It’s a time of transition for frontman Rob Krause and the rest of The Darling Suns.
The indie-rock band — the core of which consists of John Stenger of St. Charles on guitar, violinist Lindsey Ward of Aurora and Woodridge’s Krause on guitar and the mic — is heading into the summer season sporting the fresh single “Raspberry Homecoming” and an album full of new songs, many of which you can hear when the band plays the Pheasant Run Resort Mainstage Friday, May 31.
The new album, due out later this summer, takes The Darling Suns on a darker path, the band’s typically bright, folksy tunes giving way to a moodier, more pensive vibe.
“I’m really excited to get this new stuff out because it’s 100% different,” Krause said of the louder, more explosive sound. “I’m excited to show people. I’m excited to surprise some people. I don’t think people are expecting that from us.”
The Darling Suns gave fans a taste of that new direction with the April release of the performance video for “Call from the Outside,” filmed live at DZ Records with Ben Arguelles. The song, while still awash in the band’s signature homespun melodies, delivers an intensity not formerly embraced by the band.
“In a way, I’ve gotten to play more music in the style that I really enjoy, that I’ve been wanting to play in. John (Stenger) can play more in the style he wants to play,” Krause said. “It’s really worked better for everyone because we met at this place where this is what we all like. This spot’s cool, so let’s continue to do that.”
That collaborative spirit pervades his attitude about the band.
“Before we go on stage, I like to do a little huddle, take a shot if it’s present. I like to feel as much as one with my band as possible,” he said. “It’s not just me, it’s us. We’re a unit, so it works. We all depend on each other, so it’s important.”
Krause, who grew up in Yorkville and attended school with bandmate Stenger, started playing guitar off and on around the age of 12 before picking it up seriously again after moving to Florida.
“I was working in treatment centers when I started thinking I could go play open mics,” Krause said. “I thought that was my career. When you’re younger you have these ideas, but I never had fantasies I was going to be a rock star.”
The basis for The Darling Suns began to form after Krause returned to Illinois and reconnected with Stenger and some other musicians.
“I did a solo project for so long, but the second you get to play onstage with somebody else or you get to play with a band, this is so exciting. It’s a whole new world. Now you’re feeding off someone else’s energy, and there’s so much more to play with, so that changes the game.”
The Darling Suns will take the stage Friday as part of The Underbelly Hours Presents, a collaborative program organized by Adela Skowronski and Dan Dick, hosts of the Elmhurst College radio show giving a voice to underground bands from the area. The event is held in conjunction with the Artfinix Podcast Network.
Captain Coopersmith headlines the show, which will also feature a performance from Frequilibrium, as well as appearances by Chicago-area podcast hosts Jake Fisher (of the “Wake & Jake” podcast), Stephanie Fravel (of “In the Green Room”) and Andy King (founder of the Artfinix Podcast Network and host of the “#ArtCanFix” podcast).
• • •
The Underbelly Hours Presents
Featuring Captain Coopersmith, Frequilibrium and The Darling Suns
When: 8 p.m. Friday, May 31
Where: Pheasant Run Resort Mainstage, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles, (630) 584-6300 or tickets.vendini.com
Tickets: $15; $55 for three-course dinner and show package
• The Darling Suns also plays an acoustic show Sunday, June 2, at GMan Tavern (3740 N. Clark St., Chicago) with Edward & Jane and The Long Lost, and a free show with Chaos In Creation and Arclight Tuesday, June 4, at Crown Liquors (2821 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago).