Breaking & Entering: A look at acts breaking at radio and retail and entering Billboard charts. This week: The Academy Is...

Profiling acts breaking at radio and/or retail and entering Billboard's charts.

Plenty of people are in love with Chicago's the Academy Is..., as evidenced by the 8,358 friends who leave sugary notes and words of encouragement on the band's Myspace.com site profile. The attention is likely to become more aggressive with the release of the band's first full-length, "Almost Here."

Founding members and former rivals William Beckett and Mike Carden got together in 2002 after the demise of their respective bands and by the end of the year, had hashed out a sound that meshed Beckett's acoustic vocal background and Carden's harder guitars.

With influences ranging from Pink Floyd to Death Cab For Cutie, the duo wrote several demos and added a second guitarist, drummer and bassist Adam Siska to the lineup. By March 2004, the band recorded and released its self-titled debut EP on hometown label, LLR Records.

Despite the clunky mishmash of sounds of its first time out, the group solidified a hometown fanbase on the Chicago club circuit that quickly spread, catching the ear of Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, who convinced his Florida-based Fueled By Ramen label to fly out to see the group perform.

A year later, the Academy Is... hits the Billboard charts running with a No. 23 debut on the Top Heatseekers chart and No. 24 bow on the Top Independent Albums list with its Fueled By Ramen debut, "Almost Here."

To ready a more sophisticated sound, Beckett and Carden spent months holed up in a remote apartment and the resulting three-week recording process produced lively and polished melodies like "Classifieds" and "Checkmarks," in striking contrast to the rough-hewn edges of the band's first EP. The album also features new members Tom Conrad and Andy "The Butcher" Mrotek, who replaced the original second guitarist and drummer, respectively.

The album was listed as one of ASCAP's 100 most anticipated records of 2005, and scored the group touring opportunities with the likes of Matchbook Romance and Armor For Sleep. Having finished a U.S. winter club tour with Something Corporate and Straylight Run, the Academy Is... will join labelmates Fall Out Boy and Gym Class Heroes for the U.S. Fueled By Ramen & Friends Tour 2005 through May.

Links:
Artist site: www.theacademyis.com
Label site: www.fueledbyramen.com
MySpace profile: www.myspace.com/theacademyis