Sleep Fleet
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Sleep Fleet

Columbus, Ohio, United States

Columbus, Ohio, United States
Band Rock Alternative

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On “Happy Alone,” the locals turn disaffection into compelling theater, moaning “I don’t want to be here/I don’t want to stay here” atop a foundation-rattling, fist-pumping guitar assault. The band’s songs tend to be both heavy and infectious, and frontman Corey Montgomery is in possession of a beastly, kick-your-door-down rock ’n’ roll howl. Maintain a safe distance — or at least make sure to pack earplugs. - Columbus Alive


Sleep Fleet raises many questions. Why is there a portion of a nativity scene on the stage? Why only a portion and not the whole thing? Do they really carry their own televisions that flash the words “dope fleet” to every show? How old are these people? Are they angry, or just loud?

There are countless uncertainties. For some reason though, the answers to these questions probably don't matter. What does matter is the dank, blundering, loud-ass rock n' roll they rip out of their giant amps every time they plug in.
Coming down from the high of 2013's EP release “Hudson & High,” Sleep Fleet's musical brew has been getting more and more potent. Recently at one of their shows inside the tinny confines of the Strongwater building, I almost blew out my left ear drum standing in front of a couple stacked speakers. Blame the acoustics, my carelessness or whatever else, but ouch. I was caught off guard.

There have always been plenty of fuzzy and absurdly loud Columbus bands like Barely Eagle, Bridesemaid or End of the Ocean. Those guys tend to push things a little harder though, closer to the metal side of things. They don't identify first with rock n' roll proper. Sleep Fleet on the other hand, are one of the loudest rock acts in town, for sure.


Not only are they loud, but they totally portray the classic rock n' roll attitude. A grungy fashion sense. Long messy hair. Enormous amplifiers. During my time enjoying their set at Strong Water, after only two songs lead singer Corey Montgomery snapped one of his guitar strings. Not blinking an eye, he restrung his guitar between songs - only stalling long enough to hurl some witty banter at the audience through a half-smile. They immediately proceeded with their infectious guitar riffs, blazing through the rest of the hour.



As for their recorded catalogue, “Hudson & High” is a much more polished product than their previous effort “Morris Drive,” which was recorded in an apartment. Recording studios always help. Considering the Strokes-esque lead guitar lines, slimey fuzz bass and Montgomery's pointed and bluesy vocal inflections on “Hudson & High,” Sleep Fleet seems to have found itself in a sweet spot.

They tie true rock grit together with fashionably poppy melodies and thoughtful lyrics. Songs like “I Wanted it All” or “I'll Stay” both capture the band concentrating their very essence into a quick 3 minutes. They write some pretty catchy singles.
It's likely that there is no reason Sleep Fleet brings televisions and plastic nativity scenes to their shows. Maybe they're just a charming group of young midwestern fellows, playing some well thought-out pop/rock tunes. Either way, it's always a good idea to drop “Hudson & High” on a turntable or show up at one of their gigs. - Columbus Avenue


By Josher Lumpkin


Sleep Fleet’s upbeat brand of punk-tinged, crooning indie rock n’ roll tunes have developed among lineup changes and relocation. From their beginnings cutting their teeth playing small, all-ages venues to their present – playing big shows in Ohio’s capital – they trudge ever forward, integrity intact, toward their future. To celebrate their most recent victory, the release of their 10” vinyl EP, Hudson & High, Sleep Fleet will be tearing the roof off of Blind Bob’s. Corey Montgomery, founding member of Sleep Fleet, and the band’s guitarist and vocalist, took some time out of his schedule to chat with the Dayton City Paper.

I understand Sleep Fleet has a Dayton connection.

That’s where we started out. Nick [Shope, bass] and I used to play a strange breed of electro punk with a laptop. We had our first show at the now-defunct Dayton Dirt Collective. From there we got more shows at that space. At some point around that time we met Kyle Melton who threw us on a lot of his Buddha Den shows. Brandon Hawk got into us at those shows and started putting us on bills at Blind Bob’s. We moved to Columbus when our first drummer quit. Basically, we just keep going. Who knows where we’ll end up. –Corey Montgomery

How long has Sleep Fleet been a band?

Nick and I have been playing together for over a decade now. I’d say Sleep Fleet really started in 2009 though. –C.M.

Did you and Nick go to school together then?

Oh yeah. We’ve known each other since the first grade. I actually lived two houses down from our guitarist Andre [Vanderpol]. –C.M.

What was your electro act called?

All Alliteration Aside. That eventually turned into a full band, which was the earliest incarnation of Sleep Fleet. –C.M.

I saw you guys there. You were pretty young then! So, where was Hudson & High recorded, and by whom?

We played a big show in Columbus and ran into Alex Douglas. He offered to track a free song for us in his studio, Old Son Studios. We were so happy with the result we almost immediately asked him to track the whole EP. Now he works for Relay Recording, where we are planning to track the full-length this spring/summer. –C.M.

So, you are writing songs for that currently? Or is it all written already?

We’ve written about 4 or 5 songs so far. We’re planning on demo-ing those soon and writing more in the upcoming months. I don’t want to come off as conceited, but we’re writing our best songs right now. I can’t wait to start playing them out. –C.M.

What do you find is your current inspiration for songwriting?

Other than illegal substances? –C.M.

I mean, is there something out there, in the world or whatever, that compels you to write?

I’ve just always had music in my life. It’s hard for me to not at least be writing a melody in my head at all times. I sing songs about everything when I’m alone in the house or in my car. When the band gets together to write, it all happens so quick that it’s often difficult for any of us to really pinpoint what we were thinking or what we were trying to do. –C.M.

What was the experience like in the studio recording the new EP? Did things just fall easily into place? Any major disasters or personal meltdowns?

It was a very different experience for us, for sure. We didn’t really have any meltdowns though. Alex is a very patient engineer. He basically let us do whatever we wanted. It was actually a very quick process, we got the whole thing done in less than a week of tracking. I chose to be absent for the mixing, as that would have been the major tipping point for me. –C.M.

Probably a good choice. Do you have a label backing you for the vinyl?

Our good friends Kevin Hambrogo and Mark Yo are putting it out on their label, Brain Candy. –C.M.

What made you guys want to do vinyl? Will there be a CD release as well?

We’re all big audiophiles and vinyl nerds. It’s always been a dream for us to get on vinyl. We felt this EP was the right time to do it. We recorded it in a relatively live fashion and had it mastered with mostly analog equipment. It was kind of a no-brainer to put it on vinyl when Kevin approached us about it. As of right now, we don’t have any plans to put it on CD. We will be giving out download codes with the record instead. To be honest, the CD format is kind of boring when you really get down to it. [laughs] –C.M.

What’s next for Sleep Fleet? Any touring?

That’s what we’re hoping to do. We’d ideally like to stretch our legs out on a few weekends out and branch out from there. –C.M.

Anything else you want to say to all the readers of the DCP?

We’re really excited to be playing in Dayton again. I feel like it’s been forever. We also hope everyone is as thrilled as we are about the lineup. Brat Curse’s new album is fucking incredible, and everyone should be stoked for the debut of Dear Fawn’s new lineup. 2014 is going to be huge for everyone involved, I feel. –C.M. - Dayton City Paper


“We are Sleep Fleet from here,” went the introduction, but that wasn’t always the case. The Dayton quartet relocated to Columbus last year, and this city is the better for it.

They began with a cover of “Hash Pipe,” a nod to their situation opening for the early-era Weezer cover band The Pinkertones at Kobo. Their run through the “Green Album” hit was pleasant and “ha ha” funny (certainly not LOL funny, though “Beverly Hills” would have been), but it was also superfluous. If any band is stylistically suited to open for a Weezer tribute, it’s Sleep Fleet.

Far more compelling was the next song, a blistering original built on droning octaves, driving bass and rapid-fire percussion, from whence came the most humongous of pop-punk fist-pumpers. We’re talking Andrew WK levels of party power here, if WK was flinging Dinosaur Jr.-worthy sludge piles. The lead vocal was an unhinged rock ’n’ roll yowl, a burlier and more Midwestern answer to Titus Andronicus’ runaway-train nasal bluster. The song eventually morphed into a minimal outro worthy of the angels. Open with that one next time.

The hits kept coming, and I do mean hits. Sleep Fleet understands the power of a thundering wallop tied to a heavenward melody with all your lungs can muster. They also understand how much a little ugliness can amplify the beauty you’re beholding — not a new lesson, but one rarely embraced by musicians of Sleep Fleet’s ilk.

Power-pop, pop-punk, emo, alt-rock revival — whatever you want to call what Sleep Fleet does, their peers in the realm of rambunctious, melodious music are not known for their thoughtful deployment of dissonance. Dreamy aggression at the music’s fringes tends to be the domain of artsier bands or dreadfully dour expansive emotionalists. But aside from pure unbridled energy and the simple pleasures of a memorable hook, what stood out from Sleet Fleet’s set was how well they used discordant guitar parts and searing drones to spin their shout-alongs into sonic tornados.

Their album, Morris Drive, does not sufficiently convey the experience of standing in the front row and being bombarded by Sleep Fleet’s joyous elemental rumble. Fortunately, they live in your city now, so go experience it for yourself. - Columbus Alive


Noise of Choice: Punk-tinged indie rock that is both searing, endearing

Corey Montgomery and his Sleep Fleet mates are not what they appear to be – wolves in Jeff Spicoli’s clothing.

When they take the stage in their unironically uniform stoner/skater/beach bum attire, the eyes betray the ears immediately upon the first count-off; any expectation of hazy indie tunes is brushed back with a ferocious set of punk-tinged blasters, anchored by Montgomery’s menacing and melodic howl.

As they scarf down Hounddog’s pizza and a pitcher of PBR, the boys laugh at my assessment, chalking it up to a collective posture that matches their fashion.

“That’s because we are stoner-y, surfer-y hangout dudes,” says Montgomery. “We have to get that release somehow. When we’re not partying, we’re the type that will just sit on the couch and read or watch Netflix and go to work. So, we get in the practice space, and we’re like, ‘YEAH! Let’s f*cking be LOUD!’ We’re so quiet and polite otherwise.”

Montgomery is used to his appearance being deceiving. Back in the band’s hometown of Enon, Ohio, just outside of Dayton, he caught a rep as the resident “long-hair” of his high school, when, in reality, as he put it, “I think I was the only one in my high school not on drugs.” He found a kindred spirit in bass player Nick Shope, and the two formed their first band, Slap Happy, back in eighth grade. The two have been playing music together for more than a decade, just the last three of those years on Columbus stages.

Sleep Fleet added another hometown buddy, Andre Vanderpool on guitar and backup vocals, as well as drummer Ryan Weaver, and quickly turned heads last year with Morris Drive, an 11-track album that sounded much more sophisticated than you’d expect of a record dashed together in an apartment. A set at Kobo’s three-year anniversary show and a blistering Off Ramp set at this year’s ComFest only cemented their rep as one of the city’s new and exciting bands, and they have earned the admiration and collaboration of Joe Camerlengo, studio whiz and head dervish for This Is My Suitcase.

Four grown-up punks who like to play fast and loud is no new trope, but it’s the well-layered sound between the grit that makes Sleep Fleet exceptional. The unique character of Mongtomery’s breathy roar oscillates between operatic and off-kilter, and his lyrics keep the mood balanced, between pained and playful. On “Oh, Waiting,” lines like, All I ever get is pain/it’s the only thing that stays the same/no matter what I try to change, have an authentic honesty to them, even if it later leads to Mongtomery’s silly-yet-sincere angling for the future, Ooh, it’s really starting to hit me/let’s f*cking raise up a family. Vanderpool’s harmonies tether the melody on each track expertly, allowing Mongtomery’s message to be aggressive and sensitive all at once.

Live, it’s a swirling cocktail to drink in, and Sleep Fleet’s habit of playing sans setlist only bolsters their unpolished-makes-perfect aesthetic. - 614 Magazine


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

"Sleep Fleet raises many questions. Why is there a portion of a
nativity scene on the stage? Why only a portion and not the whole thing?
Do they really carry their own televisions that flash the words dope
fleet to every show? How old are these people? Are they angry, or just
loud?"
-Raad Shubaily of Columbus Avenue

Band Members