Baltimore has become one of our beloved indie wellsprings over the years, continually surprising and amazing with creative upstarts that capture the affections from local levels to national stage platforms. Evidence of this can be chronicled and observed in Brett Yale's Bmore Music column, the recent 4AD signing of Future Islands, the great recordings of Lower Dens, to today's introduction to Sun Club, and stateside exclusive listen to the their Dad Claps at the Mom Prom EP. Available January 21 from Goodnight Records, a band of long time buddies gathered their favorite childhood sounds, and recorded them with producer Steve Wright at Baltimore's Wrightway Studios over the course of four or five days. “We didn't spend a ton of time recording, because we didn't want it to be over analyzed”, Sun Club's Shane McCord explained, “And I guess that worked because it ended up to be exactly how we wanted it”.
Heralding songs to crash the homecoming school dance and interrupt the popularity contents; “Beauty Meat” celebrates a hungry and carnivorous pageant of its own choosing and right. True to the nature of their name, Sun Club keeps the pacing high on its own energetic heels, dancing into the season shifts of, “Spring Diamond”. Shining just as bright, appointed guitars descend like particles of UV rays that ignite all the assemblages of sound into many aural perceptions of color. In every bar, every band chorus call, in every bit of metric rhythm and in evey chord you can feel that the band is constantly moving every item, every utterance, every iota of audio somwhere and toward something even bigger. The first two songs carry the listener like a crowd surfer toward a kind of awkward heart to heart reckoning that becomes outright anthemic on the tearful and trumphant, “Repulsive on Chocolate”. The half a minute title track, “Dad Claps at the Mom Prom” is composed in a weird mix of video game button click percussion, mixed with pitch effects and MIDI melody abstracts. Keeping true to their ethics of rapid fire revelry, “Cheeba Swiftkick” continues to carry on Sun Club's tireless solid-gold-easy-action that leads to the closing finale with the sun-kissed finish of holiday dreams and wishes on, “Summer Feet”.
We caught up with Shane McCord the other day to talk about Sun Club's debut EP, Dad Claps at the Mom Prom, as we got to the bottom of their song writing/titling process, and everything you have ever wanted to know about the state of the Baltimore scene as of late.
Your EP Dad Claps at the Mom Prom is so bright. Is this a case where you try to make bright sunny music like your decided upon name, Sun Club?
[Laughs] I think we just take a lot of influence from playing outside in the summer and around the water in Maryland. Before we were Sun Club we were writing similar music, maybe even brighter, happier music, the vibe has stayed the same, I guess. We're all happy people who wanna have fun always, and I'm thinking our music reflects this. 'Girls just want to have fun', ya know?
Baltimore has captured our attention for the bulk of this past half decade. What do you all like about Baltimore? The scene? Criticisms of the scenes? Other bands you like in B-more? Other bands you all are close to in B-more?
Ahhh Baltimore is so incredible in a ton of ways. Before I talk about the scene, it's literally the perfect location to live to tour up and down the east coast since we're so close to all these other cities, it has made it a lot easier to play shows in other cities. But the scene is incredible here. Super super crazy amazing new music always coming out of the city. It's super nice to be surrounded by awesome music and crazy local shows every day. The shows here are so awesome and the venues are incredible too. Half of the best venues are warehouse spaces, or spaces like them… like Floristree and Bell Foundry. Coolest places to see bands, especially when it's a bigger band-like Future Islands in February. I can't wait!
Most of our influence comes from people who we know who are super inspirational. Some of our best friends from the Moving House Collective used to play in one of my favorite bands called Hounds. They seriously have been some of the biggest inspirations musically to a lot of us. They're playing in a band now called Blood Knight, it's like pop-screamo and it is incredible. Other awesome local bands are Dungeon Kids, lovely boys who make awesome music and tour with us sometimes, and Us and Us Only, lovely boys as well that make killer music and I want to tour with us. I've been listening to a band called Goblin Mold a lot recently too, they are super cool and just put out a CD. Phantom Lanterns are badass. I don;t know, I could seriously go on forever on awesome bands from here. Obviously we love all the big bands out of here: Dan Deacon, Animal Collective, Beach House, Wye Oak, Future Islands, Double Dagger, Weekends, Celebration. Everyone! Ah. Everybody who comes out of here is killer.
Future Islands just signed on to 4AD, that's gotta be a massive win for Baltimore.
Yeah, I freaked out when I read that this morning! 4AD is an awesome label and Future Islands played their entire new album at a show here this Fall, and it was some of the best music I've seen performed. I can't wait to see where this album takes them.
Another thing I have to ask is who comes up with the zany song titles, looking at “Beauty Meat”, “Repulsive On Chocolate”, and Cheeba Swiftkick”?
[Laughs] I'm so glad you asked this. We name all of our songs off of the refrigerator magnets in my basement. That's how we named the band, and every song we have ever written. There's a lot of combinations that we really want to eventually name songs, for example- “Hot Unique Forest Moment”. Beautiful name, maybe we'll name the song we wrote today that. [Laughs] There's a lot of really inappropriate ones too that are better, but will be left unsaid. The EP name, Dad Claps at the Mom Prom, was named by a descendent of the one and only Orville Redenbacher, aka the Popcorn King. His name is Chad and we met him in a house in Indiana. He had wanted to use the name for one of his bands, but no one was down with it, so he graciously allowed us to use it for our EP title. What a lovely boy-Chad if you're reading this, love you.
Musical inspirations, and insight into the recording of your EP for Goodnight Records?
We recorded it at Wrightway Studios in Baltimore with Steve Wright. Super great dude. We recorded these two songs in my basement for a 7″ we released and I sent them to Steve so he could master them. He really dug the vibe we had captured, and he wanted to bring that vibe to the studio and record a CD that we thought was perfect. And we did it. We recorded all the instruments live to capture the feeling of our live shows and added a lot of toys to fill out some parts. Steve's cool because he is the only producer who hasn't told me to turn down my reverb. We really wanted to have something that sounded live an actual band was playing, not like a tracked recording. We couldn't be happier with the quality of the EP, it's exactly what we wanted and more.
Projections for SxSW and other festivals and gigs?
We're playing at the 930 Club in DC for the first time a couple of days after our CD comes out. So psyched! That will kick off a nine day tour that will hit DC, Boston, Brooklyn, Philly, Wilmington NC, Columbia SC, Nashville, and Blacksburg, VA. And then in March we will embark on a six week tour around the country, playing SxSW. After Southby we'll be heading up the West Coast for the first time, which is going to be amazing. Playing lots of cities for the first time, we couldn't be more excited for it. We're playing tons of really cool shows that we're all so pumped about, so excited to be alive these next few months!
Catch Sun Club live on the following dates:
17 Baltimore, MD – Ottobar with Dads
23 Washington DC – 930 Club with Los Campesinos
24 Boston, MA – TT The Bears
25 Brooklyn, NYC – Shea Stadium
26 Philadelphia, PN – Kungfu Necktie
28 Wilmington NC – Orton's
31 Nashville, TN – The End
01 Blacksburg, VA – Gillie's