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Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Austin, Texas, United States
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Alternative


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Nominee @ Holy Mountain

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States



"Nominee - I Woke Up"

This five-piece band hailing from Austin, Texas have only been around since late October 2013. Do they tick all the right boxes? Let’s see, shall we? Can this band capture an audience’s attention? Check. Will their profile grow? Check. Will their fan base grow? Check. Do I see big things for them in 2015? Check. My work here is done.

On to a serious note, I Woke Up is nothing short of brilliance. I love it when I have to review a band that excites me, musically of course. This band has a great sound, which will appeal to a wide audience. The writing process was very organic. Their intention is simply to write great, honest music. They spent a great deal of time living and writing together so this process moved very quickly. Nominee is very committed as a band; they just want to play music. The band is unsigned. "Why?" is the first question I asked. This is quality music, which can only go from strength to strength. England is waiting with bated breath for their arrival. Make it happen.

Let us talk about the music. The production has a very clean feel to it. It is original, raw and with a touch of nostalgia. The vocals are astonishing; a young Pierce The Veil springs to mind. Yes, I feel this band will be huge in the near future.

The track list is as follows: "Requiem," "Cliffhanger," "Without You In Front Of Me," "Suffer," "Sandpaper," "Converging," and "Wreckage."

The music has orchestral elements, which works so well when the vocalist can sing. I kid you not. (I photographed The Elijah’s last show at the underworld, November 2012. They had a three-piece string orchestra, which blew the audience away. Metal with classical who would’ve known? So good.)

"Requiem" has quite a dark intro to say the least, gothic, if you will. It then leads into Chris’ unique sounding vocals. This track really embodies emotion in its rawest form. This was also the newest single that they put out. Overall, this track is radio worthy. Check it out.

"Cliffhanger" is a very straight up song. The intro has a nostalgic feel too it as does the whole song, while not straying from their “Nominee” sound. They are homegrown and organic.

"Without You In Front Of Me" is about heartbreak and relationships, to a degree. The intro to this song has an 80’s feel to it, which will definitely be a crowd pleaser when played live.

"Suffer" reminds me of Fall Out Boy in their early days. It has a pop punk feel to it. This is beach party music, beer, sea, and sand. It’s not your typical soft-core kind of song, but when you listen to it, you need to be dancing with the girls.

"Sandpaper" is executed perfectly from start to finish. It has a very 90’s vibe to it. This would be the song you listen to when you are going through a breakup; it pulls at the heartstrings and then you realize that the tears aren’t even worth it.

"Converging" has a semi fast-paced intro, which works in harmony with the strong vocals. The drum beat and the guitar riffs work because the production is of such a high standard and there is nothing left to say. The song is on fire.

"Wreckage" is about addiction and the problems that we face though our lives. The introduction is haunting with incredible vocal from Chris and the guitar riffs are old school. It finishes off with this beautiful string orchestral outro.

To sum up, this entire album is flawless.

Be sure to check Nominee out on the Anberlin final world tour on October 23rd in Austin, Texas. They’re opening!

Rating: 5/5 - The Prelude Press


What is your favorite local spot?

SF: The Jackalope, I worked there for a short while during SXSW as a barback but we’ve all been regulars there for a long time. The Jackalope is the coolest bar in Austin, TX period.

How did the band come to be and where did the name “Nominee” comes from?

SF: Nominee came from a lot brainstorming. The name itself doesn’t have a particular meaning behind it but we wanted something simple that we felt represented us in a positive manner. As far as the band goes, Nathan had a job at a local guitar shop and he and I started talking about making a band. We got together the next day over chicken and waffles and everything else just sort of fell into place.

Can you tell us about your new album?

SF: I Woke Up is our first real release. The beauty of it for us is that it defines the way Nominee sounds. For us, it’s a huge milestone in getting our name out there and really making the next step. We’ve been writing it for about a year all of the content really derives from the struggles of moving across the country and starting a band from scratch.

How did you get into the world of music?

SF: We’re all from different corners of the country but share a similar story. We’ve all been in playing in bands for the better part of 10 years and Nominee is just the culmination of all of that experience, which makes it way easier in some aspects, but way harder in others. We’ve all toured, cut records, dealt with management, etc, but now the bar is set that much higher. We aren’t doing this for fun; we do it because it defines who we are as people.

Where or who do you draw inspiration from?

SF: A lot of the inspiration for this band comes from issues that we feel a lot of people deal with. The reason that’s so easy for us to write about is because we’re five normal guys who come from different backgrounds but have shared in a lot of the things we write about whether its heartbreak, addiction, or family trouble, it’s the make of our lives and truly the only thing we can honestly be inspired by.

What are your favorite bands that you listen to?

SF: We all have very eclectic taste. To name a few bands that I know go pretty much across the boards, that most closely influence our sound are Anberlin, Taking Back Sunday, Jimmy Eat World, Terminal. But on top of that you can catch us listening to anything from The Rocket Summer to Third Eye Blind to Gojira to Converge. We really all appreciate so many different types of music that it gives us good perspective as songwriters and musicians.

If you could collaborate with anyone who would you choose?

SF: I think working with Jim Adkins would be life changing. Not only does he influence us as Nominee but I feel like the scape of Jimmy Eat World’s songwriting could really open up depth for us and also give us perspective on what might or might not work for a band like ours.

What is your favorite show that you’ve played so far?

SF: I think I can give you two thus far. We played free week at Stubbs BBQ with our friends in the band, Thieves as our first real show as a band. To play such an iconic venue with some of your best friends for a first show really set us on the right foot with some awesome momentum behind us. We also opened up the Emery 10th year anniversary tour of Weak’s End which was really fun for all of us too.

What is your favorite song and lyric of yours?

SF: I think the chorus of “Converging Light” and “Matter” is one of my favorites. Not only is the melody aggressive but the lyrics have real depth to us as a band. "So this is what happens I’m coming down on my reflection. Because I saw what you had seen, the monster in between you and me.“

Where do you see yourselves in a year?

SF: On the road, for sure. We have a bunch of support coming out around the record and a few big shows to play here in Austin before the year is out. Once 2015 starts, we’ll be getting our ducks in a row for touring to push the record.

If you like their sound, go visit the band’s Bandcamp to buy the album, and their Facebook page. Nominee is playing a show with Anberlin on October 23rd in Austin, TX. - Local Wolves Magazine

"“I Woke Up” to Nominee’s New EP and it was the Best Day Ever!"

When you woke up this morning you might have noticed a lot of notifications on your phone talking about Nominee’s new EP “I Woke Up” which blew up the internet yesterday. One can only assume that this debut EP, which is produced by Joseph Milligan and mixed by Paul Leavitt, is an expansion of their demo that came out on Property of Zack last year.

It’s like that moment when you finish Diablo II and then Blizzard comes out with an expansion; so you wind up playing the game from the beginning all over again because you just loved it so much, why the heck not. “I Woke Up” by Nominee is an epic one, it’s full of surprises, twists and turns, captivating and inspiring story lines, not to mention the well-written instrumentation and well-crafted production. (Props to you Milligan and Leavitt, this is a good one to add to your portfolio)

You might recognize a couple of these members, Chris McLelland previously of I Call Fives and Andrew Echavarria previously of Thieves. “When I Call Fives decided to take our initial hiatus, I knew that I couldn’t throw in the towel musically” says McLelland. Now a few years wiser, in a new city, with a new band, Chris says “When our guitarist and long time friend, Nathan, asked me to make the move from Jersey to Austin to sing in this project, I didn’t think I had the chops lyrically or vocally, but I thought to myself, “finally.” I was ready to start fresh and make something that I could truly be proud of. (Not to say that I wasn’t proud of ICF, because I was.)”

What is truly captivating even more so than the music of “I Woke Up” is the story behind it. “”I Woke Up” deals with the last two years of my life, which I feel have been a true test of my character.” says Chris “The record tells a story and it’s not a happy one.” A mere week after his move from New Jersey to Austin, TX he woke up with blurred vision. His condition lasted for days before he finally went to an ER and was shockingly diagnosed with diabetes. “While I laid in bed, I started wondering if maybe I had made a mistake by moving.” he added, “I was without health insurance and no one would insure me because of my pre-existing condition.” It gets worse from there, “I turned to the person I loved most for support. Absolutely cold and apathetic to my situation, she made it clear that my problems were no longer hers and that she had other things that were deemed more important. I was in a new city, broke, sick and seemingly alone. I had never felt so desperate. This was my rock bottom.”

Chris’s story doesn’t end here, “Luckily, at the bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up. So, I began crawling out.” He reached out to his mother and father for guidance and found an endless amount of support from “the strangers” that he had moved to Austin to start a band with. “I changed my life style, gained control of my disease and saw that none of this was a sign to go home, but a test for the privilege to stay. I couldn’t help but write a record about the experience.”

Knowing the story behind this EP makes the music that much better because it’s a perfect fit for what Chris is describing above. Strength, hope, crawling out from rock bottom, and continuing to fight when there’s no fight left in you. The song I feel captures this the most is “Without You in Front of Me” which was featured as an exclusive on AbsolutePunk. To be honest, the whole EP captures these feelings REALLY well, but this song is just my favorite. It just gets me, the vocal chants, the production, the lyrics, the instruments, it’s just so GOOD! If they ever do Rocky re-make, this is the song that they will play when Balboa runs to the capital building. Only thing Nominee needs to do now is make a music video with really long blond hair wigs and leather chaps to this song and they’ll be ready to send it to the film score producers. Then, the track they’d play after Rocky kicks the ever-loving snot out of Apollo and is screaming “Adrian!” would be “Requiem” and they’d have their moment and the credits would roll to “Wreckage” which is the perfect closer to this album (and for any film *hint hint producers*). Honestly, they’re both great openers and closers, if I was Nominee picking a set-list, I’d have a hard time selecting which song to start and end with.

This album speaks to any one who has struggled or is currently struggling with adversity in their life and Nominee has made it clear that they want it that way. “Writing this EP, we wanted to make a true connection with listeners. Everyone has their own rock bottom and hopefully, finding mine and writing about it, will eventually help someone find the way out of theirs.” And “I Woke Up” doesn’t just speak to finding comfort in family or struggling with your own personal adversity but the pain you go through seeing your friends experience struggles. Chris adds that “the record touches on the power of addiction and how it can consume the life of someone who you care deeply about.”

“I Woke Up” is an amazing debut EP for any band and Nominee should be really proud of the hard work they put in to making it. To you who have not yet heard it, it’s streaming here below; listen to it, then follow the links to buy it and support this amazing punk band. Your ears deserve this music in them and this band deserves to get their music out to the world. To you who want to connect with this band because their story has touched you, you can find them on Facebook. - Anchor Music News

"Nominee - I Woke Up EP"

Originally from the infamously emo New Jersey, members of Nominee only recently picked up and traveled cross-country to Austin, Texas for a change of pace and some musical inspiration. Wasting no time, the band put out a self-titled EP in late 2013 just months before playing their first show in their new city.

Fast forward to late 2014 and Nominee has spent the latter part of the year tweaking and perfecting what would be their second EP, I Woke Up. Guitarist Nate Pozen said this should be an album for anyone who was a fan of the sounds we heard coming out of the scene between 2000 and 2006. He was not wrong.

Clocking in at almost thirty minutes, I Woke Up is a solidly stacked EP, but the stand-out tracks are “Cliffhanger” and “Suffer”, both of which sucked me right back to the local shows I frequented in high school. Complete with constantly intricate guitars, powering drums, and the sweetest pop-punk vocals, these tracks are everything I loved about the scene of the early 2000's. While the sound isn't exactly unique, it's not what you're hearing when you pop into a local venue, which is what makes this such a fun band and EP.

Lyrically, the songs are loaded with themes of disappointment, leaving, moving on, and building yourself back up. Generally lyrics are so chock of full of metaphors and figurative language that their meaning is almost undecipherable, but Nominee's Chris Mclleland keeps his lyrics meaningful without losing you along the way. It's easy to sing along, and even easier to relate.

The album tends to sway more towards pop-rock on several occasions, though looking back, most of what I considered rock/pop punk in 2002 (Simple Plan?!) would now be considered apart of the pop spectrum. It's all relative, man.

Having seen the band perform a myriad of times, I can say these tracks do not do the band justice. The sound Nominee produces live is so much more powerful and full than can be heard on the EP. That being said, what you hear on these seven tracks gets pretty heavy, so you can imagine what a live set is like.

Nominee is a band to watch, especially with the nostalgic sound we aren't hearing as much these days. Austin is lucky to have them.I Woke Up is streaming on Bandcamp, and can be found at the link below. -


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Aiming to be a catalyst in the pop-punk, post-hardcore revival, Austin, Texas’ Nominee is a rock band creating authentic, passionate music with a genre-defying authority. With the release of their first LP, I Woke Up, Nominee is poised to begin touring this fall.

Made up of Chris Mclelland (I Call Fives), Andrew Echavarria (ex-Theives), Nathan Pozen, Cameron Kisel, Stephen Flynn and Holly Axelrod, this six-piece draws influence from their rock roots to create an alternative sound that is as dynamic as it is infectious.

Nominee has been said to harness similar sounds as bands like Anberlin, Taking Back Sunday and Jimmy Eat World, who are noted as their primary influences. Nominee draws from past experiences to create authentic, passionate songs set against a landscape that is relatable to anyone still growing. “We want to prove that people can go through things and feel things and write dynamic music that express that process,” explains guitarist and vocalist, Stephen Flynn. Their most recent release, I Woke Up, serves as a testament to this.

I Woke Up, produced and recorded by Joseph  Milligan of Anberlin and mastered by Paul Leavitt (The Used, Hit The Lights, Yellowcard, Senses Fail), was released October 14th, 2014 .  “The record is about overcoming adversity and personal strife. It’s about starting over, finding rock bottom, and feeling it couldn’t get any worse but choosing not to give up on all aspects of life. It’s about sticking together as a band to make it work regardless of the odds and setbacks we face.” – Flynn.

Nominee has previously shared the stage with the likes of Emery, This Wildlife, Classic Case and Kris Row of the Ataris. They frequent local Austin venues Historic Scoot Inn, Holy Mountain and Spider House Ballroom and plan to take their sound and passion beyond during their fall tour. 

Band Members