Band of the Week: Polars

Meet the Band:

Justin Miller (guitar, vocals, synth), Kurt Eyman (vocals, guitar, synth), Dan Northern (drums), Paul Bartholet (bass), Jake Briggs (piano, vocal), Pat Santilli (percussion), Etienne Massicotte (trumpet)

The Basement Tapes: Songwriters Justin Miller and Kurt Eyman started the band in the winter of last year when they began collaborating on songwriting duties. "I bought a house in Lakewood and started building a home studio in the basement, and Kurt and I teamed up shortly after," says Miller. "We went to the same high school but didn't know each other. We had mutual friends who knew that we were both making music, and they helped us connect." The two independently recorded the group's debut album, Into the Pines, at Miller's studio.

On a Journey: They've described the band as a "journey to share its unique blend of songs that embody the landscape, cultural identity and sound of the Great Lakes region." The band draws from folk, indie rock and pop. "Lyrically, a lot of things are inspired by the environment around us and the different emotions that brings from the region," explains Miller. "We try to play on that. Musically or instrumentally, I don't know if that applies as much. We're trying to develop what our sound will be, but I want to move toward more ambient music and more abstract and darker music that comes from the wintertime and how that shapes our thoughts. Our favorite artists are groups like Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes."

Why You Should Hear Them: On a song such "Indigo Kids," the band puts earnest vocals up front in the mix while presenting a balance of acoustic guitars, vintage sounding keyboards and piano. "Laniakea" features a vibrant violin riff courtesy of Molly Connolly. The song then concludes with a vigorous jam. The band explores its ambient impulses with "Klop," a track that includes percolating synthesizers. A few guest musicians came to the studio during the sessions to add strings. Expect to hear more orchestration in the future. "I want the sound to become more dynamic," Miller says. "We just added a trumpet player, and he knows some of the string and brass players in town." The band hopes to put out another album in 2016, but Miller says the group has only partially written material for that album.

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: Polars performs with Ageless Males and Poro on Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Beachland Ballroom.

About The Author

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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