Sundays is the debut full length from Oakland-based Tanukichan, aka multi-instrumentalist Hannah van Loon. At surface level, the album sounds just how the title describes: hazy, dreamy, reflective, just like a lazy Sunday afternoon. Upon second and third listens, the dreamy music unveils a deeper world: an ever present sense of longing, an endless state of summer and a period of instability that plagues us all at one point or another in our lives.
Raised in San Francisco, van Loon started out making classical, bluegrass and jazz music as well as playing in numerous bands in the area before deciding to make something more personal. What started with a few unfocused demos, with van Loon playing all the instruments herself in her house, became a studio experience and viable collection of music after her friend Anthony Ferraro of Astronauts, Etc. introduced her to Company Records founder Chaz Bear (Toro Y Moi, Les Sins). After collaborating on her 2016 EP Radiolove, van Loon and Bear set out to make a much more sonically cohesive release, with both the producer and artist playing all the instruments on the record. The result is a slice of dream pop that could only come from the combination of the laid back atmosphere of California and the nostalgic and often difficult memories that are generally associated with coming of age.
To van Loon, the tracks of Sundays are a form of contemplation and approaching life’s issues from a different and less complicated perspective. “Sometimes for me, it feels easier to write songs about things than to talk. A lot of things in life are layered and paradoxical, but with songs it always seems simpler.”
Opening track “Lazy Love” sets the stage, sonically and lyrically, for the rest of the album, combining vulnerable lyrics with gorgeous, fuzzy tones. Above pummeling synths and guitar tones, van Loon sings “you know I'd do anything/don't you know I try my best/if I could wake up when the sun is rising” showing the album’s constant theme of balancing always wanting to be the best person you can be, while also feeling a low level joy at letting life play out as it wants to. “Natural” is a track that feels perfect for a road trip, a track that hums away with a driving beat, culminating in the sheer excitement of finally having a night alone with someone you’ve loved for a while, among many highs and lows: “a window too bright/it's natural sunlight/grey fades to white lie/kiss you tonight/it's natural delight/help me feel right.” The tracks collectively address a deep rooted sense of yearning for someone, something new, while also feeling content with your life; a realization that maybe the places you’ve always belonged aren’t where you should be anymore, that suddenly you might be looking for something completely different.
“I settled on the name Sundays as the title of the record because it encapsulated how the record felt to me,“ van Loon says. “I was thinking about the laziness, and dreamy clarity that you can feel after a late night, waking up having to face the world with a new perspective.” Sundays encapsulates this feeling, a nostalgic way of looking at the world, waking up feeling like a slightly different person than before, looking back on life, not sure if you can tackle what’s next, but doing your best, day in and day out.