Title - 'Coffin Eyes'
Artist - High Sunn
For those not in the know, Bay Area multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/songwriter Justin Cheromiah has just released his latest album of melodic guitar-oriented indie rock.
High Sunn is the project of San Francisco's Justin Cheromiah, who started using the name to upload his garage rock-influenced home recordings as a 14-year-old in 2014.
His sound developed across dozens of releases over the next few years to the more coherent lo-fi guitar pop that marked High Sunn's first studio and full-band LP in 2018.
Cheromiah's entirely self-made debut album, High Sunn, appeared on Bandcamp in mid-2014. He followed it with a steady stream of singles, EPs, and LPs exploring shoegaze, punk, and melodic guitar pop, including September 2015's Luv Songs for Whiners.
It featured drums and percussion by Tristin Sovannarath, who became a regular contributor to Cheromiah's recordings. A month later, The Okada Bedroom Sessions offered a feedback and distortion-filled collection of "songs that were either rough drafts or thrown in the trash."
Subsequent releases included the split EP Emotional sHits with childhood friends Junkie in April 2016, and that July, his live drummer Joe Jensen appeared on Flower Funeral.
The latter received a cassette release on Crafted Sounds (U.S.) and Galaxy Train Records (Japan). Z Tapes issued the 20-track collection Sequential Sakura that October.
Another collection of otherwise discarded ideas and demos arrived in the form of sorryidroppedyoufrommyanimelist. With production help from prior collaborator John Mello, even the rougher demos demonstrated a tendency toward more structured, melody-focused songs.
High Sunn released its first studio recording, the Hopeless Romantic EP, in May 2017. Also its first full-band recording, Cheromiah was joined in the studio by Jensen on drums, lead guitarist Freddy Rivera, bassist Arianna Vazuez, and producer/engineer Dylan Wall.
Made with the same team, High Sunn's full-length studio debut, Missed Connections, followed in May 2018 on Pnk Slm.
And now, Cheromiah - who blends the influences of Studio Ghibli films, Taiwanese pop music, skateboarding, and boba tea, reflecting the diversity of his own cultural heritage (which include Native American, Chinese, German and Filipino ancestry) - has brought out his superb new album, Coffin Eyes via Cleopatra Records.
The album is a masterclass in guitar-orientated melodic bedroom rock, where the no-frills production adds to the rawness of Cheromiah's emotion and vulnerability.
1) 'Coffin Eyes'
2) 'Ginger Peach Tea'
3) 'Familiar Insecurities'
6) 'Others Can't'
7) 'Night Walk'
9) 'Dagger Dog'
10) 'Not Another Poem'
12) 'Life Getting In The Way'
The album opens with the joyful indie pop bounce of the title track before flowing seamlessly into both the trippy-lite 'Ginger Peach Tea' and then the heartier 'Familiar Insecurities.'
The sunny and upbeat, acoustic guitar-led 'Guardpupper' is one of my own personal favorites here, with the laid back, gentle hipsway of 'Knife' and then the jangling guitar and synth work of 'Others Can't' along next.
The ethereal 'Night Walk' is yet another stand out cut and that's followed by the frenetic-drum groove tempo found within 'Planner' and then the lo-fi indie rock of 'Dagger Dog.'
The album then rounds out with the lyrically entertaining 'Not Another Poem,' the early '90s garage vibe of 'Tender,' before coming to a close with the melodic perkiness of 'Life Getting In The Way.'
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