Brooklyn band Sunshine‘s new album Down & Up Blues is a playfully shambling, imaginative, lo-fi blend of electric and acoustic blues, oldschool soul and indie rock. It’s oldtimey and at the same time it’s completely in the here and now. The whole thing is streaming at their Bandcamp page. They’re playing the album release show on Nov 2 at 9 PM at Muchmore’s in Williamsburg, and they sound like they’re a lot of fun live.
The core of the band is excellent, eclectic guitarist Steven Ferrara – who also plays lapsteel, banjo, keys, harmonica, mandolin and sax – and Amy Santos, who plays bass and takes over lead vocals on several tracks. Katie Fuller and Joe McLean contribute drums, with Crawford Forbes on trumpet and Mike Lambert adding slide guitar and piano. The opening track, Long Sweet Helen works a mid-60s Chicago organ lounge groove, Ferrara’s biting guitar lead reminding of Buddy Guy back in the Buddy Guy/Junior Wells days Santos sings the nonchalantly soulful A Thousand Love Songs, followed by a watery acoustic Kottke/John Fahey-style Ferrara pastorale.
The excellent lo-fi fok-rock Dry Eyed Tampa wouldn’t be out of place on a late 90s album by Low. The Things That Harm Me coalesces into a brisk, Stonesy pulse, if not as tight as the Glimmer Twins. Santos sings the catchy, bouncy oldtimey swing tune Finger String; after that, Rise Above sounds like an early Led Zep demo. Santos gives the self-explanatory Everybody’s Crazy About the Doggone Blues But I’m Happy a resolute, nonchalant feel; the album winds up with the lingering, apprehensive, slowly slinky Until We Both Close Down and then a brief sketch of a song.