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Merging the edgier strains of rock and electronic, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Bruno started AWOLNATION as a genre-fluid creative outlet that contrasted with the material he'd produced with previous outfits Home Town Hero and Under the Influence of Giants. Breaking into the mainstream with the multi-platinum international hit single "Sail," the project issued its debut, Megalithic Symphony, in 2011. As subsequent efforts pushed them toward the top of the charts, AWOLNATION soon surpassed all of Bruno's prior groups, becoming a popular alternative rock presence with efforts such as 2018's U.S. Indie chart-topper Here Come the Runts and 2020's Alternative Top 20 Angel Miners & the Lightning Riders. They took on cover tunes with 2022's My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers and Me, before returning to their original work with the 2023 Candy Pop EP. Los Angeles-born and raised, Bruno spent much of the early 2000s finding his way in the industry, trying his hand with the grunge-influenced alternative rock band Home Town Hero from 2001 to 2004 and then moving briefly to sleek funk-rock with Under the Influence of Giants, who released one hit album before disbanding in 2008. Deciding he needed a break from the collaborative process, Bruno hoped to find a place for some of his songs that didn't fit with his other bands. Under the moniker AWOLNATION (taken from a childhood nickname), he established a creative free-for-all for himself, mixing genres and blending live instrumentation, electronic elements, and slick production into an electro-rock hybrid. Signing with Red Bull Records in 2009, Bruno and his band issued AWOLNATION's first effort, the Back from Earth EP, in 2010. While two other singles were released to promote the short set, "Sail" was the one that took off around the world. The group quickly issued their full-length debut, Megalithic Symphony, the following year. The album went platinum in the United States and double platinum in Canada, largely on the strength of "Sail," which was certified platinum across the globe. The following year saw the release of the EP I've Been Dreaming, which AWOLNATION made available as a free download on their website. In January 2015, the band issued the U.S. alternative chart-topper "Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)," the first single from their sophomore long-player, Run, which was released later that spring. Run was their highest-charting LP to date, rising into the Top 20 on the Billboard 200. That same year, AWOLNATION landed another hit with a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire," which appeared on the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. In late 2017, Bruno released the song "Passion." The track was the first single from AWOLNATION's third studio effort, Here Come the Runts, which was issued in February 2018. With an intentionally more organic feel to it, the set debuted at number 20 on the Billboard 200. The following year, after promoting Runts with an opening slot on Twenty One Pilots' Bandito Tour, Bruno returned to the studio to start writing the group's fourth album. Now signed to Better Music, the first fruits of his work appeared in November with the release of the singles "The Best" and "California Halo Blue." Produced by Bruno and featuring guest spots from Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) and Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), the full-length Angel Miners & the Lightning Riders arrived in April 2020, just as much of the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While quarantining, Bruno quickly set to work on AWOLNATION's next effort. Released in 2022, the covers and collaborations set was titled My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers and Me and featured his rendition of ABBA's "Take a Chance on Me," as well as a reimagined version of Scorpions' "Wind of Change" with Portugal. The Man and Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd. The more electronic-infused EP, Candy Pop, arrived in November 2023 and featured the title track, along with "Freaking Me Out" and "We Are All Insane."
© Neil Z. Yeung & Gregory Heaney /TiVo


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