Band of the Week: Kiss Me Deadly

Meet the Band: Jen Poland (vocals, guitar, mandolin, glockenspiel, vocals, banjo), Evan Lieberman (bass), Madelyn Hayes (vocals, drums)

Doctor's Orders: Kiss Me Deadly started in 2008 as the Poland Invasion. In 2012, they added Madelyn Hayes on drums and vocals, and "the whole thing changed." "That was the turning point," Evan Lieberman says. "Somehow, the chemistry became right. It's magical in a way." Still, members soon decided a name change was in order. "The problem with the Poland Invasion was that everyone kept mistaking us for neo-Nazis, no matter how many Jewish people were in the group," says Lieberman, who has a Ph.D. and teaches at Cleveland State University. "People were viscerally repulsed by the name — not that many people but enough that it was kind of a drag. [The 1955 classic] Kiss Me Deadly had been one my favorite movies and I always wanted a band with that name. I pitched it to Jen and Madelyn and everyone really liked it, even though there's a band called Kiss Me Deadly from Canada. We thought, 'What the hell? Let's go for it.'"

Caught on Film: Lieberman directed the band's first music video for the tune "Ice House" and has been making the band's videos ever since. In all, the group has filmed five more videos. The band also makes videos of live performances. "We're filmmakers and musicians and teachers," says Poland.

Why You Should Hear Them: Recorded locally with producer Chris Keffer at Magnetic Sound studios, the band's latest album, What You Do in the Dark, features vintage sounds. Poland says the studio experience was "very collaborative." "It depends on when I'm writing the songs," says Poland, who adds that the vinyl version of the album, which was pressed locally at Gotta Groove Records, has just come out. The album's title track features seductive vocals and a retro-sounding guitar riff that sounds like it was lifted from a '60s garage rock tune. "I guess we do sound retro," says Poland. "I've been told we sound like '60s, but I didn't grow up on that so I don't know how we ended up sounding like that."

Where You Can Hear Them: reverbnation/jenpoland

Where You Can See Them: Kiss Me Deadly performs with the Old Adage at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18, at the Euclid Tavern.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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