Famous people from South Dakota: Tom Brokaw. Mamie Van-Doren. Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. The rock-head presidents at Mount Rushmore.
Almost-famous people from South Dakota: Nick Thomas and The Spill Canvas. The band started life as Thomas' alt-folk solo act, which fell somewhere between James Blunt and a Greenwich Village street singer screeching about the Apocalypse with spittle dribbling down his chin. Thankfully, Thomas cut the sap crap, rounded up some not-so-likeminded musicians -- including fab guitarist Dan Ludeman and wrecking-crew drummer Joe Beck -- and went electric. Voilà! A sound was born.
We can't say that The Spill Canvas is unique -- it is an alt/rock act, after all -- but, oh, the promise! Thomas has successfully channeled his emo tendencies into searing songs of pain ("All Hail the Heartbreaker"; "Hush Hush," which features the great line "Your heart is charcoal/Smokin' black"), and Canvas' slammin' mash of new-millennial indie and '70s-style harmonics won the band a slot on last year's Warped Tour. They still haven't written that one great song, but it's in 'em. You'll see.