“DIY OR DIE,” once the mantra of the aggro hardcore/punk rock scene, has been adopted by a new sect of local indie rockers and emo projects. Backtalk released a split six-song EP with Cleveland doomy hardcore band Anxieties, the result of which is was made possible through the help of Flowerpot Records, friends and local supporters. While Anxieties’ sound is heavy, dense, and accented with pained yowls and words of anger, Backtalk’s tracks play the role of the fresh and welcomed opposition. Described as “the good and evil sides of the Midwest,” Backtalk’s Akron influences serve as the more emotive heart of the new release. The duo consists of Jack Johnson on vocals and guitar, along with drummer Ryan Brown, and can be found online at Facebook.com/backtalkoh.
Solo artist Mildrid’s angelic acoustic tunes are a breath of fresh air in the Northeast Ohio scene. Her cherubic voice and melancholy chords chime out songs of longing, loneliness and the ever-changing qualities of Ohio that have inspired much of her original demos. Her cover of Julian Baker’s “Go Home,” is a standout, with a captivating voice that aches out words like, “There’s more whiskey than blood in my veins,” painting a portrait of hard drinking and the anxiety of being alone. Mildrid will play a house show at Akron’s Fool Mansion Sunday, May 15. Hear her hushed and effortless demos now at Mildrid.bandcamp.com.
Husbands & Wives
With solid pop hooks, dynamic instrumentation and guitar-driven melodies, Husbands & Wives’ sound is nothing short of addictive. Think the Britpop revival meets mid-2000s garage rock with catchy Replacements/Big Star-inspired melodies tossed in for good measure. The trio debuted new material at Annabell’s back in March and is in the process of releasing a new recording, a follow-up to their debut album, “Prepare to Meet Thy God.” Marc Dottavio, Tony Scarpitti and Brian McCoy’s unforgettable original tunes can be found online at Husbandsandwives.net.
Michael Vincent Group
Noted in the local music scene for his groovin’ guitar playing with festival favorites Broccoli Samurai, Michael Vincent has put together a smaller group, made up of highly active, prolific Akron-based musical masters. Vincent recently performed at Jilly’s Music Room with local jazz players Max Brady on trombone, Matthew DeRubertis on bass and Holbrook Riles on drums. The trio’s fusion of jazz, soul and funk was a perfect fit for the venue, lighting up downtown with red-hot tunes from this new group of collaborators. If there’s one thing the Akron music scene definitely isn’t lacking, it’s incredible jazz played by a diverse group of skilled performers. Vincent’s trio is certainly one to watch this year.
Akron’s punk rock roots run deep, and devout listeners still come out in droves to experience loud, fast playing and on-stage shenanigans at live shows around the city. The sound has been embraced and reinvented by several bands thriving from the magic of this deafening music. Like a car crash just outside your window, Yokai aim to make ears bleed in the best of ways with loud, heavy tunes like “BlackMedicine” and “Underwater.” The trio consists of Chris Brown, Eric Starr and Paul Hooper and can often be found tearing up the stage at Annabell’s. Check ‘em out online at Yokai.rocks.
The Conway Brothers Trio
Inspired by that good, old-fashioned ‘60s and ‘70s soul, Corey and Dylan Conway add a fresh funk flavor to songs influenced by the likes of Freddie King and The Meters. Local bass players Spencer Cutlip and Steve Clark have fleshed out the brothers’ sound over the years at venues like Jilly’s, Empire Concert Club and the Riverfront in Cuyahoga Falls. Though few in members, the rich, blues-soaked tunes fill the Rubber City, adding a little spice and zest to our humble home. Keep up with The Conway Brothers Trio’s news, shows and recording updates at Facebook.com/TheConwayBrothersTrio.