Sleepyhead

With a scrappy sound that balanced the hooky sweetness of indie pop, the buzzing guitars of indie rock, and a little bit of AOR swagger, Sleepyhead formed in a dorm room at NYU in 1989. Though the third member of the trio changed occasionally, the core duo of vocalist/guitarist Chris O'Rourke and drummer/vocalist Rachael McNally stayed together and released many fine albums that helped define the Amerindie sound of the '90s and even afterward as they sporadically resurfaced with new music.

The band's first bass player was Michael Galinsky and the trio released singles soon after they started playing; two for Ric Menck's Picture Book label ("Play"/"Too Much Fun" in 1990, "Fairyboat" in 1991,) a split single with Cold Water Flat, and the single that launched them, "Punk Rock City USA," which came out on Slumberland in 1992. The label signed them up to do a full-length album and later in 1992, Punk Rock City USA was released. They jumped to Homestead for their next two albums, 1994's Starduster and 1996's Communist Love Songs, and Galinsky co-wrote and directed the 1995 underground film Half-Cocked. The trio next moved to the Sealed Fate label and released the Late Night Thinkin' EP in 1997 and their fourth album The Brighter Shore in 1999. After the record's release, Galinsky left the band to pursue filmmaking and bassist Dan Cuddy (formerly of Hypnolovewheel) joined up. The band toured behind the album and began working on new songs, but they were derailed by life events like the birth of O'Rourke and McNally's first child. The duo moved to Boston and started work on a new album with producer Mike Deming at his Connecticut studio. Derek Van Beever replaced Cuddy on bass in 2004 and the band continued playing live shows on the East Coast when their schedules would allow. In 2013, the band went back into the studio to record three more songs, which when joined by the recordings made earlier, became their fifth album, Wild Sometimes. It was released by venerable indie label Carrot Top in 2015. The band appeared on two compilations, 2015's Fifty@50 and 2017's A Song a Day Keeps the Pain Away, then in 2018 two of their mid-'90s albums, Starduster and Communist Love Songs, were reissued on vinyl by Drawing Room Records under the title Future Exhibit Goes Here. ~ Tim Sendra

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