• Courtesy of Santah’s Facebook page
  • Santah

Santah’s new, currently untitled second LP is now available for preorder, but not in the way you’d expect. You can put down ten bucks toward a digital download if you like, or you can shell out $25 for the vinyl edition. Or you can purchase a slot in a fermentation class taught by Vivian McConnell, who sings and plays guitar in the psych-rock band alongside her brother, Stanton. The members of Santah are doing it all themselves this time around: via a PledgeMusic campaign, they’ve already funded the production of the record, which arrives in May. They’re also donating 5 percent of all proceeds to CeaseFire, a nonprofit geared at ending gun violence in Chicago.

As far as record releases go, Santah’s forthcoming drop is more elaborate than most, but that makes sense—they’re the kind of band that keeps things complicated. At their live shows, their presence is big and swarming—it feels as if there are twice as many people onstage.

“Sunkeeper” runs along a spinning drum beat and a steady rhythm-guitar riff, but there are breaks in the form of rests and left turns in the vocal melody. Stanton takes lead vocal duty while Vivian provides back-up vocal harmonies (she also plays with the chamber-pop group Grandkids) and the former studs his lyrics with pop-culture references. But he’s not out to score points with listeners—he’s just riffing on the track’s uncomplicated themes of light versus darkness (or day giving way to night). The song tries to do a lot at once, but Santah also manages to leave abundant negative space between the instruments. Those empty pockets give the whole thing life—without that breathing room, “Sunkeeper” might have collapsed.

The new album will be Santah’s first full-length since 2011, when the band released White Noise Bed. Since then, they’ve put out 2012’s five-song EP You’re Still a Lover and a seven-inch single called “Awwh Man.” They’ve played packed shows around Chicago, and they’re currently gearing up for a March tour through the midwest.

Santah’s upcoming tour starts in Milwaukee and takes them to the Empty Bottle, where they’ll play with Jaime Rojo on March 9. Until then, hear “Sunkeeper” below, and keep an eye out for more from Santah in the months to come.