Sugar Glyder
Gig Seeker Pro

Sugar Glyder

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States | SELF

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



""I went for Grammy nominated SIlversun Pickup, I'll be coming back for Sugar Glyder""

Allow me to make a distinction here: There's a difference between a performance and a show. Any artist can perform music, for that merely requires playing one's songs in a live setting; however, it takes a special artist to put on a show. A show adds to the equation elements beyond just performance: charisma, entertainment value, connection with the audience, energy, and perceptible passion for one's work. By delineating the two, it becomes apparent that one can easily exist without the other, and indeed that it is often the case. How many times have we been to gigs where the band simply went through the motions, mechanically banging out their set and then robotically returning to the stage for a choreographed encore that includes stiff renditions of the crowd favorites? It's an all too common occurrence, especially in this day and age when TicketBastard has people shelling out 100 dollars* per ticket for a Nickelback concert that has the same terrible set list night after night. Amidst this dissatisfying majority of acts, though, there exists a class of bands who simultaneously dispel this malaise and revitalize the art of the live show—consider Sugar Glyder at the top of this class.

Taking place at the historic Double Door Inn in Charlotte, the house was packed with people dressed in red, black, and white for the themed New Year's Eve show. It wasn't until around ten minutes before midnight that the band began setting up their gear, as an enthusiastic crowd had been begging for more from openers Marco Pollo and Terminal Reynaldo since the music began at around 9:30. As the setting up took place, the energy in the air was palpable with the new decade only minutes away and the band everyone was there to see finally about to do their thing. Festive red Christmas lights wrapped around the keyboard in front of where Emily Aoyagi would stand, fittingly-colored red and silver glitter covered Chris Rigo's drum on stage left that would later allow for Sugar Glyder's signature effect, click-on lights were rigged so that Rigo could illuminate the stage with a timely stomp of his foot, and a bubble machine was hidden behind drummer Bobby Matthews. On top of this impressive attention to detail were several other holiday additions that added to the crowd's enjoyment of the show, including band-supplied party poppers, confetti, and bubbles to help ring in the new year. With all the sound checked and all the gear in place, there were about two minutes left before 2009 was no more.

A Daniel Howie-led countdown began with ten seconds remaining, and then when midnight struck, poppers popped, couples kissed, and congratulations were exchanged, but ultimately, what midnight signaled was that it was time for Sugar Glyder to rock. And rock they did. When the chatter of a roomful of people was broken by Rigo's guitar with the opening riff to "Poor Baby Zebra," Sugar Glyder took off, and they didn't land for another hour and a half. With Howie's awe-inducing vocals at the helm, the band flawlessly navigated the better part of their discography.

The highlights of the show were numerous. With an adept spin of the drumstick between his fingers, Rigo delivered blows to a glittered drum so that the percussion resonated in your chest as the sparkles danced along to "Zebra" and "Spoils of War (The OK Song)." An energized crowd came together to wail "Where did everybody go?!" for the climax of "Flowers," a moment that gave me goosebumps. Under the direction of Howie, the crowd also participated in vocal parts for both "Ice Cubes for Igloos" and the final number, "Spoils." That said, singling out highlights is actually quite misleading because, in truth, the entire concert was phenomenal.

As a special New Year's treat, the band also debuted two new songs. The first, entitled "One More Snow," has a Death Cab for Cutie feel to it that emanates from the subject matter and vocal line, albeit significantly more intense than Death Cab. The second song's title was not divulged, although what was discernible was the number's catchy synth melody that was reminiscent of MGMT and would make for quite the dance track if arranged in the front of the mix when it's recorded in the studio. This second piece in particular was encouraging in that it may foreshadow the direction in which Sugar Glyder is headed, continuing the progress that the band has been exhibiting since The Unsaid and the Obvious. (As a brief personal aside, I must say that I would rather see the band head in the more Radiohead experimental or Explosions in the Sky post-rock direction, as opposed to the MGMT/Passion Pit direction, but that's neither here nor there). Regardless, getting the chance to hear two new songs from the Charlotte quartet was definitely a welcome surprise.

Throughout the show, the recurring thought in my head was: Why isn't this band bigger? I'm talking huge. Their sound could easily fill a stadium. Daniel Howie's vocals are unlike anything I've ever heard before; they're powerful and gentle and impassioned and, above all, melodic. He has a knack for injecting catchy little vocal intricacies like the slides that appear in "Blackbeard Has Feelings Too" and really come to the forefront in the live setting. Moreover, akin to Emily Haines (of Metric and Broken Social Scene fame), Sugar Glyder has gift for creating unforgettable melodies. There isn't one Sugar Glyder tune that doesn't have an earworm that sticks with you, that you find yourself humming throughout the day, that you end up repeating so much in your head that you just can't wait to queue it up on the stereo. This is an overlooked and undervalued quality of songwriters; not just anyone can come up with a catchy riff or a memorable melody. Also of note is the fact that not only is Rigo's guitar playing extremely clean, but his guitar tone is utterly angelic, its ethereal quality enveloping the listener. The band simply has all the ingredients to become a massively popular act; they just have to be given the chance.

When it was all said and done, I was fortunate enough to meet Chris Rigo, Emily Aoyagi, and Daniel Howie, and let me tell you that these are some of the nicest people you'll meet. Despite all the commotion going on around us, each of them was genuinely interested in meeting me and truly happy that I had spent my New Year's with them. All too often, it's the good guys that finish last, but in the case of Sugar Glyder, with their unparalleled showmanship and stellar song crafting abilities, it ought to be the good guys—and girl!—finishing on top. I am honored to have been able to experience this show early this morning because what I witnessed in the wee hours of the new decade was a band destined for stardom.

- MUZJIKS Music Press

""The best kept secret in indie rock""

Located in the live-music no man's land between Carrboro and Atlanta is Charlotte, NC. Most live music fans will avoid Charlotte and hit Carrboro's Cat's Cradle, Local 506 or Duke Coffee Shop and then head south on I-85 to Atlanta's Tabernacle, Drunken Unicorn or Masquerade. Charlotte is, at best, a rest stop between the other two cities.
Sure, every once in a blue moon the Queen City will be graced by the likes of Radiohead (May 2008), TV on the Radio (June 2009) or Phish (July 2010), but as the dates evince, this is, indeed, once in a blue moon. So, what's a music snob to do? Enter: Sugar Glyder, a Charlotte-based indie band.
Last October, I found myself in a familiar situation in Charlotte. With my arms draped over the railing, I watched critically as the unknown Sugar Glyder set up their gear at The Fillmore. I saw the opening act as merely a way to prolong my wait for the main act, Silversun Pickups. But as these four musicians began their set, I found myself warming to their sound.
Maybe it was Daniel Howie's soaring vocals (or his priceless facial expressions). Maybe it was Chris Rigo's impossibly catchy guitar melodies (or his epic beard). Maybe it was Emily Aoyagi's double-tasking as bassist and bare right-footed tambourine player (or her indie cred-boosting Dirty Projectors shirt). Maybe it was Bobby Matthews' energetic drumming (or the perplexing "take your shirt off, Bobby!" cat calls emanating from the crowd). Whatever it was, I knew I liked it.
I researched the band's discography over the course of the following weeks. What I found was a group of musicians that evolved with each successive album's release. Sugar Glyder started with two demo releases in 2003 and 2004 and then released its first proper EP, "The Unsaid and the Obvious," in 2006.
This decidedly unrepresentative offering of raw, unpolished garage punk gave way to Sugar Glyder's second proper release, an LP titled "We Cracked the Sky." Here, a distinctive style emerges as the instrumentation expands and a more experimental inclination surfaces. Songs like "Flowers" and "Grace the Fulcrum" feature soundscapes constructed from fuzzy guitars and reverbed vocals, elements which collaborate to establish an ethereal sonic atmosphere.
But it wasn't until the band's most recent record, 2009's "Poor Baby Zebra," that I really heard the four-piece really begin to blossom and come into its own.
In experiencing "Zebra," I couldn't help but think of The Bends-era Radiohead because, with this release, Sugar Glyder moves from a sound like "Pablo Honey" in "Cracked" to a projection that is not only far superior musically, but also suggestive of soon to be achieved mastery.
My good impression starts, perhaps, with frontman Daniel Howie, who is noticeably more confident in his vocal capabilities. He's strong and commanding on upbeat numbers like "Blackbeard Has Feelings Too," yet gentle and subdued on tracks like "In the Rising Light."
Then, there are tracks like "BCDE," a brief ambient interlude akin to "The American Dollar" or "Treefingers" that even boasts a "Fitter Happier"-esque MacSpeak bit. I'd like to think that this is perhaps a window into what genre exploration may lie ahead in future work.
Basically, these guys (and girl!) are kind of a big deal.
The best part? Sugar Glyder is currently working on its next effort, an EP titled "Lovers at Lightspeed," that's slated for an early 2011 release. Visit MySpace, Facebook, "bandcamp," and iTunes to listen to a band that I consider not only the pride of Charlotte's music scene, but also the best-kept secret in indie rock.
- The Davidsonian

""They seem poised to make the jump from an independant band into the major label spotlight""

Sound: The first track on Sugar Glyder's second full-length is called "The Kicker," but it's during the second song "Handshake Foes" that the Charlotte, NC four-piece's epic rock really kicks in. Their newest album "Poor Baby Zebra," sounds like a shoving match between the Killers, Arcade Fire, and Explosions in the Sky. In fact, Exlposion's tone and wall of post-rock guitar style, group backing vocals and Daniel Howie's passionate vocals (reminiscent of Muse's Matthew Bellamy) color the 12 tracks. Like Muse, Sugar Glyder isn't afriad to break away from the tortured grandeur amd have a little fun. The title track ends the album with a shredding guitar intro and rides a disco bassline worthy of a Franz Ferdinand single. Production-wise, "Poor Baby Zebra" doesn't sound like a typical self-release since it benefits from the co-production of Scapegoat's Kit Walters. // 9

Lyrics and Singing: Howie sings with the vein-opening emotion that made emo hot, but without any of the hardcore trappings. The vocals are textured with effects and reverb, enough on some tracks to make even Jim James of My Morning Jacket proud. The lyrics are strong, vivid and paint good mental images. The third song "Blackbeard Has Feelings Too," is a good example of this. // 8

Impression: "Poor Baby Zebra" is Sugar Glyder's second full length album. They released "We Cracked the Sky" in 2008 and released a 6 song EP ("The Unsaid and the Obvious") in 2006. Its clear that they are progessing with their music. Their non-stop touring schedule over the last year and a half and playing with bands such as Silversun Pickups, Manchester Orchestra, and Dear and the Headlights has probably had a positive effect on their writing ability and they seem poised to make the jump from an indepedant band into the major label spotlight. // 9 -

"Substream Magaizine Q&A with Sugar Glyder"

When writing an intro for this Q&A, I was trying to find the right words to describe Charlotte, North Carolina’s Sugar Glyder. I went to visit their MySpace and found their biography, which I think describes the band better than I ever could:

“A bearded lady and a whimsical boy who was never actually born began a musical journey. Along the way they met a gothic, Asian chick and a not-so-angry quarter-phillipino guy who wanted nothing more than to hit things with sticks. The members of this new covenant all agreed that they liked glitter, tiny animals, and climbing mountains. And so, they began making magical noises together.”

Substream got the chance to sit down with Daniel Howie, Chris Rigo, Emily Aoyagi and Bobby Mathews to learn a little more about the band, tour plans and hopes for the future of their ‘magical noises’.

Substream Music Press: Tell me a little bit about how you guys got started.

DANIEL HOWIE: We've been doing this for about six years now. Chris and I started playing together in high school in a couple of different incarnations. A lot of what we did was cover songs in the beginning.

At some point we felt the urge to spread our wings a little and tinker around with some of our own creations. Emily started playing bass with SG after we parted ways with our first bassist for creative differences. She had been a friend of ours from high school who was dating our previous drummer, Cory, during the few years prior to our release of 2008's We Cracked The Sky. She had never even picked up a bass when she joined with us.

CHRIS RIGO: I randomly found out that Emily played guitar through a random jam session in high school. Her band was getting ready for a battle of the bands and they needed a drummer to sit in for some practices. Even though I played guitar I gave it a shot. She would come to our practices and at some point, even though she was originally a guitarist, a bass just found its way around her shoulder and it’s been that way ever since.

DANIEL HOWIE: We've always had a sense of independence about us; a real "do it yourself" attitude. Though I took a few cracks at piano and harp lessons and Bobby had a few drum lessons, we've been real advocates of exploring the beauty and capability of our instruments through the lens of our own techniques and inspirations. The band has been an entity for six years but it wasn't until 2008 that we really began to take our hobby seriously. It was evidence to us by this time that this was what we wanted to do, tour the country and share what we're most passionate about with whoever would listen. Around November of 2008 were lucky enough to find Bobby, the newest addition to the band, and since then things have finally felt complete.

SMP: Who are your main influences when writing and performing live?

DANIEL HOWIE: For me I've always admired artists who can translate quite directly the way they feel to the sound and shape that their music takes. Some of my favorites are Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, Muse, The Flaming Lips, Third Eye Blind, Rogue Wave and countless others.

CHRIS RIGO: I’m personally a fan of bands that write good, solid songs. Even more importantly, I like for the band to be tight live but to put on a good show. I like for the band to rock out and have a good time and really be expressive. It’s a fine line to walk between being really tight and being entertaining and bands need to be careful to interject just enough of each. I know we try to have a good balance of both. I’m not a big fan of bands that just stand there.

EMILY AOYAGI: I draw a lot of inspiration from artists who really take a chance with their sound and expression, especially when they know it won’t be widely received by the general media or pop-culture or our current decade. I really started getting into and appreciating music with bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Pinback, Modest Mouse, Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, etc. I always felt like they were singing and playing their hearts out and touching on very personal topics in a unique and creative fashion. I really love anything different, diverse and intelligent, and I’m a sucker for catchy melodies and hooks. I always enjoyed the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson stating that “Imitation is suicide.” It’s so true in all aspects of life, whether it be art, science or anything else. As for live shows, I enjoy bands that go out of their way to make their performance something special – it’s nice to see artists who can replicate a sound that they created in the studio, but at the same time, I don’t want to go to a show to see people playing their album verbatim. Shows should reveal an intimate side of the artist – it’s their chance to let the audience in on the creative process. Theatrics are nice, so long as they’re solid and have the music to back it up. The Flaming Lips are a perfect example of this blend in my opinion.

BOBBY MATHEWS: I think in the process of writing you tend to be influenced by the people you are writing with. I like being able to collaborate with four other talented minds and turn a simple guitar riff into a song that means a lot to everyone involved. I enjoy seeing other bands writing music together. I’m not a big fan of bands that have a sole writer of the group or are led by a single member. I love to see bands enjoying themselves on stage. I think it is so important to put your heart into what you are doing. Theatrics and energy play a big part in what I think makes a good live show. MuteMath is a great example of having tons of heart and putting on quite a spectacle.

DANIEL HOWIE: As far as live shows go I tend to be a little more open. I feel like a great live show can be either extremely entertaining with tons of visual stimulation or beautifully drab with more of a focus on performing the song as passionately as possible. I feel like we fit a little more in the latter, but then again we don't exactly have roadies or much of a budget; if I were given the choice we'd probably have confetti cannons and lasers.....lots of lasers.

CHRIS RIGO: Ditto on the lasers!

SMP: What do you enjoy most about touring? What is the worst part?

DANIEL HOWIE: I enjoy meeting people who appreciate what we're trying to do. People who see the sacrifice we're making day and night to chase down something seemingly unreachable. We're giving up much of what is considered normal, the 9-5, wife and kids, hitting the clubs, our own beds, time with friends and family all for our dreams. I feel like people really tap into that and feed off it. I hope people come away from meeting us with a sense of, "Hey, if they can do that and be happy, what am I doing? What would make me happy?” We aim to inspire. There is no bad part of touring, but if any of us had our way we'd tour the world over and more often. For me, my least favorite part of touring is that you have so many experiences to dwell on and you have so much time to ponder life's mysteries while on the road, but it can be tough to write and or record while we're traveling so much; so many creative juices oozing out. I feel like Alice in Wonderland sounds like it was inspired by some traveling band’s first five-week tour.

EMILY AOYAGI: When you’re out on the road for an extended period of time, I always find it fascinating that you can manage to completely disconnect yourself from the norm. You forget the day of the week, holidays, mainstream happenings with movie stars and pop icons – it’s surreal and enlightening at the same time because everywhere you go everyone is so plugged into their lives and their routines. That’s completely fine as long as they’re happy, but I wish that everyone could have the opportunity to do what we do at least once in their lives. You gain a completely new perspective as you travel with your friends to share your life’s endeavor with other people who are eager and willing to listen and share their own hopes and dreams. I really hope that we inspire others by showing them that it’s possible to survive and be happy doing what you love with total control over every portion.

BOBBY MATHEWS: It’s a strange balance to maintain life on the road and at home. What is home anymore anyway? The van parked in a random Wal-Mart parking lot or the place I stay when I’m here in Charlotte? It’s nice to think your home is where you feel most at home and for me, that is on the road. The best part of touring is breaking up the daily routine I developed working a 9-5 job and paying monthly bills. I enjoy waking up in a different city every morning and going in to the local Wal-Mart to brush my teeth and trying to find an outlet to charge my phone. I feel like a scavenger always trying to find a loop hole to jump through. If I had to choose, I would say the downside of being on the road is missing my family and friends (and my dog.)

SMP: Who was your favorite band you've played with? Who would you love to tour with that you haven't yet?

DANIEL HOWIE: We've opened up for some really great bands in the past few years. Some of the more notable: Silversun Pickups, Manchester Orchestra, Dear and the Headlights. To be quite honest though, I've enjoyed playing with bands like ours; bands who you haven't heard of. One of the best kept secrets of the music industry is the fact that there are so many bands you haven’t heard of touring the country constantly and coming to towns near you. The best part of this is that tickets to their shows don't cost an arm and a leg and the fact that they're doing this for the love of their craft. The real starving artists of this world are on a personal conquest to inspire us with their stories and their struggle.

I would like to tour with Death Cab for Cutie, The Flaming Lips. We should probably tour with GWAR; that would be interesting.

EMILY AOYAGI: I agree with Daniel. My favorite bands that we’ve played with have been ones who are doing the same thing that we are doing. My personal favorite would be Terminal Reynaldo based out of Jersey City, NJ. With independent music, you find people creating sounds and writing songs with no other motive than to satisfy their own desire to their own expectations. We’ve run into so much variety and so many creative people; it’s been a blast.

BOBBY MATHEWS: We should definitely tour with GWAR. Or perhaps the reunited New Kids on the Block.

SMP: Tell me about your most recent album.

DANIEL HOWIE: Poor Baby Zebra is a concept album that basically reflects what we've been doing and thinking since the release of We Cracked The Sky. We always record very quickly. The album was tracked, mixed and mastered in less than three weeks. It's also the second full-length album we've put out in two years which, in my opinion, clocks us in at around light speed compared to most bands. Like our other albums, PBZ is best experienced in its in entirety from track 1 to 12. We're an album band, not a band that puts together single tracks with no continuity. I've always admired bands that could do that so that's what we strive for.

SMP: What do you guys have planned for the rest of 2010?

DANIEL HOWIE: We have a lot planned for this year as we have for the past few. We're releasing a music video for “Sans Matador” in which we collaborate with members of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. That should be released sometime in March. There is also buzzing of a vinyl re-release of We Cracked The Sky and/or Poor Baby Zebra. We're also planning to record some new material sometime late this summer, which is most exciting for me. I feel quite honestly that the stuff we have coming is the best yet. I want us to reach more people and expand the boundaries of our abilities. We would really like to do this on the next level and we won't rest until it happens.

CHRIS RIGO: New material is always exciting; writing and recording is always so much fun! We haven’t decided if it’s going to be an EP or a full length album this year, but we will have some new music out before 2010 is over.

BOBBY MATHEWS: We have another tour lined up to start in mid-April that will wrap up early May. After we release the new material, by the fall we plan to hit the road again as furious as ever! Beware!

- Substream Music Press

""Something tells me Sugar Glyder has a bright future ahead of them"

In an era of ostentatious youngsters creating music that can only be described as mediocre, it is always refreshing to discover a group that knows a thing or two about music. Sugar Glyder definitely knew what they were doing when they picked up those instruments and started their journey in the music industry. This unsigned experimental indie band from North Carolina does not fail to impress with their second full-length effort, Poor Baby Zebra. One may be inclined to think that this name must come from a whole bunch of dudes decked out in neon, but if you are kind enough to lend your ears to these musicians and give them a chance you may just be pleasantly surprised.

First Track “Sleepless We Seem” introduces itself with a steady strumming of the electric guitar and a couple of “Oh’s” in the distant back round, and soon enough the vocals kick in and the rhythm quickens. The instrumental part of the song is well done, but overall not the most impressive track on the album. After a few spins though, it starts to grow on you.

The third tune “Blackbeard has feelings too” delivers with a calming melody to start it off, and a delicate drum line to pick things up. Front man Daniel Howie passionately sings and showcases talented vocals that are accompanied by meaningful lyrics making the song truly lovable. The track is unique, and the instrumental portion is dexterous and satisfying.

Yet another stand-out on this album is “Poor baby zebra”. Once again that electric guitar is what commences the song but this time guitarist Chris Rigo really nails it with an intricate riff that will soon be complemented by and upbeat drum line. This is one of those beats that will tempt you to clap your hands and shake your hips every time. Howie once again sings at full potential, and this time he sings more aggressively, and some wails and screams are thrown in truly enhancing this ballad. It is extremely evident through this track alone that Sugar Glyder does their own thing in all the right ways.

Latter tracks, “In This Rising Light” and “Of Boston Mass” aren’t lengthy and offer a change of pace with a slower more heartfelt feel. “In The Rising light” begins with the affectionate lyrics (wait/don’t go/goodbyes with eyes don’t look like they used to) and soon starts to fade becoming less memorable. The song is a minute and eighteen seconds short. Following it “Of Boston Mass” clocks in at about two minutes. Although both tracks are admirable they do feel unfinished.

Sugar Glyder completes the Album nicely with “Sans Matador”, and “Spoils Of War (The OK Song)”. “Sans Matador” is enjoyable but the real winner here is “Spoils Of War (The OK Song)”. This is by far the most experimental track on Poor Baby Zebra and is by far the best listen as well. All the instruments collaborate together to form the sweetest melody heard on the entire album. The chorus “As long as you’re okay/I’m okay/ you’re okay is extremely charming and amiable. The song ends off with every member in the band singing the chorus joyfully in unison leaving a happy impression.

Sugar Glyder’s Poor Baby Zebra is undoubtedly able to appease its listeners. This band is on the right path in their musical career, and they are definitely worth a few spins. Something tells me Sugar Glyder has a bright future ahead of them, because they definitely know a thing or two about music. -


2008 "We Cracked the Sky" (Full Length)
2009 "Poor Baby Zebra" (Full Length)
2011 "Lovers at Lightspeed" EP



In 2008 Sugar Glyder began with a crash and a bang. They're first release (the full length "We Cracked The Sky") earned them a quick ticket into the hearts and ears of Charlotte's then struggling music scene. The response propelled them into the touring game where they began their first of many tours across the eastern USA. By the end of that year they released a music video for "Grace The Fulcrum" and were able to move 1200 copies of the album by hand (not including digital downloads).

2009-2010 brought about more momentum as the guys and girl racked up more than 200 shows. In this relentless pursuit to spread the love Sugar Glyder has brought their live show to fans in cities from New York to Miami, and Minnesota to Austin and everywhere in-between. Amidst the business of this touring schedule they were able to finish writing and release their second full length album "POOR BABY ZEBRA". Off of this release they were able to put out two more videos one for the title track "Poor Baby Zebra" and the other for "Sans Matador" featured a collaboration with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.

One of the few remaining independent success stories, SG plans to continue to tour extensively in support the upcoming release of their new EP LOVERS AT LIGHTSPEED throughout 2011.

SUGAR GLYDER has shared the stage with

Please check up with what we're up to now at

New Album
FEB 2011