Summer Underground is an indie-folk duo comprised of singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Grant Carey and Chrissy Sandman. The duo began making music as Summer Underground during the summer of 2011 in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Retreating back home after a year of college, the duo recorded their first album, Beneath This City, in their basements and living rooms. Recorded on a macbook with a single microphone, the album was created through trial and error. The album has a sonic quality that will forever feel worn and nostalgic. Antique toy piano mingles about with unpolished trombones and flutes; hollowed, detuned piano dances with a warm ukulele. And far above this youthful, awkward orchestra Chrissy and Grant find their singular voice through their opposing characteristics.
A year later, Grant and Chrissy spent several months studying in London and Prague respectively. This experience would fuel the double EP project Departures & Arrivals. Released in December 2012, Departures was indeed a calculated departure from the cheery quirk-pop of Beneath This City in favor of a more aggressive, electronic sound. For the first time, the two experimented with computer-generated sounds - piecing together parts into a jarring sonic puzzle.
In the year that followed, Summer Underground was ready again to shift perspectives and create music that felt more performative and visceral. The Arrivals EP was ironically recorded in two separate places; the duo utilized dropbox and google drive to trade songs, ideas, and lyric files. With its smoky guitars, folky piano, and choruses worthy of a campfire, Arrivals was filled to the brim with a sense of celebration and community. It was released in October 2013.
After moving to New York, the two were finally living in the same place for the first time. Countless writing sessions and subway rides from Queens to the Lower East Side produced over 30 new songs. Following a successful kickstarter campaign, Chrissy and Grant set out on their largest undertaking yet, their 2nd full-length album Honeycomb.
Recorded in a large living room in the mountains of Pennsylvania, Honeycomb has both a grandness and a lo-fi sensibility. Sometimes sparse and sometimes multi-layered, the record is grounded by the continued presence of a rich, sonorous grand piano. Pushing their sound in new directions are the additions of a rhythm section - an old, worn-out drum kit rattles about with warm, crunchy bass parts. The duo’s quirky chamber-pop sensibilities manifest in flourishes of flute, trombone, and melodica, while swirling synths, electric and acoustic guitars blend to provide a sense of movement. Grant and Chrissy's trademark vocal harmonies express a sprawling narrative about the thrilling, melancholic and sometimes humorous aspects of being a young person in a semi-fictionalized version of New York City. In 16 dream-like yet vivid songs, Honeycomb explores the relationship between reality and fantasy; urban living and wide open spaces; monsters and twenty-somethings. It was released November 25, 2014.
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