Music Banter by TJ - Animal Sun

Hey fellow Captains! This is TJ here, your go-to for all things music and local, whether it's a solo artist on campus or a band in Richmond. If you like them, they'll be here on Music Banter.

As the acoustic guitar begins to strum, you are transported into a world of echoes, the lyrics “I’ll wait for you” sung with a haunting chord progression that sends chills down your spine. The bass is subtle but strong; the drums are clean and precise and the vocals suck you in, as if you’re deep inside the music, being guided across the score. This is what I experienced when I first came across Animal Sun, a student-run band on campus with exceptional talent. The artists behind the group are Will Alton (drums), Cazzie Olko (bass), Jonathan Harris (guitar/vocals) and Steven Alton (guitar/lead vocals), an eclectic group of individuals that mesh perfectly together to create a very fluid melody. Animal Sun originally hails from Charlottesville, Va., starting off as an Alton brother duo, and eventually becoming an alternative rock quartet.

I was honored with the opportunity to sit in on Animal Sun’s practice for a mini photo-shoot last week and was immediately hooked. I found their sound to be somewhat like Goo Goo Dolls and Muse (this was confirmed by the lead vocalist), since their tunes are more of a lean back and get into the “feels” kind of jam, rather than something a bit crazier like Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Harris and Olko join Alton on vocals, producing amazing and tight three-part harmony on some of the songs, and the younger Alton brother is a master when it comes to the drums. They’re so good that they’ve even performed at venues like the National (for all you RVA lovers) as openers for The Reckless Island, as well as the Anti Room in Charlottesville.

Animal Sun have a lot of outlets if you feel like listening to their music on your way to class or while you’re drinking your morning coffee in Einstein’s. They have a demo and a few singles on their Bandcamp account, as well as Soundcloud. If you’re looking to see these guys live, I recommend keeping your ear open around campus. Who knows - maybe they’ll be performing at this year’s Fall Fest or even at local hangouts like Schooner’s sometime soon. If not at CNU, definitely make sure to follow them on Facebook so you can keep up with their off-campus gigs.