Instead of Sleeping–glamorous indie rock and roll from Pittsburgh

I confess that I did not realize that there were so many bands out there with tons of drums.  This week I’ve covered two bands with double drums and drummers/percussionists. I’m finding it fantastic.  When I first listened to Instead of Sleeping, I pinned them as an outside-of-Seattle band.  Looked up more information, turns out that they’re from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Well done, Pittsburgh.  Well done.  Being based in Cleveland, Pitt is only a hop, skip, and a jump away which makes me mega-excited that I might be able to enjoy listening to these gentlemen live.  Way better than Seattle.  Instead of Sleeping describes themselves as a former “hookah bar jam band”, but they’ve grown to have quite the presence and skill over the last few years.  These guys are completely independent and have released four works of love and labor in and out of the studio.  “Young Lungs” has just dropped this summer and it is a pure and untainted work of independent rock and roll that you should definitely check out.


The album opens with some watery synthesizer sounds and poetic lyrics.  This song takes me back to my early college days, both the style and the lyrics.  They’re a little angsty, but not too angsty.  The exact amount of angsty that you should want from indie rock and roll songs about relationships.  The song is introspective, examining a failing relationship and determining that your personalities just don’t do well together, you’re bound to bounce back and forth between love and hatred. “and though it’s not worth while, I crave the volatile.”


“Merlot” has a really cool, groovy, unique sound. “Two glasses, one with red lipstick. Late night, but know that it’s worth it.”  I love the percussion and the harmonies on the vocals. I love the pitch and tone of frontman Shaun Sweeney’s voice.  This song takes me underground, back to some of the sketchiest basement venues I have ever experienced.  One in particular, had only one bare light bulb above where the band was playing and smelled like sweat and old beer.  But the emotion was always outstanding.  The music just coursed through your bloodstream and raced through your brain the next day.  Something about the experiences of those janky venues sticks with me.  This song brings back those positive emotions, that underground grungy feeling.


I love songs about girls. Specific girls, the songs telling some story either sad or happy.  “Twenty-two and she says that she’s getting old.”  “South Side Girls” is a bit sad, at least, it makes me a bit sad.  This girl doesn’t have many plans for her life, but she’s interesting. People like her. Men like her, they buy her dinner, buy her drinks, take her home.  She has a diamond nose ring.  “A night with her is never boring.” and “this is her side of town.”  But I can’t help but wonder where she will be when it’s someone else’s side of town.  I hope that it is somewhere nice.  I hope that she feels safe and valuable.  I’ve felt old so many times since I turned twenty and it is always such a hopeless feeling.

“Young Lungs” is young.  They’re fresh. It has a diverse range of rock and roll sounds.  These guys are pros.  They evoke feelings and memories.  Check out their music, enjoy it, drink it in.  I look forward to seeing them live as soon as I can get to Pittsburgh, or convince them to come to Cleveland.


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