Asleep in the Sea breaks up

In a news blast that spoiled my day – and the immediate future – Owen Evans, keyboardist in Phoenix favorite Asleep in the Sea, announced the group has broken up.

This from a MySpace bulletin:

unfortunately, tom (guitarist) has decided to leave asleep in the sea

we will still be playing our two shows in april and that will be the last time we all play together so come see it i guess

if anyone would like to buy our shirts or cd’s, as it stands right now, we will continue to sell what we have left and everyone is highly encouraged to purchase

as far as the new album goes it will no longer be professionally released but discussion of some form of release is currently taking place

thanks to anyone who enjoyed our music, bought our music, booked us, let us sleep in their place, or helped us in any way

it’s unfortunate timing for us, and i can’t say i understand it fully, but it happened and i just wanted to make sure to say thanks


I don’t know any of the other particulars, but this is upsetting news. Asleep in the Sea was among my favorites in what seems to be a suddenly promising local scene. The three guys – Evans, Tom Filardo (guitar/vocals) and Eli Kuner (drums) – never take themselves too seriously, at least from what I could gather when I saw them live. To wit: Kuner played one show I saw with a cracked cymbal. When I asked him about it months later, he said it was out of necessity (he was broke) rather than choice. Clearly, they weren’t in this for the glamour.

I shot an e-mail to Kuner, who responded in a somewhat downtrodden but hopeful/relieved manner, saying, “there’s no point in looking back now” – DJ, cue Boston’s Don’t Look Back now! I told Kuner some eulogy was in order; his response?: “Eulogize the fuck out of us! because on the internet … we’ll live forever.” And there you have it: the near-final words on the tombstone of Asleep in the Sea, indexed on Google for our future generations.

What makes this news all the harder to digest is the band had an album’s worth of songs ready for release, likely subsidized at least in part by a smallish label/backer. I weaseled my way into getting my hands on a digital copy of the album (titled Avenue), 16 songs of the irreverent, quirky rock that made the group such a welcome change of pace. The longest song checks in at 3:36, and every two- to two-and-a-half-minute burst pops with clever instrumental interplay and insightful writing that sometimes gets lost in the band’s catchy hooks.

Take Cancer and Bones, a track in which the sobering final chorus belies the bright attitude of the music: “Everyone is your best friend when … / everyone is your best friend when you die.” Then there’s Seashorshes, from the Yay! O.K. Yeah? EP, a playful harmonizing ditty that could almost pass as a nursery rhyme – save for its sincere theme of questioning – mocking? – the point of war. “Where have the nice men gone? / off to seashores / off to foreign seashores.”

What a drag. I planned on posting about this album, but I didn’t expect it to be a sign-off for the band. On the bright side, Asleep will play its final two shows: April 16 @ Modified with Deerhunter and the Ponys and April 27 @ the Trunk Space.

Pick up the great Yay! O.K. Yeah? EP at iTunes for the best $4.95 you’ll spend.

  • Asleep in the Sea | Dance On [from Yay! O.K. Yeah?]
  • Asleep in the Sea | Cancer and Bones [new]
  • Asleep in the Sea | The Hands [new; the best 48-second song I’ve heard]

IN OTHER NEWS: Look who’s back. Glad to see you again, Jennings.

7 thoughts on “Asleep in the Sea breaks up”

  1. So…I want this album. No doubt I could find it on a torrent site but somehow asking you for it seems more legit. Here’s hoping…

  2. Definately missed band.
    We met them at SXSW one year and included 2 tracks on a compilation for our label BabyBoom Records in the UK.
    Would like to look at releasing some more (we have a bunch of other tracks from them). Anyone got contact details? Drop me a line.

    Chis Williams
    BabyBoom Records
    Manchester UK

  3. Pingback: So Much Silence

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