Pioneering a movement isn't easy work, especially in an age when everything's been done. But Sleepy Vikings are king-hell committed to blazing a trail. "Well, we're trying to invent our own genre right now," says guitar-and-vocal guy Julian Conner. "Probably unsuccessfully ... But we're telling people it's 'southern shoegaze,' for what it's worth."
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Formed almost exactly a year ago in July of 2009, the Vikings are a bunch of kids from Tampa -- Conner, singer and keyboard player Tessa McKenna, guitarists Stephanie Pacheco and Nicole Schleif, bassist Sandi Streppone, and drummer Ryann Slauson -- who can barely come to consensus about the sounds they want to make. "There are six of us and we all like different things musically," Conner explains. "We can pretty much agree on loud-soft dynamics and the use of distortion. Other than that, we're all over the place."
Nevertheless, the earliest fruit of southern shoegaze is today's free download, a three-song Sleepy Vikings demo called the Ghost EP. It starts off with "Flashlight Tag," four-minutes of vaguely gothic musings on dead kings and presidents, pretty girls in magazines, and "one hundred thousand eyes the same pale shade of chlorine blue." Next, there's "Calm," an Eric's Trip-type track that Conner calls "a love song about dead things or a dead relationship or a somewhat bad movie." Then the whole thing closes out with "Corson Park," an ode to teenage loitering in shitty public places. "It's like one picnic table and a dirty lake with shopping carts in it."
Sleepy Vikings with the Jameses, Guy Harvey, Love Handles, Totem Pole, and Hear Hums. Tuesday, June 29. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. Doors open at 9 p.m., and it costs $5. 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com.