Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, A Loss for Words follow in the footsteps of fellow New Englanders Four Year Strong, delivering driving pop-punk from the Beantown area. Made up of singer Matt Arsenault, guitarists Nevada Smith and Marc Dangora, bassist Mike Adams, and drummer Jack McHugh, the band has a driving sound that blends pop-punk and melodic hardcore, giving the band a driving, guitar-heavy sound with plenty of melody to back it up. After a string of EPs, the band made its full-length debut in 2009 with the release of The Kids Can't Lose before following up quickly in 2010 with Motown Classics, an album of punk covers of classic songs like the Temptations' My Girl and Smokey Robinson's Tears of a Clown. During that time, the band gained a reputation as road dogs, touring the United States and Canada as well as the U.K. and Europe, and they even a self-booked D.I.Y. tour of Japan. In 2011 the band followed up with No Sanctuary, which found A Loss for Words rewarded for their hard work with a spot on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.
Gregory Heaney, Rovi
New Jersey-based emo-pop players Man Overboard carry the flame of melodic, energetic, hardcore-influenced Garden State bands like Lifetime and Midtown. Founded in 2008 by childhood friends Nik Bruzzese (vocals/bass) and Wayne Wildrick (guitar), the pair began writing at Bruzzese's studio, bringing Zac Eiestenstein (vocals/guitar) and Justin Mondschein (drums) into the fold to record debut EP Hung Up on Nothing. Signing to Run for Cover the following year, the band offered a second EP, Dahlia. In 2010, Man Overboard fired on all cylinders, releasing the acoustic EP, Noise from Upstairs, as well as studio album debut Real Talk and a self-released live recording. The band also faced lineup changes that year -- Wildrick left the band for personal reasons and Justin Collier filled in on guitar duty, making way for new drummer Mike Hrycenko -- but came back big by joining the Rise Records roster. By spring 2011, Wildrick rejoined the band, as they recorded a self-titled sophomore album and hit the road on the "Pop Punk's Not Dead" tour alongside New Found Glory that fall. Adding to the momentum, Man Overboard, released that September, landed on the Billboard 200, Top Hard Rock Albums, and Top Independent Albums charts.
Chrysta Cherrie, Rovi
Taking its name from the TV show "The Wonder Years", the Philadelphia punk pop band was formed by guitarists Matt Brasch and Casey Cavaliere, vocalist Dan "Soupy" Campbell, bassist Josh Martin, drummer Mike Kennedy, and keyboardist Mikey Kelly. The sextet got its start in 2005 when previous combo the Premier split up. Regrouping under the new name, the band began playing shows and released two split singles that year (with Bangarang! and Emergency and I). In late 2007, the Wonder Years self-released an album, the emphatically titled Get Stoked on It!, and quickly caught the eye of California label No Sleep, which signed the band. Their first record for the label was the EP Won't Be Pathetic Forever, which came out in June of 2008. Following a split single with All or Nothing, Kelly left the band. After a year spent recording its second album, the group released The Upsides in January of 2010. The record made a dent in the lower regions of the Billboard charts, and also gained the Wonder Years a deal with the larger indie Hopeless, which reissued the album in September with four bonus tracks. In the time between releases, drummer Kennedy quit the band and was replaced by Nick Steinborn. Kennedy soon returned to the fold and Steinborn bounced over to play keys and guitar. With the lineup solidified, the Wonder Years got to work on their next album with producer Steve Evetts. In 2011, they released their third album, Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing, followed by the arrival of a B-sides compilation, Sleeping on Trash, as well as their fourth full-length album, The Greatest Generation, in 2013.
Tim Sendra, Rovi