Column: Team Sleep's Myth and Majesty
Wed, 10 Jun 2015 10:15:28
Haunting and creative band fronted by Deftones lead singer is set to re-emerge after long hiatus.
Remember the first time you heard about Team Sleep? Back around the time Deftones released White Pony in 2000, there were all of these rumblings on the pre-social media internet, what a thought, of another Chino Moreno-fronted band. You'd see it mentioned on Deftones' message boards and fan sites too. Nobody really knew what it would sound like, but that's what made it so exciting. This was long before Soundcloud and all of the streaming services and marketing and promotion campaigns were centered around print. Team Sleep always had a pronounced mystique.
The story goes that White Pony mid-point "Teenager" was even initially meant for Team Sleep. Then, it ended being on Deftones' opus. Nevermind though, the world had somewhat of an inkling of what Team Sleep would sound like from that mere statement, regardless of the exact correlation, it was validation still in the Internet's dawn. Team Sleep's origins stem back to 1994 with the friendship and incredible creative partnership of Moreno and Todd Wilkinson. It's their gorgeously lo-fi, film noir soundtrack, buzz guitar aesthetic that defined the group from day one. This stretched long before White Pony even.
To those of us on the East Coast, we didn't even get to see the group's 2001 shows touting that sound. The real introduction came with the band's mind-blowing self-titled debut, Teamx Sleep [Maverick Records], in 2005. Proper touring followed, and it touted the likes of the hauntingly heavy "Blvd. Nights," the glitch drama bounce of "King Diamond," and the haze of "Your Skull Is Red." It marked one of Moreno's best vocal performances yet, and the lyrics transfixed at every turn. It's an unsung classic. Wilkinson's creativity punctuated the drive, while CrookOne One infused this ethereal electronic sheen matched by Ricky Verrett's impressive bass. The album also flaunted a topnotch performance from Zach Hill [Death Grips]. It was "indie" before every hot band on Coachella. Really, it was a space rock epic.
Listen to "Ever (Foreign Flag)"