top of page

The Breaks Inc: A Modern Old Rock Band

The Breaks Inc., a six-piece rock NYC-based band from Queens, NY, consisting of Danny Marra (Vox and Acoustic), Adrian Cardenas (Rhythm Guitar), Michael Massiah (Lead Guitar), Gilberto Simmons (Bass), Jason Ruiz (Drums), and Katie Marra (Harmony Vox), have impressively grounded their sound, image, and stage presence early in their musical career. They have released two EPs, Low Places and You All Know Who You Are, and a couple of singles, with an album in progress called Hotel Earth.

You can catch the band playing monthly residency shows at The Bitter End, where beloved artists like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Stevie Wonder, and many more renowned musicians sculpted their careers. I recently had the chance to see them execute a keenly warm-spirited nineteen-song setlist that had people grooving both in their seats and on their feet.

The setlist for their shows enticingly balances older work with their newer, unreleased songs, switching back and forth between their earlier, Beatle-esque pop-rock sound to more of a heavier and darker sound that exemplifies their new material, reminiscent of works like Ok Computer by Radiohead. And by sneaking in a memorable cover of Viva La Vida, their Coldplay influence particularly shines through.

The band members' performances reflect excellent musical chemistry. They perform as a unified collective that finds comfort and joy in making music and being on stage together, with a captivating presence that can only be described as effortlessly cool. Right before the set began, blues and jazzy sounds were heard as the band prepped, setting the mood, having no idea what was about to come. Every song provides a moment for each member to showcase their talents. Cardenas and Massiah, both guitarists, have incredible riffs, building the complex rock sound.

In contrast, Ruiz, the drummer, had great moments that reminded me of Dave Grohl's drumming, bringing back those nostalgic, quintessential mid-to-late 90s rock sounds. On top of that, Danny bounced from singing to the tambourine to the acoustic guitar to the piano, bringing eccentric energy to the stage while emulating his strong John Lennon and Paul McCartney influences. What's great about this band is that each player brings in diverse influences while blending them well into a new version of rock that brings pieces of rock history to a new generation.

Listening through their discography, they play around with different eras of rock from all decades. Songs like Player Piano have more of a late 90s alternative rock and post-grunge sound, explicitly exemplified in the drums calling back to the beat of Nirvana's Nevermind or Taylor Hawkins' drumming with the Foo Fighters. The lyrical styling and emphasis on instrumental sections in their older songs have more of a baroque pop sound, reminiscent of The Beatles and the Beach Boys as well as more modern bands like The Lemon Twigs, creating classical sounds heard in Waltz #7 and For Someone Who's Gone (Demo). Elements of progressive and psychedelic rock are heard in songs like Low Places and Unkind, which bring in components from albums like Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. It doesn't stop there; songs like Pinocchio have an early 2000s indie rock influence similar to The Strokes' earlier albums.

Overall, The Breaks Inc. are versatile in their sound, drawing from different eras of rock spanning from the early 1960s to the early 2000s. Most importantly, they are willing to play and experiment without limiting themselves. Each of their songs sounds completely distinct and unique, and the composition of each song is impressively technical, reminding me of great composers like Brian Wilson. The Breaks Inc. are an underrated band passionate about not only the music they are producing and performing but about music as a whole.

Written and Photography by Veronica Anaya

bottom of page