Youngstown band finds cohesive sound on ‘Keep Going’
The first thing heard on The Vindys’ debut full-length album, “Keep Going,” is Jackie Popovec’s unaccompanied vocals.
It’s a voice that sounds like Adele after a couple of whiskeys or a narcotics-free Amy Winehouse. Two lines into “Save Me,” Ed Davis’ drum kicks in and the rest of the band and a horn section soon follow, establishing a funky, soulful, rock groove maintained over 10 songs.
“Instead of the EP (2014’s “Red Wine EP“), which is kind of all over the places with the genres, we wanted something more cohesive,” Popovec said. “I definitely feel we have that now, we have a more cohesive sound.”
The initial tracks were recorded at Youngstown legendary Peppermint Studios because the band liked the drum sound in the studio and it was big enough for the musicians to record together as a band instead of tracking parts individually. Additional work was done at the home studio of Rick Deak (Popovec appears on his 2016 EP), and Deak mixed the record with final mastering by Adam Boose at Cleveland’s Cauliflower Audio.
“We are kind of nervous,” Popovec said. “The CD coming out is a little harder, a little heavier. We’re hoping our fans like it.”
Based on the response to the new songs during a prerelease show this month at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, the band doesn’t need to worry.
Popovec and guitar player John Anthony started the group in 2013, and they are joined by Scott Boyer, bass, and Davis in the current lineup. The horn section isn’t an official part of the band, but it’s a regular component of the live shows.
“It’s very common for us to have a three-person horn section a lot of the time,” Anthony said. “And we have friends who are fantastic jazz musicians who will sit in for a tune or a set or an entire gig. The horn parts are definitely an element of the live performance, and this whole record is supposed to be capturing our live sound.”
The horns also allow Anthony to experiment more on guitar without having to carry the melody / riff of each song.
“It allows the guitar to become a much more integral texture,” he said. “I don’t have to play as much. The guitar is used more subtly but in a very effective way.”
Popovec said the horns also complement her vocal phrasing.
“I feel my vocals are pretty percussive, the way I write, the cadence of my words when I’m singing,” she said. “When I’m singing, if we didn’t have the horns there, I’d probably want to record all these background vocals or something ridiculous. The horns give it the extra punch it needs.”
“Keep Going” includes eight new songs and two reworked ones from the EP, the title track and “Bang.”
“I really didn’t want to let those go just yet,” Popovec said. “I wanted to feel good about it before I let them go. This is our first full-length album, and there were some slight changes I wanted to make with each of those records. We didn’t know them too well when we recorded them. They just felt very pieced out. Everyone was trying to solo on everything. It was very messy. Now after playing those songs for quite awhile, I had a good idea how I wanted them to sound.”
The Summit, an Akron-based public radio station that is simulcast on 90.7 FM, played both “Bang” and “Red Wine” from the EP, and premiered “Too Long,” the lead single from “Keep Going,” earlier this month.
Program Director Brad Savage said, “To me, they really personify Youngstown and northeast Ohio. They’ve got depth and substance and are instantly likable. Their songs get stuck in your head after one listen, and that’s a great quality for radio airplay.”
“Keep Moving” will be released on Saturday. The night before, the band will open for Hunter Hayes at House of Blues in Cleveland. It will perform Saturday morning at Record Connection in McKinley Heights for National Record Store Day, and it will headline The Summit’s 330 Stage Saturday afternoon at Federal Frenzy in downtown Youngstown. “Keep Moving” only will be available on CD and digitally initially, but a vinyl release is planned later this summer.
“Myself and Ed Davis are very very big vinyl buyers and collectors,” Anthony said. “We’re always looking for where the closest record store is to check out.”
Popovec said she grew up downloading singles but now, “I prefer having that vinyl record in my hand. I think it’s something special.”