ThePunkSite.com

Sundowner

Sundowner

Little Elephant Sessions

Fat Wreck Chords
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Sundowner has emerged from the minimalist side-project of Lawrence Arms co-vocalist Chris McCaughan, to a worthy successor and centerpiece should the long running trio ever call it quits.  As far as heartfelt acoustic tunes are concerned, Sundowner’s output has steadily evolved to a topnotch band-supported experience in just three full lengths.  But when McCaughan goes on tour he doesn’t necessarily take his bits and pieces with him.  And when he recently agreed to sit down and perform a four set live session for Toledo, OH’s Little Elephant Live, he was just one man, a mic and his guitar.

Featuring a collage of career spanning cuts, McCaughan strips down and wears his heart on his sleeve.  As such, Little Elephant Sessions features some of the most personal versions of well-established fan favourites.  For the first time, Sundowner treats fans to a bare-bones rendition of “Cemetery West,” which serves as the sole representative of his present-day Neon Fiction-era work.  Possibly one of McCaughan’s most moving pieces, the absence of any sort of production heightens the already weighted emotional state. McCaughan’s voice pops and crackles like a vinyl record personified.  Each imperfection emerges at just the right moment, affording further depth, particularly during instrumental absence.  Take for instance how emotionally strained passages enrich the defeatist mentality of Lawrence Arms classic “Great Lakes/Great Escapes” – a track which further receives an artistic makeover in overall tempo and vocal emphasis.  The same goes for the far more animated installment of Four One Five Two’s “Midsummer Classic,” which when placed side by side with the original, serves as a case study in McCaughan’s ongoing growth as a solo artist.  Chase The Waves-era “In The Flicker” demonstrates similar vision, differentiating itself from its source and giving listeners a reason to revisit an already standout track.

Little Elephant Sessions features four stand-alone takes that deserve to join the Sundowner discography as much as any canonical studio recording.  While reverting to the stripped down essentials won’t replace Sundowner’s evolving full band trajectory, these four songs act as a deserving supplement and testament to McCaughan’s expert musicianship.  That even earlier career tracks spark to life seven years later speaks volumes.  McCaughan offers fans more than a good reason to revisit some of Sundowner and The Lawrence Arms’ best material.

Video: Sundowner – Midsummer Classic (Little Elephant Sessions)

SundownerSundowner has premiered a new music video.  The video features the “Midsummer Classic” and is the final reveal taken from when Chris McCaughan performed four songs for the Little Elephant Sessions in Toledo, Ohio. The song originally appeared on last year’s full length, Neon Fiction.  The 7-inch is due out on June 10, 2014 via Fat Wreck Chords.

Check out the song’s session below.

Read More…

   

Sundowner – In The Flicker

SundownerSundowner has premiered a new music video.  The video features the song “In The Flicker” and is taken from when Chris McCaughan performed four songs for the Little Elephant Sessions in Toledo, Ohio. The song originally appeared on last year’s full length, Neon Fiction.  The 7-inch is due out on June 10, 2014 via Fat Wreck Chords.

Check out the video below.

Read More…

Sundowner Debuts Little Elephant Sessions; Announces New 7-Inch

SundownerSundowner recently sat down to perform four songs for the Little Elephant Sessions in Toledo, Ohio. Front man Chris McCaughan explains:

“They record high quality video sessions in the living room of their house. I performed four songs and in the end we thought the audio recordings turned out awesome too. So they’ll be rolling out the video footage and thanks to the lovely people at Fat Wreck, the audio tracks will come out as a 7-inch.”

The first of those four songs is “Cemetery West” from last year’s full length, Neon Fiction.  The full sessions will be released on the approach to the 7-inch’s June 10, 2014 release.  Pre-orders are expected soon.

Interview: Sundowner

SundownerChris McCaughan is a prolific artist. The Chicago native splits his time between his two main projects, Sundowner and The Lawrence Arms; in addition to occasional forays into other projects. Unlike many artists, McCaughan doesn’t consider either of his main outlets to fall under the side project label, both are equally important to him. He released an album from both bands within a 6 month period and is understandably busy touring to support them. Add to that a move from the east coast all the way out west and it is fair to say that McCaughan is a very busy man. He took a little bit of time out of his busy schedule to speak with thepunksite.com about his latest Sundowner release and a one off show in Edmonton, Canada with local favorites Audio/Rocketry. 

Read the interview here.

   
Sundowner

Sundowner

Chris McCaughan

Fat Wreck Chords
By on April 4, 2014 at Email

 

 

Chris McCaughan is a prolific artist. The Chicago native splits his time between his two main projects, Sundowner and The Lawrence Arms; in addition to occasional forays into other projects. Unlike many artists, McCaughan doesn’t consider either of his main outlets to fall under the side project label, both are equally important to him. He released an album from both bands within a 6 month period and is understandably busy touring to support them. Add to that a move from the east coast all the way out west and it is fair to say that McCaughan is a very busy man. He took a little bit of time out of his busy schedule to speak with thepunksite.com about his latest Sundowner release and a one off show in Edmonton, Canada with local favorites Audio/Rocketry.  Read More…

sundowner

Sundowner

Neon Fiction

Fat Wreck Chords
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

If it wasn’t for a myriad of side and solo projects, it’s safe to say that Chris McCaughan and Brendan Kelly would have broken up The Lawrence Arms a good while ago over ‘irreconcilable, stylistic differences.’  Both members seemingly love different aspects of their originating band, and have hit the pause button for nearly half a decade to explore and flush out their creative processes. 

The result has birthed two projects and a split by Kelly, and one very dedicated solo outing, Sundowner, by McCaughan.  The latter and topic up for discussion has gone on to define just how an offshoot from Fat Wreck Chords weathered roster can blossom into a stand alone exemplar of good clean acoustic-folk fun.  McCaughan has built Sundowner from the ground up, having progressed from a sparsely decked point of entry (Four, One, Five, Two) to an adorned state of fluid discovery with Neon Fiction.  A variety of instruments come and go from track to track as needed, but they never compromise McCaughan’s ownership.

Confidence defines Neon Fiction against Sundowner’s catalogue.  Where We Chase The Waves saw McCaughan emerge from the novelty of his debut, Neon Fiction sees him take full control, experimenting along the way.  Take the full band essence of “Cemetery West.” Manipulating multiple guitars to the rhythmic drum beat of Lawrence Arms bandmate Neil Hennessy, McCaughan funnels his vocal sorrows through a an emotional sieve.  In turn the song becomes one part instrumentally upbeat toe tapper and one part lyrically distressed statement.  McCaughan’s strength has always been that of emotional embodiment, and songs like “Grey on Grey” and “Origins” continue that trend with budding poetic imagery that heightens Sundowner’s overriding fragility.

Neon Fiction’s biggest surprise though counters one of the band’s biggest criticisms – that most Sundowner songs are quite similar.  Four tracks in and McCaughan pulls a fast one with the smoky suspicions of “We Drift Eternal.”  A murky, misanthropic angst in the vein of bandmate Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds hazily descends on McCaughan’s routinely grace.  McCaughan doesn’t dirty his hands often, but if “We Drift Eternal” is any indication, a little grime can do McCaughan a lot of good.  Sadly the track is one of a kind, making the album’s back half somewhat less rewarding.

Not to claim that McCaughan did it first (Tony Sly had been dabbling as early as 2004), but Sundowner is the strongestt long-standing side-project from Fat Wreck Chords to meaningfully break from the confines of its source.  Even with a new Lawrence Arms album rumoured to be on the horizon, Sundowner is the type of project that stands to outlive it’s origin.  Neon Fiction is a stand-alone success sure to continue earning McCaughan an audience well outside of his niche.

Interview: Sundowner

SundownerFresh off an energetic performance at Chicago’s Riot Fest, Chris McCaughan – the mastermind behind Sundowner (and one third of everyone’s favourite punk band The Lawrence Arms) spoke to Pete Bataillon about exactly what it was that inspired him when writing Neon Fiction and the stories behind the artwork, title and the new Lawrence Arms album.

Read the interview here.

   
Sundowner

Sundowner

Chris McCaughan

Fat Wreck Chords
By on September 20th, 2013 at Phone

 

 

Fresh off an energetic performance at Chicago’s Riot Fest, Chris McCaughan – the mastermind behind Sundowner (and one third of everyone’s favourite punk band The Lawrence Arms) spoke to Pete Bataillon about exactly what it was that inspired him when writing Neon Fiction and the stories behind the artwork, title and the new Lawrence Arms album. Read More…

Sundowner - We Chase The Waves

Sundowner

We Chase The Waves

Asian Man Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

“We Chase the Waves,” the new full-length from the Lawrence Arms’ Chris McCaughan, is a lesson in newfound maturity from a once-perpetually adolescent songwriter. With a more cultivated compositional style, newfound grownup songwriting chops, and more varied musical influences, McCaughan steps out of his traditional role as a Chicago pop punker and into a new persona most of us never saw coming: he’s an-honest-to-god folk singer.

With 2007’s “Four One Five Two,” McCaughan scraped together twelve catchy, not terribly adventurous acoustic tracks that sounded for the most part like Larry Arms B-sides (and, in a couple of instances,were Larry Arms B-sides). This was by no means a bad thing, but it wasn’t any surprise, either. But “We Chase the Waves” is deeper both in content and composition; these aren’t acoustic punk songs. They’re country without the twang, folk-punk without the politics, Tegan and Sara without the Canada (zing!).

Multi-part vocal harmonies mesh perfectly with guitar riffs that would feel at home on any of Wilco’s first three albums. The album opens by reeking of early Bright Eyes with “In the Flicker,” jumps to Jeff Tweedy for a few tracks, and even exchanges friendly glances with Jack Johnson before settling back down with McCaughan’s own beer-soaked melancholy. In short, he’s tried out a whole drawer of new tricks, and every last one works perfectly.

In a few of these, McCaughan even achieves what some fans may have considered impossible: he’s happy. “As the Crow Flies,” which is as close to a hit single as Sundowner will ever get, is a meditation on McCaughan’s own art and lifestyle that, in each verse, finds another way to say “I’ve got you, babe.” That said, McCaughan has managed to retain his trademark lyrical edge. “Araby,” which will remind the listener of Jenny Lewis’s solo work, punches hard with classic Lawrence Arms imagery and themes of cold weather and bittersweet solipsism.

The record closes with a plodding dirge called “What Beadie Said” that deals with the passage of time and the prospect of impending death. The stark verses are punctuated with backup vocals that make this tune sound like a sort of chain-gang funeral. “I’m just a dark horse with a pale heart/on a cold night/ for a long walk/just a dead flame/fuck the old game/ lay me down, I got a new name,” laments the chorus. If anyone should know about the changing power of time, it’s Chris McCaughan. With “We Chase the Waves,” he’s change personified. And, just like the narrator of “What Beadie Said” says from his grave, it’s for the better.

Sundowner - Four One Five Two

Sundowner

Four One Five Two

Red Scare Industries
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

To say I was excited for this would be an understatement. When I first heard that Chris McCaughan was doing some solo work, I was intrigued; and when I heard the four songs he released on MySpace I became obsessed. It makes sense really, because after all, McCaughan is one third of Chicago’s The Lawrence Arms and I love anything those guys touch. Four One Five Two by Sundowner (McCaughan’s alter-ego) is absolutely no different.

While quite different than what you would find on a Lawrence Arms release, Four One Five Two shows the listener how talented McCaughan is as a songwriter. The acoustically led songs are too melodic and sparse to be a part of the Lawrence Arms repertoire (although some songs could have fit in on The Greatest Story Ever Told) but that doesn’t take away from the intensity, emotional power or pure awesomeness of this CD in anyway.

If you ever took the time to listen to any of the songs on MySpace then you’ll have an idea of what to expect. Slow, emotional, introspective ballads with McCaughan’s smooth vocal delivery. However, the songs have developed quite a lot since those demo days – something which will take a while to grow accustomed to but do make the songs a touch better. Those developments come mostly in the way of Jenny Choi, someone you may know from Sanawon or have seen along side Mike Park in the recording studio, as she lends both her vocal talents and musicianship to certain tracks on the album. Her smooth voice counteracts McCaughan’s nicely as it flows in and out in the background while her subtle use of keyboard, cello and glockenspiel help add an extra layer to the already emotional songs.

Lyrically, McCaughan delivers once again too as he sings songs of introspection, reflection and self-doubt. They are depressing but always threaded with a sense of hopefulness for the future and helps cement an even stronger connection between the singer and the listener.

The album lived up to every single one of my expectations. Four One Five Two is an amazing, powerful and soulful album based on surprising subtlety and emotion that shows the reach that McCaughan has as a songwriter. Plus, the album also features new versions of The Arms‘ Boatless Booze Cruise and 100 Resolutions (which is one of my all time favorite Arms track, so to hear it down in a new way just kicks the album up another notch).

Sundowner – Life In The Embers

SundownerSundowner, the side project of The Lawrence Arms‘ Chris McCaughan, has premiered a brand new song. The track is titled “Life In The Embers” from the upcoming album, Neon Fiction, due out September 3, 2013 via Fat Wreck Chords. His first solo album,Four One Five Two, was released in 2007 on Red Scare, followed in 2010 by We Chase the Waves on Asian Man.

Listen to the song here courtesy Spin.

Sundowner Signs To Fat Wreck Chords

SundownerFat Wreck Chords have signed Sundowner, the side project of The Lawrence Arms‘ Chris McCaughan. His first solo album,Four One Five Two, was released in 2007 on Red Scare, followed in 2010 by We Chase the Waves on Asian Man.

A title and release date have yet to be announced but are expected to be revealed soon. McCaughan commented on the signing saying:

Fat Mike called me up to talk about the new Sundowner record and I said, “I really didn’t think you’d like it…” and he said something like, “Yeah, I didn’t think so either. I was kinda surprised. It’s a pretty good record. Good songs.” And, well… here we are. Got lots of love for the Fat Wreck crew and I’m extremely stoked to be teamin’ up with them to release this new album. Furrr sure. 

Sundowner Signs To Fat Wreck Chords

SundownerSundowner, the solo outlet of Chris McCaughan (The Lawrence Arms) has signed with Fat Wreck Chords.  McCaughan comments on his new home in relation to his previous outlets, Red Scare and Asian Man Records:

“Both records were different and needed to be on different labels, this one follows the pattern… It was all written and recorded in Chicago, and in a lot of ways the record is about the city… Fat Mike called me up to talk about the new Sundowner record and I said, “I really didn’t think you’d like it…” and he said something like, “Yeah, I didn’t think so either. I was kinda surprised. It’s a pretty good record. Good songs.” And, well… here we are. Got lots of love for the Fat Wreck crew and I’m extremely stoked to be teamin’ up with them to release this new album. Furrr sure”

Sundowner last released Chase The Waves back in 2010.

New Sundowner Album Planned For 2013

SundownerChris McCaughan of Lawrence Arms fame has announced that his solo band will be releasing a brand new solo album in the new year under his Sundowner name.  He confirms on Facebook:

“I mentioned this on twitter the other night, so in the interest of full social media disclosure I should mention here that there will be a new Sundowner record in 2013. It’s very close to being finished.”

Sundowner last released We Chase The Waves in 2010 on Asian Man Records.

   

Interview: Sundowner

SundownerIt’s Saturday night and the Volcano Room in Chicago is buzzing with the clink of pint glasses, pinball machines, and fans ecstatic to get their hands on a vinyl copy of the Sundowner album Four One Five Two. It’s been more than four years since Four One Five Two was initially released on Red Scare Industries, and the vinyl is finally set to release August 9, 2011. Tonight, however, Sundowner is playing a vinyl release party and selling the vinyl early to lucky attendees. Before he had the entire room singing along to his songs, Sundowner (better known as Chris McCaughan) sat down with us to tell us what he has been up to.

Get your copy of Sundowner’s Four One Five Two on Red Scare Industries August 9, 2011 and read the interview here.

Sundowner

Sundowner

Chris McCaughan

Red Scare Industries
By on July 9th, 2011 at Volcano Room - Chicago, IL

 

 

It’s Saturday night and the Volcano Room in Chicago is buzzing with the clink of pint glasses, pinball machines, and fans ecstatic to get their hands on a vinyl copy of the Sundowner album Four One Five Two. It’s been more than four years since Four One Five Two was initially released on Red Scare Industries, and the vinyl is finally set to release August 9, 2011. Tonight, however, Sundowner is playing a vinyl release party and selling the vinyl early to lucky attendees. Before he had the entire room singing along to his songs, Sundowner (better known as Chris McCaughan) sat down with us to tell us what he has been up to. Read More…

Chris McCaughan Discusses Different Musical Inspirations

SundownerFrench music website Alternativ News recently caught up with Chris McCaughan (Lawrence Arms, Sundowner) for a brief interview about his latest solo record, We Chase The Waves (Asian Man Records).  In the interview McCaughan discusses his interaction and overlap between his bands, including what makes each project unique.  Here’s an informative exert:

“All the songs on We Chase The Waves were written specifically for the album. I’m not really in the game of gauging what inspirations take me where. I think they all come from a pretty similar place. The only The Lawrence Arms song I wrote during the period of writing We ChaseThe Waves was a song called “The Slowest Drink” that’s on Buttsweat And Tears [the 7” The Lawrence Arms released last year, ed.] and I knew instantly it was a The Lawrence Arms song because I could already hear the guitar interludes in my head. When I made Four One Five Two the lines were more blurry but at this juncture I think I know instantly where things are going.”

The entire interview can be found here.

   

Video: Sundowner – In The Flicker

SundownerSundowner has released a new music video for their single, In The Flicker. It can be seen here.

The song comes from Sundowner‘s sophomore effort, We Chase The Waves, out now on Asian Man Records. Sundowner is, of course, the side project from The Lawrence Arms’ Chris McCaughan.



   

Video: Sundowner “What Beadie Said” (Acoustic at Riot Fest)

SundownerJust like the recently released acoustic performance of The Flatliners, Alternative Press have posted another acoustic video filmed at this year’s Riot Fest in Chicago.

The new video shows Sundowner’s Chris McCaughan performing “What Beadie Said” outside on a patio. The video can be seen below.

What Beadie Said which appears as the last track on Sundowner’s new album, We Chase Waves, which was released in August on Asian Man Records. Read More…

   

Sundowner Records Two Acoustic Songs From His Mother's Kitchen

SundownerSundowner, the solo project from Chris McCaughan of The Lawrence Arms, recently did an interview and performance for The Switchboard Sessions in his mother’s kitchen in Chicago.

For the performance portion of the feature, he recorded acoustic versions of The Flicker and The Slowest Drink At The Saddest Bar On The Snowiest Day In The Greatest City. The first of which appears on Sundowner’s 2010 record titled We Chase the Waves while the second is a Lawrence Arms song and originally appeared on the 2009 album Buttsweat and Tears.

Listen to the songs here.

Sundowner Streaming New Album

Sundowner - We Chase The WavesSundowner, the acoustic folk project of Lawrence Arms member Chris McCaughan, has launched an entire album stream of their upcoming release, We Chase The Waves, over on Punknews.org.  The album is set for release this Tuesday, August 10, 2010.

We recently premiered the first single, “As The Crow Flies,” in our feature section, so if you’re strapped for time and need but a single track to shape your impression of the album, be sure to check it out first here.

Stream the full album over on the band’s Punknews profile here.

Sundowner: As The Crow Flies

SundownerAlternative Press have debuted an exclusive stream of Sundowner‘s new song, As The Crow Flies.

The song comes from the band’s second full-length, We Chase The Waves, due out Aug. 10 via Asian Man Records. The song can be heard below.


Read More…

New Sundowner Song: In The Flicker

SundownerSundowner, the solo project of Chris McCaughan from The Lawrence Arms, has released a new song from his upcoming sophomore album to be released through Asian Man Records.

The song is called In The Flicker and can be heard below. The album is called We Chase The Waves and will be released this summer.

Read More…

   

Sundowner Package Deal Pre-order

Sundowner - We Chase The WavesAsian Man Records has announced a massive deluxe package of Sundowner‘s upcoming sophomore album, We Chase The Waves.  The pre-order is limited to 200 packages and includes 1 copy on clear blue (limited to 200), 1 copy on clear green (limited to 200), Sundowner cd (matte finish digipak with 8 page full color booklet), Sundowner poster, Sundowner button, Sundowner t-shirt.

As the newsletter points out, the quantities is very limited, and  are expected to be be sold out within the week.

Sundowner Releases Artwork

SundownerSundowner, the solo project of Chris McCaughan from The Lawrence Arms, has released the artwork for his recently announced sophomore album to be released through Asian Man Records.

The artwork for the album, We Chase the Waves, can be seen below. Read More…

   

Sundowner Plans Second Album

SundownerSundowner, the solo project of Chris McCaughan from The Lawrence Arms, has announced plans for a sophomore album to be released through Asian Man Records.

Well, it’s been three years since the first Sundowner record and man has a lot happened in the world since then.  We had the summer and winter Olympics, the Cubs got embarrassed in the playoffs a few times, Obama became president, I won my first fantasy football championship and we all got a bit older.  Ahhh, the dizzying highs.  I also wrote a bunch of songs.  Over the last several months me and Neil (Hennessy if you’re nasty) having been working on the new Sundowner record in Logan Square in Chicago and I’m excited to say it’s just about done and that we’re putting the finishing touches on it.  I’m stoked to be teaming up with Mike Park and releasing it on Asian Man Records this time around.  We’re shooting for a mid-summer release and we’ll have more details for y’all in the near future.  I’m also really excited because Toby Jeg at Red Scare is gonna press Four One Five Two on vinyl this summer and we’re gonna throw a big party. Rap at ya soon!