By Kristy Guilbault
It’s easy to gloss over the bands listed in small fonts at the bottom of lineup posters. Throughout this week, we’re magnifying the fine print of Shaky Knees, with interviews and highlights of artists you won’t want to miss at this year’s fest. Check out the first edition here.
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Hailing from Nashville, Sun Seeker craft psych rock with a distinctive southern folk attitude. And while the group is frequently labeled as Cosmic American, frontman Alex Benick (guitar, vocals) wants to make it clear that that’s not the case.
“It’s weird a lot of the press that I’ve seen says that we’re self-described as Cosmic American music,” Benick says. “I can assure you that I never self-described us with that term. I honestly don’t really know what it means, but I guess it’s a nice thing. I’m definitely not passionate about it, or feel like that’s a guideline that we set ourselves to. I suppose that it’s like folk music that’s a little bit spacey, because of the cosmos or something.”
Spectral synth and acoustic guitar dot the band’s 2017 EP Biddeford, but the 60s seem to have a more profound influence on Sun Seeker’s sound than the cosmos. The opening track “Churchill” breezes by with Beach Boys-esque harmonies and drummer Ben Parks light yet energetic percussion. Benick notes that Biddeford feels a bit outdated, and even did at its release, but new material is on the way.
Starting in July, Sun Seeker will record their debut album in their hometown, under Third Man Records. Details are sparse, but the band hopes to branch out a bit from their current sound, and will play a few of the new songs on the road this summer, most notably at Shaky Knees.
“I’ve never been to Shaky Knees, but that seems to be the festival to be at,” Benick says. “We have a bunch of friends that have played before, and I’m really liking the lineup this year for sure. I’ve been a big War on Drugs fan for a long time, and we’re playing the same day as them, which I was really excited about. But, also, I think we’re going to stay the whole weekend. So seeing Courtney Barnett will be great, and I have a huge soft spot for Fleet Foxes from middle or high school days.”
It’s rare to come across a band that possess the ability to stop time with their music. In that regard, Charly Bliss is a diamond in the rough, crafting grunge pop that does more than halts time, it transcends it. With frontwoman Eva Hendricks’ honeyed vocals and unruly guitar riffs, the Brooklyn four-piece transports you back to the days of dancing around your high school bedroom to angsty pop punk.
The road to Charly Bliss’ debut full-length was long and bumpy, but ultimately successful. After years of touring, an EP, multiple recording attempts, and a few entire scrapings of projects, Guppy was born, to both critical and commercial acclaim. “People forget sometimes that expressing joy is just as important as examining despair,” says bassist Dan Shure in a press release. “People need joy, especially right now. We’re all about writing tight pop songs, but also giving people this super enthusiastic release. These songs are kind of the sound of expressing something that you can’t really contain. These are songs you play really loudly when you need to freak out.”