07.20.13 — “Two Hundred Grand” by Sunshine


If you only listen to one song today, make it “Two Hundred Grand” by Sunshine (2013, from the album Sunshine).

Sunshine is an indie rock/surf-pop/shoegaze/new wave five-piece band from Vancouver. They formed in 2011 and released their eponymous debut in February of 2013. The lead of the band is Trevor Risk, and after one of his previous bands fell apart, he gathered three long-time friends from the ashes of other bands to form Sunshine. They started working together, and they later added Gillian Damborg, who is a graphic designer by day and was about to become a choir singer by night. Their bio tells the rest of that chapter of the story:

That choir never saw Gillian, and it was definitely their loss. Gillian was the missing element; the vocalist who filled out frequencies to give (Sunshine) their full sound.

I’d never heard of this band until something arrived in the mailbag the other day. The email, which came from a PR firm, was a little on the strange side, and didn’t give much of a clue about Sunshine or why I would like them. However, I’ve gotten some great mailbag stuff from that firm, so I clicked on the video link, which I’ll include at the end of the post. The video is also very strange, and takes quite a while to get into the actual music. Thankfully, I had faith in the email, and I didn’t give up on the silliness of the video. I’m still not sold on the video, to be honest. The song, however, is great.

There’s bits of California surf-punk/garage pop. Bits of Brooklyn shoegaze. And the wonderful co-ed vocal harmonies in the chorus. There’s something about the total package of this song that reminds me of something that might have been on Slumberland in the mid-1990s.

Anyway, here’s the song:
“Two Hundred Grand” by Sunshine

Other songs on this very good album have a very sunny sound. There’s one –“Shanghaied”– that’s got miles of feedback and white noise, like something from Psychocandy. I love that song a lot, too, but today we’re here for “Two Hundred Grand”.

I love that the layers of feedback and sheer noise are subtle. In the second verse, there’s lots of wailing and squalling going on, but its sort of deep in the mix. It’s still mostly about the harmonies and the melody. And there’s something about all of this that reminds me of Bleeding Rainbow.

During the extended middle eight section, there’s a bit of tuned percussion, a ringing phone, and other fun stuff. Everybody knows how much I love the tuned percussion.

After you’ve listened to the song at least twice, you can do the extra credit assignment of watching the truly bizarre video:

One of the things included in the email that I got was “…if you’re into Jesus-loving adult baby fetishists”. In fact “Jesus-loving adult baby fetishist” was part of the subject line of the email.

After all the goofy stuff that happens in the video, the payoff is at the very end, during the credits, when the cop gets a dog as his new partner. Yeah. Remember all those cop-dog buddy movies from the 80s? K-9? Turner and Hooch? This is homage to that. I love the “conversation” he has with the dog at the end.

You can buy Sunshine in digital form from the band’s bandcamp page.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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