Those Kivel boys are at it again, and again they aim to please. As members of Princeton brothers Matt and Jesse soaked in the island sun, and Jesse’s project Kisses could serve as a soundtrack for Silver Lake. Matt takes the lead with their latest project, Sleeping Bags.

The band’s self-titled debut sounds pretty much like you’d think an album entitled Sleeping Bags should – fuzzy, cozy, dreamy, comfortable. The instrumental opening track “Before” envelops you, pulling you down, convincing you to sink deeper and deeper.

A good chunk of the album is instrumental, and the songs with lyrics bury Matt Kivel’s vocals in layers of fuzz that make them seem more like a subliminal message or a passing thought than poetry in motion. The entire album hovers somewhere between sleep and waking, from the fitful “Shark” to the sweeping “Cantaloupe” and its pied-piper guitar line that beckons you to come skipping across the cosmic waves. An excellent addition to your fall rotation, Sleeping Bags is ready to roll on your hazy Sunday mornings.–

Sleeping Bags dropped 09.13.11.
Listen to the album at their Bandcamp site and go here to download “Park”.

kind of, sort of, but not really

“What do they sound like?”
“Kind of island-influenced, but not. So…kind of like Vampire Weekend, but they don’t really sound like Vampire Weekend. And kind of dancey. But not really.”

As ridiculously general and non-committal as the above exchange is, it’s a fairly accurate description of the LA quartet Princeton. Radiating ease, brothers Jesse & Matt Kivel, Ben Usen, and David Kitz played the opening set for Camera Obscura at the High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI on April 4, 2010.

Princeton first caught our attention in 2008 with their Bloomsbury EP, and continued to impress with a steady stream of singles from their full-length, Cocoon of Love. Princeton’s music translates well live; the members swap instruments, the Kivels trade vocal duties, and the songs bring a sense of sun-drenched leisure to even the darkest corners of the club. The band also took the opportunity to debut a handful of new songs (plans are to record in June), all of which got me excited for the new record (especially the sublime “Andre”).

Princeton will continue their US tour through April. For photos from the show, click here.

i wear the customary clothes of my time

Or, the Whale – Rusty Gold (NSFW – skinny dipping/boy bits)
WHY? – These Hands/January Twenty Something (arrowed porcupine)
Princeton – Calypso Gold (in tones of gray)
These United States – The Important Thing (oh god, the 90s)
Sherwood – Maybe This Time (bike thieves and lovers)