlman, whose website is really worth a look.

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LISTEN: Thursday, "Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart"

12. PANDA BEAR

12/25

Tomboy (Paw Tracks)
Release date: April 19

The Skinny: To reduce it down to a point just shy of total ridiculousness, in Animal Collective, Panda Bear is Paul McCartney to Avey Tare's John Lennon. He's the one whose songs seem to shine even when they're dark and weird, and he's the one whose sense of melody stands to translate best to those curious about Animal Collective but not necessarily looking to make a lifestyle of listening to strange music for art-ravaged rituals. With his breakthrough 2007 solo album Person Pitch, Panda Bear managed to hold on to aspects of the band while softening them up, rounding them off, and making them fit for church, or at least a church open to the idea of monastic pop. The singles released from Tomboy were made from a similar mold, with entrancing samples set up for repetition and a full-throated singing voice that has grown more commanding over time.

Fast Fact: Panda Bear lives in Lisbon, Portugal, with his wife, fashion designer Fernanda Pereira.

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LISTEN: Panda Bear, "Last Night at the Jetty"

13. GORILLAZ

13/25

The Fall (Virgin)
Release date: April 19

The Skinny: Precious few cartoon bands have ever counted as bands first and cartoons second, but one of more impressive aspects of Gorillaz is you don't necessarily have to choose. They've been around longer than seemed likely when they put out their first album in 2001, and the gist of the project has managed to change considerably without ever veering wildly off-course. The Fall was first issued digitally last year as a fan-club curio, but now it's getting a full release -- a real step up for the result of what Damon Albarn says was "just me and an iPad really mucking about." Of course, Albarn just mucking about is more likely to hit on something worthwhile than many other artists with way more means, and often he's best when at his most quiet and spare.

Fast Fact: A vinyl version of The Fall will come out a few days earlier, on April 16, in celebration of Record Store Day.

WATCH: Gorillaz, "Revolving Doors"

14. EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY

14/25

Take Care, Take Care, Take Care (Temporary Residence)
Release date: April 26

The Skinny: Explosions in the Sky, not surprisingly for a band so-named, are big into drama. But that drama comes filtered through the ideas of instrumental post-rock, which means it's as much about restraint as it is about release. The Austin, Texas, band made a still startling surprise move in 2004 when they wound up scoring the high-school football movie Friday Night Lights, and the scale has stayed big since (including opening stints for Arcade Fire and a live show of their own coming up soon at New York's grand Radio City Music Hall). For their fifth album, the group went to El Paso to record with producer John Congleton, and there's no denying the bigness of the first single, "Trembling Hands," which sounds like it never weathered an emotion it didn't take seriously.

Fast Fact: Take Care, Take Care, Take Care was cut at a place called Sonic Ranch, a 23,000-acre wonderland near El Paso with five recording studios, horses, and a pool, among other things.

LISTEN: Explosions in the Sky, "Trembling Hands"

15. FLEET FOXES

15/25

Helplessness Blues (Bella Union/Sub Pop)
Release date: May 3

The Skinny: Fleet Foxes came pretty much out of nowhere in 2008 with a self-titled debut that launched them to the top of a still-growing heap of bands into folksy naturalism and weirdness by way of wonder. They sound like they could be from any number of different decades, and as with many other so-called "freak folk" bands, there's nothing very freaky about them. Instead, it's all guileless folk songs best sung in the sun, with a golden gleam to them that owes in part to sweet vocal harmonizing. The title track from Helplessness Blues follows suit, sounding like a mash of southern California in the '70s and Simon & Garfunkel in their prime. Longtime indie studio ace Phil Ek recorded and co-produced with members of the band, who seem like they'll probably be around for a good while to come.

Fast Fact: The cover for Helplessness Blues, a good candidate already for album art of the year, was illustrated lavishly by Seattle artist Toby Liebowitz and painted by Chris Alderson.

LISTEN: Fleet Foxes, "Helplessness Blues"

WATCH: Fleet Foxes, "Grown Ocean"

16. GANG GANG DANCE

16/25

Eye Contact (4AD)
Release date: May 10

The Skinny: From a mysterious corner of the New York underground haunted similarly by the likes of Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance started out as a bit of a mewling mess before evolving into a formidable force from what sounds like the future on another planet. Their last album, Saint Dymphna, proved more organized and accessible than anything they'd done before, but it retained the kind of raw, rhythmic primitivism -- partly electronic, partly the result of simply banging on things -- that has marked Gang Gang Dance from the beginning. Eye Contact, the group's second album after stepping out from the underground in earnest with 2005's God's Money, features a sort of pan-global sound that tips toward different continents (pretty much all but Antarctica) while leaning into surprisingly cool sorts of new-age atmospheres.

Fast Fact: Gang Gang Dance member Brian DeGraw made a very strange and regrettably forgotten album called SSAB Songs in 1999 with filmmaker Harmony Korine.

WATCH: Gang Gang Dance, "Glass Jar"

17. OKKERVIL RIVER

17/25

I Am Very Far (Jagjaguwar)
Release date: May 10

The Skinny: Okkervil River's Will Sheff is one of those songwriters to whom the term "literary" truly sticks. He uses big words and bends them into artful phrases and rhymes, but more than that, he puts them in service of themes that count as uncommonly searching. After some releases that stand as concept albums, Sheff convened Okkervil River with a measure of rawness in mind; as per a press release, "The goal was to push my brain to places it didn't want to go." That's intriguing, to be sure, but maybe not as much as the slightly unhinged and heaving indie folk-rock band playing in configurations that included two drummers, two pianists, two bassists, and seven guitarists. The first single from I Am Very Far, "Wake and Be Fine," has an epic sweep to it, with strings seamlessly integrated and a level of sophistication new to the band.

Fast Fact: Ever the writer, Will Sheff was nominated this year for a Grammy... for penning the liner notes to a reissue of an album by old psych-rock legend Roky Erickson.

LISTEN: Okkervil River, "Wake and Be Fine"

WATCH: Okkervil River, "Wake And Be Fine"

18. DANGER MOUSE AND DANIELE LUPPI PRESENT

18/25

Rome (Capitol)
Release date: May 17

The Skinny: Polymathic producer Danger Mouse has not lacked for different kinds of output over the past few years — his credits link to a wildly diverse cast including Gnarls Barkely, Gorillaz, Beck, the Shins' James Mercer (in Broken Bells), MF Doom (in Danger Doom), and Sparklehorse (on an album called Dark Night of the Soul) — but Rome might rank as his most surprising project yet. The inspiration for it was music made for Spaghetti Western films, especially music by the great Italian composer Ennio Morricone. To do it, Danger Mouse, aka Brian Burton, teamed with Daniele Luppi (who's written scores for movies and done arrangements for some DM projects in the past), set up in the studio where Morricone himself worked, and even recruited some of the musicians who played the music for the 1966 classic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Add to all that two intriguingly matched "starring" vocalists -- Jack White and Norah Jones -- and you have a record that figures to sound like little else.

Fast Fact: While living in Athens, Georgia, Danger Mouse worked for a time at Wuxtry Records -- the same shop where R.E.M.'s Peter Buck met Michael Stipe while manning the counter.

WATCH: Mouse and Daniele Luppi Present Rome - Trailer

19. MOBY

19/25

Destroyed (Mute)
Release date: May 17

The Skinny: Moby travels a lot, and traveling a lot has a way of warping (or at least shaping) the mind of the one in constant motion. Hence Destroyed, a new music and photography-book combo, which comprises a regular album with 15 songs and a book made up of 55 pictures that Moby snapped all over the world. Both are meant to survey the mix of disparate experiences that greet itinerant wanderers of different kinds. The music, conceived as "a soundtrack from empty cities at 2 A.M.," evidently came to Moby while alone in hotel rooms and found its finished form after beign mixed by Ken Thomas (M83, Sigur Ros) on an analog mixing board from Abbey Road Studios.

Fast Fact: Moby started taking pictures when he was 9 years old, back when cameras operated with a mysterious material known as "film."

WATCH: Moby, "Be The One"

20. LADY GAGA

20/25

Born This Way (Streamline/Kon Live/Cherrytree/Interscope)
Release date: May 23

The Skinny: Is there room for a word for a new emotion stuck somewhere between love and hate, in a compelling netherzone where general interest rises even while visceral opinion dims? There should be, and in the dictionaries of the future its usage should be pegged to the past year or so in the life of Lady Gaga. She's been fascinating and provocative, to be sure. But she's also flirted with relegating her music to a mere detail in an overall spectacle more focused on dresses and ponderous meditations on fame. Fair enough, but it's high time for another album to throw on the fire. Cue Born This Way, the follow-up to the ubiquitous The Fame. Details are scant -- Gaga can't be accused of under-orchestrating the news around her -- though producer RedOne, who worked on the new album, told Billboard it's "unbelievable" (consider your sources).

Fast Fact: Incidentally, RedOne, who is oft-credited as a prime craftsman of Lady Gaga's sound, is a Moroccan who lives in Los Angeles by way of Sweden.

WATCH: Lady Gaga, "Born This Way"

21. MY MORNING JACKET

21/25

Circuital (ATO)
Release date: May 31

The Skinny: When they took off in 2001, no band since the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd had made stringy southern hair flying over top a stringy southern guitar solo look as convincing and cool as My Morning Jacket. But the group has evolved significantly since, well beyond golden southern rock and into some different realm where such a time-tested sound is refracted into the future. Especially since 2005's Z, My Morning Jacket have expanded on their capacity for surprise -- kind of like a chicken-fried Radiohead -- and they sound typically open-eared and curious when talking about Circuital. For their sixth studio album, the band returned home to Louisville, Kentucky, set up a studio in a church gym, and reportedly went in search of a more live-to-tape, lived-in feel than some of their recent aural exploits of late have allowed for.

Fast Fact: MMJ frontman Jim James plays out on his own as Yim Yames, which is either the best or worst solo stage name ever.

WATCH: My Morning Jacket, "Circuital"

22. DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE

22/25

Codes and Keys (Atlantic)
Release date: May 31

The Skinny: It's been a long way up from grime-slathered indie rock clubs to VH1's Storytellers, where they'll be appearing later this spring, but somewhere in the middle is where Death Cab for Cutie ought to be. The literate and lasting small-time heroes can be said to have led the charge for the scale that indie-rock has achieved in recent years (Death Cab on The OC was some or other kind of watershed moment, to be sure). But more important than that is a body of work that has built on itself and expanded its reach. Codes and Keys will count as their seventh album, and their first since 2008's Narrow Stairs made a surprise showing at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. How will they follow? Ben Gibbard has intriguingly name-checked Brian Eno's meditative, all-over-the-place 1975 classic Another Green World, and the final mix-down was handed over to Alan Moulder, an English alt-rock veteran who has worked with My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, and tons of other notables.

Fast Fact: No Death Cab fan should go without seeing One Fast Move or I'm Gone, a 2009 film about Jack Kerouac for which Ben Gibbard wrote songs with Son Volt's Jay Farrar.

WATCH: Death Cab for Cutie, "You Are A Tourist"

23. FUCKED UP

23/25

David Comes to Life (Matador)
Release date: June 7

The Skinny: Too few bands are fronted by fat dudes known to get naked on stage and act in pretty much every way crazy and deranged. But there's even more a dearth of bands who could manage to make that rank fairly low on the list of distinguishing characteristics. All of which is to say that Toronto's Fucked Up broke through by being both novel and good enough to make music -- arty, psychedelic hardcore-punk music -- so rich as to transcend fleeting things like novelty and genre. Frontman Damian Abraham has described David Comes to Life, the follow-up to Fucked Up's 2008 Matador debut The Chemistry of Common Life, as a certifiable rock-opera about a guy who works at a light-bulb factory in a fictitious town in England. How better to address the fall of organized labor and the rise of overly rampant capitalism?

Fast Fact: Abraham is a fan of professional wrestling and, in particular, has expressed a liking for '70s/'80s superstar "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.

WATCH: Fucked Up, "The Other Shoe"

24. BLACK LIPS

24/25

Arabia Mountain (Vice)
Release date: June 7

The Skinny: How's this for an intriguing inventory of sources to have helped in the making of a rock record: "Celebrated DJ and producer Mark Ronson, Lockett Pundt of Deerhunter, and a human skull with a microphone jammed into it"? Pretty good, by any stretch, and especially good as it applies to a band as raw and ready to go as Atlanta's Black Lips. The group stepped it up for their sixth album, enlisting the illustrious Ronson to produce a more outright rock-oriented project than he's known for. They did it all between Williamsburg and Atlanta, and the resulting sound includes as a stated reference point the Stooges' Fun House. That's serious business, to be sure.

Fast Fact: Arabia Mountain is weird and incongruous rock formation, not unlike the even larger Stone Mountain, about 20 minutes outside Atlanta.

WATCH: Black Lips, "Go Out and Get It!"

25. CHIDDY BANG

25/25

Breakfast (Virgin/EMI)
Release date: June 14

The Skinny: Chiddy Bang transformed from a pair of dudes making tracks in their dorm room to kinda-sorta budding stars (perhaps) with a sound that grafts hip-hop to some less than ordinary sound sources. Among them: MGMT and Passion Pit, samples of whom figured into the Chiddy Bang breakout track "Truth." From there, the Philadelphia duo landed some studio time with the Neptunes' Pharrell, who produced a song ("The Good Life") on a teaser EP called The Preview, and now it's time to wait and see how the full-length debut fares with the expectations up and the stakes raised. The album has been a while on the vine -- certainly not the first time a candidate for breakout success on the outer edges of hip-hip was made to wait for label machinations to sort themselves out -- but luckily Chiddy Bang are young.

Fast Fact: Chiddy Bang members Chidera "Chiddy" Anamege and Noah "Xaphoon Jones" Beresin met at Drexel University, home of the Dragons -- the logo for which awesomely burns when you drag over it online here.