Let’s get this out of the way. Time Cat is a rock duo consisting of singer/guitarist Jeri Sapronetti and drummer Sam Caler. They’re both from Akron but they are not disciples of fellow two-man outfit the Black Keys or the White Stripes for that matter.
Time Cat has been gigging around the area for a few years and recently released its second album, Your City, a svelte, eight-song 33-minute collection showing the duo’s mix of classic rock-infused moves within a raw indie rock aesthetic.
The band takes the now familiar guitar/drums/voice duo format and applies it to tunes that not only rock out in familiar ways but also manage to twist, turn, surprise and occasionally confound in interesting and tuneful ways.
Several of the duo’s songs are packed with parts. Songs start with one groove, stop, and transition into something else and back again, most in less than 4 minutes. While that kind of versatility in the band’s arrangements may make it difficult to find a spot on what remains of rock radio, it definitely makes them a more interesting band.
The duo certainly has chops. Sapronetti is a versatile guitarist and Caler’s active drumming matches her six-string flair. The album opener Yonge Ones begins with a slow groove before igniting into some punky bar chords and quick flashes of wah-wah drenched solo histrionics with a catchy chorus to boot.
Among the eight tracks are a few possible singles. Nothing’s How It Used to Be is a short, straight-forward catchy indie rock tune. Likewise, the peppy Could Not Say sports a cool, twangy, reverb-heavy riff and Sapronetti layering her raw, honeyed alto.
On Taste My Lightning, Sapronetti and Caler lean a bit into Black Keys territory with some big fuzzed-out riffs and a bluesy melody but still throw in some fancy finger-picking, punk-flavored, slashing chromatic chords and Caler throttling his entire kit.
Your City is available at Square Records, 824 W. Market St in Akron’s Highland Square.
Blues fest winds down
Today is the second day of the 13th Canton Blues Fest, a mix of local blues mamas and daddies, headlined by a national act.
This year’s theme is Women in Blues and tonight’s headliner is singer/songwriter Shemekia Copeland, daughter of Texas blues legend Johnny Copeland.
Copeland, who is hailed as the current queen of contemporary blues, began her career as an old-school electric blues-belter but has widened her scope musically and lyrically over the course of her seven albums.
Her 2012 album, 33⅓ (her age at the time of recording and a nod to vinyl record speeds), incorporated more classic R&B, gospel and some rootsy rock plus an increasing socio-political bent in songs such as the anti-abuse Ain’t Gonna Be Your Tattoo and the poverty anthem Lemon Pie.
She’s also a hell of a live performer, which you can see for yourself for free at 8:30 tonight in downtown Canton. Also performing earlier in the day will be Big Fat Dog at 2 p.m. and blues-singer Long Tall Deb — who has a recently released 2014 album Raise Your Hands — at 4 p.m. Chicago band Mississippi Heat, lead by Belgian harmonica player Pierre Lacocque, will play at 6 p.m.