Band of the Week: Racket Man

Band of the Week: Racket Man
Courtesy of Racket Man

MEET THE BAND: Tommy Marx (guitar, vocals), Chris Seaman (bass, vocals), Tyler Elwing (keyboards, vocals), Vince Silvestro (drums)

Embracing the '80s: After college, Marx went to South America for a couple of years before moving back to Cleveland and starting the group with Seaman, a high school friend who'd played and toured with bands in Australia, where he lived for a short time. They launched Racket Man in spring of last year and recruited Elwing and Silvestro. Marx cites Beck's Sea of Change album as a significant influence. "This is my first serious band," says Marx. "In terms of our style, I think we also get into an '80s style and I really like Jarvis Cocker and Pulp. I think we have an '80s synth-pop vibe going lately."

THE GOLD STANDARD: The band issued its first self-titled EP last year and then issued Gold DVDs, another four-song EP, earlier this year. It will release a new single this month and Marx says the band hopes to issue more new singles before the year's end. "On the rock side in Cleveland, there's a lot of garage rock, which is different from what we do," says Marx. "We pull from Steely Dan, and I have a soft spot for Michael McDonald. I think we're ready to accept the 'yacht rock' tag, and it's good."

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: The band records at a Detroit Shoreway apartment that Marx and Seaman share. "It's a process dealing with the audio," says Marx. "But I took some classes at Tri-C and have gotten better." Gold DVDs features gentle tunes distinguished by Marx's soft voice and surf-y guitars. "Brunswick Boaties," the band's latest single, sounds like it could be an updated yacht-rock tune with its even-keel guitars and mellow bass riffs. The song was inspired by a drive through Brunswick just after the last presidential election. "People had made their own signs out of plywood, and it was an awakening that I was living in close proximity to areas like this," he says. "The song is also about being 25 and having friends who are living in more artistic places. And that's no knock on Cleveland."


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Racket Man performs with Swell Tides, Mild Animals, Liz Bullock and the Tremonts at 8:30 p.m., on Thursday, Aug. 30, at the Grog Shop; and with Claire Morales and John's Little Sister at 9 p.m., on Saturday, Sept. 8, 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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