Gig Seeker Pro


Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States
Rock Indie




"Suns - When We Were Us"

It’s odd, I know, to be writing about music that nearly everybody can’t yet listen to. In the case of Suns‘ new one, though, the idea of bottling up my excitement about When We Were Us until it secures a release date — at least I don’t think it has one yet — seems tremendously silly.

I first heard about Suns when I saw ‘em go on after Caught In Your Pockets at a Subterranean show about a month ago. More recent than that I saw ‘em headline a Sunday at the Empty Bottle.

The takeaway from both shows is how enormously loud these guys are when performing for audiences. Four guitars are up on stage at once, as well as two drum kits. A few weeks ago I wrote that Suns is like “…two bands deciding it a good idea to marry and then, you know, play shows together.”

Yet what I began realizing at Suns’ live shows and later confirmed by listening to When We Were Us a good amount of times is how their big noise functions more as punctuation tool than loudness for the sake of loudness. The average band, I think, has a tendency to be intentionally rowdy, which is fine. Suns, though, is more purposeful in how it throws its noise around.

When We Were Us, actually, is steeped in high levels of professionalism. Much of its contents carefully spill into each other, one track into the next, thereby creating a package that makes the most sense, sonically, strung together as one. There’s a strong spirit of wholeness, then, on the album; an element too often omitted from today’s LPs. That When We Were Us happens to be Suns’ first full-length makes its completeness even richer.

These guys so fluidly meander the dial: from a storm of drums to quiet poetry, words that are yelled to lyrics merely spoken, explosions of noise to serene peace. These movements, and the movements within those movements, seem so effortless and natural. Suns pull it off with a kind of grace.

The song that might do it best — “Strangeland” — also happens to be one of the three tracks you can stream today on Suns’ Bandcamp. Counter to much on When We Were Us, “Strangeland” doesn’t begin in a place and then grow from there. It begins real big before downshifting to a gentler low. -

"Suns Preview Forthcoming ‘When We Were Us’ Release In New Teaser Trailer"

Last month, Mike Russell, of percussion-heavy ensemble outfit Suns, spoke to CVU about the group’s forthcoming record, When We Were Us. Speaking of the effort, Russell described it as “the best thing any of us have done musically thus far. Hands down, without any doubt.”

Now, a new trailer for When We Were Us has hit the web, featuring footage of the band recording, as well as the members traveling in their trademark school bus touring vehicle. The clip also features a dramatic and unidentified new Suns track, in addition to confirming the spring release projection Russell recently shared with CVU. -

"Suns announce the release of their new single "Strangeland" at Township in Chicago, IL on September 8th."

Suns announce the release of their new single "Strangeland" at Township in Chicago, IL on September 8th. "Strangeland" is the first single off of Suns upcoming debut album titled "When We Were Us". Following the release, Suns will set out on an extensive east coast and mid-west tour. A trailer for the tour can be seen below along with a trailer for the new record, which will be released in the fall. "Suns are back for another round of dragging atmospheric rock into the alley to smack the stars out of its eyes. Armed with their first full length, "When We Were Us," the band takes a leaner, meaner and more melodic approach to its distinct brand of ribcage-shaking density. The darkness, the drunkenness, the desperation - it's all still there, but now it digs in with sharper hooks.... Suns plan to self-release "When We Were Us" on lavishly packaged vinyl and digital download, supported by endless touring in their full-size decommissioned school bus. These guys won't do anything on a small scale and we're just going to have to get out of their way." - Sara Enderle

"Strangeland" single track listing
1. Strangeland
2. Solstice
3. Field Poison

"When We Were Us" track listing
1. You and I pt. 1
2. Smoke
3. Oh My! Dear Love!
4. If Your Love Is Gone
5. Strangeland
6. Solstice
7. Field Poison
8. On The Roof
9. Paper People
10. You and I pt. 2

Tour Trailer -

Album Trailer - - Suns

"Double E.P. Review"

Suns- Close Calls In The U.S. Space Program/The Howl And The Many (Self-Released)

Don't let the rather ordinary band name mislead you here, cause these 6 guys from Chicago are doing anything but the mundane, layering a handful of unconventional instruments to produce an eclectic and unique twist on indie rock. Being no strangers to accomplished and well received arrangements (members of Suns have also been in Wax on Radio, Blame Twilight, Eli, and They Found Me They Named Me), the first release from Suns is actually 2 separate EPs on one disc.

Armed with clarinets, synth, banjos, glockenspiels, and the usual guitars and drums, Suns make the sort of music that meanders in and out of different textures, constantly shifting in tempos and taking on a mood that seems dark and cryptic. The songs often build from sparse openings into soaring, majestic loud rockers, taking on a wealth of sounds, emotions and soundscapes from track to track, beaming with soulful vocals and delicate orchestral ideas.

In a time when the majority of bands in indie rock are falling into the category of run-of-the-mill, it's nice to hear something so atypical. Whether the volume is turned up and they're banging on the drums and wailing on the guitars ('Everything Changes'), or engaged in expansive, atmospheric noodling, these 9 songs flow together quite well, successfully bringing to mind a handful of your favorite bands while still maintaining an indentity all their own.

For fans of: Murder By Death, Radiohead, Sparta, The Walkmen, Brand New - Tom Haugen

"Close Calls In The U.S. Space Program Review"

Recorded separately from, but released alongside The Howl And The Many EP, this five-song project from Suns is most assuredly the darker, more haunting of the two. Calling to mind a conflagration of the volume and intensity of The Walkmen and the more chilling, post-punky aspects of The Bends and In Rainbows-era Radiohead, Close Calls In The U.S. Space Program is definitely a brash, yet shambling affair. Though the music is loud and clattering, the entire effect is one of unfaltering intimacy – I kept feeling like I was being drawn headlong into a foreboding conflict within someone’s psyche.

The power resonating from tracks like “You Are On,” “Small Parts Of Something Much Larger,” and “Don’t Do It” rests in how effortlessly the band balances out its desire for rest and calm with its passionate need to expose its internal tumult and conflict. Though the vocals are appropriately hurting and plaintive, I do detect glimmers of hope and clarity peeking through dense clouds of despair at just the right moments.

The instrumentation itself is quite intense and sets a firm foundation for the EP’s mood – drum thumps and cymbal crashes ring out loosely into the mix, while swirls of reverberating guitar feedback lend a spacey, otherworldly feel. Close Calls In The U.S. Space Program dredges up some powerful emotions inside me, and I can’t help but think that Suns has crafted a perfect complement for some creepy sci-fi western put together by a post-Eastwood sort of director. -

"The Howl And The Many Review"

There is a recurring theme throughout both EPs of driving drum beats complimenting the dark and moody guitar pieces, none more so than in the second opening track ‘Everything Changes’ which sees Suns at their best.

I would say the same about ‘Orange Peels’ because the beginning is of similar style, however, half-way through the song, the pace and tone completely change and you’re left completely dumbstruck! It’s a brilliant effect where the songs mood rises and falls throughout; the band seems to take you on a journey and you’re left completely immersed by what they have to offer.

Closing ‘The Howl And The Many’ are two tracks of equal brilliance. Though the penultimate track ‘Gladys’ is more of a slow paced, introspective piece, there is a distinct contrast between that and the closing track ‘Four Winds’, however both prove to be a showcase of exceptionally sophisticated musicianship and brilliant song-writing. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to every minute of both EP’s, they’re interesting, different and, dare I say, genius; I honestly think that that these belong in everyones CD collection. -

"Close Calls In The U.S. Space Program Review"

The slow tempo and atmospheric beginning to ‘Little Horn’ immediately sends shivers down your spine. It’s hard to describe but it’s like Arcade Fire mixed with Brand New mixed with a bit of Mogwai... if that makes any sense whatsoever! There is such an eclectic mix of sounds in the first track alone, it’s hard to put a finger on whether it’s familiar or not; and that’s the beauty of the EP, you can’t pigeon-hole these guys, what they’ve created is something totally different.

There is a slight change of pace for ‘You Are On’ where there is a more of an upbeat tempo and as a decidedly “indie” feel about it. In saying that, the composition is far superior to anything of that genre, adding interesting synth and glockenspiel effects (amongst a myriad of others) that really make the song stand out.

‘Small Parts of Something Much Larger’ and ‘Bright Lights’ all have a familiar ambience about them. Slowing the pace of the EP almost to a halt, you find yourself immersed in the beautiful tones of their instruments and the exquisite vocals/vocal effects all add to the whole encounter.

Listening to ‘Close Calls In The U.S. Space Program’ is such an incredibly uplifting experience and with the closing track ‘Don’t Do It’, that recurring theme is honoured at the end. This is a track of absolute raw emotion and encapsulates the image of the band perfectly. -

"Double E.P. Review"

The only appropriate adjective for Suns would be ‘savage.’ And while the term is appropriate enough, it wouldn’t do justice to the absolute immensity that embodies the intensity of the band on these two releases. This set of free EPs, The Howl and the Many and Close Calls in the U.S. Space Program, mine the intersection of Dischord-era post-punk and Radiohead-inspired, postmodern ‘alternative.’ The reaction is nothing short of inspired and confounding–music for the imaginative, emotional listener.

The two EPs are disparate works, though they are the product of the first year of work of the band. They span similar territory: thick, dark guitars and a hulking rhythm section ripple beneath the shimmery highs of harmonium and synthesizer, creating an atmospheric sound that would draw easy comparisons to their Radiohead and Sigur Rós inspiration. But the immediate comparisons stop there, as the band’s backbone is an aggression that can only be compared to brooding post-punk acts like Fugazi or Jawbox.

The result is a band whose first two EPs feel truly imaginative and emotional, finding an appropriate depth and height that hasn’t been measured before. The results are particularly interesting on The Howl and the Many, a basement-recorded affair that feels severe in only the best possible way. The band employs an energy that has all of the effect of thin streams of blood running across a face after a fight, and echo all of the enthusiasm of the swift run to safety afterward.

Close Calls in the U.S. Space Program is a bit more controlled by virtue of its studio recording efforts, a ploy that streamlines the band’s sound, but increases the tension between the care paid to the songs and the restraint of the arrangements. Clearly Close Calls in the U.S. Space Program feels like the professional effort, and it suffers from all the limitations that The Howl and the Many does not. The brooding tension between the careful precision of the lead guitar and the rest of the band on Close Calls in the U.S. Space Program seems almost distracting in contrast to the unrestrained energy behind the loose arrangements of The Howl and the Many.

At their core, Suns have turned in amazing debut EPs and show amazing energy as a band. These releases show not only promise, but hearken a musical identity that has not yet been born. -

"Double E.P. Review"

I've always figured double EPs as something of a novelty designation. You've got nine songs, just call it an album, okay?

Suns are making me reconsider. A bit. The Space Program EP is, indeed, a bit more spacey than the Howl EP. Suns sound like a somewhat bizarre cross between Three Mile Pilot and Collin Herring. There's that raggedy americana thing going on in addition to the intricate indie doom rock thing. Believe it or not, it works well.

No matter how you want to classify (or even attempt to comprehend) this music, it is immediately arresting. Few bands sound anything like this, and I can't think of one that manages to entice both the intellect and the emotions as well.

So hey, if the boys want to call this a double EP, good for them. I'll simply call it a stellar collection of songs. Blows me away. -


Still working on that hot first release.



Suns are back for another round of dragging atmospheric rock into the alley to smack the stars out of its eyes. Armed with their first full length, When We Were Us, the band takes a leaner, meaner and more melodic approach to its distinct brand of ribcage-shaking density. The darkness, the drunkenness, the desperation - it's all still there, but now it digs in with sharper hooks.

Funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and engineered by This Is Cinema's Theo Karon, the album was recorded in two contrasting locations: a cramped basement in Chicago's Logan Square and the snowy waterfront of rural Illinois' Apple Canyon Lake. This disparity of environments illustrates the duality of Suns' sound - the tightly arranged uproar of an aggressive, but tuneful, 6-piece band compromised of 2 drummers, 2 guitarists, keys and bass and noise and multi-layered vocals to tie it all together.

Suns plan to self-release When We Were Us on lavishly packaged vinyl, backed by a national tour in their full-size decommissioned school bus. These guys won't do anything on a small scale and we're just going to have to get out of their way.