“It's got a fuzzed-out doo-wop feeling, and all the songs are about girls!” says Sleeping in the Aviary’s Elliott Kozel. "It’s like Dion and the Belmonts with a hangover trying to figure out how to use a Big Muff pedal, or the Everly Brothers beating up some kid in the bathroom of a high-school gymnasium and then feeling bad about it later.” He’s describing the band’s fourth full-length album, You and Me, Ghost, set for release by Science of Sound Records on September 6, 2011. In the ever-expanding musical universe that is Sleeping in the Aviary, asking what they’re up to now will often reward the questioner with an unexpected response – and be accompanied by some great music, genre boundaries be damned.
"I try not to think too much about genres and make whatever music I am feeling like on that particular day or time," says Kozel. "It's much easier to let other people decide what to call it."
Originating as a trio based in Madison, Wis., Sleeping in the Aviary has evolved into a Minneapolis, Minn., quintet including Kozel (vocals, guitar), Phil Mahlstadt (bass), Michael Sienkowski (drums, backing vocals), Celeste Heule (accordion, keyboards, musical saw), and Kyle Sobczak (guitar). All the members have roots in southeastern Wisconsin, and have been playing music for a decade and more in a near-countless number of bands and one-off projects. Those varied experiences and experiments have resulted in the bouillabaisse of sounds offered in their discography – from the power chord-fueled pop-punk of Oh, This Old Thing? (2007), to the mostly acoustic indie-folk of Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel (2008), to the soul-influenced pop of Great Vacation (2010). For You and Me, Ghost the band’s sound takes on the influence of an earlier era but still sounds undeniably like Sleeping in the Aviary.
“The ‘golden oldies’ from the ‘50s and ‘60s had a major conceptual influence on this particular album,” says Kozel. “The simple romantic themes and short and straightforward song structures were elements we attempted to steal from it.” And it wasn't difficult to focus on themes that dwell on affairs of the heart since the songwriting followed the end of a long-term relationship for Kozel, who says, "It's the old tried and true 'break-up album.'"
You and Me, Ghost was recorded in Science of Sound’s studio over five days on a short break during several months of touring in the first half of 2011. For the most part, reversing the very layered and complex production style used for Great Vacation, here the band keeps the arrangements simple, limits superfluous or textural tracks and keeps the reverb to a minimum. Kozel and Sobczak produced the record (with assistance from all), aided by the engineering skills of Ricky Riemer.
Sleeping in the Aviary has shared stages with Califone, Ra Ra Riot, The Thermals, The Von Bondies, Elf Power and many others; they will be heading back out on the road in September with their newest release. In the meantime, they’ll be releasing new tracks and video teasers for the new album.
All downloads are for personal, non-commercial use.
All rights are retained by the artists