Features (The) Biography
Matt Pelham, Roger Dabbs, Don Sergio, and Parrish Yaw attended middle school together in Sparta, Tennessee, a rural town that at the time had a population of less than 5,000. Pelham, Dabbs, and Sergio started a band when they were in the eighth grade out of boredom, and they started playing covers of Camper Van Beethoven, Neil Young, Guns N' Roses, and others. As they continued through high school, they continued to play together at local events like parties and talent shows, then graduated to playing at various bars and clubs around nearby college town Murfreesboro and in Nashville.
Once they graduated from high school, Pelham and Dabbs moved to Murfreesboro to study music at Middle Tennessee State University while Sergio and Yaw went to Tennessee Technological University in nearby Cookeville. It was here that Pelham and Dabbs brought classmate Jason Taylor on to play drums, and Sergio brought Yaw on to play keyboards. Murfreesboro was a much larger town than Sparta, and The Features began to play at various bars and clubs around town, eventually dropping out of college to focus on the band. Within a few years they had become a fixture of Murfreesboro and nearby Nashville, and soon signed a deal with Spongebath Records, a local independent label that featured several of the biggest rock acts in the Nashville area such as Self, The Katies, and Fluid Ounces. Their first release, a six-song self-titled EP, was released in 1997. In 1998, the band recorded a full-length LP for Spongebath. The album was never released, although two tracks from the sessions, "Thursday" and "Rabbit March", were released as a limited 10" vinyl record. Around this time, original members Don Sergio and Jason Taylor both left the band. Taylor was replaced by Rollum Haas.
In 1999-2000, they recorded their second full-length LP with Matt Mahaffey at his studio in Murfreesboro, which was also never released. In 2001, they released The Beginning EP. Their incessant touring and critical buzz led to a deal with Universal Records. Universal re-released The Beginning EP in 2004, and followed with their first-officially released album, Exhibit A. The band gained a lot of exposure opening for a small town Oklahoma band entitled Kings of Leon on various tours. Due to differences between the band and Universal, their contract was dissolved shortly before the scheduled recording sessions for their second album, leaving The Features without a label. In the wake of this decision, keyboardist Parrish Yaw left the band, to be replaced later by Mark Bond. The Features went on to record and self-release the Contrast EP in 2006 and the Some Kind of Salvation LP in 2008.
In 2007, they won the international Diesel:U:Music Awards, placing first in the Rock/Indie category and in the Public Vote award.
After winning the regional competition "Bonnaroo 8 Off 8th" in Nashville by placing first with a panel of judges and a public vote, the band performed at the 2009 Bonnaroo Music Festival.
On June 17, 2009, Bug Music CEO John Rudolph announced that his company and Kings of Leon would be entering into a joint venture to establish a new record label imprint (later named "Serpents & Snakes"). For this new imprint, Kings of Leon has the freedom to sign and champion artists of their choice. The Features were the first band to be signed to the imprint, and the first release as part of the deal was the Some Kind of Salvation LP, released July 28, 2009.
In 2010, the band was the opening act for Manchester Orchestra, an indie rock band from Atlanta that shares a similar sound. Their song "From Now On" appeared on the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 soundtrack, released in November 2011. In a review of the soundtrack for Allmusic, Heather Phares called attention to the song, saying that it "turns that happiness [of finding a soulmate] into energetic pop."
In 2012, their song "How It Starts" was featured in a commercial for the 2013 Ford Mustang. The song was also featured in video game, Saints Row IV, in 2013. In late 2012, the band went on a brief European tour with concerts in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Gent. In May 2012, they announced that they were working on a new full-length album. Their fourth album, the eponymous The Features, was released on May 14, 2013.