Home-schooled and raised in a strict Baptist household, Attack Cat singer Rachel Hoskins had to fight for her right to rock.
"I had a Pearl Jam album in my bedroom, and my stepdad found it and claimed that I was worshipping the devil and threw it away," she says.
Hoskins, however, didn't give up on her rock aspirations. As Attack Cat, she and husband Dave Douglas have formed a rare drumless pop-rock duo that puts a twist on the two-piece concept. To date, the band, which shares a similar sound with acts such as Mates of State and Sleigh Bells, has released two EPs. Its music is also being used in promotions for Dressed, a documentary about DIY fashion designer Nary Manivong.
Hoskins and Douglas have been friends since they met at Malone College, a Canton Christian liberal arts college, where he was in band and she was in choir. They put Attack Cat together in 2008 shortly after Douglas decided to step away from Relient K. He had been the longtime drummer for the Grammy-nominated Christian-rock band. "It was just time to leave," he says.
Attack Cat never intended to be a duo though, initially forming as a five-piece band. But after one EP — 2009's When the Moon was Big — Hoskins and Douglas downsized for 2011's Dandy Outlaws, an album of earnest indie-pop songs that show just how well the pair's full-bodied voices mesh.
"There are so many duos out there now," says Douglas, "but there aren't that many that don't have a drummer. And typically there is one lead singer, which is how we've tried to be different."
Religion has often distinguished the couple as well, but it doesn't form the basis of Attack Cat's music.
"We are both people of faith, but we are not a faith-based band," says Hoskins. "That doesn't mean we don't have a worldview or a point of view."
As they attempt to translate that worldview onto their next EP, scheduled for release early next year, they'll test out some new songs during an Aug. 3 date at Cain Park in Cleveland Heights. But the duo isn't necessarily angling for a big break that brings national notoriety.
"Part of being from Cleveland is a homegrown desire for authenticity and honesty," says Hoskins. "I think the big break' means something different than it used to. It means being able to support ourselves solely off our music. That would be nice. But our ultimate goal as artists is for our music to connect with people."