Standing Room: Six Akron Bands We Think You Should Know

by Brittany Nader and Gabe Gott

When a rock band lists Chopin as an influence, you might suspect that its members are joking; however, one listen to Sancat will tell you that they are entirely serious. The band’s piano-driven sound has a clear classical influence in addition to the metal, pop funk and jazz influences that are also present throughout the band’s 2013 album, “Supernatural.” Frontwoman Sandra Emmeline’s soaring, theatrical vocals stand out, as well as the strong musicianship of the band, overall. It’s easy to see why fans would describe Sancat as “fantasy rock,” with songs with titles like “Eyes of Coal,” “Sandman” and “Werewolf.” For fans of Coheed & Cambria, Muse and Tori Amos.


Rebekah JeanRebekah Jean
Singer-songwriter Rebekah Jean has written so many songs since her 2012 debut, “Love May Be Real But It Ain’t Enough,” that she is recording two follow up albums, “one in Ohio where rock ‘n’ roll (and yours truly) was born and one in Nashville where the country music people are.” Her style is a result of growing up listening to her dad’s rock ‘n’ roll and the classic country of her mom’s Appalachian heritage, and can aptly be described as Americana. Her debut was produced by Grammy-nominated producer David Mayfield (brother of Jessica Lea Mayfield) and engineered by Dan Auerbach mentor Bob Cesare. You can catch a performance by Rebekah Jean March 8 at Uncorked Wine Bar.


Iris IsadoraIris Isadora
At just 17 years old, singer-songwriter Iris Isadora has taken her talents from Kent, OH, across  the Greater Akron area, filling local bars, venues and DIY spaces with her soulful acoustic covers and originals. Fans of Cat Power and Fiona Apple will recognize a familiar melancholic beauty in Isadora’s songs, with lyrics full of wisdom and lyrical imagery that place the songstress well beyond her years. There’s no doubt this young singer and guitarist will play a significant role in the “next generation” of the local music scene.


outdated viewOutdated View
Outdated View is a blues-based rock ‘n’ roll band from Akron/Canton that takes a decidedly less minimalistic approach than its garage rock forebear; with its four members, Matt Pentello on vocals and rhythm guitar, Matthew Shewbridge on lead guitar, Drew Marett on drums, and Jack Henze on bass, producing a more fleshed out sound that you can hear on the band’s self-titled debut EP, which was released last November. The band brings its energetic sound to crowds all around Northeast Ohio, and will next be performing at Annabell’s on March 11 with Husbands & Wives and Coldswell.


from borealisFrom Borealis
If you’re a fan of instrumental math rock/post-rock, or maybe you’re just curious what it is, then you should check out Akron’s From Borealis. With two EPs, the band’s 2013 self-titled debut and its 2015 release, “Super Kid,” the members, Mike Lowden on guitar, Alex Owens on bass and Brian Dotin on drums, demonstrate their musical prowess with complex interweaving rhythms, sudden meter and tempo changes as well as rises and falls in dynamics. There are also ambient textures sprinkled throughout that add another layer of complexity to their sound. From Borealis will be performing next at The Foundry in Lakewood on April 20.


valley girlsValley Girls
With the release of 2013’s ‘Mesozoic,’ Robin Guiler and Seth Troyer created nine tracks of loud, heart-pumping, brain-melting experimental rock rich with lush distortion and crashing rhythmic percussion. Embracing the distinct sounds of the ‘90s alternative era and disjointed, fast, punk rock inclinations resulted in a slew of memorable local performances. The contrast of this heavy sound with its sugary sweet band name results in a beautiful irony sure to conjure up some feelings of both confusion and delight among audiences. The duo is set to release its sophomore album, “Being/Becoming,” in the near future, setting listeners up for what is sure to be a wild, noisy ride.


(Featured photo is of Sancat. All photos courtesy of the artists)