BANDSPEAK, Music, Went There

Sun Club @ The Sinclair

The Rise of a Baltimore Band


There is no more fitting an introduction to Sun Club‘s heady riffs and mesmerizing reverb than the one given at the Sinclair this past Tuesday. Two good friends of the band opened the show by frolicking on to stage and dancing around in their underwear. With the very recent release of their first full-length LP, The Dongo Durango, on ATO records, Sun Club is finally getting their chance to dance into the spotlight.

It would be a lie to say Sun Club doesn’t take their career seriously, but their music is nothing if not fun and goofy as hell. Their high-energy synth sound makes it impossible not to dance along, and not one person in the five-piece band stopped moving during the whole set. Shane McCord, the guitarist, broke one of his strings by the end of the second song. Meanwhile, Mikey Powers, their lead vocalist, manipulated his voice in a way similar to King Krule, alternately screaming and singing in a deep and almost ghoulish way. This dark contrast to Shane’s xylophone and the band’s bouncing hooks reconcile the conflict between whether to head bang or twirl around to their music. Really, you can do either.

I got to talk to bassist Adam Shane and drummer Devin McCord after their set. When asked if they have a musical influence they talked more about bands they like, noting a few from their native Baltimore scene such as Goblin Mold and Sherman Whips, rather than ones that had any sort of influence over their music. They’ve become buddies with their touring mate The Districts and did identify with the same energetic style in performing; Sun Club even dedicated a whole song to talking about eating pizza with them. But Devin and Adam agreed they didn’t feel influenced musically by any one they’ve toured with, or anyone else for that matter. “To bring it full circle, we really influence each other ,” said Devin.

Previously they were known to describe their music as strawberry pop fusion. Now Sun Club is headed in a different direction, with no fruit to define their genre. Adam suggested indie pop and just as quickly wrote that off. “We’re not really even pop anymore,” said Adam. Their combination of the haunting and the impossibly catchy does make it difficult to categorize them a specific way, and as they progress they stray further from doing so. Added Devin, “Back a couple years ago it was a lot easier to pinpoint our genre. Now its kind of hard to put our finger on what we are. We’ve changed.”

None of this however seems to pose a problem when Sun Club so obviously has a sound that captivates music-listeners everywhere. The reception to their music has been majorly positive and by now they have toured all over the US and parts of Europe as well.

The Dongo Durango was recorded last October, and it is apparent they’ve already been making new music. Their set was largely raw, unrecorded stuff with the exception of four songs from their debut album. “Putting out this album makes us feel better because we’re so much closer to putting out other albums,” said Devin. They talked about recording in the next few months but the only new song name I caught was “Dirty Slurpee”, which they performed live at the Sinclair. Sun Club has been together since some of them were still in high school and it is evident that they’re only getting more excited about performing together. “There is never a time that’s like awww I have to play this song,” said Adam.

In the last month Sun Club has also released two new music videos. Reflective of their half-serious style, “Tropicoller Lease” shows the band in a battle to the death with troll dolls. The more recent video release of “Worm City” was a collaborative project with people from Adult Swim, and Adam made a comparison to the feel of the video being similar to Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job. “Just very off the wall,” he said. When I tried to get a deeper meaning out of the videos, Devin and Adam laughingly told me not to look so hard. They’re just having fun with it.

In the trippy echoes and the bent shrieks and the matching John Waters-esque mustaches of all the band members you find something really light-hearted to get behind. To admit that I have danced around my kitchen to the grooves of “Tropicoller Lease” might betray my journalistic integrity, but if you check out the record you’ll understand.

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