Each Friday, Billboard presents “Bubbling Under,” a weekly look at new and noteworthy acts making their way toward Billboard chart success. Up this week: Family of the Year, Sarah Darling, Gold Fields and Trinidad James.
Family of the Year
Los Angeles-based Family of the Year (brothers Joe and Sebastian Keefe, Christina Schroeter and James Buckley) continues the indie folk explosion fostered by the likes of Mumford & Sons (with whom the band has toured) and the Lumineers, as the hook-laden “Hero” (Nettwerk) debuts at No. 29 on Triple A, marking the quartet’s first Billboard chart ink. Now on tour with Walk the Moon in support of its new album “Loma Vista,” the band gained early attention in 2009 when Ben Folds and Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart chose the band as the opening act at a performance at Symphony Hall in Boston, where the Keefe brothers had lived. “(It) was the sweetest homecoming ever,” Joe says. “Our mom got to stay at a nice hotel and get dressed up and come see us play.”
Iowa native Sarah Darling is making the rounds at country radio with current single “Home to Me,” which percolates just beneath Billboard’s Country Airplay tally. Since moving to Nashville a decade ago, Darling has worked part-time as a model, appearing in music videos including Kellie Pickler’s “Red High Heels,” Joe Nichols’ “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” and Big & Rich’s “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy).” Darling is preparing her second album for the independent Black River label.
Australia’s Gold Fields debuts its retro-tinged dance/rock single “Dark Again” (Astralwerks/Capitol) at No. 38 on Alternative Songs, granting the quintet its first Billboard charts entry. The atmospheric cut has gained support from taste-making alternative station KNDD Seattle (37 plays in the Nov. 12-18 Nielsen BDS tracking week) and previews the group’s debut album “Black Sun,” due in January. The act recently finished a tour with Diamond Rings and will support St. Lucia for a string of dates in December.
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For someone who began rapping only nine months ago, Atlanta’s Trinidad James is making up for lost time. The former boutique shop salesman released his first mixtape, “Don’t Be S.A.F.E.,” on July 31 and has garnered more than a million YouTube views for his clip for “All Gold Everything” (thinkitsagame). Now the buzz is flowing onto radio airwaves, as “Gold” is approaching a debut on the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop chart.