250 artists entered, but five put on the best live shows of the bunch to make the finals of pop up live, a hunt for hot new talent, presented by SPIN and popchips: NYC's Christine Hoberg, Chicago's Counterpunch, L.A.'s Starving for Gravity, the Bruises from San Francisco, and Seattle's Ramona the Band.
Starting today, visit pop up live on Facebook to vote for your favorite video of the five, and choose wisely: the winner earns a chance to perform at one of SPIN's events in Austin, in March 2012.
A panel including SPIN Senior Editor David Marchese, Tom Windish of the Windish Agency, and select local music bloggers from the SPIN Blog Network chose the finalists from a pool of four bands who played a pop up love show in their hometown.
While it's now up to you to choose the winner, we asked Marchese to share what exactly he liked about each finalist:
NYC: Christine Hoberg
"This singer-songwriter was a fun respite from the surfeit of rock bashers that entered the contest. But Hoberg's soulful vocal style and mellow accompaniment set her apart, too."
"These aptly-named Chicago bros hit hard with crisp, crunching guitars, classic pop-punk energy, and that perfectly nasal blink-182-style vocalizing."
L.A.: Starving for Gravity
"Starving for Gravity fits in nicely with the long L.A. tradition of rock dudes mining the blues for drama. Thick, oozing slide guitars are the perfect complement to devil-in-me lyrics and wailing vocals."
San Francisco: The Bruises
"Catchy, new wave melodies and a Donnas-like guitar attack sung with a snarl. Fierce."
Seattle: Ramona the Band
"This was definitely the weirdest of all the bands I judged -- and that's a good thing. Sort of trip-hop; sort of folkie; definitely moody and interesting."