and New, Improved Recording are proud to present the sixth installment of New, Improved, LIVE, our ongoing series of live studio sessions with top indie bands, recorded at the New, Improved Recording studio in Oakland, California. This month’s session features Sleepy Sun delivering exclusive live-in-the-studio renditions of songs from their full length debut, Embrace, and the Sleepy Son 10″, both available on ATP Recordings.

For being a bunch of early-twentysomethings, this San Francisco-via-Santa Cruz band sure has a mature psych rock sound, fully realized on Embrace, which Spin recently named one of the “10 Best Albums You Might Have Missed in 2009.” Engaging songs, relentless touring and the prospect of another full length can only mean even bigger things for this potent sextet, who have quickly become one of the best live acts in Bay Area rock. Here, the band seizes that live electricity, taking the songs from their debut to the next level.

New, Improved, LIVE, featuring: Sleepy Sun

1. – “New Age” (originally from Embrace)

[audio:|artists=Sleepy Sun|titles=New Age] Download: 160kbps mp3 / 320kbps mp3

2. – “Sandstorm Woman” (originally from Sleepy Son)[audio:|artists=Sleepy Sun|titles=Sandstorm Woman] Download: 160kbps mp3 / 320kbps mp3

3. – “Snow Goddess” (originally from Embrace)[audio:|artists=Sleepy Sun|titles=Snow Goddess] Download: 160kbps mp3 / 320kbps mp3

4. – “White Dove” (originally from Embrace)[audio:|artists=Sleepy Sun|titles=White Dove] Download: 160kbps mp3 / 320kbps mp3

Interview with Sleepy Sun

The Bay Bridged: Thanks for playing a New, Improved, Live session.  How did you pick the songs to play during the session?

Sleepy Sun: No magic trick really, just an old fashioned group consensus.

TBB: What is the status of your next full length record?

SS: Our second album has been recorded and mastered!  We took a break from touring in April of 2009 and hunkered down at the Hive in Vancouver BC to lay down tracks for a couple of weeks.  The record will be coming out by the end of May 2010. We should have a release date slated soon.

TBB: Could you tell us a little bit about what to anticipate from your new songs?  What might fans be surprised by on the new songs?

SS: It’s the soundtrack to a burlesque adaptation of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Surprise!

TBB: Of the songs you played in the session, which has changed the most from Embrace to now?  Which is the best to play live?

SS: They’ve all changed  from the record. Any given record is a snapshot of the song at that particular time. Immediately after recording we go about rearranging, improving, polishing, etc. Most have the same spirit.

TBB: Could you talk a little bit about the background of “Sandstorm Woman”?  Was there a particular reason that it didn’t end up on Embrace?

SS: Sandstorm was the first jam we started to work on during our emergence in San Francisco, upon returning from the recording of Embrace. it was actually one of the last songs we wrote with our former bassist, however evolved immensely following his departure. We performed Sandstorm nearly every show, as its powerful song which conjures great emotion and sonic deliverance within our group. its a song about letting go of yourself or any of those constraints that fight the flow of the wind, so to speak.

TBB: How was the experience of doing a live-in-the-studio session?  How did it compare to your other recording sessions?

SS: This particular session went fairly smoothly.  It’s better to approach a live session with an open mind and not let yourself get too focused on mistakes because that is usually what makes a live set interesting to listen to from an outside perspective.  One mans sonic mistake is another mans sonic treasure…

TBB: What’s been the best live show the band has had so far?  Where was it and why was it so good?

SS: In summer of 2009 we played along the Italian coast in a town called Marina di Ravenna.  The stage was on the sand overlooking the Mediterranean sea. We swam three different times that day: Once when the van pulled up, again after sound check, and finally we all jumped in after we played our set and tried to get the crowd to follow us into the sea. Many ran to the shore are warned us of sharks. At one point during our set, Bret climbed up onto the roof of the patio while we were playing beneath.


Audio: Eli Crews, John Finkbeiner
Photos: Nicole Browner