REVIEW: SLEEP STEADY'S "TRUNK"
Sleep Steady is a name that has begun to ring more than one bell in our respective region. The band was built on the back of two multi-faceted personalities from the Southern part of Pierce County, Cid Vishiz and Perry Porter. My first encounter with Sleep Steady was at a Peasant Boys show on South Tacoma Way at REAL ART. It was enough to let me know that it would not be the last time I would see the two perform. During their set they played songs that had been popular for them up until that point but they also granted the crowd access to one more song the then unreleased MOSH PIT. That performance embodied everything Sleep Steady, the yelling, the energy, the flailing limps and the passion to pronounce every word penned. The way they have studied the game has earned them a double major in Trap (a rap sub-genre) and punk music. Visually the juxtaposition works as well. Perry appears to be a hip-hop head and if you were to extract the throat punching production it reveals a lyrically conscious poet. Yet he will scream those lyrics down your throat while simultaneously coming out of his T shirt and flannel for a sweaty shirtless performance. His bars are well thought out and witty and the content is focused within the context of the music. CiD is the other end of the spectrum, his aesthetic is grunge/punk, holes and layers in his clothing, hair he can flick in front of his face and a raspy voice that is built for belting lyrics into a crowd of fist balled youth. But Vishiz is also a talented wordsmith who has an advanced level of word association that helps all the yelling captivate the audience to hear and listen, it's like you're ear hustling for one-liner gems.
Although they have work that has received grand accolades and prominent placement there was no Sleep Steady full-length, until recently. TRUNK (TRAP+PUNK) is a ode to their very own sub-genre. Much like described above the combination of the two artists mashing together their backgrounds and common interests is how you develop such an organic mesh of the two sounds making them one. The real magic for me is that CiD is an engineer and he otherworldly in his ability to make sure that the blaring music does not overpower the poetic aspect of their work. With so much going on the amount of clarity it is often pleasantly surprising. Jake Uitti did a write-up on Sleep Steady last May for the Seattle Times shortly after Sleep Steady placed two songs on the EA Sports video game (in collaboration with producer Konrad OldMoney) "UFC 2" and said it best,
"The pair hits each track with rabid enthusiasm, as if their bodies were filled with lightning clouds and only rapping at peak speed will free them from the storm."
The entire TRUNK project is high voltage from start to finish, the introduction and exit tracks are my favorite after sitting with the EP from 4 days. HABIT has two of the best verses on the tape, exerts that stood out to the point of reciting them every time the songs comes on are:
Vishiz - See the proof in the pudding/ look at the work that I put in/ look at the work that I'm pushin/ look at the numbers I'm pullin/ you bumpin you gums but you ain't in discussion/ im bumpin your gums til you bleedin
Porter - Bodies hit the flo/ yall ain't even know/ Perry bein thicken the plot/ my bitch thick in the hips / we still diggin yo bitch/ tip toe in yo home we fixin to hit a lick/ pen that little poem and flip it like its a brick/ the way im battin the chrome your thoughts hittin the fence/ shit
It's rare to find they type of energy Sleep Steady provides and still reach the message TRUNK did that for me after the 3 listen. It's about angst, angst that never leaves, even with age. It's about a literal rage against the machine, these are two creatives who hone their creative flow in a number of ways, Cid is a producer and engineer while Perry is a professional fine artists. The music is a release - it's about putting yourself together by coming unglued. And it all comes together in the end when "Know Why" comes on. The punk presence holds the energy above your head in every other song on the tape but the outro. Know Why is the type of energy the induces smiles and dancing because it's so light-hearted a large part of that being Perry's ability to fluent his voice with a joyous delivery. On top of that it's simple and repetitive, great for the type of crowd participation Sleep Steady loves to have at their shows. Other notable songs are the crowd favorite Mosh Pit (I have seen wild moments happen) and Danica (video below) where you get to hear the trap+punk influence and it is unmistakable.
In their Seattle Times interview last year Sleep Steady was cited for saying they make music for the car, that's just other way of saying play it it out the TRUNK.
Shouts out to the Lukrative production moments - you my friend are amazing.