When drummer Justin Wilson and guitarist Tony Smith recruited Alex Kandel as lead vocals, it changed the direction the band would take, quickly shooting them into success. Along with Lee Williams, Scott Gardner, and Josh Martin, Sleeper Agent recorded their first LP and hit the road with fellow Bowling Green, Kentucky rockers, Cage the Elephant. The past couple years, Sleeper Agent have shared the stage with several other big names such as Grouplove, Young the Giant, and Weezer. Only a year after their first tour, the six-piece group was playing Coachella, Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon, and this year appeared at SXSW.
Rolling Stone has featured Sleeper Agent on multiple occasions, describing them as “Shaggy Kentucky kids whose songs are sweet, fizzy and combustible as a can of shock soda.” In 2012, Kandel was nominated in the Women Who Rock contest to appear on the cover of a Rolling Stone Magazine addition.
Their debut album, Celebrasion, clashes Pixies and Strokes influences, bubblegum rock, and utilizes vocals from both Smith and Kandel, whose interplay provides a softer side to an already hook-heavy production. The punk album proved as a solid ground for the young band to stand upon as they solidified their sound for future musical prospects.
Their sophomore album, About Last Night, released last month, is considerably more polished. Kandel’s voice has matured, as has the experimentation of the band’s sound. Atmospheric arrangements move their sound slightly away from the garage punk signature of Celebrasion, and closer to a more radio friendly persona that would make the likes of Paramore blush. Their single “Waves” has made its appearance on the alt charts and is popularly referred to as the albums finest piece.
Currently on tour with Holychild, Sleeper Agent will be playing in San Diego at the Irenic tomorrow night. Catch them if you can.