Sleeping States

Markland Starkie

Where From:
Warwickshire, United Kingdom

Year Formed:

Markland Starkie started the independent-lo-fi-folk based Sleeping States as a humble bedroom project. Since then, his albums have seen worldwide release and large critical acclaim. These are are sweet, intelligent, and plaintive sounds. There the Open Spaces was released on Misra in late 2007.

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!

Track List:

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


“Rivers” from There the Open Spaces


Planning My Escape from Old vs. New (forthcoming)

Rivers from There the Open Spaces


Misra discography

Sleeping States / Holopaw:  Old vs. New EP b/w Through ’til the Morning EP (forthcoming in 2013 – for LGBT Pride Month)
There the Open Spaces (2007)
Buy Sleeping States Music

press reviews

There The Open Spaces

Old vs. New


Official site

press resources

Split w/ Holopaw
“Old vs. New” EP b/w
“Through ’til the Morning” EP