September 9, 2009

you could be my guiding light, shining on the vinyl bright


The Features are a little band from Sparta, Tennessee who deserve more attention than they get, and ever since I first heard their fresh and off-kilter pop in 2005, I’ve been wanting to see them live. Finally, that’s happening this weekend at the Monolith Festival (1:30pm Sunday on the mainstage), where I’ll also get to dance around and doot-doot-doo to songs from their new sophomore album.

Some Kind of Salvation came out this summer on the brand-new Kings of Leon imprint of Bug Music, the first signing by KoL. I think I’ve always thought of The Features more as quirky multi-instrumental indie-pop — maybe in the same breath as The Format, since I first heard both on the same shiny mix CD from a prescient friend in 2005. But listening to their development on this album I definitely hear a tinge of what we might call anthemic Southern howl that attracted the Followills to their doorstep.

200px-somekindofsalvation Lions – The Features

(watch a few more new songs on their Lake Fever Session from last month)

There’s a bright and bold awkwardness to their music, and I mean that in a completely wonderful way. They’ve been playing together since junior high (they’re my age now, so that’s a long time) and have hoed a long row to get to the place where their sophomore album is garnering some well-deserved buzz. After their 2004 debut release, they were dropped by Universal Records, allegedly for not agreeing to cover a Beatles song for a commercial. Their current sophomore album was first self-released last year, before Kings of Leon met them, toured with them, and got behind their latest efforts.

But still and forever, I think this song from their 2004 album Exhibit A might be one of my favorite songs to put on a mixtape ever; it captures that jittery bliss of music so perfectly for me.

Blow it Out – The Features

Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down
other times I’m probably found
somewhere between a pair of huge
speakers pushed by vacuum tubes

Let it down, watch it go round & round
here I’ve found that I’m alright

If you’re happy and you know it
turn the volume up and blow it out
Blow it out

You could be my guiding light
shining on the vinyl bright
To help me find a place that’s best
where I can lay my arm to rest…

In addition to Monolith, The Features are touring a ton this fall, including many dates with those Kings of Leon.


  • I’ve actually seen these guys a couple of times first opening for KoL way back in ’04 which made me go directly to the merch table to buy their cd – Exhibit A, and again this past year at SXSW – they put on a great live show.

    Jeffrey Greenblatt — September 9, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

  • Kings of Weezer?

    JK — September 9, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  • I saw these guys in the Cincinnati area around 2006 and got the two discs they had out at the time. Great when I saw them live and their songs are just fun.

    Matt — September 9, 2009 @ 7:39 pm

  • Just bought the tracks on emusic. Thank you!

    Anne — September 9, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

  • actually the features and followills have known each other since 2004 if not before, with KoL announcing Exhibit A as their favourite album and the features supported them at Broxton academy and some other dates.
    glad to see they have a new album out as you put it yourself Exhibit A is a class album.

    Edward — September 11, 2009 @ 5:11 am

  • I love the Features! I’ve seen them about 5 times now (first in the late 90s when they put out a phenomenal debut ep on Spongebath) in Nashville and nearby Murfreesboro, TN. They always put on a great show, very high energy. Singer Matt Pelham has an unbelievable banshee wail. I’m eager to hear what you thought of their set at Monolith.

    cookies — September 12, 2009 @ 11:40 am

  • blow it out – right on.

    bly — September 12, 2009 @ 10:07 pm

  • Where would I go to download their album including the song “Lions”

    Mewzik — July 27, 2010 @ 3:59 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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