Valley Noise: Despite setbacks, Phoenix punk-rockers Sundressed​ expand beyond Arizona

Phoenix punk band Sundressed was on tour in Utah in January when the members awoke to a gut-wrenching discovery.

"We were staying in a hotel, and when we woke up, someone had taken our whole trailer off the back of our van,” leader singer Trevor Thane Hedges recalled. “We lost everything.”

The band was undergoing a nationwide tour in support of their two most recent EPs, “Dig Up a Miracle” and “The Same Condition,” both released in 2015 through Massachusetts-based label Take This to Heart Records.

Active for the past four years, Trevor said he got the band name from the Ben Kweller song “Sundress” and thought it would sound cool with an “-ed” at the end. Although somewhat expected from the name, Hedges said at no point has he ever worn a sundress.

“I’ve worn other kinds of dresses,” he said. “I wore one on Halloween last year. I don’t know if it’d be considered a sundress, but it looked good.”

The band’s sound gradually shifted from an indie-folk sound (“I wanted to be Bright Eyes,” Trevor said) to the loud, brash pop-punk it is today. The response has been overwhelming, they said, as Sundressed has managed to build a small, but growing fanbase outside of Arizona.

When the trailer was stolen in Utah not long after a show in Oregon, the band set up a fundraising page on the Internet. They managed to bounce back with support and donations from friends, fans, family and more famous musicians such as Modern Baseball and even guitarist Andy McKee, who donated $500 to the band.

During the nationwide tour, the band was surprised by the amount of loyal followers in places as far-flung as New Jersey and Oregon.

“Oregon really blew me away,” Hedges said. “We had a really packed room with a bunch of kids that knew our songs. It was really unexpected.”

Guitarist Andrew Hredzak said he was glad that Sundressed is “picking up the pace” as they continue to retool its sound.

“It’s been gaining momentum,” he said. “The sound is definitely honing in, and the development is continuing.”

Sundressed credits the support it received as the driving force for getting them back on stage. Recently the band played at a house show on Saturday night hosted by ASU’s The Underground Foundation.

“We wouldn’t have played tonight, and we probably wouldn’t be recording, or have this confidence we still have without all the support that we have,” Hredzak said.

Gabriel Fuentes, guitarist for Albuquerque math rock band CRTTRZ, said he has known Sundressed since it began four years ago. His band played alongside Sundressed at Saturday’s TUF show, and also several times in Albuquerque.

A lot of the gear we lost had sentimental value. However , the new gear we are buying also holds tremendous value...

Posted by Sundressed on Monday, February 15, 2016

Fuentes said he wasn’t surprised that the band managed to recover so quickly after the theft of their equipment.

“That’s the way the DIY scene works,” he said. “Getting help in a timely matter and not feeling the blow as bad. It’s a nice community — nice family.”

Being from New Mexico, Fuentes said there are certainly aspects of Arizona bands that set them apart from bands elsewhere.

“They have a lot more courage and a lot of heart,” he said. “They don’t give up very easily. I think that’s where most bands differ is their dedication to themselves and to their art.”

Sundressed will perform at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix on April 8.

Related links:

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Reach the reporter at idickins@asu.edu or follow @sailormouthed92 on Twitter.

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