Quick…what do me, my best friend Fudge, millions of smart tv-watchers, The Soup’s Joel McHale and breakout garage-pop act Sleeper Agent have in common? Stumped? Well, here’s the connection…we are all diehard Battlestar Galactica fans, of course! When I used to work at E! Joel and I spent lots of time fanboying over the genius that is BSG and even got to geek out while co-interviewing Caprica Six herself, Tricia Helfer, once on the radio. Whether you’re a sci-fi fan or not, the world (and the Peabody Awards) agrees that BSG is one of the greatest television dramas of all time. If you’ve never seen it – go forth and Netflix, like now.
Apparently, this buzz band six-piece hailing from Kentucky, the land that gifted us My Morning Jacket, also have the love of Cylons, President Roslin, Starbuck and the word frak since their band name is a nod to those skin-job robots like Boomer who have no idea they are the enemy until at some point they get activated and try to assassinate The Admiral. Damn those sneaky Cylons.
If you can believe it, Sleeper Agent have really only been a complete band since early 2010 and in the span of a short nine months made a demo, got noticed by recently skyrocketing alt-rock superstars Cage The Elephant and their producer who then helped them create their full length record Celebrasion, which in turn got them signed to Mom + Pop Records (Sleigh Bells, Metric) and found them opening a nonstop nationwide tour for Cage The Elephant, which helped build them a swelling fanbase and lots of blog and satellite radio attention. Whew! I’m exhausted just writing that.
Their first single, ‘Get It Daddy’ hit my ears a few months ago and I thought it sounded like a fresh take on The Strokes with tons of energy and that female second vocalist in the mix…a totally great new sound. With this track, ‘Get Burned’ not only does Sleeper Agent get to use the word get again, they really expand in a way and use 18-year-old Alex Kandel’s smoothly rockin’ Joan Jett style to play perfectly off Tony Smith’s choppy, punk-ish sound. In an irrepressibly upbeat song about how sucky love can be, the combination has a kind of sibling-style playfulness to it that really works with the fast pace and joyous melodies Sleeper Agent’s songs bring to the forefront. I read one description of ‘Get Burned’ that said it was like, “The Strokes doing the nasty with Arcade Fire.” A spot-on simile if I’ve ever heard one.
This video is a live version of ‘Get Burned’ since no official video exists, but I’m sort of happy about that since the band’s live sound is as powerful (if not more so) as their record and you really get to see how they play off of each other and how infectious that can be when you see them play in front of an audience. That Cage The Elephant tour still has a few dates left (also with former Now Hear This feature band The Joy Formidable) until the end of the year. Check their website for tour details and full album info.
My Gigglers, take a listen and see if, like me, you think Sleeper Agent are about to be not-so-secretly activated for indie rock domination.
See Also: ‘Get It Daddy’ and ‘Love Blood’