Sun Voyager, Lazy Daze: In the Here and Now

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on April 14th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

sun voyager lazy daze

In the time since releasing their 2013 demo/EP, Mecca (review here), Orange County, New York, heavy psych rockers Sun Voyager have been more or less engaged in the business of growing their band. They’ve played local shows, done some time on the road, found a label to help push their stuff in the form of King Pizza Records, appeared on a compilation or two, and done a split release, with Greasy Hearts. Along the way, they’ve also released singles in drips and drabs, one song at a time every so often, capturing different moods and vibes still within the warm sphere of what they did so well on Mecca, but showing progress anyhow in fuzzy cuts like “Gypsy Hill” and “God is Dead.” Their new cassette, called Lazy Daze after its closing track and released by King Pizza in limited numbers (250 copies, white tape, pro case and j-card), brings together these singles and turns them into Sun Voyager‘s most established release to-date. It’s five songs from the earthy heavygaze rockers and only about 20 minutes between the two sides, but big on vibe and a right-on showing of increased complexity in their craft.

Definitely an EP for its runtime, Lazy Daze nonetheless houses an album-style flow, and while its title and some of Sun Voyager‘s shoegaze aesthetic hint toward an element of ’90s apathy — of “fuckit” made flesh — the weight of their tones and swing counteract with movement that’s exciting even in the overarching languid atmosphere of the tracks themselves. “God is Dead” is a landmark for the band. A familiar refrain, perhaps, but the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Carlos Francisco, guitarist Steve Friedman, bassist Stefan Mersch and drummer Kyle Beach make it their own, turning “My god is dead but your god’s dead too” into a killer hook for the upbeat first half of the song and an echoing space-out over the fluid, slower jamming of the second. The song lurches to a drawling finish like a universe stretching itself into oblivion, and “Black Angel” picks up quickly with a garage-style rush that Francisco tops with reverb-soaked melody and a molten vibe that is quickly becoming a trademark of their approach. Unlike the opener, “Black Angel” holds its space-rocking motor for its entirety, so it seems only fair that “Gypsy Hill” would slow things down, and it does, but more than that, it opens wide a horizon soundscape, sunny and rural as were the best moments of Mecca — its central progression reminds a bit of “Space Queen” from that release; not a complaint — but more coherent in the songwriting and assured in its course. They weave into and out of jammy grooves, but its the nodding chorus that makes “Gypsy Hill” the highlight that it is as it rounds out side one.

sun-voyager-lazy-daze-tape-and-j-card

Launching side two, “Be Here Now” would seem to signal a change in vibe, but it’s really just a progression from where “Gypsy Hill” was headed, that song a transitional centerpiece between the two sides of the EP. A sleepy flow and peaceful atmosphere can make it easy to look past how heavy “Be Here Now” actually is when it picks up, but Sun Voyager shift so easily between louder and quieter parts that by the time the four minutes are up, you’re just absolutely lost in it. All the better leading into “Lazy Daze” itself, which earns the title-track spot with its more accomplished melody and memorable roll. Backing “ooh” vocals behind Francisco add flourish to the verse and choruses, and what works best about Lazy Daze overall is once more underlined, and that’s that even when Sun Voyager are using straightforward structures — all of these songs are shorter and have fewer actual jams than the tracks on Mecca — they’re able to maintain hypnotic listener engagement even as they weave through different songwriting ideas. I won’t at all say I hope they never kick out a full-on jam again, if only because I don’t think they’re at a point where any element of their approach should be written off entirely, but the balance they strike on Lazy Daze of approach-tightness and sonic-looseness makes the 20 minutes of the EP’s span seem much, much wider, and really makes me look forward to hearing what kinds of shifts Sun Voyager might be able to pull off over the course of a debut full-length. I think they could give it a shot at this point, and I hope they find room to branch out a bit in terms of arrangements, maybe put an organ in there somewhere for one or two songs, some acoustics or additional percussion. Because if Lazy Daze proves anything, it’s that Sun Voyager have their sound as it is down pat and are ready to move forward from here.

Sun Voyager, Lazy Daze (2015)

Sun Voyager on Thee Facebooks

Sun Voyager on Bandcamp

King Pizza Records

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Sun Voyager Update on Live Shows

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 6th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

sun voyager

I’ve been hoping for solid word of an LP release from New York heavy psych rollers Sun Voyager for a couple months now. Originally slated as a summer 2014 issue through King Pizza Records, their upcoming debut seems more likely for 2015 at this point, what with Fall’s big slowdown leading to Winter’s dead stop ahead, November fast approaching (sorry, I completely missed the point when August became September, let alone September becoming October) and December not far behind. It’s a traditionally lousy time for bands to put out albums, though some rebellious types invariably do, and with the swath of live shows Sun Voyager have slated, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re into the New Year before their full-length surfaces. I think if you take a listen to the demo version of “Gypsy Hill” below, you can get a sense of why I’m feeling impatient to find out what these cats can do over the course of a while album.

They sent an update on gigs down the PR wire, as they tour through the Hudson Valley and beyond in NY:

sun voyager poster

Sun Voyager Fall Update

WHAT’S GOING ON EVERYBODY! Been a while… We miss you… And thank you so much for supporting us.

First off.. Here are a couple links where you can continue with your awesome support by clicking and following or liking or listening. Stay tuned for new music that will be released VERY soon.

Next WE HAVE QUITE A FEW SHOWS THIS MONTH

10/8 – The Cake Shop, New York, NY
10/10 – Brazen Head Pub, Monroe, NY
10/11 – Quinn’s, Beacon, NY
10/14 – Bowery Electric, New York, NY
10/18 – Radio Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY
10/23 – Unofficial CMJ Showcase @ Don Pedro, Brooklyn, NY
10/24 – Snug Harbor, New Paltz, NY
10/25 – Bard College, Annendale-on-Hudson, NY
10/26 – Arlene’s Grocery, New York, NY
10/31 – King Pizza Halloween Bash @ Don Pedro, Brooklyn, NY

Please help spread the word.

Also our label King Pizza just launched an awesome web store where you’ll be able to shop for all our future releases. http://kingpizzarecords.storeny.com

www.facebook.com/sunvoyagerband
www.twitter.com/sunvoyager_rock
spoti.fi/1lkAQ7I
http://www.rdio.com/artist/Sun_Voyager/
http://sun-voyager.bandcamp.com

Sun Voyager, “Gypsy Hill (Demo)”

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Sun Voyager Debut LP Due this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 14th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Very interested to hear what Orange County, NY, heavy psych rockers Sun Voyager come up with for their debut long-player. Their 2013 demo, Mecca (review here), had a loose, laid back groove that neither came at the expense of songwriting nor felt like a put-on, so I’m eager to see where they take their sound with more room to flesh out ideas and maybe mix in some variety of atmosphere, effects experimentation, etc. The album, as yet untitled, was originally slated for a summer release on King Pizza Records vinyl, but that’s been pushed back to the fall.

In other news from the upstarts, they’ve parted ways with one of their guitarists and will proceed into the recording process as a full-length. They also sent word of upcoming shows around the New York area and more along via the PR wire.

Check it out:

Sun Voyager Summer Update

We hope your summer has been grooving smooth. Thanks for all the support over the last year and a half! It’s been a lot of fun and we’ve got some exciting things on the way that we wanted to share with you.

First a list of upcoming shows:

July 24 w/ Greasy Hearts, Big Huge & Jacques le Coque – Brooklyn – Silent Barn
July 25 w/ Ma, Oneironaught, & Sex Dream – Brooklyn, NY – Big Irv’s Gallery
August 1 w/ It’s Not Night: It’s Space – New Paltz, NY – Snug Harbor
August 9 w/ Julian Fulton, Francie Moon, & more – Rahway, NJ – The Rail House
August 15 w/ SULTAN BATHERY – Brooklyn, NY – Don Pedro’s
September 11 w/ The End Men – Albany, NY – The Low Beat

Next (we’ll give you the bad news first), we’re not sure if all of you know this but Steve is no longer with the band. We wish him all the best but will be continuing as a three-piece. Don’t worry though. We’ve been rocking just as hard without him.

NOW THE GOOD/GREAT NEWS…. We’re wrapping up in the studio this weekend and are almost ready to give you some new music!!! King Pizza Records will be putting out our first full-length on 12″ VINYL and we’re super excited to part of such an awesome label that wants to do this for us. It will be 8 songs in length and should be out this fall. We put a rough version of one of the songs up on bandcamp and might have something else for you very soon…

Merch (we have new t-shirts): http://sunvoyager.bigcartel.com
Updates via social here: http://www.facebook.com/sunvoyagerband
http://sun-voyager.bandcamp.com/

Sun Voyager, “Gypsy Hill (Demo)”

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Sun Voyager Post New Track; LP Due this Summer

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 9th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Four-piece groove rollers Sun Voyager have a new track called “Gypsy Hill” available now as a pay-what-you-will download. The Orange County, NY, psych-gazers who released their Mecca demo last fall (review here) will issue their first LP this summer on Brooklyn’s King Pizza Records, and the Dead Meadow-style dreamer-fuzz of “Gypsy Hill” follows suit stylistically from where Mecca left off, a subtle penchant for melody showing up in the chorus as in “Space Queen” their last time out.

The space-garage rock of Sun Voyager‘s “Oh, Sally” from their early-2013 demo, Cosmic Tides, is also included on a new King Pizza compilation called Music to Make Barbecues By, and the band features alongside a punkish host of bands from The Fucktons to The Measurements.

Sun Voyager shipped this down the PR wire:

New Song Premiere + T-Shirt Preorder!

First things first, we were featured on the most badass compilation. It was put together by King Pizza Records, features 16 songs by 16 awesome bands, it’s totally free, and it can be heard HERE. Trust us… You need to hear it.

Now some real exciting stuff coming at you from OUR WORLD.

We have a NEW SONG streaming on Bandcamp! It’s called Gypsy Hill and will be on our full length coming summer 2014 on King Pizza. Right now it’s a rough mix but we thought it was good enough to give you early.

ALSO… NEW SHIRTS available for PRE-ORDER.

THESE are on the way! LIMITED EDITION MECCA T-SHIRTS. They’ll be super comfortable and we’re only getting 100… so get them while they’re hot because they’ll be gone in no time.

More big things will be happening real soon. As always, we’ll let you know when they do. If you haven’t found us on the internet already… we’re on Spotify (follow us for first dibs on the full length), Facebook, and Twitter.

http://open.spotify.com/artist/2fttdCcRYj8Wrlg4pucIh9
http://kingpizzarecords.bandcamp.com/
http://sun-voyager.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/sunvoyagerband
http://www.twitter.com/sunvoyager_rock
http://sunvoyagerband.tumblr.com

Sun Voyager, “Gypsy Hill”

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Sun Voyager, Mecca

Posted in Radio on December 11th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Orange County, NY, four-piece Sun Voyager bookended 2013 with demo releases. The first was Cosmic Tides, which arrived in January with three tracks and was issued on cassette, and the latest is Mecca. Also three songs and not yet given a physical pressing that I know of, Mecca finds its breadth in a laid back atmosphere of heavy psychedelia and rolling low end groove. The two guitars of Carlos Valle (also vocals) and Steve Friedman run through a varied level of effects from wah to cave echo, sometimes using a slide to evoke a swamp blues feel amid the pastoral sunshine of their tones and Valle‘s semi-shoegaze vocal approach, which follows the riffs on “Mecca,” “Space Queen” and “Suns of the Future” with burgeoning confidence and poise. Bassist Stefan Mersch is essential in keeping the songs together and moving forward, locking in smoothly with drummer Kyle Beach while the guitars move through and around the central figures of the songs. This is a pretty familiar construction for heavy psych, but Sun Voyager put it to use well, capturing a terrestrial sound that’s at once loose and swaggering and richly exploratory.

They get underway with “Mecca,” which clocks in at five minutes flat of immediately engaging, guitar-led fare. The initial groove rolls slow and subtly bluesy with space-echo lead guitar behind Valle‘s verse, which rests comfortably on the plush bassline. A tension is built leading to a swell in volume, but they’re not quite ready to give away the chorus yet. “Mecca” rises and falls in volume and energy, fluid all the while and progressively gaining volume as it pushes past the three-minute mark. It remains languid as Valle drops the title line, “The Mecca has arrived,” a couple times before feedback ends the song and cuts to Mersch‘s bass starting “Space Queen.” Both “Mecca” and closer “Suns of the Future” are around the five-minute mark, but “Space Queen” approaches eight and its feel is suitably jammed-out. Doubly hypnotic thanks to repetitive lyrics, “Space Queen” is arguably the easiest cut on Mecca to get lost, with a solo topping the jam that leads not to a massive crescendo — there is one, it’s just not overblown — but instead to a quieter finish, peaceful, psychedelic, and improvised-sounding, ending with a standalone feedback hum that gives way to the more active shuffle at the launch of “Suns of the Future.”

Last of the three, “Suns of the Future” is more upbeat, with steady kickdrum hits from Beach propelling its verses, an open chorus and effective tradeoffs between louder and softer stretches united by the delivery of Valle, which carries just the slightest tinge of Americana twang. A natural, classic heavy vibe persists, but Mecca is thoroughly modern, and along with the memorable songwriting, that bodes well for where Sun Voyager might go from here. You can check out Mecca (and Cosmic Tides, for that matter) now as part of the regular playlist on The Obelisk Radio, and get a sampling of the tracks on the Bandcamp player below. Either way, enjoy:

Sun Voyager, Mecca (2013)

Sun Voyager on Bandcamp

Sun Voyager on Thee Facebooks

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