From the outset of the pulsing three-count drum beats on “Ruiner,” the opening track on Godhead, the latest from Seattle-based trio Sandrider, it’s clear the band means business and things are about to get loud—very loud.
And there’s only three of them. As the album continues, with thundering guitars and intense vocals, it’s hard to believe there aren’t more musicians in the fray creating the pummelling sonic cacophony unfolding. But noisy rock ‘n’ roll has always been the aim for Sandrider, a group made up of former Akimbo members Jon Weisnewski and Nat Damm (who have been playing together for more than a decade now) and Jesse Roberts of the Ruby Doe. For “pretty much a local band that plays around Seattle” as singer/guitarist Weisnewski puts it, Godhead—the second release for Sandrider—has done well since dropping in November, receiving positive feedback locally as well as in Europe and parts of Asia.
“We didn’t really consciously work on trying to do anything new,” Weisnewski says. “We had every intention of making another record after the first one came out, so it was just a matter of practicing the songs, writing the songs and getting a good chunk of songs together that we felt good about recording. We have every intention of releasing another record at some point. This one’s still pretty new, so we haven’t hit the writing board to write any new songs.”
Godhead, which once again enlisted Matt Bayles (Minus the Bear) as producer, may be new for listeners, but it’s been around for about five or six months prior to its release. Sandrider was backed by up-and-coming Seattle label Good to Die records for the second time, and it was just a matter of getting the album in line.
“Nik [Christofferson] had a couple releases that he already had lined up that he wanted to make sure he had released, and he’s pretty good at making sure all of his releases are spaced out so he can put all of his PR efforts on one record at a time as opposed to having to divide his attention. So it was more like we finished our record and it got in line for the Good to Die roster,” Weisnewski says with a laugh.
As far as Godhead’s content goes, things are kept simple. There’s no complicated mission statement behind the lyrics or concept—it’s just straight up rock ‘n’ roll.
“There’s not really any conscious things like, ‘I need to express something or get it out there,” Weisnewski adds. “We just really like playing loud rock ‘n’ roll and those songs are loud rock ‘n’ roll, so they give us the opportunity to do that. So yeah, it’s less about trying to express something and trying to make a statement more of let’s just make some good, loud rock songs and go play them for people who like that kind of music.”
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