More Than a Friend, Less Than a Lover:
At a certain point, Summer Underground wasn’t certain there was going to be a 3rd album. In the summer of 2015, duo Grant Carey & Chrissy Sandman returned to Valley View Studios outside their hometown of Pittsburgh - the same location where 2014’s sprawling D.I.Y. concept album Honeycomb was created - to lay down foundational piano & drum tracks for a handful of new songs. Two weeks flew by, and once it was time to return to New York City, the duo was left with more questions than answers about what was to become of these new songs.
For months, the sessions lay untouched in a hard drive, accumulating proverbial dust. Winter came, and Summer Underground set out on their first ever tour - an intimate acoustic tour through the midwest & mountain regions of the US. On tour, the duo had the opportunity to return to some of those forgotten songs and explore them nightly. Songs like ‘Lost in Your Love’ & ‘Back in Chicago’ became features of the nightly sets, and soon the aesthetics of the album began to take shape. Arrangements would be lush & thick, but clear & precise. Seven-minute folk epics were traded in for punchy four-and-a-half-minute indie-rock anthems. Where Honeycomb tickled our brains, More Than a Friend, Less Than a Lover would tug on the heartstrings.
The characters of Honeycomb inhabited a very physical space imagined by that album’s whimsical realization of a semi-fictional metropolis. Throughout, its characters examine and question their place in this sprawling urban arena. If those same characters roam throughout More Than a Friend, Less Than a Lover, this time the focus narrows down to the space between two people - the space between love & friendship, between trust & jealousy, between what’s said & what remains unspoken.
Musically, More Than a Friend, Less Than a Lover is a syrupy distillation of the various forms and styles Summer Underground has experimented with over the years: the pop sensibility of the duo’s first record Beneath This City (2011) is on full display, while the homespun recording techniques explored in the double EP project Departures & Arrivals (2013) marries with the orchestral whimsy of Honeycomb. Carey & Sandman’s growth as songwriters and producers is the most evident shift as these songs careen by in careful and thoughtfully structured expressions of aching love and lust.
In the summer of 2016, Summer Underground embarked on a 16 city nationwide tour with drummer Andrew Weir and bassist Aidan Boardman in support of their new album. The record was treated to final mixing and recording sessions while on the road in the various hotels and B&B’s the band passed through. More Than a Friend, Less Than a Lover was released late August 2016.
"NYC duo Summer Underground released their endearing full-length album More Than a Friend, Less Than a Lover over the past summer, but their music feels appropriately therapeutic in these strange days of November, when many of us are wondering if their neighbors have any human feelings [...] The minimalistic, folky, electric background serves the song well, unifying the track with a sense of calm, comfort, a tinge of longing, and a very much needed hint of hope." - The Deli NYC
"Laced with catchy melodies, emotive stories, and intricate instrumental layering, New York based act Summer Underground return with their newest EP, The Bee Sides, and are stronger than ever." - Mind Equals Blown
"With soulful vibes from their latest LP release Honeycomb, it's fair to say that the band has all the boxes ticked - authentic songwriting, catchy pop-influenced melodies, and a solid delivery of well-bended harmonies, all packed in an exquisitely uplifting manner." - Mind Equals Blown
"Honeycomb is a clinic of sparkling and delicate passion that weaves between romantic lounge and intimate jazz. It’s a lesson in active listening that really rewards the listener with some deeper meaning on love and life, clearing the mind in the process. [...] This is a heavy album that manages to feel weightless. See for yourself, you’re bound to lose yourself within it." - The Equal Ground
"Wacky multi-instrumentation. Evocative vocals. (hey!). Brilliant lyrics. Grant Carey and Chrissy Sandman have been making music together for three years or so and the combination is righteous and weird." - Radio Crowdfund, Paul Schomer, former NPR music producer.
West Coast, Southwest, & South Tour (July-August 2016)
- Ketchum, ID
- Seattle, WA
- Portland, OR
- San Francisco, CA
- Los Angeles, CA
- San Diego, CA
- Phoenix, AZ
- Tucson, AZ
- El Paso, TX
- Austin, TX
- Dallas, TX
- Fort Worth, TX
- Nashville, TN
- Evansville, IN
- Cincinnati, OH
- Pittsburgh, PA
Midwest & Mountains Tour (January 2016)
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Cleveland, OH
- Chicago, IL
- Madison, WI
- Boulder, CO
- Denver, CO
- Park City, UT (Sundance)
- Mercury Lounge, Bowery Presents
- Chelsea Nights @ Chelsea Market, presented by Paper Garden Records and
- CMJ Music Marathon Showcase 2015 @ Pine Box Rock Shop
- VH1 Save the Music Foundation Benefit presented by Sonicbids @ Pianos