By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Until very recently, nearly every mention of 21-year-old Paul North, who musically goes by the moniker Sunnybrook, noted that he's the younger brother of Sleep Whale member Joel North. It's a fact that, according to Paul, doesn't bother him "at all."
But the references linking the two brothers' musical projects are kind of appropriate. Because, from an early age, Paul says, the brothers' lives have been very much in step. Whether it was learning to ride a skateboard or play the guitar, Paul followed in his brother's footsteps.
"Now, practically everything we do, we do together," Paul says.
The brothers both work at Jupiter House, the popular coffee shop located on the Denton square and, for the last three years, the pair has lived together in Denton, along with the elder North's fellow founding Sleep Whale (formerly Mom) member Bruce Blay. And Joel first recorded a 12-year-old Paul performing in the brothers' first home-based recording studio in the garage of the family's home on Sunnybrook Lane in Bryan.
"That's kinda where it all started," Paul says. "But, back then, it was these two separate bands."
Last year, Paul officially joined Sleep Whale, which blurred the lines a bit between the brothers' musical endeavors. But, Paul explains, what many people seem to miss is that "Joel is just as much a part of Sunnybrook as I am."
So, yes, it can all get a little confusing. Paul certainly understands this.
"All these people tell me it's really good," he says, "but, I'm just thinking, 'I write pop music in my bedroom, and it just so happens that people like it.''"
For good reason, though. The band's recordings have garnered local and national media nods that favorably, and appropriately, compare Sunnybrook's sound to that of popular indie outfits Sufjan Stevens, Grizzly Bear, Phosphorescent and Sigur Rós. Before long, Lefse Records contacted Sunnybrook after hearing the band recently end up as a preview track on the popular Web site, Pitchfork.
Lefse initially wanted to release an EP and a full-length from Sunnybrook, but, Paul says, "I was kinda terrified to owe them an album. I had the EP done, but then we decided to just add more songs to make the EP a full-length. I was recording for six years before anybody started paying attention, so, literally, I have recorded hours and hours of Sunnybrook material."
The fruits of that labor, according to Lefse, should see the light of day in a debut full-length release scheduled for early 2010. Included in that material is a song called "Willow Whale," the latest Sunnybrook track maving waves about the Web.
Consider affection for whales another thing the Brothers North share.