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Artist of the day: Sleepy Vikings

7

January

Sleepyvikings555 

Sleepy Vikings includes four ex-members of deflocal favorites Giddy-up, Helicopter! (Sandi Streppone, bass; Nicole Schleif, guitar, banjo and lap steel; Ryann Slauson, drums; Conner, guitar and vocals) plus Tessa McKenna, vocals and keyboards; and Stephanie Paceco on guitar.

What's new? A pleasant female vocal from McKenna (often in harmony with others in the band); a mood that’s more enchanting and less haunting. SV material is more upbeat than Giddy-up, Helicopter!’s earlier material, with lighter arrangements acting as a counterpoint to introspective lyrics. Remaining from the band’s previous incarnation: that warmly familiar sparkle and trance that first won over fans. “It’s more refined, more musical, less noise,” Conner said.

Sleepy Vikings perform with Red Room Cinema at 9 p.m. Sunday at the Hub, 719 N Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 229-1553.

After the jump, get Julie Garisto's full profile of this Tampa indie supergroup, including that time they got props from the Vivian Girls ...

Would-be warriors: Sleepy Vikings includes four ex-members of Giddy-up, Helicopter! (Sandi Streppone, bass; Nicole Schleif, guitar, banjo and lap steel; Ryann Slauson, drums; Conner, guitar and vocals) plus Tessa McKenna, vocals and keyboards; and Stephanie Paceco on guitar.

Specialties: “Stalker songs and stage antics,” according to the band’s MySpace page.

What’s new: A pleasant female vocal from McKenna (often in harmony with others in the band); a mood that’s more enchanting and less haunting. SV material is more upbeat than Giddy-up, Helicopter!’s earlier material, with lighter arrangements acting as a counterpoint to introspective lyrics. Remaining from the band’s previous incarnation: that warmly familiar sparkle and trance that first won over fans. “It’s more refined, more musical, less noise,” Conner said.

Band they’ve been compared to: Deer Tick.

The newbies: McKenna is “the good cook of the band” and dates Conner. Paceco is from Miami, named the band, and has a celebrity crush on Sherilyn Fenn from the ’90s TV show Twin Peaks. Conner jokingly refers to the band’s Twin Peaks as the Sherilyn Fenn stalker song.

Filling a void: “I went into a depression when we weren’t playing,” said Streppone when asked about the break this summer between G-UH! and Sleepy Vikings. Streppone had visited India and Slauson studied in Australia, and Conner and Schleif dabbled in a country collaboration, but outside endeavors didn’t erase the yearning to get back to playing music as a band again, they say.

More singalongable: “I like that word. Yes. Put that down,” said Conner with a laugh.

Good start: At the Vikings first show, an opening slot for the Vivian Girls, singer Cassie Ramone used Conner’s guitar and gave the band props on Twittter. “They tweeted about us! Conner said with glee. “I must have read that post 20 times.”

Working well together: “It’s more of a melting pot, really,” Streppone says.

Conner: “We’ve been trying to be more up front with each other.”

Paceco: “It’s more of a collaborative effort.”

Conner: “Everyone has a say on everyone else’s part. I don’t think we really had that in Giddy-up.”

Streppone: “Now, we’re looking more towards what’s best for the song.”

Daytime lives: Paceco is working on music full-time; Conner has a job at Sally O’Neal’s Pizza Hotline and is studying to become an EMT; McKenna starts nursing school (to become an RPN) this month; Schleif works at in the foreclosure department of Coldwell Banker; Slauson attends USF; and Streppone teaches math.

Insomnia problems? “Not me! I have no problems sleeping,” Streppone answers without skipping a beat.

Schleif: “I might wake up eight times in the middle of the night.”

Conner: “We’re all fairly sleepy people.”

Hear them: With Red Room Cinema at 9 p.m. Sunday at the Hub, 719 N Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 229-1553.

-- Julie Garisto, tbt*

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:15pm]

    

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