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Formed in 2003 by five high school friends, Gilbert, Arizona's Lydia quickly set out to make a dent in the local scene with their poetic and tender take on indie rock. Similar in sound to South Dakota's the Spill Canvas, and often incorporating eloquent male/female vocal harmonies, the band comprised Leighton Antelman (guitar/vocals), Maria Sais de Sicilia (vocals/keyboards), Steven McGraw (guitar/organ), Loren Brinton (drums), and Evan Arambul (bass). Lydia first got noticed outside their hometown in the summer of 2004 when they won a national contest put on by Atticus, the music- and skate-oriented clothing company founded by members of blink-182. Their prize was inclusion on the third volume of Atticus: Dragging the Lake compilation series, released in early 2005. Lydia's fittingly titled song "Smile, You've Won" subsequently appeared alongside popular emo and punk acts like Fall Out Boy, Mae, Motion City Soundtrack, and Rise Against. Their debut album, This December; It's One More and I'm Free, surfaced that fall via HourZero, a label and management firm based out of Mesa. Also in 2005, everyone in the band was finally done with high school, and Lydia was able to begin touring full-time. Eventually, Mindy White stepped in to replace Sais de Sicilia. The crew jumped in for a few weeks of summer 2006's Warped Tour, while also spending time on the road with acts like Spitalfield and Days Away. Touring eventually became too much for White, who bowed out that November, and the guys pressed on as a foursome. With Craig Taylor replacing Brinton on drums, the lush, atmospheric Illuminate was released in early 2008, leading to a brief record deal and fall re-release with Universal/Motown. After their first headlining tour, the self-released Assailants followed in 2010, and then Mindy White and Lydia co-founder Steven McGraw left the band. Following a brief hiatus during which Antelman recorded an album for a project called the Cinema with producer Matt Malpass, Paint It Golden was released in 2011 with only Antelman from the band's original lineup and Craig Taylor on drums. The band toured on and off throughout 2012 and released the Acoustics EP; in early 2013 they released the Colby Wedgeworth-produced Devil, which broke into the Billboard 200. A headlining tour of North America followed, and in the fall they released a deluxe edition of Devil with new bonus tracks, prompting more touring. 2014 brought an Illuminate Tour (and their first tour in the U.K.) in which the band played the entire album at each show. The trio lineup of Leighton Antelman, Justin Camacho on guitar, and Matt Keller on keyboards and guitars headed into the studio with Aaron Marsh (Copeland) in early 2015. ~ Corey Apar & Marcy Donelson

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1980 in Madrid, Spain

Years Active:

'90s, '00s