If you want to know how a band like Sun Hotel operates, just take a look at how they went about releasing their first new piece of music in two years. After taking time off to focus on side projects, the group recently reunited to record and release the single "She's Gonna Take A Picture Too" in a manner all their own. While most of today's unsigned bands stick to releasing new music via online services such as Bandcamp, Sun Hotel has a habit of making their releases a bit more noteworthy. Take for example this new single, which was released via a website created by guitarist (and professional web designer) Alex Hertz. "Bandcamp pages or Soundcloud embeds are not special enough. To record a song and put it in the equivalent of a cardboard box on the internet, rather than a frame, is just silly" says Hertz. But Sun Hotel didn't stop with the website. To make things a little more exciting, the group gave out download cards at their October 19 show at One Eyed Jacks so that a handful of lucky attendees could hear the new track three days before the site went live.
This type of behavior is business as usual for Sun Hotel, who routinely refuse to be just another indie rock band. Since forming while the members were students at Loyola University, the band has made their bold aspirations clear to fans in New Orleans and across the country through a series of tours and meticulously crafted album release events. The excitement they created surrounding the release of their newest single is one more example of the band's unique ability to differentiate themselves amidst the ever expanding pool of indie acts flooding every music blog on the web.
In late 2010, the group joined forces with fellow local rock act Caddywhompus to start Chinquapin Records, a label dedicated to releasing their own music, as well as that of friends in other local bands like Arch Animals, Glish, and Donovan Wolfington. Since its founding, the label has played a major hand in the expansion of New Orleans' local rock scene by putting on shows and other events that highlight the talent that exists in a city not usually associated with rock 'n roll music. However, since their fall 2012 tour, Sun Hotel has been mostly quiet until just recently.
First came their October show at One Eyed Jacks. Then, directly following the release of "She's Gonna Take A Picture Too" the band performed at Voodoo Festival, followed by a show at Siberia just a week later. With all this activity in the Sun Hotel camp, it's looking like 2014 is going to be a big year for these guys. As their fans have correctly suspected, the group is currently working on the follow-up to 2011's Gifts. While most of Sun Hotel's previously released music has been recorded and mixed by drummer Ross Farbe, this time around the group decided to take to The Living Room, a studio on the Westbank that has seen the likes of countless local favorites such as Vox and the Hound, Generationals, and Hurray for the Riff Raff. The decision to go from a DIY recording process to a professional studio is a big step for the band, and one they seem to be taking seriously. "We feel very personally connected and committed to the songs on the new album and we want to treat them in the best possible way that we can. Even if we can't afford it, we want to do it, and we're going to" says singer/guitarist Tyler Scurlock. Fans of the group can look forward to a batch of tunes akin to the new single, which Scurlock says is "indicative of the album as a whole."
With no release date for the record announced as of yet, it's safe to say that Sun Hotel will be hard at work over the coming months as they prepare to unveil the album. Anticipation is high, and if their approach to the release of "She's Gonna Take A Picture Too" is any indication, chances are there will be some exciting things happening as the arrival of the full length album draws nearer. According to Hertz, the release of the single "opened the door to doing a lot more crazy stuff, so things are gonna get weirder." Sounds good.