Band of the Week: Mr. Carnivore

Band of the Week: Mr. Carnivore
Courtesy of Mr. Carnivore

MEET THE BAND: Pat LaGuardia (vocal, guitar), Joe LaGuardia (vocal, bass), Kevin Hanna (drums), Joe Sobek (guitar)

A MIC NIGHT INSPIRATION: Brothers Pat and Joe LaGuardia were doing an open mic at the Speak Easy, the small club in the basement of the Bier Markt in Ohio City, when they realized they had the makings of a band. "Pat was playing songs he had written over the past couple of years," Joe explains. "It hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought they were awesome songs, and our friends could fill the positions in a band. We just decided to do it and went rolling from there."

COMING OUT WITH A BANG: The band released its first single, "Knees," at the beginning of the year. They followed that up with a music video for "Hot Air Balloon." "It's a song I've had for a while," says Pat. "I recorded it on my own in my attic. The music video version is totally different from the album version. I have a cousin in L.A. who does music videos. He was in town, and we threw together that video." But rather than just release a series of singles, the band decided to put out a full-length. The resulting album, Blue Light, comes out this week. "I wanted to do a big release and come out with a bang," says Joe. "Pat has demos and voice memos and about 50 to 75 songs. We sifted through them and found some that fit the idea of the band. We narrowed it down to the songs on the album."

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: The group self-recorded Blue Light in Hanna's basement and then sent it out to a pro studio in Nashville for mastering. "That was a bit of a process," Joe admits. "When you keep the recording process in-house, you have full control over everything. But when you've labored over the mixes and you send them off to someone who wasn't there the entire time, you hope the mastering brings them together. We went through seven or eight revisions until we got something we were happy with." With its melancholy vocals, gentle xylophones and plodding acoustic guitar riff, "Upper Half" recalls the psychedelic side of Mercury Rev, and "Bible Girl" features snotty vocals and noisy guitars. "There's definitely a wide spread of influences," says Pat. "I sometimes sing quickly and that's something I wanted to entertain. Right now, it seems like the general public is on a hip-hop train. That's what's selling. I want to take people away from that. It's more Grateful Dead or Avett Brothers. The Bahamas were a big influence too. They're iconic to me personally." Since wrapping production on the record, the band has continued to pump out new songs, so you can expect to hear some unreleased tunes when the group plays its upcoming release party at the Winchester Tavern.


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Mr. Carnivore performs with M. Moody and AJ & the Woods at 8 p.m., on Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Winchester Tavern in Lakewood.

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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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