Mix the synthwave sound of the Smiths, add a female vocalist, some hard-hitting abrasive drums and a whole lot of ambient guitar sounds and you’ll get SISU. SISU is Sandra Vu. The LA-based singer/multi-instrumentalist layers airy, harmony-laden vocals over dreamy synthwave. Though she’s a seasoned drummer (Dum Dum Girls, The Raveonettes, Boredoms, Dirty Beaches), she’s stepped out from behind the kit to center stage for SISU, opening on tour dates for Cat Power, Marnie Stern, DIIV, and Metronomy.

“Blood Tears”, SISU’s first full-length album (due September 2013), builds on the recently released “Light Eyes” EP (April 2013), offering a bigger sound and a heightened sense of drama. As Vu explains, “These are pop songs with un-pop sounds.” SISU is defined by contrast and juxtaposition, and Vu finds a particular challenge and joy in combining opposites—soft and hard, loud and quiet, abrasive and smooth—to arrive at this aesthetic.

Writing songs for the album was catharsis for Vu, who used the process to overcome a period of disillusionment in between bands. “Blood Tears” is about relationships and the creative process—the necessity of pain for growth or creation,” she says. “Sometimes you have to kill a part of yourself to become stronger.” The new single “Harpoons” is a declaration of this power and independence found in divorcing yourself from the past. Both aggressive and sublime, it’s quintessential SISU. From this experience, Vu found her voice, naming it SISU, the Finnish word for “extreme perseverance.”

The singe Harpoons is both aggressive and ambient. You can listen to it here.

Tour Dates:

08/30 – Los Angeles, CA – La Cita (Part Time Punks)^
09/01 – Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
09/04 – Montreal, QC, Canada – Societe des Arts Technologiques #
09/05 – Boston, MA – Church of Boston #
09/06 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom #
09/08 – Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel #
09/09 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s #
09/11 – Toronto, ON – The Garrison #
09/12 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle #
09/13 – St. Louis, MO – Firebird #
09/14 – Nashville, TN – Exit/In #
09/15 – Birmingham, AL – Bottletree #
09/17 – Austin, TX – The Mohawk #
09/19 – Phoenix, AZ – Rhythm Room #
09/20 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo #%
09/21 – San Diego, CA – The Void #%
09/22 – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill #%
09/24 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios #%
09/25 – Seattle, WA – Barboza #%
09/26 – Vancouver, BC, Canada – Biltmore Cabaret #%

# with Dirty Beaches
@ with Colleen Green
^ with Whirr, Nothing
% with Chasms