Band of the Week: The Commonwealth

Meet the Band: Patrick Burke (guitar), Andrew Kuhar (vocals, guitars), Nicholas Kuhar (drums)

Straight Outta St. Ignatius: Band members originally met at St. Ignatius, where, as Nicholas Kuhar says, they "fiddled around with some orchestral rock." "From an early stage, we played around with us being a miniature orchestra more than a rock band," he says.  After they all went their separate ways for college, they kept in touch and kept playing together. By 2011, they released their debut EP, Souvenir, which they recorded at their home studio located in Collinwood.

Technical Issues: For last year's Emerald City Blues, the band again recorded at its home studio. But it struggled with the technology. "It was a really fun album to make but we were testing the limits as to what we could do in getting the most we could out of the equipment," says Kuhar. "It was fun but got frustrating because there were technical things we'd run into. How do we mix this so it doesn't sound muddy?" Despite Kuhar's criticism, the album features elegant arrangements and beautiful melodies.

Talking About Their Generation: Kuhar says that much of the band's new album, Urban Soul, is about "being in your mid- to late-twenties and trying to start a life." "I have been talking to my parents a lot about how people in my generation have gone to school longer so there's a sense of being uprooted and that's translated into that fact that things like getting married and buying a house or buying a car have been held off," he says. "It's made everyone more rootless and the lyrics are about that."

Why You Should Hear Them: The songs on Urban Soul are intricately arranged compositions. A mellow piano-based tune, "The Bright Ones" features hushed vocals, and the title track has a woozy garage blues feel. "We wanted to push ourselves," says Kuhar. "We see acts like Bon Iver or the National or Arcade Fire, and we want to aspire to having that kind of live show. For the album, we wanted to take it as far as we could in terms of composition. For Emerald City Blues, we just wanted to write songs we could pull off live. We didn't do that this time around."

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: The Commonwealth performs with Sun Spots and Tiger and Boy at 9 p.m. Friday, July 26, at the Happy Dog.

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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