SunDog: Alaskan Psychedelic Funk

SunDog is a funk-infused psychedelic garage rock band from Chugiak, Alaska. The band formed in 2015 after band members, Abi Sparkman (Guitar/Vocals), Deven Lind (Bass/Vocals) and Philip Giannulis (Drums) decided to compete in a battle of the bands at their high-school. SunDog won the competition and has continued to create psychedelic rock and entertain audiences around Alaska.

In late 2016, SunDog released a four-track ep on Bandcamp, titled ‘Not Your Grandpa’s Devil Music’. In 2017, the band released the singles Tiny Bugs and Scooby Doo’d, before dropping their 2018 debut album, ‘Fungus Among Us’. The album features a funky garage rock sound, evoking psychedelic bands of the 1960s and 70s. Certain tracks are reminiscent of bands such as Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd and Nektar. Sometimes their music is euphoric and melodic. Other times it shifts into heavy psych instrumentals that energize the audience. When there are lyrics, they are often personal and speak of a spiritual connection to nature and the landscape; however, half the songs on their debut album are purely instrumental, several of which show progressive rock and funk influences (e.g. Funky One, Too Close (To the Sun) and Numb Thumb). SunDog rocks a variety of psychedelic sounds, from uplifting, ethereal songs such as Tiny Bugs and Dollhouses, to the dark and hypnotic riffs of Shaman Song. At some live performances, their trippy music is enhanced by a psychedelic liquid light show.

Photo credits: Joe Ransdell-Green

Photo credits: Joe Ransdell-Green

In late 2018, SunDog released their second ep, titled ‘Light Speed Parade’, recorded live at the University of Alaska Anchorage Planetarium. This year SunDog has played a number of venues in the Anchorage area, from Van’s Dive Bar and the 49th State Brewing Company to the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Zoo. I recently caught a SunDog performance at the Trapper Creek Bluegrass Festival, their second year to play there. They were the headliner for the night and began their hour-long set at 2 am, playing to an enthusiastic audience. SunDog performed many of their classics, but also jammed on several songs I had not heard before, including an epic prog-rock style instrumental. They ended the show with a version of Burning Down the House by the Talking Heads, with musical guest, Wash Your Hands. Sparkman said they were in the process of recording new material. If we're lucky, this Alaska-grown band will continue to produce exciting rock n roll for our ears. This month you can catch SunDog performing in Fairbanks on June 8th at the Marlin and in Anchorage on June 15th at the Arctic Valley Summer Jam 2019.  

Check out their BandCamp to hear some of their music. Their Facebook can be found here. Title thumbnail photo credits: Shipe Shot Photography , from the Anchorage Press

Joe Ransdell-Green

The Joe Show