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Roanoke, Va.’s Eternal Summers—who play tomorrow at Big Bear Cafe with Air Waves and The Beets—are often lumped in with that movement, insofar as it is one. (Is it chill wave? Glo-fi? Beach pop?!) But band name notwithstanding, it’s a comparison the duo‘s singer and guitarist, Nicole Yun, says she finds a little flattering and kind of far-off. “I think people listen to our recording, which was sweet-sounding,” said Yun, 27, referring to the eight-song EP she and drummer Daniel Cundiff released earlier this year. “People might be surprised with our live show.”
In other words, don’t expect a contempo Beat Happening with delusions of shoegaze. At times, Eternal Summers plays minimalistic power punk with a smile; other songs, like “Lightswitch,” are dreamy, electric ballads. And Yun doesn’t just know how to write pop hooks; her dulcet, honeyed vocals can sell them. Yun said fans can chalk up the nostalgic, hissy patina of the recording to the band’s analog recording sessions, not an aesthetic M.O. As for the full-length Yun and Cundiff are currently committing to tape, expect something “broader,” with “a lot of more no-wavey punk,” Yun said. “It’s just going to be a lot more varied.”
Yun and Cundiff are recording in Roanoke in the Mystic Fortress, the shared space of the Magic Twig Community, which Eternal Summers is a part of alongside bands like The Sad Cobras and The Young Sinclairs. The collective is comprised of nine people involved in eight or nine projects, Yun said, and the members share instruments, rent, and a reel-to-reel set-up.
Yun grew up in Northern Virginia, and attended James Madison University. When she moved to Roanoke a few years ago, she said, “the beautiful mountains, and tons of parks, kind of appealed to me.” I asked her if Roanoke has a “scene.” “No, the scene is Magic Twig and a few affiliated bands. Really, Roanoke is a great place to be in a band, but it’s a horrible place to perform. But it’s a great place to write and be creative.” Hence Eternal Summers’ hectic touring schedule: Yun and Cundiff will criss-cross the mid-Atlantic this fall, with several shows planned for New York City during the CMJ Music Marathon (including a couple shows sponsored by the D.C.-based label Underwater Peoples). And throughout the year, as the group has earned more buzz, the crowds have become thicker. “At the last couple of shows, people have been starting to pogo,” Yun said, not attempting to contain her laughter. “Which is awesome.”
Photo courtesy of Eternal Summers’ MySpace page, where you can also hear the band’s music. The duo plays at 7 p.m. tomorrow night with Air Waves and The Beets at Big Bear Cafe, 1700 First Street NW.