The Features
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The Features

Band Alternative Rock


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The Features - EP - (Spongebath)
Thursday - 10" - (Spongebath)
The Beginning - EP - (Universal) US release
The Beginning - EP - (Fierce Panda) UK release
Exhibit A - LP - (Universal US/Island UK)...released several UK singles from Exhibit A



Chances are, you've been hearing quite a bit about the independent music scene in Nashville lately. While most pedestrian music buyers probably think the Nashville sound begins with Garth Brooks and ends with Faith Hill, fans of independent and cutting edge music have found numerous acts recently that have been nurtured inside the limits of Music City.

The variety and success of this music scene is quite impressive; you're probably familiar with such Nashville-based artists such as Kings of Leon, The Raconteurs, Ben Folds, Lambchop, Be Your Own Pet, Silver Jews, Paramore, and Josh Rouse, to name just a few. While all of these acts have enjoyed a fair amount of commercial and critical acclaim, the irony is that the band that has been the most popular among Nashville's ultra-hip and hyper-critical community of musicians remains largely unknown in the North American indie rock vernacular. That band is The Features.

The Features have been together, almost unbelievably, for over 10 years now. They have morphed from their whimsical and quirky beginnings as a new-wave-meets-pavement hybrid in the mid nineties to a fierce and infectious four piece rock/pop machine that preceded Franz Ferdinand's eponymous debut by at least three years.

Their 2004 full length debut, "Exhibit A," was met with astonishment and widespread praise in the good ol' fashioned print media circles (8/10 NME, 4 stars Mojo, a rare 4.5 stars in Paste) but for one reason or another, The Features remained under the radar in the blogosphere. Strangely, Pitchfork Media chose not to review Exhibit A, but gushed in a live review of a Features show with Editors and Maximo Park that the Nashville natives more than outperformed their beloved visiting Brits.

The Kings of Leon, who shot to overnight success in U.K., have always cited The Features as one of their favorite bands and have taken them on as support for extensive tours on both sides of the Atlantic. Every night was the same story from promoters and venue owners: "We've never seen a support act as good as this." Indeed, night after night, the band sold unheard of numbers of records at the merch booth as they opened for K.O.L.

Yet the question remains, why do The Features remain unknown to the majority of the indie culture? The answer could possibly have roots as far back as the nineties, when the band was constantly bearing the brunt of bad luck and bad timing, being led astray by indie record labels with empty promises...with no recorded music on the market to show for it. By the time The Features landed on Universal Records and released "Exhibit A" in late 2004, they had amassed the biggest local following of any of the aforementioned Nashville bands.

Unfortunately, the marketing for Exhibit A was practically non-existent. Against the band's better judgment, the label focused on pushing their accessible pop single "Blow it Out" to major market pop radio stations instead of forming a grass roots following that would better fit the unassuming indie nature of the band.

Things finally came to a head last year when the The Features were told to record a cover of The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" for a Chase credit card commercial. The label wanted to also release it as a single and include it on the new album. The Features decided to turn down the offer. In the end, the choice of not recording the song resulted in being dropped.

The Features are certainly not the first and last band to engage in a comical misadventure with a major label. But it is strange how The Features continue to garner praise and awe from their peers, not to mention anyone who has seen their live show, but can't seem to breakthrough with the all-important steamroll of buzz and hype from the indie tastemakers. The Features have always been a band to shy from the spotlight and headline-grabbing behavior, preferring instead to meticulously craft their records and live shows in manic dedication, which makes them useless to the NME’s of the world.

2007 could be the watershed year that finally introduces the world to this band. The band that the Raconteurs and Kings of Leon respect so much that they've personally asked them to support their biggest shows, the band that is determined to change their fate as criminally overlooked pop geniuses a la Big Star, the band that I have personally seen hundreds of times and am still amazed by…The Features. The absolute best rock and roll band from Nashville, Tennessee.