Medals by Sleep Maps
New York City heavy-psych band Sleep Maps return this fall with a spanking new EP, spanning 28 minutes, after just releasing their debut full length in May 2012. The mastermind behind the group, Ben Kaplan, provides a deeply moving work, both musically and thematically as it addresses the shallow pageantry presented to war veterans, many of whose lives have been forever shattered by their experiences.
According to Kaplan, Medals is based upon the Winter Soldier Investigation from 1971. "A group of Vietnam vets held a press conference in Detroit to discuss the atrocities they had seen and sometimes participated in," Kaplan explains. "This was meant to bring attention to the mainstream public about what was really happening in Vietnam. Of course after it was over the government did everything in their power to discredit them and claim they were liars."
"The image of throwing the medals back is the refusal to be placated by a trinket when your entire life has been ruined," says Kaplan. "The parallels between an era supposedly long gone and the wars of today are too blatant to be ignored. Soldiers coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq have also participated in medal throwing ceremonies, although mainstream media will not cover it."
Medals proceeds to build a chronology throughout the first three songs, implementing audio snippets from various speeches laid over Sleep Maps' spindling guitars, ominous keyboards and crashing drums, weaving Medal's sound and theme into a vivid sense of intense emotions. Furthermore, Kaplan again performed all of the instruments on this EP, as he did on the band's debut Fiction Makes The Future. While the group has now expanded to a full 4-piece lineup to play live -- all with the use of poignant visual projections -- Kaplan remains the sole creative force behind Sleep Maps.
So grab a listen through Horror in the Telescope, one of the 4 tracks off of Medals, give Sleep Maps the good olde college try, and get prepared for the full album release on November 13th. It's good to see such a quick turn around from recording. Sleep Maps has beautifully accomplished this without regressively altering their work. It's a feat worth at least a listen.
Sleep Maps - Horror In The Telescope/Medals