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Band of the Week 

Harvey Pekar

Meet the Band: Eddy Marflak (guitar); Elliott Frank (guitar); Nate Kelly (drums); Nick Kratsas (vocals); Nick Schmitt (bass)

Friends First: Guitarist Elliott Frank and singer Nick Kratsas have been friends since they were kids, but never played in a band together until they formed Harvey Pekar about two years ago. They initially issued a self-released EP, Thirty Ghosts, which they recorded locally at Brain Child Recording Studios in Lakewood.

On the Band Name: Though Frank and Kratsas never met the late comic-book writer Harvey Pekar, they decided upon the band name because it references their childhood experiences hanging out at comic book shops. "We discovered comics and punk rock at the same time," says Frank. "But we also identify with the stuff that he was about. He worked a day job for a pretty long time and we have no delusions of being rock stars. We liked going on tour, but we still punch a clock. So that was the impetus for the name."

Escapist Artists: The band has just issued its new album, Upward, Not Northward, through the indie imprint Escapist Records. "The new album is more collaborative than the EP," says Frank. "This has been a real group effort. Everybody has input. Nick still writes all the lyrics but it's more of a group thing, which is good."

Why You Should Hear Them: Frank admits the band, for the most part, plays standard hardcore. But because of Kratsas' sneering vocals and an onslaught of hard-rock riffs in aggressive songs like "Calvin Pissing on the Competition," the band carves out a niche of its own. "I think we're a hardcore band, but one of our long running jokes is that we don't think we sound like any of the bands that we get compared to. We just want to be a riffy hardcore band like something from the 2000s. I was fresh out of high school and that's the kind of stuff that was happening then. I like stripped-down, riffy hardcore. We try to do different things. We get compared to weird stuff and I think it's because Nick has an interesting vocal style."

Where You Can Hear Them: harveypekar.bandcamp.com

Where You Can See Them: Harvey Pekar performs with Worship This, Two Hand Fools and Vince Roy at 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 29, at Now That's Class.  

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