Pearl Charles, The Asteroid No.4
777 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA, 94110
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
If there's one thing we can all agree on in these dark, deeply uncertain days, it's humanity's latent desire to unplug from it all—to put our smartphones down, survey our immediate surroundings, and let the sweeter things in life rise to the surface.
Sleepy Sun get it. Now five albums and more than a decade into making their own elusive brand of bold rock music, the Bay Area band isn't interested in flooding our synapses with far too many ideas on their new LP, Private Tales. They'd rather let a grander vision unfold over time, rewarding anyone with the willingness to wait it out, to actually listen.
"When I hear Private Tales," says guitarist Evan Reiss, "I appreciate the spaciousness that is left for the listener. I like music that gives them an opportunity to breathe, as opposed to jamming ideas into someone’s ears at all times."
That approach is clear from the very beginning, a sustained drone casting a spell of clean synth tones, monk-like melodies, muted flutes, and riffs that ring out in the distance. It's as if Sleepy Sun's core quartet (Reiss, fellow guitarist Matt Holliman, frontman Bret Constantino, and drummer Brian Tice) decided to apply the album's brakes before they even got out of the driveway.
If only things were that simple. The glassy psych grooves of "Prodigal Vampire" eventually give way to the life aquatic licks of "Seaquest," a song that actually sounds like it's sailing straight towards the sun. Meanwhile, "When the Morning Comes" and "Crave" take the group down an entirely different path—one that's lined with thorny hooks and chaotic thunderclaps, as influenced by Swans as it is by Thin Lizzy.
Confused yet? Good.
"I always, always loved how no one knew what to make of us," says Tice.
"That means we're doing our job!" adds Reiss.
Or as Constantino puts it, "Creating original work is the most difficult part of writing anything. Often during the process, you think, 'Oh man, that sounds like The Stones,' or 'that lyric is way too literal or cliche'. I've found the less you pay attention to that critical voice and concentrate on what you're hearing in your head, you end up subconsciously reinterpreting everything you've ever heard or seen."
It helps to have a strong supporting cast, of course, including bassists Jack Allen and Owen Kelley, who held the low end down on this LP. The boys were also backed by two incredible singers throughout the album's two recording sessions: the New Pornographers' Kathryn Calder and Whitethorn Singers' Hannah Moriah. Colin Stewart also reprised the producer/engineering role he played on Sleepy Sun's breakthrough records, Embrace and Fever.
"Colin is our main man," says Reiss. "He ate more than 20 burritos while we were recording Private Tales, and believed in us throughout this two-year process. I cannot thank him enough."
"I am certain this record could not have been made without his support and sacrifices," adds Constantino. "There were times where he was the only person who believed we had it in us. He has a wonderful ability to bring out the honest truth in the musicians he works with. There’s no one I'd rather record with."
Well, no one except the rest of Sleepy Sun, a tightknit crew that kept its creative process going despite Constantino's decision to move to Texas during the making of Private Tales. (The band exchanged home recordings over email and fleshed songs out in the studio over the course of two trying years.)
"This is the longest relationship I've had outside of my family," says Constantino. "We've grown an incredible amount individually over the last 10 years, as has the 'Sleepy Sun sound'. This record, in particular, was the most difficult to make, by far, mainly for logistical reasons."
"Playing music with this group is second nature to me," adds Reiss. "Being in a band for more than a decade allows for an almost telepathic creative relationship. The hard part is finding the time to 'get in and let go'."
Mission = accomplished.
Pearl Charles lives in the moment, seeking excitement whether it leads her down a dark, dusty road or into the arms of a trouble-making lover. Her full-length debut album, Sleepless Dreamer, describes late night revelry, love affairs, running away and running towards, serenading the sunrise through whirlwind stories of her native Los Angeles, the city, the canyon, the desert, and the road. On a quest to discover the truest version of herself, Charles embraces the feeling of not being settled, a person who always restlessly wants
more from life and is willing chase it, wherever it may lead her.
Sleepless Dreamer finds her soulful, often sultry voice gliding through songs tinged with cosmic Americana, a little disco, some classic rock & roll, and a whole lot of that smooth AM gold. Passion, psychedelics and heartbreak inform the highs and lows she rides through the album. Finally able to see clearly through the smoke and mirrors of her surroundings, Charles departs on a consequent journey of questioning and soul-searching, eventually hitting the road in the inevitable search for answers.
As heard in the title track, themes of disillusionment and subsequent realization run through to the album. Examined through the lens of relationships, whether it be the one between her and a lover, a friend, a city, the road, the world, or perhaps most importantly, herself, each experiences helps to shape her developing perspective and worldview. On “All The Boys,” she contemplates the cyclical nature of toxic attraction. Funky stand-out “Night Tides” looks at the illusion a person presents in the beginning of a romance, only to
reveal their true colors once they’ve lured you in. She recognizes the pattern of being drawn to a tempting yet toxic muse over and over, but admits it fuels her creatively.
While many of the songs revolve around romance, they are juxtaposed with more
existential/philosophical tracks like “Ghost” and “Only In America”, examining the meaning of
life and what plagues her generation of disaffected youth.
Arriving January 2018 on Kanine Records, Sleepless Dreamer was produced and
engineered by Kenny Woods (formerly of Beck) at the Haas Brothers studio in West Adams,
CA. After working together on some covers for Aquarium Drunkard’s Lagniappe Sessions
series last summer, Charles knew Woods was the right person to collaborate with on her full-
Enlisting an all-star band of friends, the album features the work of Father John Misty’s Chris Dixie Darley (guitar), Dan Bailey (drums), Eli Thompson (bass), and David Vandervelde
(guitar), Darian Zahedi (guitar) of CRX, Connor “Catfish” Gallaher (pedal steel) of Calexico, Drew Erickson (keys) of Roger Waters, and Maxim Ludwig (guitar). Additional writing collaborators include Stephen McBean (Black Mountain), Jonathan Rice, Jonathan Tyler (Nikki Lane), Carrick Moore-Gerety, and Brian Harding.
Charles has been playing music since she was five years old. At 18, she formed country duo The Driftwood Singers with Christian Lee Hutson, singing and playing guitar and autoharp. At 22, she joined garage rock band The Blank Tapes as drummer. After two fun-filled years immersed in the rock and roll lifestyle, she decided it was time to pursue her own
songwriting, and began developing the songs that formed 2015’s eponymous debut EP on Burger Records. Her music career has been a chronological progression from old time music to 60’s garage and psychedelia, and now more 70’s country rock and 80’s smooth rock. Drawn to catchy, poppy hooks and choruses, Charles draws on what she loves about each era while developing her unique style as a musician, singer, and songwriter.
The Asteroid No.4
The Asteroid No.4 is an American psychedelic band based in the Bay Area. Originating from Philadelphia in the late 1990s, the A4 remain an active studio and live act who are considered stalwarts of the modern “psych” genre. Known for their prolific discography of reverb-drenched recordings and liquid-projected live performances, the band is often categorized as “neo-psychedelic” or “shoegaze”. Happily in acceptance of often made comparisons to acts like Spacemen 3 or “Paisley Underground” kingpins, The Rain Parade; the band indeed has a sound all its own. The Asteroid No.4 released their ninth full-length album “Collide” in 2018.
$16 adv / $18 door