Band of the Week: Hey Monea! 

Meet the Band: Dan Monea (guitar/vocals), Nate Monea (drums/vocals), Adam Orin (bass)

Hooked Up: The group first formed in Canton as Hooked on Tonics in 2005, but its roots go back even further. "Nate and I have played together since we were kids, mostly acoustic shows," says Dan Monea. "I played saxophone and he wanted to play the drums so I traded in the drums and got him a drum kit and he took to it. I taught him to sing right away. Overall, we've been performing together for 15 years."

Rising Stars: In 2009, the band released its first EP as Hey Monea! but then took four years to follow it up with the new release Cheap Souvenirs. "We spent 15 grand on the EP," says Monea when asked about the long time between albums. "We were really struggling. We didn't want to take a step back on production quality. We just had to save money for the new record." Winning the Hard Rock Rising competition in 2012 certainly helped. The Hard Rock has its own label and after making the band play a few showcases, it signed the group to the label in the fall of 2012.

Why You Should Hear Them: The band recruited Dennis Herring, who produced the first few Modest Mouse records, to record Cheap Souvenirs at his studio in Oxford, Miss.. "We wanted somebody with a distinctive voice," says Monea. "We had 25 unused songs and we went in there and he picked the 10 songs he thought he could make a unified album out of. He had a strong vision." Herring brings out the band's soulful side on songs such as "Pollyanna" and "Stay," tunes with catchy, radio friendly melodies that recall the alt-rock of the mid-'90s. The record has any number of potential hit songs.

Where You Can Hear Them: heymonea.com

Where You Can See Them: Hey Monea! performs at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20, at Musica in Akron.

More by Jeff Niesel

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