Music » Band of the Week

Band of the Week: The Speedbumps



MEET THE BAND: Erik Urycki (vocals and guitar), Bethany Svoboda (vocals, keyboards, guitar and banjo), Sam Kristoff (cello), Kevin Martinez (acoustic and electric bass) and Danny Jenkins (drums and percussion)

FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS: Though the indie folk band first came together in 2007, singer-guitarist Erik Urycki had been busking with a friend James Richardson on upright bass prior to that. Urycki had dropped out of Kent after freshman year and was filling time. "I wasn't ready for college at that time, though I would go back and get my degree," he says. "I had anxiety and panic attacks. Writing songs and playing guitar that summer really helped. We just played and then went to cities on the East Coast and slept on couches and talked about the books we were reading. It was straight-up freedom." He got back to Kent and realized he could "do it for real." The Speedbumps would start releasing albums shortly after that. Over the course of the last decade, they've performed with artists such as Andrew Bird, G. Love and OKGO.

CABIN FEVER: The band recorded its previous album, 2015's Soil to the Seed, in a remote cabin in the woods of Pennsylvania where the band lived together and wrote songs. It utilized the same strategy for its latest effort, When the Darkness Comes. "We like to get off the grid to write the songs," says Urycki.

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: "The Chosen Sons," the song that opens When the Darkness Comes, features husky vocals and adopts a roots rock vibe much like that of the solo albums Robbie Robertson released in the '80s. The grunge-y "How You Get Down" has a Black Keys feel to it and the moody "What Tomorrow Brings" features an elegant string arrangement. "I was kind of getting burnt out," says Urycki when asked about the band's approach on the album. "I even thought of using a new band name. But then I bought an electric guitar and that changed everything. It was a totally different instrument. I felt like I started a new band. I was playing a new instrument and then we have a new drummer who wants to beat the shit out of his skins every so often. It's fun again. It's a little more fast-paced." The band has hired a national firm to do PR for the disc and hopes to play out of town as often as it can in the wake of a release party at the Beachland.


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: The Speedbumps perform with Shivering Timbers at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 22, at the Beachland Ballroom.

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