Bands to Watch 2012: Sundown

  • Photo by Jodi Miller
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From the January 26, 2012 edition

How devoted to rock ’n’ roll are Sundown’s TK Webb and Dustin White?

Devoted enough to convert a rented Clintonville warehouse into a live-in rehearsal and recording studio, which they’ve shared with a cat named Honky Tonk since November.

Devoted enough to part ways with rhythm section Grant Driskell and Blake Pfister last month (no hard feelings, they swear) and hire The Main Street Gospel’s Vug Arakas and Chris Pierce so Sundown can tour more extensively.

Devoted enough to keep chasing this lifestyle — marked at its worst by hearing loss, busted equipment and van sleeping — well into their 30s.

“TK and I are both lifers for this,” White said. “At this point, it’s all I know how to do.”

Fortunately for Webb and White, who joined forces early last year and haven’t slowed down since, they’re exceptionally good at their chosen profession. Sundown’s six-song debut cassette, “Mansion Burning!,” contained some of last year’s most revelatory sounds out of Columbus — rugged, psych-inflected folk-rock described succinctly on Bandcamp as “new cosmic American music.”

The quality was unsurprising considering their pedigree. White, a veteran of Columbus dive bars and punk houses, is Times New Viking’s sonic guru. Webb, who transplanted from Brooklyn in 2010, accrued significant acclaim for releases on elite underground labels Social Registry, Kemado and Mexican Summer.

“Mansion Burning!” breathed such vitality into Crazy Horse-style classic rock that Brett Ruland, who runs Downtown vinyl shop Spoonful Records, is resurrecting his label of the same name to reissue the EP on vinyl. Spoonful’s national distribution promises more exposure in 2012, as does a March tour built around Austin’s massive South by Southwest.

Then they’ll cull a full-length from Webb’s seemingly bottomless well of songs, which is only growing deeper at the home/studio.

“There’s a mountain of stuff that’s already occurred in here,” Webb said.

The warehouse speaks to Sundown’s values: Rooms cobbled from free junk off Craigslist house a priceless collection of vintage gear. This is how rockers go all-in.

“Both of us immediately knew what we wanted to do,” White said, “so there was no point to not just do that.”