New release from Boise experimental band Sun Blood Stories. The new album is called It Runs Around the Room with Us. The high-desert experimental rock band hits all the weird spots in the best ways with their new release. It Runs Around the Room with Us brings you in close and gets intimate, then grabs your sanity by the eardrums and takes it for the ride of it’s life. The songwriting and flow of the album is seriously so good, it’s like Sun Blood Stories knows what you want to hear and guides you on that journey. The more mind-ripping tracks like “Great Destroyer”, “Echoer Approach”, and “Nothing Sacred Will Hold” has such an excellent groovy rhythm section underneath the chaos of the slide guitar. In other tracks the drums seem to be used as a tension release, which gives such a great feeling with this type of psychedelic rock. It Runs Around the Room with Us is one of the best albums I’ve listened to in the last couple of years. So if you’re able to catch Sun Blood Stories live I highly recommend that you attend.
Gird your loins folks, the latest album from Sun Blood Stories is out today April 21st anno domini 2017. Recorded by the band in a Boise basement, It Runs Around the Room with Us begins with a soft, melancholic ballad that nebulously floats above a heavy fog of ambient droning noise. It explores the ineffable feeling of depressive loss in the early hours of evening and, according to vocalist Amber Pollard, describes the feeling of arriving at a destination only to realize it wasn’t quite what you hoped it might be. Sun Blood Stories succeeds in materializing this vision that is effectively continued into “Step Softly Ghost” which has the sultry plod and harmonic timbre of an early Grizzly Bear album before solidifying into a high gain guitar chunk slugfest.
In “Great Destroyer,” the band describes the obliterating nature of time that, like its primordial titan Kronos, consumes its young–no sooner giving life than initiating the process of decay. Vocalist Ben Kirby sings in a detached, deadpan drawl, “great destroyer, roll on” highlighting the simultaneously linear and cyclical nature of time. History travels in Hegelian spirals, ever repeating yet ever moving in some direction. This direction, Sun Blood Stories (and our own inborn inclinations) posits, is toward utter annihilation invoking Manhattan project spearhead, Oppenheimer’s apocalyptic interpretation of Vishnu’s words in the Bhagavad-Gita “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Time is an obsession of Sun Blood Stories, which given their propensity for drone, makes a lot of sense. They zoom in on a moment breaking down notes into their undulating reverberations as they exegete tone beyond a notes placement on a page. In “Time Like Smoke” (the longest track on the album), the image of smoke’s scintillating expansion holds the listener within it’s own limbo. Sounds, not necessarily discordant, but only secondarily connected rabbit trail off into unknown spaces alongside the main, ethereal melody in a similar manner to Boris’ drone masterpiece, Flood.
Okay, so this one’s been out for a couple weeks. I’ll admit I stumbled on it yesterday while I was revisiting — yet again — the Bandcamp page of Idaho’s Sun Blood Stories to take another listen to their 2015 album, Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), as I have throughout much of this summer while guilting myself for having not yet shelled out for the CD or tape version. There it was: Live from the Banana Stand. And it’s a name-your-price download, no less.
Recorded in Portland, Oregon at the Arrested Development-referencing venue named in its title (“Always money in the banana stand”), it’s got excellent versions of some of the tracks from Twilight Midnight Morning, and confirms for me the open sensibility that the album presented, more specifically the feeling that on any given night the songs might wind up someplace very different from where they started. Vibe all over the place.
Imagine driving through a sagebrush-spotted desert, the sun a red orb slowly retiring to the bleary-lined horizon. Radio frequencies barely breach the isolation, and the music that filters through is slow and visceral, haunting, pagan and mood-alteringly psychedelic.
This is the sound of “high desert ghost music,” the prescription followed by members of the Boise band Sun Blood Stories. A live performance by the group is more than just a set list, it’s a convergence of sound, sight and emotion in the tradition of the concept album.
“We’ve been told it’s like a modern day opera, which is kind of cool,” said Amber Pollard, who sings and plays slide guitar in the band.
Sun Blood Stories, Twilight Midnight Morning
In terms of dramatic power, sonic daring and pure pleasure, Twilight Midnight Morning (Obsolete Media Objects, 2015) leaves most so-called psychedelic albums of recent vintage in the dust. Hypnotic basslines and supple drumming flow with keening guitars, screeching viola, moaned vocals and a plethora of trippy noises. This may well be the best local release of the year.
Brand new album from Sun Blood Stories called Twilight Midnight Morning. This Idaho band have a sweet droney style of music. Sun Blood Stories craft a witchy concoction of brooding drone-rock. The opening track “Palace Mountain Mirage” opens the album with an excellent slide guitar riff that sets the mood for the rest of Twilight Midnight Morning. Tracks 4 (Witch Wind) and 6 (Night Tremor) have a more highly driven bass line that makes for more of a psychedelic-metal feel to it. My favorite track on the record is the finale “Misery is Nebulous.” Sun Blood Stories brings such great musicianship to this record, and it sounds amazing, so go listen to it and support independent artists.
At the moment in Sun Blood Stories‘ second full-length where it seems most likely that you finally have the album figured out — that’s when it turns. Twilight Midnight Morning, as a title, might well describe the varied moods of the release’s 10 tracks/50 minutes, but the actual front-to-back listening experience, from the count of three that seems to signal a dip into hypnosis to the fading guitar echoes that close, is more complex than a linear progression of hours, and experimental flourish of effects-laden viola from Judah Claffey, slide guitar, ambient feedback, drones, swirls, keys — whatever it might be — is never far off. There are stretches of Twilight Midnight Morning where the Boise, Idaho, five-piece revel in flat-out gorgeous post-rock melody-wash, as on the brooding contemplation of “Found Reasons Found Out,” with swirling guitar, dual vocal croon and a wide-open structure that, like much of the record, takes nothing away from its memorability or lessens the impression made.
It’s quite a journey, one which those who haven’t heard SBS lately might not expect. In a departure from the group’s earlier blues-heavy sound, Twilight’s eerie tunes, sinuous grooves and waves of voices, riffs and hallucinatory noises call to mind early Funkadelic andBitches Brew-era Miles Davis. Metal-centric music blog The Obelisk called Twilight “a gorgeous wash that careens between minimalist openness, dual vocals that capture folkish intent with zero folkish pretense and psychedelic guitar howl, all the while swirling with experimental undercurrents and ambient heft.”
Are you looking for some spacey, densely-layered primordial psychedelia to accompany you on those long nomadic journeys across the desert range on your trusty black stallion? I have just the music for you. It’s Sun Blood Stories, so named for the annual Boise phenomenon whereby the smoke of forest fires gets trapped in the valley and colors the sky pinkish-brown, transforming the low-setting sun to a eerie blood red orb. That seems quite fitting for an exotic pilgrimage where mystical melodies have invaded the mind and taken it on a mind-altering road trip. Along the way, ethereal, haunting and otherworldly voices weave in and out of these complex sonic hallucinations like long-lost entities looking for a home. Why not yours?