Dienstag, 4. Januar 2011

Sabo23 Polite Sleeper: Seens LP

Polite Sleeper is a folk punk mess and a story about starting over.

Jason and Tim met in San Francisco in 2002 and formed The Yellow Press, a Ye! Ye!

hardcore/punk quartet that also included Steven Chamberlain on bass. With releases on

X-Mist and Day After worldwide, they toured for over two years, opening for the likes of

Against Me!, Xiu Xiu, The Thermals and The Hold Steady before amicably disbanding in

2005 following one final European tour.

The downtime coupled with one messy break-up saw Jason leaving California for New

York, with Tim following soon thereafter. Together that winter they recorded a handful of

sparse, acoustic songs in Jason’s Clinton Hill loft space, dealing with friends, lovers,

substance abuse, and most notably not having a band anymore.

During that period the duo met Michael Curtes, who added piano to a few unfinished

ideas and the resulting session was quietly released as a five-song EP and 12” in June

2007. The trio immediately pickedup where The Yellow Press left off, touring Europe and

both US coasts in support, and despite few expectations found a surprising balance (and

noted buzz) between their punk pasts and the hushed, introspection of the new material.

Musically, however, Polite Sleeper is about doing more with less.

From three-piece trap kits to playing without a bass, the songs are as divergent as they

are raw. Each a story sounding as if John Darnielle was fronting the Microphones or a

working man’s Xiu Xiu. Keyboards, banjo and pedal steel might round out a few

programmed beats or a piano stomp, otherwise, very little is kept that

can’t be performed live. And what started as a bedroom project between friends finally

coalesced with a proper full length written and recorded throughout Brooklyn in 2007.

More self-assured and playful than previous efforts, the debut balances the whispered

lullabies with the screaming sing-a-longs – from country to folk to punk, it’s an authentic,

earnest document of where three friends ended up after landing on the East Coast with a

new plan.

But most important Polite Sleeper is still a punk band. They’re 100% DIY, choosing to

record in living rooms and kitchens exclusively. They keep traffic noise and dead notes as

reminders of that. They stay true by playing to anyone who asks, and while the songs

may be short, the sentiments heavy, their riotous live reputation is a spectacle no one

expects from an acoustic trio.

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