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Things are heating up for psychedelic sextet Sleepy Sun, a California act that counts Arctic Monkeys among those stricken with 'Fever'



Sleepy Sun with Little Teeth and The Gentle Art of Floating
8 p.m. Monday
the Conservatory
8911 N. Western

For up-and-coming psychedelic rockers Sleepy Sun, touring isn't just a part of being a band " it's a way of life.

"Our leases for our apartments in San Francisco came up, and we just decided to hit the road," said guitarist Matt Holliman. "We've been touring a month on and a month off ever since."

It's been nearly two years of heavy touring in support of the band's two albums, 2009's "Embrace" and May's "Fever," and the closest thing the six Sleepy Sun musicians have to a home is a van. That's not to say they aren't enjoying themselves, especially with all the new places to visit and perform.

Increasingly, the group finds itself attracted to Europe and all the benefits the continent has to offer musicians.

"In general, it is much easier to be a band over there, both in terms of pay and people coming out to see shows," Holliman said. "And everything is a little closer over there. It's not uncommon for us to spend eight to 10 hours traveling to the next venue stateside.

"Unfortunately, it's horribly expensive over there," he said. "You stand there and do the math in your head and think to yourself, 'I'm paying $9 for a fucking cappuccino.'"

Sleepy Sun has suffered slight streak of bad luck across the Atlantic " including run-ins with thieves " but the act has been accompanied by an even healthier heap of good fortune, playing for huge crowds at massive festivals and being handpicked by UK favorites Arctic Monkeys to accompany that band on its American tour last spring.

It proved to be a good fit, as Arctic Monkeys had just been bitten by the stoner-rock bug itself, and Sleepy Sun carried that momentum on to its "Fever," which was half-written on the road and recorded in between tour legs.

"We never really go to the studio with finished songs," Holliman said. "The songs are plopped down in their skeleton form, ripped apart and reassembled."

Sleepy Sun's two albums have been well-received for their throwback psychedelic appeal and loyalty to stoner-rock godfathers like Black Sabbath. Holliman said that the vibe is both a result of what the band listens to and its method of songwriting.

"Mostly, music is a product of what you are listening to, but we've got quite a few writers in this band," he said. "It's a lot of people wanting to put their vested interests in it. This leads to eclectic editing and writing, which sort of lends itself to that trippy, crazy sort of vibe."

However, albums take a backseat to live shows for Sleepy Sun, where Holliman said the songs rarely resemble what they sound like in their recorded states. Armed with that tour-first mentality, the band finds the future to look brighter with each passing day.

"We went from tiny club shows to the last leg where every single day was this huge festival," he said. "The rate at which things were happening for us " even to today " it just keeps going up." "Joshua Boydston | Photo/Hadas

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