Sam Prekop checks in by phone from his home in Chicago. I gather he is rocking in the proverbial sense, meaning in an old-fashioned chair. Every so often, I hear the tell-tale creak of wood in the background. I tell him that as a father and reader of many children’s books, the name of his band, the Sea and Cake sounds like the perfect kids’ title. “That’s the first time I’ve heard that,” he admits. Possibly everybody who calls themselves a fan knows the origins of the name. It came about as the result of a misunderstanding: the C in Cake (equally children’s bookish) was what the quartet first intended to call themselves.
“The band name is baffling, which I like. We’ve had it for so long now that it’s hard for me to be even one iota of objective in criticism.” And, it is something of an uphill struggle: “I always have to repeat it more than once,” he says.
The band dates back to the mid ’90s. Theirs is an informed brand of alt-rock that neutralizes stress like an aural Ambien. I think it would be lovely to hear the Sea and Cake played in airport lobbies or hospital waiting rooms. I am correct in my assumption that this music is deceptively simple.
“Right now, we’re learning how to play the new material,” says Prekop. “It’s tricky, and it’s a process that always seems hopeless when we start.” The band will perform material from all of their records on tour, he says, with about half of the show dedicated to Moonlight and Butterfly. “The other day, we played the lead song from the album together for the first time as a group.” In other words, the band records their parts separately. “By the time we get to San Diego, it will be second nature. But I’m worried about Toronto. That’ll be our first show.”
Matthew Friedberger (Fiery Furnaces) also performs.
THE SEA AND CAKE: Casbah, Sunday, November 11, 8:30 p.m., $15.