Gig Seeker Pro


Jacksonville, Florida, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | INDIE

Jacksonville, Florida, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Alternative Psychedelic


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



"SUNBEARS! Make List Of Best Unsigned Bands"

There's just no way a sound this big comes from two guys... but apparently it does. - Alternative Press

"SUNBEARS! Give Love A Try"

'Give Love A Try' is a sunny and psychedelic-pop tune from the emerging Jacksonville, FL duo. If you're experiencing an Indian Summer right now, this is the track for you. - Under The Radar

"SUNBEARS! On World Cafe"

Sunbears!, an electro-pop duo from Jacksonville, Fla., creates a sound that incorporates the cosmological contemplations of The Flaming Lips, John Lennon's simple-yet-dynamic musings on the meaning of love, and the Plastic Ono Band's positively reinforced psychedelic rock. Formed by Jonathan Berlin and Jared Bower in 2008, Sunbears! has brought its highly visual performances and boundless energy to the same stage as Mates of State and Black Kids, as well as the Yo Gabba Gabba tour. - NPR Music

"Best New Releases"

Not surprisingly, it is a thin week for new releases. Many record companies hold off on releasing albums during the week of Thanksgiving because it’s so much more difficult to get the attention of media and music consumers due to the holidays. That said, there are a few albums out this week that we highly recommend, including the new debut LPs from Sunbears and Sea Lions.

Since 2008, Jacksonville, Florida musicians Jonathan Berlin (vocals, bass, guitar, keys, synth) and Jared Bowser (drums, percussion) of Sunbears have been wooing and wowing audiences with their own brand of psychedelic indie rock. To date, the band has released a handful of EPs and singles, including a song for the hit kids’ TV show, Yo Gabba Gabba, followed by a short stint on their Super Music Friends Show tour in the fall of 2010. In addition, Sunbears have also toured with Mates of State, Black Kids and Dredg, among others.

Recorded at New York City’s Singing Serpent Studios with producer Jeremy S.H. Griffith, You Will Live Forever channels the ghost of The Dakota, conjuring equal parts Plastic Ono Band, Dark Side Of The Moon and Quadrophenia. On “Dying Alone, Without Yourself,” electronic creations are intricately layered upon a gorgeously strummed acoustic guitar, accompanied by haunting choral back-ups. “Give Love A Try” is the album’s infectious “feel good” first single, and in our opinion, one of the best indie songs of the second half of 2011.

The album is full of songs that explore all kinds of musical styles and themes, and at times you swear you were hearing different artists you already know being channeled through the incredibly talented duo. Sunbears is a band we will be watching in 2012. There are many fantastic songs this year that we’ve heard from relatively unknown artists and band. Sunbears now occupies two or three, maybe more, of those slots, thanks to what is also one of the best debut albums of 2011, You Will Live Forever. - Indie Rock Cafe

"Luminous Psychedelic Pop"

With the end of the world looming over us (according to the Mayan calendar anyway), you might be inclined to listen to bombastic, doomsday-worthy music to soundtrack the end of civilization as we know it. And when it turns out that it was all a hoax (again), pop on Sunbears! to celebrate the fact that we’re all still alive. Because the Jacksonville, Florida-based duo, Jonathan Grant Berlin (vocals, keys, bass, guitar, programming) and Jared Chase (drums), make sheer sonic joy in the form of luminous psychedelic pop music that aptly reflects their Sunshine State upbringing.

The duo first formed in 2008, releasing a small number of EP’s, a vinyl single, and even a song (“Imagination Adventure”) for the children’s television show Yo Gabba Gabba. Dream Happy Dreams, their 2009 EP, starts off with “Le Penné Pageant.” While the name brings to mind imagery of tubular pasta wearing glittery gowns and talking about world peace, the track itself is entirely instrumental, with playful keys, horns, and xylophone flourishes setting the tone for the rest of the EP. “I’m Alive!” is both the first thing you might say and the first song you might listen to when we survive the supposed apocalypse; it’s given a triumphant feel with big horn and keyboard build-ups.

Following up Sunbears!’s 2009 EP is You Will Live Forever, their 2011 debut full-length album. Opening track “You Will Live Forever” has a bit of a Radiohead feel, with nothing more than ethereal vocalizations and keys, and it transitions seamlessly to the upbeat “Give Love A Try.” Lyrically, it touches upon our own mortality, and why it’s important to make room for love (“the length of our lives ain’t much” and “give love a try,” sings Berlin).

Halfway through the album, “Dying Alone, Without Yourself” takes an entirely different direction. It steers away from the joyful, big sounds created earlier on, instead stripping the instrumentation down to an acoustic guitar and light electronic touches. The lyrics describe the chilling moments right before death (“he asks why?/Why?/Why?” and “his body unwinds itself/his nerves they detach themselves from his thoughts/his head is a prison cell for his thoughts”). Sunbears! might initially come off as an unrealistically happy-go-lucky band, but dig deeper and you’ll be rewarded with a truly dynamic range of sounds. - Band Of The Day App


Future Sounds (2014)
Selections From The Future Sounds LP
7" (2013)
You Will Live Forever
Sunbears! / Mrenc
7" Split (2010)
Dream Happy Dreams (2009)
For Everyone!



In 2008 SUNBEARS! became a regular fixture in Jacksonville city's creative land and soundscape. Jonathan Berlin and Jared Bowser blend jangly percussion, glossy guitar and endless cheer to craft their lunar Sco-Cone sounds.

Optimism surges strong through the tunes of 'BEARS!. Chief songwriter Jonathan Berlin preaches positivity, love and rainbows. The verses literally emanate radiant sunshine.

Berlin and Jared Bowser came together as kids, collaborating on musical projects first inside the church and then later out. JB and JB grew to become BFF, a bond that eventually nullified the demand to practice. Often SB! play a new song for the first time ever while already on stage.

Although glorious and giddy via recordings, the dudes bring unprecedented joviality to their live show, incorporating vibrant projections and inciting crowd response. The proof is in the breathless audience members as the last tom drum strike cracks. Late 2011 came and the 'BEARS! packed up the Scion to headline their very own national tour. They also joined the likes of Mates of State, Gil Mantera's Party Dream and The Black Kids on cross-country rounds, bringing their bliss to the masses across the nation.

Among the masses of 'BEARS! fans is the tiny masses, specifically devotees of the children's musical show Yo Gabba Gabba. The band performed several dates on the program's southeast tour as well an episode featuring SB! original "Imagination Adventure." Here's a crew that does not demand the attention of only a certain demographic.

In 2011, Berlin and Bowser recorded their debut full-length You Will Live Forever at New York's Singing Serpent Studios. It dropped on Florida-based label New Granada last fall and has since enjoyed a limited-edition color vinyl run.

The album loudly promotes peace and love in a unique method, littered with cosmic merry-go-rounds and phosphoresce guitar. Berlin's wife, Maria, crafted the cover's original artwork, accurately mirroring the SUNBEARS! technicolor pop vibe. Forever's glittery lightness earned the twosome positive press from NPR Music, Under The Radar, Some Kind of Awesome and other outlets.

2013 saw the band return to Singing Serpent Studios in NYC to put the final touches on what would be their second full length album, Future Sounds. In preparation for the release, SUNBEARS! created and hand-cut a limited run of 7" clear vinyl singles featuring two cuts from the album. After returning home from this year's SXSW, SUNBEARS! began work on releasing a special 5 year anniversary release of Dream Happy Dreams on white vinyl as well as continuing to bring their live show across the country.

Band Members