“That was ‘My Chimera’ – Welcome to the world of Working Breed, just stupendous, just jazzin’ in my mouth. At the start I was getting a sort of Latin vibe, and then it took a turn, it went somewhere else. There was a bit where she was letting her voice kinda linger a bit then voom, back in. That was great, fantastic – the level of expression in the middle there, it just hit me like a f***in’ train. If it’s gettin on a nine episode it’s got to bang … this hit me straight away!”
“Working Breed is a Pittsburgh art rock collective that embellishes its driving rock ‘n’ roll tunes with esoteric and intellectual accents like insect noises and plant magnetic fields. … Frontwoman Erika Laing was kind enough to share her thoughts about the band, its music, and the Pittsburgh music community.”
“My friend Erika June Christina Laing of Working Breed is on the show to discuss the shifting landscape of rock music over the past couple of decades and the role her band is playing in it. Sit back, relax, and let’s Start The Beat!”
“Who says summer has to end just because September has rolled around? Working Breed brings us an upbeat, super fun, surf rock tune with their new song “Orange Fluff”! Upbeat vocals instantly catch listener’s attention. The song takes an unexpected turn towards the bridge, with a circus like melody coming into play and theatrical spoken word keeping listeners enthralled. The beat and energy pick up again after this, leaving audience members wanting more from this lively band!”
“Erika Laing fronts the Pittsburgh rock band with a rangy jazz-lounge delivery, while guitarist Michael Dugan, bassist Jonah Petrelli, keyboardist Chloe Wiecz and drummer Jeremy Papay stand ready to take off on wild, quirky tangents on songs that run the spectrum from torch ballads to surf-rock.”
“Hieroglyphica, the band’s debut album, contains plenty of rabbit holes for listeners to fall into, in addition to an array of art rock and jazz, with a healthy dose of humor. Starting off with a track, “Mo Fo Ro Ro,” the group might come off as a little light-hearted. (The title is a cleaned up version of the chorus line, “Motherfucking rock and roll.”) But as things proceed, arrangements get more complex and — even as the humor remains at arm’s length — some of the lyrics get a little dark.”
“Weaving together jazz, surf-rock, and even spoken word, Hieroglyphica features an electric mix of instrumentation and sound samples, like the trombone, trumpet, musical saw, ancient Chinese sheng, cicada samples, and even synthetic whispered speech layered on top of a recording of the magnetic fields of a Mimosa Pudica plant.”
“Their whole set was pretty theatrical and high-spirited. They had an obelisk onstage that was built specifically for the show, as well as a huge “W” and “B.” “We didn’t steal these from Warner Brothers. They were built for us,” Erika said. I had a premonition the final song from the album would bring some other visual explosion and I was right. Confetti bombs went off in the balcony at the climax of “Orange Fluff,” raining down during the final chords.”
“It was this moment that made me realize how much time and effort was taken to actually create this experience. While every live show is an experience, this show was so immersive that the audience became part and parcel of the art as a whole.”
“The track (Cicada) is a waltz that shifts between soulful, atmospheric verses and an explosive chorus, Erika June Christina Laing’s voice and Michael Dugan’s guitar singing a smoldering blues duet before erupting into glorious power balladry; at the song’s emotional peak, Laing begs an unnamed person to “Please/please/please/Just break my heart.” It hurts so good!”
An extended in-depth interview with Bill Domiano on the PA Rock Show!!! Learn more about the release show, the album, and a smattering of other things – Turtle Race music video factoids and science stuff!! WAHOO!
“With captivating melodic movements and time changes akin to A Perfect Circle, Working Breed guide you on an emotionally enthralled journey throughout the track as lead singer Erika croons and mourns over the loss of a relationship gone south. Every word is heard, felt, and empathized in the midst of this mesmerizing track, tugging on the heart strings as the skeletons in the closet come rolling out.”
“But the triple characters of the “Mind,” “Astral” and “Real Life” Erika, played of course by Working Breed frontwoman Erika Laing, reject that value system in favor of her own dignity and finally comes to see the “brick of gold,” “country club” and “palisade” as ersatz symbols of devotion. In the end of the video Erika sheds the outer signs of her relationship to be free. It would be difficult to sum up what style of music one might call “Turtle Race” but fans of Sunshine Blind and The Dresden Dolls will appreciate the baroque pop and musical theater aspects of the song as well as its darkly ethereal mood.”
“Perhaps Working Breed’s outside-the-box approach best is represented with “My Chimera,” which features Laing’s trombone playing through a jazzy track that verges on torch song territory in the middle before the main theme re-emerges to include a scorching solo by Dugan.”
“It sounds crazy and a lot to take in, but with each listen one begins to pick out more and more pieces to the puzzle that is Working Breed. With accessible, yet progressive songwriting, the band mash together their influences to create a very cohesive and commanding product.”
Lookin for some weekend jams?! Check out this Vinyl Chapters playlist! Our song “My Chimera” is in their Weekly Shuffle mix along with The Beatles and Gorillaz… and right before Kate Bush! *swoon*
“To me, they’re like Steely Dan turned up to 11 and rocking out in a Prohibition-era speakeasy. Working Breed is a level of tight that you don’t normally get outside of a major act doing a stadium tour. It’s almost like the members of Working Breed were born playing their instruments.”
“Consider this mask ripped off and shredded. From the initial unsettling warble of Laing’s musical saw to her high keening cry at song’s end, you can feel her pain and grief coursing through every note, every word, every shot. With “Turtle Race,” Working Breed demonstrates the boldness and boundary-pushing of younger artists alongside the pain and maturity and self-awareness of more experienced ones. The results, especially when paired with the adept film crew they recruited, are magic.”
“It’s so interesting to learn about the process of creation – from sad guitar lick and tumbling lyrics to trial by live performance to expression through visual narrative. This song and video illustrate the healing power of music.”
“To put it simply, no one else is doing what Working Breed is doing. Describing their genre as “art rock,” the band transitions between instruments, tempos, and styles (often within the same song) with creativity, cohesion, and apparent ease. They embrace classic jazz, powerful rock, and groovy funk, and wrap it all up in pop packaging that, due to each member’s skill at their respective instruments, never feels cliché.”
“SSE: What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
EL: I’m never sure how to pin down our work into a genre, because the fun thing about the group for us is that we have pretty eclectic musical influences individually, and we write our parts with those influences, then blend them together in the final song.”
Working Breed named a TOP PICK alongside Bernie Worrell during our March Whirlwind Weekend Tour!
“If you miss out you’ll have to travel across the state for the band’s performance at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh on April 11 (which sounds awesome and you probably should go to anyway).”