New Orleans-based Sun Hotel have spent the better part of the last two years blazing their own narrative of what it means to be a bona fide rock and roll band – in an era over-congested with charlatanistic pseudo-artists dead set on making indie gold – by applying a punk ethic to the familiar sounds of post-gospel. The four-piece – led by the hauntingly brusque vocals of songwriter Tyler Scurlock – has prided itself on telling a colorfully authentic story of coming-of-age Americana from the unified point of view of a group of young men with a perceptiveness far beyond their years without losing grasp of the fiery, manic creativity that informs every part of their youth.
After self-releasing several digital EP’s in late 2009 and early 2010, they, along with best friends and sibling band Caddywhompus, decided to found Chinquapin Records as an avenue to officially manifest their shared appreciation for the infinite creative, artistic and personal rewards to be reaped from operating a purely DIY organization. In the short time since, Chinquapin has become a flourishing center of activity for a modest but growing community of people with the singular goal of creating quality music.
Their latest offering, Gifts, may prove to be the most earnest quintessence of the uncompromisingly guarded yet wholly collaborative nature of Sun Hotel’s songwriting. Suffusing every guitar string, bass rattle and whisper with wave after wave of echo-imbued reverb, in-house living room recording prodigy Ross Farbe manages to balance the pop leanings of the album’s infectious hooks with deafening walls of white noise while the concussive rhythms of their multi-percussion setup create a chaotic rumble throughout. Elsewhere, the bass and lead guitar tandem of John St. Cyr and Alex Hertz, respectively, overlay each track’s epic structure with a thick, warm tone equal parts nostalgia and melancholy as Scurlock wistfully sings of a subject matter that charmingly belies the raucous, visceral thrill of a live Sun Hotel experience.
“Alchemy” Live in Little Rock, AR
“Alchemy” Chinquapin Records Bedroom Session
“Got Along” Acoustic in Austin, TX