Radar: Sleepy Dog

Sleepy Dog is a self-taught guitarist from North Carolina, with a wonderful new twist on classic midwestern emo/math-rock sounds. Although he’s only been releasing music for approximately one year, he’s already released two EPs, one full-length, and a healthy catalog of singles, plus a handful of music videos, and other guitar-related YouTube content.

As a guitarist, Sleepy is a once-in-a-generation type of talent. With a mix of styles combining Jimi Hendrix-esque rawness with the fretboard tapping and blistering technicality of math rockers like TTNG, Sleepy Dog channels a wide array of wildly inventive and original sounds through his skillful guitar playing. Rather than simply trying to impress listeners with his wicked skills, Sleepy molds his guitar riffs into beautifully diverse compositions, with driving grooves, shapely melodies, and bittersweet chord progressions. A wonderful introduction to Sleepy’s guitar work is “Anakin Skywalker Misses You,” one of his more mellow tunes, and perhaps his most beautiful.

Another great place to start with Sleepy is his single “Space Cadet.” It’s his first vocally driven track, as well as his first music video (ft. Mrs. Butterworth's). “Space Cadet” showcases Sleepy’s ability to meld intricate yet powerful guitar playing with passionate, melancholic vocals, creating a wonderfully wholesome musical experience, as well as the indescribable quirkiness of the man behind the music. Sleepy Dog’s crafty songwriting, and sparkling charisma are on display in several of his YouTube uploads, most notably this in-studio live performance.

Sleepy’s first EP Just Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, is a solid collection of tunes, showing the full range of his ability as a guitarist, vocalist, composer, and lyricist. Along with the aforementioned “Space Cadet” and “Anakin Skywalker,” highlights include the writhing rocker “Screamers” and the gorgeously mellow instrumental “Tiptoeing on Pond Water.” Sleepy Dog’s first full-length, Amor Fati, was released in December of last year. It features slightly more polished production, and finds Sleepy pushing his artistic boundaries, incorporating some shoegaze-y and electronic elements with largely positive results. Amor Fati is also a more conceptual album, with a cohesive narrative and several unifying lyrical and musical motifs, creating an immersive front-to-back listening experience. Some standout tracks include the opener “Mckenzie Come Back,” possibly Sleepy’s heaviest track yet, and “Wishfully, Thankful For You” with its powerful walls of distortion. The final track, “End Of June,” gives some cryptic closure to the album’s narrative while also leaving listeners with a musical cliffhanger, hinting that the story might be continued on a future record.

While Sleepy’s discography already contains several quality releases, it also hints at an even greater, Sleepier potential still waiting to be discovered, and to that end, Sleepy has already hinted at new music for 2019. Until then, if you’re looking for some fresh tunes, perhaps searching for some emo-rock to provide those wintery nostalgic feels, why not ask your doctor if Sleepy Dog is right for you?

- Marcus on The Radar

Marcus Dupuis is a friend, a listener, and a writer. He is 22 years old, and is currently residing off the grid.

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