Band of the Week: The Strange Familiar

Meet the Band: Kira Leyden (vocals, keyboards), Jeff Andrea (guitar), Frank Freeman (bass), Nicholas Sainato (drummer)

They came back to their city: Singer-keyboardist Kira Leyden and her husband, guitarist Jeff Andrea, moved from Akron to L.A. for five years. While there, they appeared on the fifth season of America's Got Talent. They also made a few music videos and several of their songs appeared on syndicated TV shows. "It was such a great experience," says Andrea. "We had been in the scene in Akron forever and we're still utilizing those connections. It will hold a special place in our heart." Moving back to Northeast Ohio has been a positive experience too.

Family matters: Since moving back, the couple has started a family. Their daughter is now 14 months old; they wrote and recorded their latest album The Day the Light Went Out before, during and after the pregnancy. "She's at the age where she's discovering everything and running everywhere," Leyden says of her daughter. "She loves music and we're always playing music in the house. She can almost say 'guitar.' It changes your entire life." Andrea agrees. "When we were recording, I would have to pack a bag for morning sickness because she sometimes couldn't sing," he says. "It was a struggle but we're glad we did it that way."

Why you should hear them: Recorded with a young, hip production duo at their studio in Santa Clarita, the band's new album, The Day the Light Went Out, features some terrific pop tunes. "Rain" benefits from some fluttering synthesizers and "Surrender" features a dramatic piano riff and soulful vocals. "It was weird going into the sessions being the old people in the group," says Andrea. "The guitars took a back seat on the album. It's a different feel for us. We've been writing more on the piano. And the album has some cool beats." Andrea even put some of his guitar licks on a loop. "I didn't want it to sound too guitar-y, and I didn't have an opportunity to record a lot of guitars so I wanted to make the most of what I could record," he says.

Where You Can Hear them:

Where You Can See them: The Strange Familiar performs with Jordan Depaul at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 31, at Musica.

Like this story?
SCENE Supporters make it possible to tell the Cleveland stories you won’t find elsewhere.
Become a supporter today.

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].
Scroll to read more Music News articles

Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.