Incubated at a home in Seattle’s Central District circa 2010, where a group of seven psych-rock leaning hearts could band together over a mutual love for drone pioneers, Earth, Rose Windows are a curious breed of progressive analogue songwriters that have managed to cut a debut record with an intact concept. Whirling with flutes, strings, organ dirges and a sorceress contralto of a lead singer, The Sun Dogs (out today) continues a conversation in mystic individualism that dynamically calls upon everyone from Jefferson Airplane and The Doors to fellow Seattleites the Fleet Foxes, without shrouding its energy in too cryptic a literary tongue.
Founder and lyricist Chris Cheveyo is the kind of writer than can pull off a “dead-beat Faustian dream” simile and a non-nerdy use of “excelsior” in the same song, lacing all sorts of tactile imagery along the ride to keep it fun. Punch-lined thematically by Cheveyo to be about “the everyday blues that capitalism and its hit man, religion, bring on all of us,” we chatted it up with Cheveyo on some of the other inspirations behind the record, the bands denouncements of messiahs and how to “enjoy the folly of youth,” among other enlightening things from the promising new Sub Pop crew:
You strike us as a dude who covets a dynamic lyric. What’s your first memory of a lyric that opened your mind to better songwriting, followed by the most recent memory of the same thing?
What is one Seattle band that Rose Windows wouldn’t exist without?
I would have to say, Earth. Master Musicians of Bukkake have definitely opened our eyes to much more but I think a mutual love for “Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull” [LISTEN] is what initially drew us together.
Who are the shadow people marching across the arms of Adam and God on The Sun Dogs cover art? And how do they tie into the theme of the record?
A friend of ours named David Teichner painted it. It existed before the songs did. I often looked at it while working on the material for the record. I guess I always interpreted them as slaves. Thematically, I wanted to present the woes of being beaten down by this capitalist system we exist under but I also wanted to recognize the blessings of just being alive. Also, whenever possible, presenting the idea that we can change things.
If religion is capitalism’s hit man, who/what is the Rose Windows’ messiah?
There are no messiahs. Just temporary relief. We drink, smoke, jam, and enjoy the folly of youth.
There’s much summoning of awesome mantras on The Sun Dogs, from words that write themselves to “Heavenly Days” but how long did it take Rabia Shaheen Qazi to channel the psych-blues warrior spirit of Grace Slick?
Rabia is her own person. If she channeled a warrior spirit, it’d be her own.
The tag “heaven helps a friend” is a snide remark on leaders doing terrible things in the name of higher powers. Merlot is a metaphor for blood. That’d be an interesting statistic to know – which has mankind done more? Spill blood? Or drink wine?