Yes, it’s cold. Yep, everyone’s sick. We hear you and, luckily, The Bay Bridged is all about solutions: crank up the space heater (or if you’re lucky, one of these), pour the hot toddies, and throw on some shimmery and crescendo-ey goodness. Might we suggest a little Sunbeam Rd.?
Completely independent of even independent labels, this band has released material entirely on their own, including a couple of cassettes and digital releases to start out, followed by the lovely 2012 Breathers LP — crowdfunded through Kickstarter — and their most recent digital release, a Breathers remix album.
Sunbeam Rd. are embracing a time when bands take control of their careers via The Mighty Internet and are oftentimes in cahoots with their fans and supporters. These guys are really into things like collaboration and, of course, crowdsourcing. Take their video for the Breathers album opener, “Lucy”, for example — a trippy kaleidoscope of shadow and light, reminiscent of the color screens from the discovery museums of our youths.
Originally meant to be used as the visuals for live shows, it is a collection of crowdsourced submissions run through a digital filter of the band’s mascot — a cat. What started as an experiment to engage friends and fans became a musical narrative by adding the dreamy band shots to the imagery. “In the end, it might be sort of confusing to the viewer but it represents some sort of world in our imaginations that we’d like to visit one day.” Can we tag along?
To win a pair of tickets to Saturday’s album release show at Thee Parkside and your own copy of Breathers to pickup at the show, be the first person to email contest[at]thebaybridged.com with the subject line “Sunbeam Rd. Giveaway.”
While most of the songs and lyrics on Breathers were written by guitarist/vocalist Trevor Hacker, “we are a pretty democratic band, so all of the instrumentals are thoroughly worked through as a group,” they tell me. And while Harrison Pollock plays bass in the band, he also wrote one of the songs. “We were interested in changing up the dynamic and transforming the songs, by having different songwriters come through one voice on the record. Singing someone else’s lyrics or melody seems to bring out another quality in the song that we weren’t aware of previously.”
What may be easier said than done for some bands probably comes more naturally for this four-piece, given their history. Trevor, Harrison, and drummer Clive Hacker grew up around the same town and all moved to San Francisco to attend CCA, where guitarist Cody Hennesy was working as a librarian. Together they found their course: “Music has always been a vehicle to reach our own state of higher consciousness, and locate parts of ourselves through the process of finding new territory; slowly putting tiny pieces together.”
The idea of handing over their music to others for remixing came about when coming up with incentives for backing their Kickstarter project. Inspired by Health’s Health//Disco and Silent Alarm Remixed from Bloc Party, where different artists with very different approaches use the same components to make entirely new compositions, the band got together to recruit friends to get involved — “we gave them the stems to the songs and they remixed their track of choice. There are quite a few different vibes that came through, all very awesome takes…“ — leaving four available so they each could remix one themselves. (Harrison is Bubblegum Crisis, Trevor is equators, Clive is Magic Triangle, and Cody is The Rhombus, FYI.)
Sunbeam Rd. celebrates the release of Breathers at Thee Parkside this Saturday night.
Sunbeam Rd., Sad Bastard Book Club, Casey Chisolm
January 26, 2013