Holopaw is a long-loved independent rock band from Gainesville, FL. In addition to Paw, frontman John Orth has also performed alongside Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock as Ugly Casanova. After a set of releases on Sub Pop, and one with Bakery Outlet, the band has signed on with Misra for its finest album to date. The “Golden Sparklers” b/w “Yearling’s Darlings” 7″ saw release in late 2012. Holopaw issued the unparalleled Academy Songs, Volume I. in January of 2013.
Artist: Sleeping States / Holopaw
Title: Old vs. New EP b/w Through ‘til the Morning EP
Catalog Number: MSR069
Release Date: June 18, 2013 – Two openly gay frontmen release split 12″ in celebration LGBT Pride Month
“Gorgeous… we want more, John!”
- OUT Magazine on Holopaw
“Starkie sings in a breathless lilting croon”
- Pitchfork on Sleeping States (8.0)
Bristol, UK’s Sleeping States and Gainesville, Florida’s Holopaw released a split 12” on June 18, 2013 during LGBT Pride Month. The graceful voices of Markland Starkie (Sleeping States) and John Orth (Holopaw), both openly gay musicians, ride above innovative rock & roll on this momentous release.
Cut at 45 RPM and pressed on pink vinyl by Furnace MFG, the split 12” consists of two unique EPs. Sleeping States’ Old vs. New is a reworking of older songs in a newer context and was originally released overseas via Bella Union. Holopaw’s Through ‘til the Morning is a nonpareil nine-minute remix of Academy Songs, Volume I (Misra; 2013) done by Brian Deck. A member of Red Red Meat and Califone, Deck has produced records for Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine, Holopaw, Ugly Casanova (Orth’s collaboration with Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock) and more. The remix also features additional tracking from Califone’s Benny Massarella.
Sleeping States makes its way through five songs in just over ten minutes. From the nimble “Planning My Escape” and “A Trip to NYC” to the unruly title track, “Liberty Feelup” (a cover originally by Scottish art-pop band, Life Without Buildings) and “Trumpet Calls,” the momentum on Old vs. New never dies. As Pitchfork remarked in their 8.0 review of Sleeping States’ last album, In the Gardens of the North, “Starkie sings in a breathless lilting croon.” Indeed, Markland Starkie’s gorgeous voice is at its strongest on this sharp, short, sweet collection.
Brian Deck’s remix of Holopaw’s Academy Songs, Volume I fuses the original songs in a breathtaking manner. Academy is intended to be an extremely imprecise concept album set at an all-boys preparatory academy, however, those notions are set aside as Deck blends the record into a beguiling nine-minute dream. Glimpses of the characters’ escapades and emotions surface but are quickly curtailed and melded from one sonic vignette to another. It’s an impressive amalgamation. Earlier this year, OUT Magazine beamed that Orth’s work was “gorgeous,” saying “We want more, John!” Well, here it is.
The Sleeping States / Holopaw LGBT Pride Month release is packaged in a minimalist kraft board sleeve revealing the pink triangle – an international symbol of gay pride and gay rights. Appropriated from Nazi Germany, the pink triangle was once displayed upside down and used to identify gay men in concentration camps. The packaging on this release is designed to resemble the unmarked “physique” journals of the mid-twentieth century.
The talents of both Starkie and Orth have long impressed Misra Records. With a dire need for equality still unmet in the LGBT community, do help us celebrate two of our finest artists. These are beautiful voices of gay pride!
Sleeping States Old vs. New EP
1. Planning My Escape
2. Old vs. New
3. Liberty Feelup (Life Without Buildings Cover)
4. A Trip to NYC
5. Trumpet Calls
Holopaw Through ’til the Morning EP
1. Through ’til the Morning
Academy Songs, Volume I Biography:
Academy Songs, Volume I, Holopaw’s Misra Records debut, takes the band to never-treaded levels. Through three records and a collaboration with Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock (Ugly Casanova), frontman John Orth has honed his gift for lyricism, storytelling, and delivery. Now, backed by a variant possessing uncanny chemistry (complete with identical twin brothers), we’ve been graced with an unparalleled, breathtaking Holopaw album.
Over a ten-song cycle, the close quarters of an all-boys preparatory academy, and the world beyond its “ivied walls,” become the sites of devotion, betrayal, communion (or near-communion), and abject loneliness. The joys and thrills and dangers of both discovery and transgression are detailed. “The rising and falling of their little lives” is illuminated in stunning imagery.
Hips to hips and knees to knees / the heaving hills / the swollen seas / the hollows and the frozen peaks. / Fingers smell of tangerines. / Slow curve rivulets / the see-see-sawing of our breaths / the loamy, sticky in-betweens / the ticklish bubbling underneath.
The album maps, rather vigorously, the physical and emotional terrain of its young characters’ lives. Throughout, it finds them both reveling together and exiled from one another.
Golden sparklers / flares lobbed into the dark / fountains of embers / sucked into the night. / Wipe the sweat from the window to watch the firework display. / Roman candles arched over the lake.
The boys had all been sent to the far side of the lake / one held back until the fever breaks / sweating through his nightshirt / orchids curling into bloom / volunteer sleeps in the corner of the room / “Pardon me, sir. Sorry to wake you.” / “Respectfully, I say, this fever is not breaking.” / “There’s a war I’m steady losing on the far side of the lake” / “to a little dark horse who’s steady rising through the ranks.”
Jeremy Scott drove his Civil Defense Studio down from Brooklyn to record Academy Songs in a St. Augustine beach house. Serendipitously, the physical intimacy of the experience seemed to mirror the boys academy detailed in song. Holopaw lived, worked, cooked, and swam together. Their world consisted of playing music and cutting paths from beach house to beach and back again. Long days recording were celebrated over homemade horchata, fish tacos, and a different flavor of hand-churned ice cream each night (ginger lime and peach brown sugar standing out as favorites). A night swim would commence, followed by recording into the dark and light of morning.
Paw’s Patrick Quinney summarized the experience upon returning: “You know that feeling you have after swimming and getting a lot of sun, where you seem to experience every little thing–food, rest, humor, music–as a kind of deep physical and spiritual luxury? We have been asked by a surprising number of people if the recording got ‘beachy’ out there: in the sense that we made it entirely in an atmosphere of that physical and spiritual luxury, I would have to say that it did. I certainly hope that everything that sounded good or seemed like a great idea at the time will continue to do so after the last of the sand is out of our shoes.”
Academy Songs, Volume I
LP/CD/Digital • 1/15/13
“Golden Sparklers” b/w “Yearling’s Darlings”
7″/Digital • 11/13/12
- A-Side: “Golden Sparklers”: Pitchfork Premiere
- B-Side: “Yearling’s Darlings”: Under the Radar Premiere
Sleeping States / Holopaw: Old vs. New EP b/w Through ’til the Morning EP (forthcoming in 2013 – for LGBT Pride Month)
- OUT Magazine Premiered Video for “The Lights from the Disco”
- Order: Academy Songs, Volume I • LP/CD/Digital
- Order: “Golden Sparklers” b/w “Yearling’s Darlings” • 7″/Digital
- Label – Misra | Leo DeLuca
- Booking - Inland Empire | Robin Taylor
- Licensing – Terrorbird | Lauren Ross
- Press - Forcefield Pr | Daniel Gill
- Radio - Misra Records | Billy Matheny
- Retail – Bloodshot | Pete Klockau