Turning the spotlight on musicians making a commercial breakthrough.
-- CASEY DOLAN
"Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me"
Artist info: Singer Jesse Lacey touts Morrissey as an influence, which may seem at odds with a screamo emo-core outfit that sounds closer to blink-182. But Lacey employs some of the patented laconic delivery that made the Mancunian Marvel such an icon with the Smiths. The subject matter can be surprising. Brand New is not afraid of tackling such tough topics as cancer, drug addicts and disappearing loves. The music contains subtle dynamic shifts, interlocking guitar parts and a sensitive rhythm section, and when the group rocks, it rocks with gusto.
Back story: Guitarist-singer Lacey, bassist Garrett Tierney and drummer Brian Lane had played together in Long Island in the late '90s. After that band broke up, they formed Brand New, recruiting guitarist Vin Accardi to fill out the sound. As with other bands of its ilk, Brand New came into its own from constant touring, beginning with the fertile Long Island scene opening for such major acts as Taking Back Sunday, Good Charlotte and Dashboard Confessional. A single album deal with Triple Crown Records resulted in a debut album of re-recorded demos. Album No. 2 in 2003, "Deja Entendu," produced a video for "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" (the band used to be fond of long titles), which, like the song, was a grim affair centering on a fatal car crash. But it coincided with that summer's Vans Warped Tour, significantly boosting Brand New's profile. "Devil and God" debuted this week at No. 34 on the Billboard charts with first-week sales of 60,000.
Influences: Morrissey, Foo Fighters, Weezer, the Police
Trivia: The name Brand New was appropriated from a Beastie Boys song title.