Voted 2011, 2012 and 2013 Best Indie Band by St. Louis Riverfront Times readers
Sleepy Kitty began as an experimental sound project for a class when frontwoman Paige Brubeck was enrolled as an undergraduate at School of The Art Institute Chicago in 2007. Brubeck and Evan Sult (ex-Harvey Danger) began layering field recordings of the “L” and Wicker Park street poets with ’60s style harmonies and crashing drums. Sult was playing drums in the math-rock indie-pop band Bound Stems at the time, and Brubeck was playing guitar in the girl group trio Stiletto Attack, but as the two bonded over Pavement and The Fall, they began writing their own post-punk, show-tune inflected songs and Sleepy Kitty went from side project to full on band.
Now two self-released EPs and a full length album later, “the duo plays up the ’90s rock while still keeping it fresh.” (Paste Magazine) Their live show is a whirlwind: Brubeck loops her vocals live, crafting walls of girl-group harmonies above the tube-driven blast of her vintage Super Reverb. Sult plays at the edge of the stage with her—when he can contain himself to his drum throne. Their 2011 album Infinity City (Euclid Records) transmits the power of their live show but reveals their canny control of pop architecture: “Gimme a Chantz!” opens with a theatrical flourish before bounding into a crowd of surging ’90s-era harmonies,and the Velvets/Fab Four mash note “Seventeen” revels in their influences. On their forthcoming release (as yet untitled) the band stays true to their love of dirty guitars, dreamy vocals and city sounds, and the songs progress like a collection of short stories. “Don’t You Start” is a pop kiss-off, thick with spring reverb and vocal loops, “Godard Protagonist Inflection” channels the soft coo of Brigitte Bardot, while rumbling percussion and blistering guitars create a dark cinematic crescendo. Choir-like voices sing in wonder of a cryptozoologist’s dedication to a search in “What Are You Gonna Do (When You Find Bigfoot)” and a ’60s teenage dance party shows up with the France Gall inspired “Nothing Equals You.” In support of Infinity City, Sleepy Kitty toured the Midwest and East Coast as well as opening for Neon Trees, Dresden Dolls, Deerhoof, and the inimitable Chuck Berry in their current hometown of St. Louis. A bang-up show in April 2012 at KC’s Middle of the Map Festival (which featured bands like fun., Mates of State and Neon Indian) kicked off their summer early, so Sleepy Kitty is headed out for regional and East Coast dates to warm up their new album. While at home, Sleepy Kitty runs a screenprinting studio out of a 19th century warehouse where they specialize in handprinted show posters for bands and venues in St. Louis, Chicago and New York.
More dates to be announced soon including West Coast dates and some exciting St. Louis shows!
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TOUR DIARY CLICK THIS LINK BELOW:
Sleepy Kitty to release sophomore LP, “Projection Room,” this January; touring late summer
What do Pavement, MGM musicals, Andy Warhol, Iggy Pop and Jean Luc Godard have in common? Not much, to most people. But for St. Louis-based duo Sleepy Kitty, all these sublimely weird and seemingly contradictory art forms are source material and inspiration for their forthcoming sophomore release, Projection Room, due January 14, 2014.
Projection Room is a gorgeous art-punk achievement by the band that sees them gain a cohesive new sound, while still including flagrant waves to their pop culture influences. It’s art-school experimentation with rock instruments and flaming guitar solos, but a musical theater backbone and ’60s stacked harmonies. And it’s catchy as hell.
Sleepy Kitty began to take shape at the end of 2008, when Evan Sult, who was drumming for Chicago’s Bound Stems after an eight-year stint in late-’90s alt-radio band Harvey Danger, met Paige Brubeck at a party. She was studying at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and playing in the all-girl band Stiletto Attack. For a project that originally began as an outlet for the duo to do “weirdo stuff that our own bands weren’t interested in doing,” as Sult says, Sleepy Kitty has quickly become a fully-fledged enterprise all its own. Based out of their self-described “art castle,” a studio space in the middle of Cherokee Street in St. Louis, Sleepy Kitty is a multimedia project: the two collaborate professionally on music, rock posters, album artwork, and fine art together. It’s this space that has birthed two Sleepy Kitty EP releases and a debut LP, Infinity City (2011), and is home to a blossoming art and graphics project under the same name.
The band is gaining momentum at an incredible pace, securing awards as Best Indie Band several years running in the Riverfront Times, St. Louis’ weekly paper, and scoring support slots for the likes of Deerhoof, Best Coast and Jeff The Brotherhood, as well performances at Middle of the Map Fest in both 2012 and 2013. With Paste Magazine calling their 2011 release “spectacularly catchy,” with “just enough cute… combined with distorted rock and a heavy drum beat,” 2014’s Projection Room is a natural step forward for the duo, and is their own garage-pop dream.
In true musical theater fashion, Projection Room kicks off with “(Opening Scene),” a quick audio tour of their art space, before easing into Brubeck’s glittering vocals on upcoming single “Don’t You Start.” With assertive crash n’ bash drums and heavy guitar distortion, all combined with the lusciousness of Brubeck’s ethereal harmonies, “Don’t You Start” hints at what lies in store for the rest of the album. “It’s about that moment when you think you’re ready to see someone you haven’t seen in awhile, for various reasons,” says Brubeck. “And then when you finally do, you see who they’re runnin’ around with, and see what you miss and what you definitely don’t miss, and all you can do is go to your practice space and write a song about it.” The chorus builds and feeds upon itself till it reaches a breathless crescendo.
With a French-pop sound reminiscent of France Gall, “Nothing = You” clocks in at just 1 minute 15 seconds, but still bursts with ye-ye harmonies and lyrics like a slightly garbled translation. Brubeck’s vocals shine through the infectious acoustic guitar riffs that finish all too soon, and lead straight to “What Are You Gonna Do When You Find Bigfoot?” Sonically, “Bigfoot” is an obvious nod to their MGM musical theater influences— but just to set the record straight, Sleepy Kitty’s not obsessed with finding Bigfoot. They are, however, obsessed with people obsessed with finding Bigfoot, which is what the song is about.
Building from a sunny day to a sudden summer storm, rockabilly-tinged “The Hoax” catches Brubeck’s innocent guitar tone growing increasingly dark and fierce as her voice doubles and redoubles into a wind-whipped downpour. “Godard Protagonist Inflection” might be Projection Room‘s peak, combining art-school sensibilities with true rock grandeur. The track came about after a Jean Luc Godard movie marathon, where the duo were particularly struck by the film Contempt. “There’s so much space and emotional tension throughout the film, and you almost want to intervene and help these two characters communicate with each other. They don’t read each other’s signs and nonverbal communication,” notes Brubeck. “The track is a musical interpretation of the film. It was a beast to record, but one of the tracks that we’re most proud of.”
Projection Room flows into the tense “The Agony and Ecstasy of Mike Daisey,” a consideration of a particular of episodes from NPR’s “This American Life,” which the band listens to faithfully each week. The haunting track is stripped back, with rumbling drums and eerie synths that release into “Western Antagonist Reflection,” a ghost-town tune that would sit flawlessly amongst the track listing on any Tarantino film.
“All I Do Is Dream of You” updates a breezy song from the classic musical Singin’ In The Rain with a subtle surf rock vibe and their resounding quirkiness. “I’m always trying to figure out how to combine what I love about old musicals (which is one of the main ways I got into music) and the garagey rock that I love and play,” explains Paige.
Things start to wind down with “Batman: The Ride,” an ode to the Six Flags theme park complete with roller-coaster sound bites. The track is reminiscent of the bright summer tunes of Best Coast, and, as Paige explains, is about her first trip to the theme park. “I was describing to Evan how excited my grade school self and my friends were about riding this roller coaster for the first time. Evan kept saying, “Hang on! Hang on!” and jotting down notes as I was describing the experience and anticipation of getting on this roller coaster.”
Closing track “Hold Yr Ground,” and the second single to be released off the album, is a true story about the duo’s newfound hometown. “What do you do when you’re born in 63118?” sings Brubeck, over throwback ’90s guitar riffs. “I mean that,” she has gone on to explain about the song. “St. Louis is an amazing, beautiful and unique city, and it also turned out to rougher than I thought it was.” The track is a fitting end to the record, and an anthemic ode to the town that has embraced them, and the street that has influenced their unique sound.
Projection Room is set for release January 14th, 2014 via Euclid Records.
Don't You Start/All i Do Is Dream of You
The Latest 7″ Single From Sleepy Kitty
Don’t You Start/All i Do Is Dream of You
Sleepy Kitty is ready to come roaring back into the spotlight with the September release of “Don’t You Start” b/w “All I Do Is Dream of You” in anticipation of their forthcoming album, Projection Room, both on the Euclid Records label. “Don’t You Start” will be on the album proper; it’s a typical Sleepy Kitty original, which means it’s a completely unexpected blast of rock’n’roll propulsion with a sweetly stunning pop vocal. The b-side, “All I Do Is Dream of You,” is a pop standard from 1934, written by the team of Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. It’s been recorded by the likes of Al Bowlly, Judy Garland, and Doris Day, and the inimitable Chico Marx played it on piano in the film A Night at the Opera. When Paige Brubeck of Sleepy Kitty wraps her mesmerizing pipes around the song, however, it becomes an exotic and enticing display of pure beauty. For good measure, Sleepy Kitty took the skills from their day jobs and designed the record sleeve themselves.
Sleepy Kitty consists of Paige Brubeck on vocals and guitar, and Evan Sult on drums. The duo met and formed as a side project to their other bands five years ago in Chicago, but it didn’t take long for Sleepy Kitty to become their musical focus. After releasing an EP, they moved south to St. Louis, where they opened up a graphic arts business and began reaping awards and attention from all aspects of the local and regional music scene. In 2011, their debut album, Infinity City was released on the Euclid Records label and the band started performing and touring whenever and wherever possible.
St. Louis magazine said it best in a blog review of Infinity City: “And it’s not that Sleepy Kitty is old school; they’re more old recess—out to have fun. But it’s not nostalgia. There is a post-Pixies bite in some of the performances.” The Pop ’Stache blog wrote: “Remember that delightfully angry, not-sick-but-not-well spirit of late-’90s rock? Just imagine if it hadn’t died and at the behest of two innovators continued—with eyes for the past and the future, pop and experimentation—that’s how adorable Sleepy Kitty’s debut is.”
“The folks down at Euclid Records have put out what is likely to become a local, if not national, classic. The mesmeric melodies of “Infinity City” provide a fine soundtrack for, as the band sings, “riding with St. Louis” — and beyond.”
– KDHX Charting the Music
“There are no faults to this project. Infinite City is a perfectly balanced post-apocalyptic yet arm-shaking jam session, with something to make someone think, laugh , throw some shit and possibly do all three at the same time. -The Maneater.com
“Infinity City is as much a mastery of instrumentation as it is of production…It’s a debut work that continually defies expectations—strange for something so poppy.” –Popstache.com
“Evan Sult and Paige Brubeck are two St. Louis natives transplanted from Chicago who make half dreamy piano pop and half jagged blistering rock anthems.” —Popmatters.com
“Sleepy Kitty is onto something with their blend of show-tuney alternative rock. In A Word: Superb.” —Aquarian Weekly
“The duo can be sassy, they can be brassy and they can be classy.” —Metromix New York
“This recording will immediately replace your summer 2011 playlist. I haven’t enjoyed a pop album this much since Back to Black.” —Eleven Music Magazine
“The duo can thrash and wail with the best of ’90s post-punk.” —St. Louis Riverfront Times