Timing is everything in the music industry and right now, it’s time for Sleeper Agent to shimmy into the spotlight. The indie rock six-piece are about to embark on a tour with their friends from Cage The Elephant and Manchester Orchestra, which will put them in-front of their largest crowds thus far in their young professional careers.
Also, it couldn’t come at a better time as the Bowling Green, Kentucky-based collective is slated to drop their debut album “Celabrasion” on August 16 via Mom + Pop Music. Though the effort was recorded nearly a year ago, the group delayed its release to get everything prepared for their big coming out party and they’re stoked about it.
“I’m actually proud of how soon it’s coming out because there are a lot of bands’ albums that won’t come out for two years or it will be shelved, so I’m just happy it’s coming out in August,” lead vocalist Alex Kandel says. “I think the reason for waiting is just because we’re so new, and these Manchester and Cage [The Elephant] dates are giving us a really good chance to build a stronger audience that will be supportive, and we want anticipation around the release of the album.
The highly anticipated “Celabrasion” is roughly a 32-minute collection where Motown influences the band’s manic-driven garage rock flavor. That is perfectly captured on energetic tracks like “Proper Taste,” “Scream It Out” and the frenzied single “Get It Daddy.”
But aside from their compelling swag, Sleeper Agent does a masterful job of making every second count. The sextet constantly remains busy both vocally and rhythmically throughout the entire studio offering, refusing to let the music fall flat for even a split second.
While indie rock artists are usually known for performing a sympathetically haunting kind of music, Sleeper Agent believes their debut album will help awaken a new generation out of a dreary musical coma.
“The past decade for rock ‘n roll has been kinda on a decline and most of the records my favorite rock bands released now are kinda overblown, depressing epic records,” guitarist and back-up vocalist Tony Smith explains. “I feel like somewhere along the line, they kinda lost the rollercoaster of rock ‘n roll and that’s what we want people to take out of [‘Celabrasion’]. Ya know, [we want to] put the fun back into it and just have a good time.”
Kandel agrees. “It’s kinda like a lot of people I talk to about all the new music they’re into, it seems like they’re mourning the new music they like and I just want something to be a little bit more fun and uplifting.”
Bowling Green Music Scene
Just like the music industry, Sleeper Agent has gone through an evolution as well. Although the project initially formed in 2008 as a different lineup, Smith and drummer Justin Wilson re-launched the troupe in January 2010 by adding Kandel -- then a high school student -– as the vocalist after discovering her online and seeing her sing at a coffee shop.
For the most part, the Bowling Green music scene is rather small –- limiting bands to coffee shops, local bars and random house parties as the only places to perform. The intimacy, however, has allowed local artists to unite with one another.
“The Bowling Green music scene is always really helpful to each other,” Kandel says. “There’s always gonna be tiny little band rivalries, but they are really overshadowed by how everyone helps out each other and at the end of the day, it’s a pretty healthy community -- as far as letting other musicians grow based off what success you have and things like that.”
With support from the Bowling Green scene, Sleeper Agent recorded their full-length debut album “Celabrasion” in July 2010 and rounded out the band lineup shortly thereafter.
Then, as they began doing shows with Cage The Elephant, word of mouth spreads and Sleeper Agent found themselves meeting with Downtown Records, Jive and Mom + Pop Music to release the studio effort. In January 2011, they decided Mom + Pop Music would be the best fit.
“It was one of those gut instinct things,” Kandel explains. “As soon as you meet everyone and the environment they work in … it’s [about] how you click with people. Like is this gonna be someone you wanna talk to every day?”
“And they only had a handful of bands and a smaller team,” Smith adds, right on cue. “It’s just closer to the way we roll, I guess. I think most of all, we were kinda frightened and new to this whole experience, so we took a comfortable choice as opposed to shooting for the moon.”
The moon will have its day, though. For now, Sleeper Agent is getting ready to shoot down the stars and the time to do that has just arrived.
- Alex Kandel – Vocals
- Tony Smith – Guitar/Vocals
- Josh Martin – Lead Guitar
- Lee Williams – Bass
- Scott Gardner - Keyboard
- Justin Wilson - Drums
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