Tag Archives: SDRE

Hold The Phone, Buzzgrinder

Buzzgrinder whipped up a little post today about a new Sunny Day Real Estate album.

I say “whipped up,” because they certainly embellished something.

Here’s the “scoop”:

Regular Buzzgrinderer Travis Lee dropped us a tasty tidbit. He just saw Sunny Day Real Estate in Minneapolis, and during the new song they’ve been playing on their reunion tour, they said something along the lines of “it’s going to be a fun one to record.” Trav also said the new jam was “a beast.”

So the word “it” can be substituted for just about anything now, huh?

Yes, the band wrote a new song. And if you were playing with 4 other people and created the first full song in well over a decade with that same cast, wouldn’t you want to record it before you lost the chance to do so?

It would make sense that SDRE would want to record the song. But an entire record? In numerous interviews they’ve mentioned that they don’t know if they have it in them at the moment to record an album, and that’s simply from scheduling conflicts (a fact I found out during the research and interview phase of writing the Sunny Day article for The Boston Phoenix)

It’s fantastic that they managed to squeak out a song (and a pretty solid one) in the short amount of time between their rehearsals and their other projects. But an entire album? That’s quite a leap of faith, and a rumor that could really take hold of SDRE’s fairly rabid fan base. They could do it, who knows, but to publish something that says:

So yeah, new Sunny Day record. You heard it here first. Maybe.

Is really taking advantage of fans and folks who go to Buzzgrinder as a trusted source.

On and On and On

sdrephxfrt

I wrote another piece for The Boston Phoenix, this time about… Sunny Day Real Estate. Whoda thunk it?

For folks wondering about A) all the reunion hubub and why it’s happening 2) what’s the big deal with the band C) just how the band got back together and 3.14) the details of the reunion and how the seeped online, head over to the article. (I did say I’d write up a little something tracking the whole thing, so there you go… and concise too.)

Big thank yous go out to Marco Collins, Brian Perkins, Davey von Bohlen, Jonathan Poneman, and Jeremy Enigk for the wonderful interviews: I feel like I really got a wide variety of voices that weren’t really heard in the din of the “yaaaay reunion” hollers and usual Q+A with SDRE bandmembers. Not that those aren’t great, just a little familiar. And yes, I traced the reunion meme starting with Mr. Perkins’ initial tweet, and got some pretty great info out of folks for that section… If only I could fit more.

Speaking of fit more, I got a few particularly interesting answers from Jeremy that didn’t fit in with the piece… hopefully I’ll be able to get those out in the near future.

But, enough of that… read on!

Video: SDRE – “10”/”New Song”

For folks who want proof that a new Sunny Day Real Estate song exists, it’s been uploaded onto YouTube. YouTube user Jnuhjnuh (a spin on LP2‘s “J’Nuh”) captured the performance of what is believed to be called “10” at the band’s Portland show. Here’s the video:

The audio quality ain’t the best, but you can at least hear their new song (not quite) clear as day. I’ve heard comments that some folks find it reminiscent of The Rising Tide-era SDRE, but a lot of what I can hear so far reminds me a bit of the driving nature of many of the LP2 tracks I find so compelling.

SDRE Debut New Song In Vancouver

According to Paste, Sunny Day officially debuted what is most likely referred to as “10” (aka their new song) at the tour kickoff in Vancouver. Here’s what they said about it:

Only marginally less impressive was the debut of a new Sunny Day Real Estate number, appropriately titled “New Song,” where the guitars suggested someone has a minor thing for the beginning of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” Enigk announced the number as a work in progress, but that didn’t stop Hoerner from grinning like he’d just won the Powerball lottery.

It maybe got a “meh” from Paste, but to each his/her own.

SDRE Tacoma show on YouTube

Adam9512 was nice enough to record the entire Sunny Day secret show that was in Tacoma the other night and post it on YouTube (thanks Stereogum). Audio quality isn’t great (but really, how can you improve upon seeing a band in person?) but it’s a nice sneak peek for folks who have tickets for their upcoming shows. Enjoy:

New Sunny Day Real Estate Song?!

sdre back

Sunny Day Real Estate kicked off their tour tonight with an unofficial, surprise show in Tacoma, Washington.

And apparently they have a new song. The band members have been fairly open during interviews about the unknown status of the band’s future and their commitment to other projects, and in an interview with The AV Club that recently went online, Dan mention that, if it were possible, he’d work on a new SDRE record.

Well, thank goodness for Megan Selig’s consistently updated Twitter on the goings on of their first show (more will probably be online before this post is published.) Not only does Selig have great, up to the minute info on what’s going on at the show, but, here’s the kicker:

sdre song

And it’s confirmed with the upside-down picture of the setlist, which you can see here.

The new song is called “10” (an ongoing continuation of their “random numbers as song titles” deal that ended with “9,” which is now included in the Diary reissue). For folks who can’t see from the upside-down setlist, here’s the breakdown:

“Friday” (LP2)

“Theo B” (LP2)

“Red Elephant” (LP2)

“Song About An Angel” (Diary)

“7” (Diary)

“Grendel” (Diary)

“Shadows” (Diary)

“Iscarabaid” (LP2)

“5/4” (LP2)

“Guitar & Video Games” (How It Feels To Be Something On)

“J’Nuh” (LP2)

“Sometimes” (Diary)

“10” (NEW SONG)

“In Circles” (Diary)

“48” (Diary)

“Spade & Parade” (additional track on the LP2 reissue)

That’s a killer setlist.

And what does “10” sound like? There might be some video on YouTube in t-minus any-minute-now. It wouldn’t surprise me. Here’s hoping there’s plenty more where that came from…

UPDATE: Apparently SDRE did not end up playing “10” last night. It could mean the band was having a laugh by tossing a new song title on there, or they could have just not played it. Who knows. Hopefully, we’ll find out soon enough…

Origin Story

I came across this odd post entitled “The Origin of Emo” on an unusually blank WordPress blog (though the thing appears to be written by a Thom Lloyd, which is the gmail address at the bottom of the article). It’s the only post, and it’s written in a pseudo-term-paper light, with citations that don’t really say much of anything or connote to any one article/book/etc (though some of the names provided can be linked up via a quick search). It’s all very odd.

What’s even odder is Lloyd’s thesis statement on the origin of emo, which he sort of drops in at the end:

Rites of Spring and Sunny Day Real Estate did not start the emo genre.

Eh? Lloyd continues to throw out vague, inconsistencies, many of which I can agree with (genres are a culmination of the sounds that have influenced the bands), and some that are rife for contradiction. Namely the last point:

With all of these factors in place a band and or a label had to start the wheels in motion forming the emo genre.

Huh? Didn’t he just say Rites of Spring did not start emo? And Dischord doesn’t count because emo didn’t rise solely out of it?

This happens to be an ongoing problem with people seeking a solid definition for emo: the fact that the genre/sound exists as a fluid and evolving concept that many individuals ignore simply because of the condescending nature of the term makes it damn hard to tack a pin in it and call it a done day.

But, those irrelevancies aside. Rites are duly credited for starting emo: that’s where the term as a definition for a musical sound came from. Period. Not Husker Du, who Lloyd credits as an important factor. The fact is, Zen Arcade came out after Rites were a fully formed band with an entire pedigree of songs (1984 to be exact). Rites were listening to all sorts of hardcore (nothing I’ve read remotely mentions Husker Du though), and sought to challenge the trends within their own community by embracing a poppier sound. They took from many a British popper: The Buzzcocks are most credited as an influence there. But nothing about Husker Du.

And Lloyd’s idea of indie rock fusing the gap between Rites and Sunny Day is… well, a bit much. Lloyd also calls into play grunge as an important influence on emo and bridging these two bands: hardly. As far as grunge goes, the only role that played was its skyrocketing popularity behind Nirvana led to sale numbers that helped Sub Pop move out of the red zone and avoid bankruptcy so that they could go on and sign SDRE: grunge’s influence on emo is really relevant in a business capacity. Emo was a complete change from grunge, which is why Sunny Day startled so many people in Seattle: it was different. They were different. They took from hardcore, took from bands like Rites, Fugazi, Lungfish, Shudder To Think, and many of the DC bands that Lloyd overlooked. Yes, as Lloyd mentions, there are too many bands to name, and many of them he overlooked when trying to tie these two distinct bands (ROS + SDRE together). Since when do you need to fill in a time blank in terms of bands that came about that were important and led to another important band of the same sound anyway? How many of the new shitgaze (or whatever you want to call them) bands actually took other sounds and used them in their own songwriting? It’s always possible, and often an excellent appeal to change. But I can’t see Vivian Girls having taken lots of notes on IDM when they wrote their fuzzy, 60s surf garage rock sound. (It’s possible, but after the interview where they dissed bands that use a dancey drum beat, I doubt it.)

But there are plenty of bands that “filled in those years.” Just on Dischord there were a bunch (again, Embrace, Happy Go Licky, One Last Wish, Nation of Ulysses, Fugazi, Lungfish, Shudder To Think, Jawbox etc etc). And then there’s Jawbreaker’s take on the sound from DC. And then there’s Drive Like Jehu’s take on the DC sound and it’s impact on the San Diego scene: that whole arty-hardcore-meets-DC-emocore is indebted to the DC scene. Gravity Records, Heroin, Antioch Arrow, etc etc. And all of this in the years between 1984 (Rites of Spring) and 1994 (release of Diary).

That’s a lot of time, and many of these bands aren’t remembered because, in terms of folklore or the progression of a genre, only a few – those considered to be important for one reason or another – are consistently remembered and repeated to the next person, and the next person, and so on and so forth. That is an evolution of a genre, not some influential indie band that has nothing to do with these groups: no offense to The Pixies or Sonic Youth, but those bands hardly share anything with the first wave of emo. And because genres evolve, and many within different spheres and cultures (aka underground or mainstream), it may sound different at different points along the way. So, of course emo sounds different than it did before: it’s not static. Some things grew, other bands made their individual changes, and other bands made changes on other bands’ changes. Though the definition is rather fluid, a general line is fairly recognizable (one that doesn’t exactly include Sonic Youth, who were more no wave affiliated and who’s experimentation is mostly left out of many an “emo” act, or The Pixies, who tend to have a fairly basic pop sound that, as it’s well known, is more a grunge influence than an emo one) and observable.

Kaboom!

I recently uncovered a load of random Sunny Day… well, everything. For example, I’d been trying to find a picture of the infamous Nordstrom ad the band did when they first got together, and the searches would usually be futile. But, with the website sunnydayrealestate.net fixed up, it’s online, as clear as day:

That SDRE ad that was supposed to be a joke... notice the singer they hired on the left

That SDRE ad that was supposed to be a joke (from the band's perspective)... notice the "singer" they hired on the left

The big treasure trove I came upon is thanks to a little hint from Verbicide magazine on Twitter. It lead to enigk.com (as in Jeremy Enigk) which contains a variable treasure trove of little heard songs from their previous incarnations, Jeremy’s solo stuff, live recordings, demo tapes etc. Again, something of a conundrum in many ways, and now that Sub Pop is reissuing their first two albums with a handful of those rare tracks, I’ll probably buy them in a remastered version.

But, all things aside, literally a treasure trove for super-fans, and a lot of the stuff has been online for quite awhile. Sure, The Empty Set and Chewbacca Kaboom didn’t quite have what Sunny Day had (it was the trio of Dan, Nate, and William before Jeremy joined, with various name incarnations before settling on SDRE, starting w/Empty Set and then going to Chewbacca Kaboom), but it’s a fascinating listen nonetheless. And the self-produced Flatland Spider 7″?! That thing isn’t even getting the reissue treatment, which makes it an even more fantastic find.

There is plenty of material on there to keep any super fan happy and overwhelm anyone with a case of the SDRE curiosities. It was also a great reason to delve online, looking for some of the members previous bands. (Reason For Hate anyone? The hardcore band that had Jeremy on guitar and William as part of a drum team bears a resemblance to their later work together only in that it cemented their status of having been reared in hardcore.) May the great finds continue!

Sunny Day Real Estate – “Flatland Spider”:

Reason For Hate – “Kill The Itch”:

In Circles

When music-inclined and web-savy individuals open their browsers this morning and click over to Pitchfork, they may end up reading a review with this funny little quote:

What immediately strikes you about Diary is it doesn’t sound intended to be a gamechanger– even if it’s no surprise that one of emo’s most enduring documents is called Diary of all things. But even if it doesn’t break new ground musically, it signaled a new way to talk about the passion.

Does that sound, well, odd to you?

***

It seems these days everyone’s got a beef with Pitchfork. Either their “too cool” and ahead of the curve and used to read the site back when it was a lowly blog and now can’t be bothered with it, or they hate it’s newfound control over the culture of cool/hipsterdom, or maybe they just have never heard of it. Whatever. You can place me in some column of mild irritation. I appreciate a lot of what they do, and, for all their wreckless bashing of many a band that might not deserve it (and, hey, maybe even some that do), they’ve managed to make the world of music journalism translate into the Internet age and thrive, a feat among feats as the media self-perpetuates its own demise right next door.

The reviews are inevitably what it comes down to for people. (I hide no shame in saying that I regularly check the site for its news updates because, hey, I’m one person who can’t track every press release even when they hit my own inbox, so to see it marked up in a solid fashion ain’t too bad.) Rarely will I take a review at face value, and often I won’t even read them.

But, when I noticed the Sunny Day Real Estate reissues (Diary and LP2), I figured I’d take a gander. Of course they’d give it the “Best New Music” treatment: the folks at P-fork may have a select taste that has no use for 99.9% of emo, but they certainly can tell what has played an important role in our culture.

So it was a little dumfounding to read Ian Cohen’s remarks on the albums. Much like the quote above, I was a little confused by the review… not because he crammed so many gargantuan words where they need not be  (a problem of my own), but because he repeatedly seems to contradict himself. And not purposefully: I can see what he was getting at. But, it’s just… well, odd. To say that something isn’t “innovative” and yet completely changed things is just kinda like doublespeak. And I get what Cohen might be trying to get across: that SDRE took a combination of sounds from disparate scenes and communities and just put them together but that idea isn’t so much revolutionary as it may seem. I just fundamentally disagree with that statement, I guess.

Is this a case of Pitchfork trying to prove it’s might in writing it’s version of musical history? I can certainly see what Cohen is doing as a challenge-the-hindsight-and-historical-POV-about-SDRE type thing, but I really feel it falls flat. Reading, talking, and listening to the immediate community within which the band was wrought, there was literally nothing like them for miles around. Sure, zines and mailorders could connect music communities from across vast spaces, but it’s not like today where some kid can download kwaito and baile funke tunes and try and be the next Diplo. The Seattle scene which SDRE was geographically a part of was overrun with grunge, as it was ground zero. Most people looking for a break in the city must have looked stupid trying not to do grunge as that was what people asked for. So to say SDRE, who may have pushed a heavy and punk sound that was a brethren to grunge only in volume, wasn’t a gamechanger (for Seattle and the rest of the country). Well, you could call that a gamechanger.

Sunny Day Real Estate – “Seven” (Guitar Hero edition):

SDRE at Soundwave

A quick email post! The new Sunny Day Real Estate site has a special announcement of some more shows to come in 2010, this time in Australia. Here are the details:

SAT 20 February, 2010 Brisbane, Soundwave Festival

SUN 21 February 2010 Sydney, Soundwave Festival

FRI 26 February 2010 Melbourne, Soundwave Festival

SAT 27 February 2010 Adelaide, Soundwave Festival

MON 1 March 2010 Perth, Soundwave Festival

Is this a sign for more to come from the band? Who knows!