Son of the Sun are from Buffalo, by way of a California/New York cross-country internet collaboration between two members back in 2007 that evolved into a full quintet in upstate New York, an EP in early 2008, an LP in mid 2010, and another EP set to be released next month. I gave a listen to a few tracks from each album and was pleasantly surprised by a number of things: the production quality, the atmospheres, the development from record to record, and the incorporation of heartfelt soul elements and lyrics into some genuine rockers. Their Before the After EP sounds kinda lethargic and languid, but that's probably because I listened to their more recent stuff first. "Big Record Breaker" is hazy and synth/drum machine-driven and comes across almost like an Atlas Sound song, while "Listen Darkly" incorporates some more traditional rock instruments and arrangements but maintains that fuzzy ambience. The Happy Loss is full of guitars, bass and "real" drums, but sustains singer/guitarist Zak Ward's soulful vocals and lyrics. "How Can It Be?" is a rather lovely example of those stylings, "Get Together" kicks off with a rockin' riff and keeps on rollin', and "Stay the Same" has some awesome drums and sounds like an early Kinks tune in a really good way. They've only released one song from the newest album, the Almost Not There EP, entitled "My Best Mistake", and if it is a mistake, then it's a pretty durn good one. I hear some elements of early hits by The Byrds in the percussion and rollicking bass lines, but the songwriting and singing is decidedly more modern, almost like Wilco meets The Killers, if that makes any sense. Just give it a listen:
Two Pittsburgh bands are playing at the show, as well: Psychic Boots and Yours Truly, both new to me. I jammed a few Psychic Boots tunes on their Bandcamp page ("name your own price" for the EP!) and they've got a similarly solid garage rock/psychedelia blend going on, but definitely a little heavier on the garage, a little rougher around the edges, but in a fun and sloppy-for-the-hell-of-it kind of way. That page has a little synopsis at the bottom that I'd like to quote and politely disagree with, but really only to support the implied tone that they'd like to do something about the claim contained therein:
Rock n' Roll is your dad's music. All its original practictioners are now old, uncool, or dead. Rock n' roll is no longer a vehicle for teenage rebellion, it's now beat music for the geriatric set. Its original intentions are gone, the youthful and sexual connotations are gone!
The tags on Yours Truly's Bandcamp page are "crunk-hop crunkcore indie pop progressive rock progressive rock". Interesting, and the songs bear that out. They're ebullient with punk/pop energy and harmonized vocals, but also feature some ska-esque brass and indie-emo-rock guitar/bass lines. Intriguing mix. Also, don't confuse them with the San Francisco-based music/film/art collective of the same name.
Son of the Sun on the web: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp
Psychic Boots on the web: Facebook / Bandcamp
Yours Truly on the web: Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp / YouTube / Feature/interview with Pgh Music Report, July 2010