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Standout Track: No. 1, “Live in a Vacuum,” a swaggering mini-metalocalypse with indecipherable lyrics and complex guitar action. Matching the hairy ferocity of Mastodon with the spareness of classic D.C. post-punk, drummer Nate Simms pummels away as guitarist-vocalist Nick Skrobiz and his bassist brother, Jesse, spar on their respective instruments.
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Musical Motivation: According to Nick Skrobiz, who wrote the song, “Live in a Vacuum” is about our collective myopic tendencies. “In America, everyone just disassociates from each other, and everyone has their own subjective realities,” says Skrobiz, 28. “It seems even more brazen these days.” That’s as much exposition as you’re likely to get: “Talking about your own music is like telling a girl how awesome you are,” he says. And he’d prefer if you didn’t call the Wayward a math-rock band, despite the angular guitars and splattery rhythms. “That’s something I consciously try to avoid, because I have no interest in juxtaposing math and music,” Skrobiz says.
Brother Worldly: Unlike other famous sibling acts, the Skrobizes claim no rivalry. “That kind of went its way when we were kids,” Skrobiz says. “It’s pretty easygoing; we try not to force things, and we always leave the door open for everyone’s ideas.” That helps keep the members together despite living apart: Simms is in Great Falls, Va., Jesse is in Stafford, Va., and Nick lives in Baltimore. And a busy tour schedule keeps them close. “I crack up all the time on the road, but it comes and goes,” he says. “We’ll have played 300 shows after this tour, which is a pretty satisfying landmark.” —Casey Rae-Hunter