Like piano garage pop? Then you'll love Wreck Loose
Wreck Loose's music isn't easy to categorize. Featuring lead singer and keyboardist Max Somerville, with Nathan Zoob on guitar, Dave Busch on bass, and Derek Krystek on drums and everyone pitching in on vocal), the band bills itself as piano garage pop.
The new album, "OK, Wreck Loose," is filled with nods to artists such as Ben Folds, Steely Dan and Elvis Costello. But the quartet ultimately influences mixed and blends those influences with its own talents to produce a unique, engaging sound.
Somerville of Hopewell, Beaver County, answers questions about his influences and the band's sound.
Question: Where does your affection for Steely Dan, Elvis Costello, and other classic artists and musicians come from?
Answer: I started listening to the Beatles when I was a kid. I have very fond memories of listening to the "White Album" with headphones in my dad's (Wayne Somerville) studio when I was five years old. I've just always a love for older music, and I listen to a lot of new stuff too.
Q: The lyrics have a sly, irreverent sense of humor in "Long Time Listener, First Time Caller" and "Phil Spector Killed Someone Today." What attracts you to writing songs that have a humorous aspect?
A: There's something about not taking yourself too seriously, to be serious about the music but still wanting to be yourself while doing it. I want to be just like I am when I'm hanging out friends. But I'm still trying to figure out why I'm drawn to the humorous side of music. Ben Folds comes to mind, and Frank Zappa, too, uses humor. Even a band like Steely Dan, all their stuff seems like they're winking with everything they have to say.
Q: Steely Dan always seem like they're the smartest guys in studio or any room they are in. Is that something you try to emulate in your songs?
A: One of the things I like about Steely Dan and Elvis Costello is that both of them are so self-deprecating in all of their music. That's a big part of humor – not making fun of yourself, but riding the line between being arrogant and confident in what you're doing and also realizing there's another side of the coin when you are low. … The first song on the album, "Long Time Listener, First Time Caller" rides that line between being sky high and loving music, and not being able to write a song for six months.
Q: You have to be the first band to use the Fibonnaci series (a series of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers) in lyrics in the song "Carwash."
A: I put it in there because it's a word with a lot of syllables and it's fun to say. The song starts with a somber note, but you're saying this goofy word and it always catches someone off guard.
Q: There are two songs in particular — "County Mouse" and "The Day Before the Day of the Dead" — where the band shows off its dexterity in what seem like improvisational jams.
A: I bring the songs to the band but they do a lot of the arranging and figuring out where the songs are going. The band definitely shines on those tracks, but the things that happen were written by the band, and I rely on them heavily. You have these sections that seem like jam sections, but they are thought out. There are melodies there. People have said "The Day Before the Day of the Dead" is a free-form jam, but if you listen to it closely it's not a jam at all. It's a composed section, and we're very conscious of that. Wreck Loose is definitely the four of us and that's how the songs are created.
Wreck Loose appears July 14 at the South Park Amphitheatre, and July 15 at the Deutschtown Music Festival. Details: wrecklooseband.com
Show of Note
311, with New Politics and the Skints, July 6, Stage AE, North Shore
The MTV darlings from Omaha, Nebraska, came up with a unique way to blend hip hop, reggae, metal and pop by using two vocalists, Nick Hexum and S. A. Martinez, who provided a lyrical ebb and flow. That formula yielded the No. 1 single "Down" and a No. 2 hit, "All Mixed Up," from the platinum self-titled album. While they've not quite reached those heights since, the band has recorded 12 studio albums, with latest, "Mosaic," being released on June 23. 412-229-5483, promowestlive.com.
Flow Tribe, July 8, Mr. Small's, Millvale
New Orleans has always been an incubator for unique musical styles. The Flow Tribe lives up to the Big Easy's tradition seamlessly mixing soul, R&B, rock and hip hop into its funk base. Flow Tribe's latest album, "BOSS," was produced by rapper Mannie Fresh of the Cash Money Records, and features the single, "You Know What It's About. 412-821-4447, mrsmalls.com
Rege Behe is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.