Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An Open Letter To Their Fans From Sleeper Agent

(Note: This letter was published on Sleeper Agent's Facebook's page, April 29th)

It's nearly May and it's been a year since we've been off the road. From SXSW to Facebook, we've been "missing in action". Over the past year, we've moved into new apartments, spent a lot of time with friends and family, watched a ton of movies, seen a handful of great bands and written over 30+ songs of new material for our second album. 

We started working on our follow-up to Celabrasion as early as July 2012. In August, we rented a cabin for a week in the secluded mountains of Kentucky to put a year's worth of song ideas together. It was one of the best week's I've ever experienced. There was nothing and nobody around us for miles. No internet, no cell reception and nothing to do except eat, drink and play music. Heaven? Close enough. We came back with a slew of demos and our batteries fully recharged.

Throughout the fall we kept ourselves busy with a couple of shows (including Bowling Green's very own Starry Nights Festival) and a few little projects here and there. We had the privilege to write and record a song for Tim Burton's Frankenweenie soundtrack (they chose a B-Side from Celabrasion), we made a no-budget video for "That's My Baby" and Justin started a very entertaining beer-soaked side project called Pizza Riot.

Over the holidays, we tested new material out on local audiences to much fanfare and saw Celabrasion receive a critically lauded release in Japan. As we prepare to return to the studio next week (!!!) I can say, without a doubt, this album will be worth the wait. It cuts a little a deeper, hits a little harder and is one of the most exciting things I've ever been a part of. 

I can say in good faith, that you'll be hearing an announcement about the new music in the upcoming months. We miss the road, we're sick of being home and incredibly anxious with itchy feet. Like a dirty secret we can't wait to share with all of you, new music is coming. Thanks for sticking with us. We'll see all of you in person, very, very soon. 

Lastly, we were given the opportunity to record a cover for a certain super hero movie soundtrack. We were asked to give the Sleeper Agent treatment to Blondie's "One Way or Another" back in February. Excited, we learned and recorded the song very quickly, giving it the "punky and gritty" vibe that was asked for. The powers-that-be loved it AND THEN... we never heard from them again. So, now it's yours! A gift to hold you over until the real thing comes. Download it for free at the link below.



Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bowling Green, Ky.'s Buffalo Rodeo's Latest EP, "Home Videos" Takes You For A Wild Ride

     Being a 51 year-old married man with a grown son who is in his mid-twenties and who is now engaged, I find myself struggling at times to try to keep up with the latest trends in the Bowling Green, Ky., indie rock
music scene.
     However, this latest indie rock band from Bowling Green landed right in my lap via Bryan Graves, my friend who is one of the co-founders of the Bowling Green Starry Nights Music + Arts Festival along with brothers Matt and Brad Shultz from Cage The Elephant.  Bryan had instant messaged me on Facebook last week and wanted to know if I would review the latest EP from the young indie rock band called, "Buffalo Rodeo" from our fair city of 60,000 people.  I told him that I would be glad to write a review.  I have been hearing a lot about Buffalo Rodeo for a while now every since they won a spot to play at the Starry Nights Music Festival last September.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrqtUCvAAzI  I didn't get a chance to see them perform then but I did hear that they did an awesome job.  However, I did get a chance to see them perform live at this year's annual "Jambodians Holiday Bash" at the Sloan Convention Center in Bowling Green this past December. I sincerely liked what I saw and heard. My son, Tony Smith and his fiancee', Alex Kandel from Sleeper Agent had told me that were friends with some of the members of the band and that they hang out together every now and then at Tony and Alex's apartment.  Tony and Alex said that they are some pretty cool and talented kids.
      So I took it upon myself to listen to their latest EP called "Home Videos" several times in the truck while working especially driving to and from the smaller towns located around Bowling Green.  Again, I really liked what I heard.  When I listen to something new, I like to hear it several times so that it will soak in.  I always try to get a fresh feel for the music in that regard. When the first track, "Tree Houses" started playing, I thought to myself, "Wow, what a big sound for a such a young band!"  Then I started thinking who they sounded like.  Being a older classic rock guy, who listens to our two local rock stations quite often-D93 and The Point-I am not real knowledgeable in the younger, college age music genre to tell the truth.  Of course, I feel like I know a lot about two of the most successful local indie rock bands to date, "Sleeper Agent" and "Cage The Elephant" especially being a big fan of theirs and all. Not to mention, being a "Rock Dad" to Tony Smith of Sleeper Agent.
    The only band that came to mind immediately while listening to the EP for the first time and that I could compare them with was the Grammy winning Nashville rock band, "Kings Of Leon."  After talking to Tony over dinner at O'Charley's the other night on my birthday and 27th wedding anniversary and I asked his opinion about Buffalo Rodeo since he knows the young musicians personally. He said he thought they sounded more like "Band Of Horses," "My Morning Jacket," "Manchester Orchestral" or a young "Wilco."  But to be completely honest, I think Buffalo Rodeo definitely has their own unique sound too. 
    In a Western Kentucky University College Heights Herald newspaper article that was published Jan. 27, 2012, another Bowling Green rock band member from "Canago," Robbie Neighbors is quoted in the article as saying that he is a pretty big fan of the band, "They have an amazing sounding, self-produced demo that hearkens to the Arcade Fire Sound. Their single has hooks that I'm surprised aren't already in car commercials. They have a sound that is suited for arenas."
    You know, that's what I was kind of thinking.  Their sound seems suited for arenas from listening to their latest EP.  Everyone should check this EP out! The five other songs on the EP are pretty awesome also.  All of the songs run anywhere to four to five minutes long or more.  The other titles of the songs on the EP are called, "Compass," "Remington," "Holly," "The Child In Me," and "My Window."
    In their artist bio page on Reverbnation.com the band described themselves in this fashion,
"Buffalo Rodeo is an indie progressive rock band hailing from the hills of Bowling Green, Ky. We play progressive indie rock with punchy drums, melodic bass riffs, ethereal synth textures, elaborate guitar tones, and addicting vocals. We're influenced by bands like Manchester Orchestra, Portugal. the Man, and our friends from BG Cage the Elephant. We like to play volleyball, hit grounders, ride minibikes, and play music. We don't take ourselves too seriously."
     It also appears that the band just finished up a small "Home Videos" tour with nine dates according to their Facebook page playing Bowling Green, Lexington, Louisville, Chicago and venues in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. That's definitely a step in the right direction for new and upcoming band. All they need now is a record deal. If they stay on the track that they are on now, I'm sure it will happen soon for them. Talent, hard work and conviction is what it takes to make it in the record business this day and age.  And it looks like Buffalo Rodeo has all the elements from what I am seeing and hearing.
    If you want to want to see Buffalo Rodeo perform live, it looks like you will have a chance in the near future. They will be playing at the first annual Stucky Music Festival May 17th and 18th at Park Mammoth Resort on Highway Ky. 31-W right off I-65 at the Park City exit.
   Band members include, Nathaniel Davis - Guitar, Zach Prestion - Vocals, Ryan Gilbert - Drums, Patrick Duncan - Bass, Jordan Reynolds - Keys/Vocals. Apparently, this not their first EP or digital EP either. They have several others called, "Wanderers," July 2011, then "Common Cults," May 2012 and "Cargo," September 2012.
   You can check out Buffalo Rodeo on Facebook, Twitter, reverbnation.com/buffalorodeo and buffalrodeo.bandcamp.com

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sleeper Agent: The Latest News

     BOWLING GREEN, Ky. _ A lot has been happening behind the scenes for Sleeper Agent, the indie rock band from Bowling Green, Ky, since they came off the road last May.
    After a highly successful debut album release of "Celabrasion" which produced two hit singles, "Get It Daddy" and "Get Burned" as well as three videos from the hit singles and a third video from their popular song, "That's My Baby."  They also toured North America four times and played some major music festivals such as "Coachella" in Palm Springs, Calif., and the "Hang Out Musical Festival" in Pensacola Beach, Fla. Before the spring tour ended, Sleeper Agent made appearance on the Jimmy Fallon show in New York City last March. This past summer the band traveled to a cabin in Eastern Kentucky for a week and wrote several new demo songs for their second album and they continued to work and create new demos this past fall and winter.  Altogether the band created and produced about 25 demos to work with for their new album.  As of 2013, Sleeper Agent now has a new manager, a new attorney and they are no longer on the Mom + Pop Records label but switched over to the mega giant RCA Records label which is owed by Sony Corp.  Their new manager is music industry veteran Missy Worth of Los Angeles who currently manages some of the most successful career bands such as "Rise Against" and "Yellowcard."
    Also during the first part of the new year, Sleeper Agent went back in the studio for their second album and worked with the famous Nashville music producer, Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Cage The Elephant) again who produced their first album.  They will be going in the studio with Joyce to work some more in May.  This week, Tony Smith and Alex Kandel (who are now engaged as of New Year's Eve at Rocky's Place in Bowling Green) flew out to LA with meet with their new manager, Missy Worth http://rm64.com/2009/12/14/missy-worth-shares-her-artistic-license-with-rm64-in-our-last-qa-of-09/ and worked with a new and different  music producer, Eric Bass of the mega rock hit group, "Shinedown."  http://shinedown.net/the-band/eric-bass  Sleeper Agent will be heading back out to LA soon to continue to meet their management team and work with a couple more new producers for the their next album.  The new album apparently will have a collaboration of producers and they are going for the "radio hits" according to Tony. Also, August Brown, a music writer from the Los Angeles Times, who wrote a story about Sleeper Agent at Coachella last year, wrote a really cool blog about the band this week too. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-coachella-2013-band-dreams-20130407,0,6910718.story
    According to Tony, after the meetings with their manager and management team as well as the new producers, he said things are really gearing up and getting ready to switch gears to full speed.  Most likely he said, they will have their first single off the new album out by this summer and hopefully the album will be out sometime this fall.  Tour plans have not been made yet. (Other band members include Scott Gardner, Josh Martin, Lee Williams and Justin Wilson).