Though the band name refers to a type of pubic wig, Merkin has nothing to hide. The group is a compelling alternative rock trio that came together about four years ago.
“It was love at first sight,” says singer/bassist Dane DeLucchi.
The band first started as just drummer Jeremy Morrow and DeLucchi. Guitarist Alan Burton joined forces later. The members of Merkin mesh well and all bring something different to the table.
“It’s like assembly line status,” says DeLucchi. He’ll most often first come up with an idea for a song and write the lyrics. “I’ll bring it to the guys and within a day the song will be done. Jeremy will throw drums on it, and Alan will throw atmospheric guitar and vocal harmonies over it and take the song and give it a new direction.”
Merkin will release its new EP, Bread & Circus, at the end of the month. It includes songs the members have been working on for the past few years. Each of the seven tracks has a different flare, yet in its entirety the EP remains cohesive.
“We never write the same song over and over again,” says Morrow. “We want each song to be different.”
The album has a distinct raw and lo-fi feeling overall. Some tracks maintain a progressive feel while others had a more grungy vibe. Singer DeLucchi’s cynical voice is at times reminiscent of Brian Eno and David Byrne. Merkin’s first recordings are risky and at times dark, but still accessible.
“A lot of our songs are socially charged” says Morrow. “So Budweiser, Nascar, it’s the same shit. The more the government satisfies people, the more they’re willing to comply.”
The diverse EP has been a long time coming. The tracks were recorded in December, and the EPs were pressed a few weeks ago. Bread & Circus is a milestone for the members of Merkin. They say it’s an excellent representation of their range and extensive song base and just a taste of things to come.
Having just returned from a tour down the West Coast and to Pheonix, these guys have pushed out of their local niche and maintain high aspirations for the future.
“Huge endeavors are going on,” says Morrow.
Merkin has plans to make a circuit through Oregon and Washington and are also in the process of completing a concept album that will incorporate songs off the new EP and many more with a slightly different sound.
“[The EP] is more lyrically and conceptually heavy, what we’re doing now is more palatable, I guess,” says DeLucchi. “We’ve lightened some songs up in areas.”
Merkin gigs frequently at a number of local bars and venues, including the Knitting Factory, The Tree House Lounge, and of course Strega Bar, where Morrow is a co-owner. Merkin’s record release party will be at Strega on April 27, accompanied by local bands The Kanes, Drinking with Clowns, and Rigorous Proof. Bread & Circus will be on sale along with other Merkin merch.