So here’s the deal. We assigned an up-and-coming artist to each of the schools who made this year’s basketball tournament, and then pit them head to head against each other. Will we pick the real winner this way? Probably not. But will we discover artists along the way? You bet!
Full disclosure: I do not expect my winner of this bracket to actually win the main one, because, well, basketball and music are not the same.
Round of 64
Jabberjosh (Kansas, 1) vs. Chynna (Penn, 16)
Pennsylvania’s Chynna represents everything you’d ever want in an underdog. She’s got scrap, deadpan tone, quick delivery, and a psychedelic rock twinge to her dark, unflinching lyricism. I wish I could say it’d be a close match, but for me, it’s not.
Screaming Females (Seton Hall, 8) vs. King Mez (NC State, 9)
The fiery and sharp verses of Dr. Dre’s protege King Mez narrowly beat out the primal energy of the indie rock trio Screaming Females.
Winner: King Mez
Company (Clemson, 5) vs. Lowercase Noises (New Mexico State, 12)
While the alt-rock twinged with Americana influences and honeyed vocals of Company make them an easy listen, Lowercase Noises offers a distinct sound of instrumental, ambient music that offers an other-worldly experience.
Winner: Lowercase Noises
Caroline Says (Auburn, 4) vs. Run Dan Run (Charleston, 13)
The soothing folk of Alabama’s own Caroline Says has a large range of sound, and it’s the twinging hints of bossanova that pull out the win over the slow driven, clashing indie rock of Run Dan Run.
Winner: Caroline Says
jACQ (TCU, 6) vs. Bijou (Arizona State, 11)/Tanksley (Syracuse, 11)
jACQ is a singer songwriter that offers standout vocals on several electronic songs destined for the Top 40. The grit and grime of G-house father Bijou, however, beats out her and soft-spoken singer/songwriter Tanksley, who blends hip-hop, soul, and rock, in this battle.
Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers (Michigan St, 3) vs. Gramsci Melodic (Bucknell, 14)
For once, I don’t favor the underdogs. Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers fall somewhere in the status of “blend band” and somehow have qualities of rock, jam band, funk rock, and bluegrass all in one. Gramsci Melodic offers rock music with tons of synth but can’t hold out unfortunately.
Winner: Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers
Allysen Callery (Rhode Island, 7) vs. Prettyboy (Oklahoma, 10)
Self-taught folk artist Allysen Callery offers heartfelt lyrics and bright sound. However, the electro-glam rock of Prettyboy is too infectious to beat.
Mount Moriah (Duke, 2) vs. Emergency Tiara (Iona, 15)
The punchy tempo of the indie band Mount Moriah lends itself to a country sound, which outmaneuvers bubbly pop sensation Emergency Tiara.
Winner: Mount Moriah
Round of 32
Chynna (Pennn, 16) vs. King Mez (NC State, 9)
While one might think the veteran nature of King Mez’s experience with Kanye and Dr. Dre slates him to win, Chynna’s youthful innovation and unique sound overtake the Raleigh powerhouse in a surprising upset.
Lowercase Noises (New Mexico State, 12) vs. Caroline Says (Auburn, 4)
Another upset! Lowercase Noises distinguishes himself as the band to beat with an atmospheric sound yet to be matched, even for melancholic folk-pop Caroline Says.
Winner: Lowercase Noises
Bijou (Arizona, 11) vs. Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers (Michigan State, 3)
Bijou’s range of sound and diverse collaborations offer a swift, unexpected victory over the funky pop band Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers.
Prettyboy (Oklahoma, 10) vs. Mount Moriah (Duke, 2)
Mount Moriah’s track record simply overpowers Prettyboy’s greenhorn collection.
Winner: Mount Moriah
Round of 16
Chynna (Penn, 16) vs. Lowercase Noises (New Mexico State, 12)
While Lowercase Noises offers a wider range in sound and a stronger audience backing, Chynna pulls out the win through lyricism alone, which is a weakness for Lowercase Noises.
Bijou (Arizona, 11) vs. Mount Moriah (Duke, 2)
My own personal preference comes into play here with this matchup, and Bijou is destined to steal a place in the next round from Mount Moriah, despite my soft spot for Mount Moriah’s vintage sound.
Round of 8
Chynna (Penn, 16) vs. Bijou (Arizona, 11)
In a scrappy brawl to the end, Chynna’s deadpan, dark rhymes beat out the hard beats of Bijou. It was a good fight, but all things must come to an end.
Chynna advances to the finals in a huge upset (if you’re still putting stock in that 16 seed)! Check back for other divisions and for the finals matchups.
Don’t agree with my picks? Let me know who you’ve got on Twitter!
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