Last week, the South Korean band Say Sue Me released their sophomore album Where We Were Together. The collection first caught our attention back in February with the song “Old Town” — an infectious, jangly indie track that might’ve been about the band members reckoning with their hometown of Busan, but also had a universal appeal to anyone who’s grappled with the place they’re from and what it’s made them.
From that track, a lot of the blog buzz surrounding Say Sue Me often described them as a surf-rock band, from one end of the Pacific but conjuring up the other. Subsequent singles — the shoegaze-tinged “After Falling Asleep” and the slow-burn epic “Coming To The End” — hinted at the broader scope of Where We Were Together. The album turned out to be a pretty expansive journey, full of rushing indie-rock gems, and old-time pop melodies filtered through a few decades of alternative music, and breakneck songs that fired off into the atmospheric dreamscapes of their neighbors.
While you might still be settling in with the album just a week later, Say Sue Me are actually about to return with an accompanying release already. As a part of Record Store Day 2018 this weekend, the group will unveil a new EP of covers called It’s Just A Short Walk! The title comes from the fact that it was a quick and easy bonus round project for Say Sue Me after the longer process of completing Where We Were Together — a quick and celebratory addendum.
Fittingly for a band that often sounds as if they’re piecing together various corners of pop history, the song selections and aesthetic of the EP span decades. In a press release, frontwoman Sumi Choi mentions that they at first considered covers by their favorites, Yo La Tengo and Pavement. Instead, they went back to some of the older, legendary bands and decided to try to render those songs through the lens of indie bands Say Sue Me grew up on. That means the ’60s pop charge of the Velvet Underground’s “Beginning To See The Light” gets ruptured with angular ’90s breakdowns, or that they might tweak the Beach Boys’ “Do You Wanna Dance” and the Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach” with a shimmery modern haze.
The highlight is easily their rendition of Blondie’s “Dreaming.” The original, of course, is a new wave classic. Choi explains that they set out to play Blondie, but in the style of Jesus & Mary Chain. The end result is a washed-out, gorgeously melancholic take on “Dreaming,” Choi cooing that instantly-recognizable melody above currents of suggestive, fuzzed-out guitars. It’s a great epilogue to Where We Were Together, and you can hear it and the rest of the EP below now.
04/20 – Coventry, UK @ The Tin Music and Arts
04/21 – Chester, UK @ Telford’s Warehouse
04/22 – Cardiff, UK @ The Moon
04/23 – Leicester, UK @ Soundhouse
04/24 – Colchester, UK @ Arts Center
04/28 – Dordrecht, NL @ DOOR
04/29 – Nijmegen, NL @ Merleyn
05/01 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
05/02 – Groningen, NL @ Vera w/ Vacations
05/03 – Trier, DE @ Ex-Haus
05/04 – Schorndorf, DE @ Manufaktur
05/05 – Freiburg, DE @ Swamp
05/06 – Augsburg, DE @ Grandhotel Cosmopolis
05/08 – Hannover, DE @ Kulturpalast Linden
05/09 – Berlin, DE @ Schokoladen
05/10 – Munich, DE @ Import Export
05/11 – Offenbach, DE @ Hafen 2
05/12 – Colmar, FR @ Le Lavoir
05/14 – Paris, FR @ Supersonic w/ Japanese Breakfast + Paws (solo)
05/16 – London, UK @ Brixton Windmill w/ Billy Carter
05/17 – Brighton, UK @ The Great Escape Festival
Where We Were Together is out now and It’s Just a Short Walk! is out 4/21, both via Damnably.