Sunwatchers releasing new LP on Trouble in Mind (stream “Silent Boogie”)
Brooklyn’s skronky, improvisational, psych/jazz/punk quartet Sunwatchers, whose debut album came out in 2015 via Castle Face, will release new album Sunwatchers II via Trouble in Mind on February 2. You can check out sax-powered groover “Silent Boogie” below.
While they’re an instrumental combo, Sunwatchers (which features current & former members of Arthur Doyle’s New Quiet Screamers, NYMPH, Chris Forsyth’s Solar Motel Band, and Dark Meat) fuel their music with fiery politics. The new album’s cover is an embroidery with “SUNWATCHERS STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE DISPOSSESSED, IMPOVERISHED AND EMBATTLED PEOPLE OF THE WORLD” and they’re donating proceeds from it to prison abolitionist organizations. They’ve also issued a manifesto with the announcement of the new album, which includes:
We are musicians, and we will leave political specifics to those more qualified than we are. All the time and energy and passion we can muster we dedicate to writing, performing, recording and releasing music: instrumental music, released from the tyranny of semantics into the freedom and hopefulness of universality-of-connection. We thusly realize the need to become overt about our own intentions and our own mores; without the ease and accessibility of direct language, the onus is on us to express our principles in other ways.
You can read the whole thing below.
Sunwatchers don’t have any live shows scheduled at the moment. Stay tuned.
SUNWATCHERS STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE DISPOSSESSED,
IMPOVERISHED AND EMBATTLED PEOPLE OF THE WORLD
We are leftists; across the spectrum, yes — abolitionist syndicalist; democratic socialist; antiviolent-resistance advocate; horrified father with a sad eye for his son to the imperiled future — but leftists, all, and we feel that human existence is endangered by capitalism and its inexorably violent, exploitative and objectively harrowing means, methods and endgames. We have sensed this danger since well before the idiot fascist Trump and his confederacy of gangster anarcho-capitalists and racist-activists assumed control and unfurled their sloppy and lethal intent across the governance of the First World. We felt this before racist groups — paramilitary foot-soldiers of Capitalism, knowingly or unawares — were emboldened by our clown-mouthed president to make their violently bigoted intentionality overt and head-breaking as opposed to sublimated, coiled and altogether dominant, nonetheless. We understood this through years past, as our regime— under whatever equivocating leader our electorate supported — upheld foreign dictators and brigands that aided in our own government-for-profit-by-murder; as munitions corporations propagated endless and horrible war by keeping subservient lawmakers in power via their deep-pocketed lobbies; as police militarized their ranks with surplus weaponry and combat armor — justified ironically and nefariously as a “taxpayer money-saving plan” — and initiated assassinations of people of color and terrorized grassroots resistance movements. Capitalism is endangering humanity, and we must end it if we are to survive; this knowledge has devastated us and guided us for years.
Now, things are critical: sabres are rattling, millions of people are dying needlessly in the name of capital, and the injuries and injustices accrue too quickly to inventory. We are on the precipice of our precarious worldwide disaster merging into full-blown “you will not be counting the dead, you will be counting the living”* catastrophe.
We are musicians, and we will leave political specifics to those more qualified than we are. All the time and energy and passion we can muster we dedicate to writing, performing, recording and releasing music: instrumental music, released from the tyranny of semantics into the freedom and hopefulness of universality-of-connection. We thusly realize the need to become overt about our own intentions and our own mores; without the ease and accessibility of direct language, the onus is on us to express our principles in other ways. This is the reason we have chosen for our album cover the beautiful embroidery of our long-held Sunwatchers Mission Statement, included in lesser visual terms in every SW release thus far. This stunning version was made by our dear friend Catherine Wheeler, a surprise end-of-tour gift created as she traveled across Africa by bus. I couldn’t be more proud of it as a totem, an art object, and an album cover; it is significant in a multitude of ways.
We have the unbelievable luck of playing with many amazing collaborators in NYC and beyond, but the core of our group — Peter Kerlin, Jim McHugh, Jason Robira and Jeff Tobias — are white males, American-born. It is an unassailable and deeply maddening fact that white males in this world are afforded a million times more bandwidth and infinitely more resources for communication and mobility than any other ethnic or gender group. Our comrades at Trouble In Mind did not choose to release this record because of this; but, as individuals, we have been emboldened since birth to speak out for what we desire, what we believe in, to express directly our goals. That others are discouraged, overtly and covertly, and are very often jailed, assaulted and murdered is a tragedy beyond measure. However, this is truth, and we therefore view it as our responsibility to use our ill-gotten bully pulpit to express a vision espousing equality for the dispossessed and an end to our current exploitative ways of being. Unavoidably, this graphic iteration will be seen as seditious by the mainstream(if it is noticed at all; more punk-battered free-improv on FOX NEWS could start some sort of healing process, tho), and, perhaps, it will be judged as hypocritical by some of our peers in the underground music community — as a mere marketing-scheme, or empty sloganeering in the name of radical-chic. We promise you, it is as genuine as it can be. At our deepest core we desire that our efforts aid in the annihilation of state-supported inequality, capitalism, and the concept and importance of Whiteness altogether.
As with our first album on Castle Face, we will be donating sales proceeds of this LP to prison abolitionist organizations. Money from the debut went to the Human Rights Coalition, a direct-advocacy group for inmates. We haven’t yet settled on a specific group for this alb, but this summer passed, via our activist-umbrella organization Music Against Mass Incarceration, we put together a festival benefitting JustLeadershipUSA and the Close Rikers Campaign. Again: it is on
us to increase our Money/Mouth Ratio in these dire times.
Albert Ayler — precious spiritual and sonic touchstone of ours to the degree that we named our band after one of his weirder tunes — proclaimed it famously, affirmatively and with well-earned intelligence: MUSIC IS THE HEALING FORCE OF THE UNIVERSE.
We believe this and preach this and do what we can to live this, but we understand that direct action is needed now.
Enough. We hope you dig the sounds; we worked really hard on them. It also needs to be said that we nearly named this record “LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!!!” because, yeh, we like that too. But, as our radical scuzz-punk forebears No Trend once declared in seething voices indignant, drug-strangled and wholly pubescent: IF YOU STAND FOR NOTHING YOU’LL FALL FOR ANYTHING!
LOVE AND RESPECT — JMM, JDT, JLR, PNK