Los Angeles/Brooklyn based vocalist, composer, and recording artist Sondra Sun-Odeon has announced that her sophomore album, ‘Desyre,’ will be released on November 22 via Graveface Records (pre-order). Sun-Odeon is known for her songs of ethereal melancholia and otherworldliness. ‘Desyre’ picks up the doomy vibe her debut ‘Æetherea‘ left us with, weaving it into a heavy, transcendent soundtrack of personal devastation and insight. Along with the announcement of the forthcoming LP, Sun-Odeon has also shared the album’s first single Roses In The Snow. Listen to the track via Soundcloud below.
The sound is heavier with Thor Harris of SWANS providing drums and percussion, and the band bigger; instead of her usual — playing layers upon layers of guitar herself — Sun-Odeon this time invited J.R. Bohannon (Ancient Ocean) to contribute everything from electric riffs to sublime fingerstyle acoustic, to spectral pedal steel playing; Anthony Piromalli brought additional doom metal and ambient soundscapes.
With this core band, Sun-Odeon recruited Alex DeGroot (Zola Jesus) as engineer and co-producer, and began recording the album winter of 2018 at Seahorse Sound studios in downtown Los Angeles. Highlights of the sessions included Mary Lattimore contributing harp on several tracks and recording the epic, almost nine-minute long Drowning Man: An Invocation for the Demise of Patriarchy. The track showcases Cordey Lopez and Matthew Clough-Hunter on gamelan, Lia Simone Braswell (A Place to Bury Strangers) reciting Sun-Odeon’s reimagined 70’s feminist manifesto, Bohannon’s throat singing, a women’s chorus, and excerpts from an improvised half hour-long wall of noise guitar drone that Sun-Odeon, DeGroot, Piromalli, and Bohannon unleashed in studio.
Sun-Odeon had begun recording many of the songs on ‘Desyre’ in Brooklyn in 2013 but abandoned the effort after the session faltered along with her mental health, during a time she describes as “the absolute lowest point in my life.” Shortly after, she left for California to focus on healing from the traumatic whiplash of a poisoned relationship and depression. Many of the songs on Desyre were written during the turmoil of that relationship; it would take a few years of safe distance from its trauma for her to revisit the songs. When Sun-Odeon finally did revisit them, she found them calling out, wanting to be heard. She found the process of completing the recordings, therapeutic.
The resulting album springs forth from a place of defiant persistence. There is the outrage and vision of Drowning Man: An Invocation for the Demise of Patriarchy, written during the Kavanaugh hearings in reflection of the #MeToo movement — it imagines a world where a collective female rage decimates the remnants of patriarchy allowing the emergence of a new utopia. ‘Desyre’ exalts sexual pleasure as a pathway to enlightenment and God-dess. Roses in the Snow and Moved by Joy reflect on the heartache and drama of difficult choices. Oaks is a song originally written with Silver Summit (Sun-Odeon’s dark psych-folk band of the freak folk era) concerning death and transfiguration. Hit is a cathartic and defiant “I’m still here and I give no fucks” statement in song of surviving romantic delusions and devastation.
All of Sun-Odeon’s songs grow from a place of continued appreciation for open-tunings, vintage tape echoes, experimentation and exploration of real instrument sounds for the sake of themselves. Her hard-to-categorize sound continues to mix elements of post rock, experimental noise, etheric shoegaze, and Sabbath-y moments alongside a voice that holds more conviction and strength–there is outrage, there is grace and defiance; there is broken vulnerability, resilience, and a knowing wisdom from years spent climbing out of the nadir from which these songs germinated.
3. Roses In The Snow
5. Drowning Man: An Invocation for the Demise of Patriarchy
7. Moved By Joy