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June is LGBT Pride month and this year was particularly momentous, as it ended with a bang, when DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, Prop 8 got the boot and scores of same-sex couples headed to courthouses for their marriage licenses, now that same-sex marriage is legal again in California. While Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” might be the first song that comes to mind, there are other musicians who are also celebrating, and beyond getting their party on, contributing to the fight for LGBT rights and understanding.  The U.K.’s Sleeping States and Florida’s Holopaw (pictured) are two such artists, and they released a split 12” via Misra Records on June 25, 2013 in honor and celebration of this year’s LGBT Pride Month.

The split consists of Sleeping States’ Old vs. New, a reworking of older songs that are quick and punchy, coming in at five songs in about 10 minutes. Followed by Holopaw’s Through ‘til the Morning, which is actually a nine-minute remix of their previous release, Academy Songs, Volume 1, done by producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine, Ugly Casanova). Both frontmen Markland Starkie (Sleeping States) and John Orth (Holopaw) also happen to be openly gay musicians. While the music on Old vs. New/Through ‘til the Morning doesn’t lyrically run through a laundry list of LGBT topics or provide us with a modern gay anthem like Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” — behind the scenes, this album is making a fair contribution.

A portion of proceeds from the album are being donated to The Point Foundation, who support and empower LGBT students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential aka supporting ambitious students who rock and despite challenges are trying their damn hardest to make a difference where LGBT rights are concerned. Also, fun fact: in addition to the digital release, the 12” vinyl release will be pressed on pink vinyl (eek!), and if that doesn’t get you to pony up the cash for some good indie music, in support of a great cause, I don’t know what will.

Three Words to Describe Sleeping States / Holopaw Split EP: Chaotic – Hypnotic – Quirky

This Album Would Go Well With:  A Part Time Punks event.  An underground dance party.  A raised glass.

Favorite Tracks:
“Planning My Escape” (Sleeping States) – Markland Starkie’s semi-theatrical croon is the star of the show here and I let it take me on this indie pop musical journey.  His vocal drawl is immediately reminiscent of Zac from Parenthetical Girls, and his lyrical staggering brings Les Savy Fav to mind. It’s both familiar, yet different.

“Through ‘til the Morning” (Holopaw) – Usually when I hear ‘9 minute long song’ I think oh crap, here comes a never ending, self indulgent prog rock masterpiece that I will appreciate but be pained to listen to past the 4 minute mark.  However, that is not the case with this remix.  Slow, eerie synths, ominous tones ride a wave of cymbal swells into a song that comes at you from a distance with some serious gusto.  It does take several minutes to get to the cool, layered, call/response vocals, but it’s worth the wait.  This epic song is all about the movement and it’s not hard to follow.  The latter half transitions into a dreamier, rhythm heavy state, and it is surprisingly addictive.

Album Review: Emily Saex

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Artist: Sleeping States & Holopaw
Album: Sleeping States / Holopaw Split EP (Old vs. New EP b/w Through ‘til the Morning EP)
Label: Misra
Release Date: June 25, 2013