In this week’s edition of Press Play,  the members of Cleveland pop rock band Seafair hit us with some very eclectic choices of songs that inspire them. The band–comprising Chayla Hope (vocals/keyboard), Mike Flaherty (guitar), Josh Riehl (bass/vocals), Tara Hanish (cello), Andrea Belding Elson (violin) and Ryan Kelly (drums)–will be performing this weekend in Columbus at Park Street Tavern on Friday and in Cincinnati at Maudie’s on Saturday. Give their playlist a spin and see if you can hear their influences when you check out their music.


1. “Take Me to Church” – Hozier

Chayla says: “I heard take me to church after a 7 mile hike with my guy. With a 45 minute long drive home we threw on some Spotify. When this song came on I think both of our jaws dropped. The melody is addicting. It’s got a touch of pain but it’s got far more desperation. I don’t know what it is about desperation but I love it! The lyrics really draw me in. It’s absolutely spectacular.”

2. “Chaccone in D minor from Partita No. 2” – Bach

Andrea says: “The Bach Chaconne to me is probably one of the most spell binding pieces I’ve ever experienced as both a listener and performer.  If I have 15 minutes between teaching lessons I will often play a bit of this piece and I get completely entranced and  can lose track of the world…To me it cuts straight to the core of the heart and explores the full range of emotions in the most gorgeous way. It has a great amount of symmetry and structured form, yet is abstract enough to interpret in a million different ways.”

3. “Darling Corey” – Crooked Still

Tara says: “Rushad Eggleston, the cellist in this song and the two earliest albums of Crooked Still, is one bad-ass shredder.  He has been one of my earliest and most admired inspirations of modern cello playing.  His chops, grooves, musical voice and improvisational prowess are just incredible.  While of course I’m a little partial to strings, I am also a big fan of Aoife O’Donovan’s beautiful vocals in Crooked Still.”

4. “Iyehf Taidu Leikh” – Snuff

Ryan says: “This is the song that always changes my mood into a positive one. It’s my all time favorite song. It’s fun, upbeat and a great sing along. Plus the drummer is the lead vocalist!”

5. “Brother James” – Sonic Youth

Mike says: “This song is an attempt to suppress nervous tension and losing.  I think I first fell in love with Kim Gordon as a teenager after watching her scream this on “1991: The Year Punk Broke.”  From the ominous, “march of the executioner” drum/bass intro, to the dissonant guitar lines that sound like a swarm of pissed-off bees attacking.  It’s like a bullied kid finally fighting back or violent sex…it’s the song I’ve always wanted to play live.”

6. “Goodbye Sky Harbor” – Jimmy Eat World

Josh says: “A song can be anything you want it to be. It can go anywhere. It can do anything. You are the only one putting limits on it.”

7. “Madness” – Muse

Tara says: “For me, this song is the epitome of epicness.  The build gives me chills every single time, and I have no shame in groovin’ hard to this song.  It gets me going.  I love it.”

8. “23” – Blonde Redhead

Mike says: “There’s longing in this song…but you can get locked into the groove forever.  It’s meditative.  So simple, melodic, ethereal, a little sad, a little playful and sexy, a little droney…Just makes me feel good.”

9. “You’re the Best” – Wet

Chayla says: “What can I say? I love songs about love–especially ones with amazing beats and guitar melodies that seem to speak for themselves. The changes in the song are fantastic. I want this one played at my wedding and in my headphones at least once a day. It inspires me to try new things!”

10. “Title and Registration” – Death Cab for Cutie

Josh says: “It’s a relatable situation: a picture or object that you had forgotten about or tried to forget about, and then while moving or searching for your title and registration you come across it. It’s unexpected and jarring, but it’s true, honest, and cathartic. It could’ve been any song off of Transatlanticism, but this song in particular reminds us that inspiration can strike at any moment.”

11. “String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat Major, Op. 74 “Harp”

Andrea says: “Beethoven ‘Harp’ Quartet is dear to me because it was one of the first quartets I was able to really sink my teeth and the experience sparked my love for chamber music. I was lucky to be in a group in high school with some phenomenal string players and we really delved into this completely satisfying work.  I especially remember falling in love with the first movement with the cascading pizzicato passages and heroic and delightful melodic phrases!”

12. “Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday” – William Bell

Ryan says: “His voice. That beat. Very personal song for me. It’s perfect.”

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