Band of the Week: United Nations

Meet the Band: Geoff Rickly (vocals, guitar), Jonah Bayer (guitar), Zac Sewell (bass), David Haik (drummer)

In the beginning: Thursday's Geoff Rickly, Converge's Ben Koller and Glassjaw's Daryl Palumbo started the band eight years ago. The Lovekill's Jonah Bayer moved from Cleveland to New York in 2007 and hooked up with the guys after Rickly asked him to play guitar and write songs. The band played its first show on Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C., and since Thursday split up, the group has focused on recording and touring.

The cleveland connection: A former Clevelander who was music editor at Alternative Press for three years, Bayer freelances for various magazines and websites. He also hosts the podcast Going Off Track and collaborates with his sister, Saturday Night Live cast member Vanessa Bayer, on the web series Sound Advice with Janessa Slater. He came to Cleveland earlier this year to give a TED talk and was backstage at the Alternative Press Awards, writing speeches for celebs like Aerosmith's Joe Perry.

Why you should hear them: The band's new album The Next Four Years features abrasive post-hardcore distinguished by parched vocals and intricate guitar work. The group issued only 1,000 box sets that feature an EP, two 7-inches and a 10-inch along with a cassette wrapped in an official cease-and-desist letter from the real United Nations which didn't appreciate the band's use of its name. It's currently sold out. The album alternates between extremely aggressive tunes such as "Serious Business" and quieter tracks like "Meanwhile on Main Street." "It's a big conceptual thing," says Bayer. "We've gotten great support from fans. It's an album, but there's ambiguity to what's what. Geoff has always been into early screamo bands. It's a cool outlet for him. For me, this is way heavier. It's funny because I go to yoga and I tell people I'm in a band and they're freaked out when they hear it because it's so heavy. I gave it to one girl in my studio and she said she was scared but then found it strangely soothing. It's heavy but weirdly relaxing."

Where You Can Hear them:

Where You Can See them: United Nations performs with Frameworks and City Cops at 8 p.m.,Wednesday, Aug. 13, at the Beachland 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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