Six Akron bands we think you should know
In the mid-’80s, music as we know it was forever changed when rap and rock performers began collaborating, adding a heavy electric sound to poetic and streetwise rhymes. The tradition continues with local hip-hop artists like PFV collaborating with metal projects to create dark, aggressive tracks with high energy and passion. The Akron-based rapper has released two mixtapes since 2014, “Genocide Over Drums” volumes one and two, filled with raw lyricism and clever rhyme schemes. PFV, otherwise known as Matthew A. Gisbrecht, is featured most recently on the 2016 track, “Rise,” with Canton hard rock band Entendre.
Making their rounds across the Northeast Ohio region over the past few years, indie rockers Justin Seeker, Joshua Weiss, Michael Voris and Joel McAdams have matured and polished their sound, and — lucky for us — memorialized it on their stellar new five-song EP, “Identity Believer.” Together, the musicians are Stems, producing pure rock ‘n’ roll made distinct by pleasant layered vocals and clear influences ranging from ‘80s post-punk to ‘60s grooves. The quartet can be seen lighting up the stage at Annabell’s, The Grog Shop, Now That’s Class and festivals in the Akron and Kent areas.
If slow, dreamy tempos, understated, minimalist arrangements and drudgy grunge melodies sound appealing to you, Curtail is a must listen. The slowcore foursome includes Jesse Sloan, Eric Sandt on drums, bassist Dan Corby and Ben Hendricks on vocals and various accompanying instruments. The band most recently shared the stage with post-punk and lo-fi performers Florist, Small Wood House and Key to the Mint at Mahall’s and played a benefit show at DIY community art space Hive Mind earlier this year. Catch the atmospheric sounds drifting across assorted Akron venues throughout this year.
Hard in the Pink
With a cheeky name such as this, a show without energy, wit, camp and gritty rock ‘n’ would be a major disappointment. Fortunately, Colten Huffman, Donald Alan, Nathan Sterley and Donald Swomp make each Hard in the Pink performance memorable with tight guitar, bass and drums creating a jarring contrast with vocalist Swomp’s wild gestures, uncontrollable pacing and snake-like slithering across the stage. The juxtaposition draws the crowd in and intrigues the audience while hitting them hard (ahem) with raucous tunes. The West Akron-based brings its vivacious lives shows sporadically throughout the Rubber City and beyond.
Since 2003, Akron venues have been ignited by the incendiary heat of eight-piece ensemble Roxxymoron. Guitars, mandolin, vocals, cowbell, more cowbell, a healthy dose of horns and percussion give the band a rich sound that makes their cover tunes harmonious and distinguished. For more intimate venues, the local band becomes an acoustic foursome, aptly called The Fourons, notably performing at the opening of the Neo Geo exhibit at the Akron Art Museum. The larger ensemble most recently performed at Musica in March and can be followed for updates on future performances at Facebook.com/Roxxymoron.
Akron-based The Dreemers looks to channel “The Akron Sound” on its upcoming debut EP, “IS, IS,” continuing the legacy of bands like DEVO and Tin Huey that defined the local sound in the late 1970s. The members, Benjamin Patrick, Robert Keith and Natalie Grieshammer, are influenced by a wide variety of music, from punk to surf and soul, and even jazz. They are in the mixing and mastering process with the EP, which they recorded on an analog reel-to-reel in their east Akron studio. The official release party for “IS, IS” will be at Jilly’s Music Room on May 13, but the band plans to have copies available at Square Records and other stores in time for Record Store Day on April 16.
(Featured photo of Curtail by Dan Cromaz)