Portland’s finest, Sun Atoms, came through LA recently for a live gig at The Moroccan Lounge that left us all feeling like we were on the verge of transcendence. Peter G. Holmström of The Dandy Warhols and Pete International Airport produced and plays bass in Sun Atoms. He is joined by longtime bandmate JSun Atoms (The Upsidedown, Daydream Machine, Pete International Airport) and June Kang, Mars de Ponte, Los Angeles drummer Eric Rubalcava and Boise transplant Derek Spencer Longoria Gomez. Opening acts included Heaven from NY City and a Dj Set by LA-based Tremours.
It was a quiet rainy evening in downtown LA. which made for a welcome night of driving into the city for me. The Moroccan Lounge was a quaint little club in the heart of downtown L.A. with a history of being one of the very first venues to obtain a liquor license.. And if folklore shares an inkling of truth, then it was also a brothel in its early days, but no one really knows for sure (Little Pedros). It’s in these types of locations filled with an untamed history that some of the greatest experiences come from. I always feel like the smaller venues bring a greater sense of intimacy to live music.
The evening started off with a Dj Set by Tremours (an LA-based duo). Tremours began just as the pandemic kicked in and when they are not spinning records, Lauren and Glenn are creating lush and expansive sounds filled in by rhythmic drumbeats. Next up.. Enters Heaven from NY City and their distorted wall of sound mixed with a dreamy haze. I felt like the distortion overtook the melodies from time to time but overall worked well. As soon as I returned to my listening station.. I dove straight into their back catalog to investigate further. My assumptions were right, they were a diamond in the rough live but the studio versions of their songs were polished and superb. In the end, it’s the best of both worlds.
Headlining the evening show were Sun Atoms from Portland. They were passionate about their art of creating music together and instantly hit that sweet spot beginning with ‘The Cat’s Eye’, a lead single off the band’s debut album ‘Let There Be Light’. The studio version features Alex Maas from The Black Angels. Highlights from the show included; Half Robot Half Butterfly, Super Switch Kid (also off the debut album), and a handful of new songs plus a remake of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Tower of Song’. The band is currently working on a new album and we were fortunate enough to get an unveiling of what’s to come in the future. I’m anxiously awaiting the studio versions of the evening’s newer tracks; Mandatory, Ceiling Tiles, Black Ink, and Tower of Song. After the show, I caught up with Pete and expressed how impressed I was with the live show.. for which he replied in agreement, ‘I think we’re really onto something here’. If you have the opportunity to see Sun Atoms live, I would highly recommend it!
Pete International Airport (Holmström’s other band) just announced a new album release It Felt Like The End Of The World with a video premier for the song ‘Brave New World’. A pre-order bundle is now available at Little Cloud Records or Bandcamp. This BUNDLE includes a 2xLP, a BUNDLE ONLY limited edition T-shirt, and an iridescent 4″ exclusive sticker.
All images by Judy Lyon
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