The Sunshine House
If you were to describe the Sunshine House in one word, it would be “humble.“ From its sound to its members, the six-piece from Fort Collins, CO is incredibly modest for what it has achieved in just seven months. Though still a young band, it has released a self-titled EP, with a release party that sold out. “It was kind of piece by piece,” the Sunshine House’s singer/guitarist Philip Waggoner told CMJ about the band’s formation. “Each new person changed the sound when they were added.” After Waggoner and guitarists Dylan Curtis and Zac Crider moved in together last April, the three ... More
If you were to describe the Sunshine House in one word, it would be “humble.“ From its sound to its members, the six-piece from Fort Collins, CO is incredibly modest for what it has achieved in just seven months. Though still a young band, it has released a self-titled EP, with a release party that sold out. “It was kind of piece by piece,” the Sunshine House’s singer/guitarist Philip Waggoner told CMJ about the band’s formation. “Each new person changed the sound when they were added.” After Waggoner and guitarists Dylan Curtis and Zac Crider moved in together last April, the three began making music, then gradually added strings and drums to the mix. Three additional members later, the Sunshine House had what it needed to make the different sound for which they were aiming.
Often tagged as indie folk pop, Waggoner’s influences span from the roots of folk in Bob Dylan, to more ambient in Iceland’s Sigur Ros. However, it was Magnet’s debut album On Your Side that inspired Waggoner’s diversity. “He really got me thinking you can have drastically different songs from track to track but still captivate people,” said Waggoner, who generally writes the foundations of each song, then brings them to the band members who each add their own individual elements to it. Keeping with its goal of captivating listeners, the Sunshine House writes folk pop tunes that provide more than expected.
“We try to write the songs in an ambiguous nature, lyrically and musically,” explained Waggoner. Though he and the group have their own meanings in mind when they create their music, the goal is to evoke a range of feelings in their listeners and for each to create their own personal meanings.
Now playing shows in Colorado to support the Sunshine House’s new release, including one with Cotton Jones and a possible date with the Civil Wars, the Sunshine House has already started to work on its next project that it hopes to start recording by May. Waggoner says that the new project aims to go in a different direction to bring something even deeper to the record. -CMJ.com, Sonicbids Spotlight, February, 2011
"The Sunshine House are also fond of lush, orchestrated and melancholy pop and contradictory moods. Wearing baroque pop influences like Sufjan Stevens and Matt Pond PA proudly on their sleeves, drummer Tyler Kellogg, string player Jered Lish, guitarists Dylan Curtis and Zac Crider, and vocalists Philip Waggoner and Becky Raab create twinkling bedroom symphonies that might make you cry if they weren’t so pretty. The sextet’s self-titled debut EP is clearly the work of a developing outfit (the band has only been together for a few months), but contains promise of an act that will certainly make its mark on Colorado music lovers as it matures and blossoms."
-The Denver Post, Hey Reverb, from Steal This Track,January, 2011.
“Each song (on the EP) is pretty different, but they’re all orchestrally-based,” explains Phillip Waggoner, the group’s lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist. “It’s definitely folk-influenced. But we also have some songs in there that are longer and kinda post-rocky, as well as some western-sounding stuff too.”
Positivity, as the band’s name might imply, is a key theme. “There are some depressing songs,” Waggoner admits, “but they usually end with hope.”
The band’s sound is distinctly folky, often working to create melodic, sophisticated songs that reflect a diverse number of influences. These include the iconic Bob Dylan and indie legends Sigur Rós, but also include lesser-known artists such as Phillip’s Nashville-based sister Brooke Waggoner, an emerging artist in her own right.
It’s appropriate, then, that drummer Tyler Kellogg describes the process of recording the EP as “a family affair.” The group itself is practically family-sized: along with Kellogg and Waggoner, it also contains guitarists Zac Crider and Dylan Curtis, violinist Jered Lish and supporting vocalist Becky Raab – and that’s not accounting for the large number of outside instrumentalists and session players that the band works with.
Much of the band’s backstory is a series of arbitrary, and fortunate, coincidences. The sextet began as a duo, with Dylan and Phillip serving as the initial members of the band. Through a series of random encounters and mutual acquaintances, the other members came into the fold and the band set off in earnest.
Even the name came largely off the cuff. One fateful day, Waggoner was passing by a CSU daycare center named The Sunshine House, and was struck by both the name and the building’s design. It made enough of an impact for him to consider it for his own band’s moniker, and was adopted shortly after. It is one of many aspects of the band that more or less fell into place – and did so comfortably.”
-The Scene Magazine, The Sunshine House Shines Light on Debut EP, January 2011
We’re not saying they are these guys, but they kind of sound like: Bon Iver, Black Atlantic
What’s their deal?: The Sunshine House is so new as a band, that their wobbly little legs have barely stood long enough to build a myspace page. But the quality of the couple rough tracks that they have released online, are already showing signs of brilliance, or at least something pretty damn good. Heavy and sullen, as all good shoegaze is, the organic instrumentation of their initial tracks blends with the vocals of Waggoner and Raab, and form a dark, but beautiful blanket, just in time to keep out the winter chill.
-Marquee Mag, November, 2010
With their debut EP, released on January 29, 2011, The Sunshine House are proving that they are more than just a group of creative musicians. They are perhaps the most solid and musically fit ensemble to emerge from Fort Collins, CO since Fierce Bad Rabbit.
On the evening of January 29, 2011, I had the distinct privilege of being able to attend the EP release of this up and coming band. Not knowing what to expect I walked in with an open mind and most importantly open ears. Though it would have been easy to be able to do exactly the opposite and come in with expectations through the roof because the hype leading up to this release was so big. I’m not quite sure about the numbers in attendance but, at one point in the night my roommate informed me that it was over 200. Not too shabby for a first EP release.
After two extremely successful and entertaining solo acoustic acts, it was time for The Sunshine House to take the stage. They were accompanied by a string section that provided the backbone for the eerily comforting opening, in which guitarist Zac Crider did his best, and well done Sigur Ros impersonation.
When the full band finally took the stage the crowd was completely entranced. Right down to presentation The Sunshine House knew exactly what they were doing. Throughout the opening song and the opening track on the EP, et al., I was instantly reminded of The Swell Season, but in a more identifiable way. I found myself more and more interested in what vocalist/acoustic guitarist Philip Waggoner, and co-vocalist Becky Raab had to croon about on this evening.
Song by song The Sunshine House went through their EP along with other songs not yet featured on the extended play, and song by song you began to see each member of the band shine in their own way. Waggoner and Raab’s voices blended perfectly and it’s easy to see why the songs sound as good as they do with natural vocal chemistry like these two have. Electric guitarists Dylan Curtis and Zac Crider both shone with their understanding of what it means to play when necessary and when not necessary as well as add impressive electric guitar riffs throughout each song that gave each track a completely full feel. Violin/Cello player Jered Lish performed basic melody for each song and really brought the feel of the entire performance into complete command. Perhaps it might be easy to forget drummers of bands, but it’s hard to ignore drummer Tyler Kellogg, not only because he’s the tallest one in the band. Nothing Kellogg did was out of place. Each fill was unique, well timed (hopefully thats how it is with drummers), and never distracting from the overall sound of the band, making it that much more noticeable. As a local talent, Kellogg might just be one of the more solid drummers in Colorado.
While it’s only their first album and the show review contains a lot of gushing about a still very young band, it’s refreshing to see that there is young talent like this with more promise than possibility.
-IOK Music Blog, January 2011
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