REVIEW: The Sleeping Bag – “I’m On Your Side”

The Sleeping Bag
I’m On Your Side

It has been a joy to plot the progress of Doug Campbell, aka The Sleeping Bag, a burgeoning artist with a lot to say. While many teenagers are content to pour out their heart for social media to see and read, whether that’s for self-pity, release, or some other, perhaps more insidious reason, Campbell spends that effort capturing it in sound, moments of self-doubt and anxiety frozen in time and preserved for better or worse for future generations. For my money, that’s a far more healthy pursuit than seeking some sort of public attention via the internet; hell at least we get to enjoy something in the trade.

The music here skews pop, filtered Mount Eerie through the noisy, classic rock leanings of Dinosaur Jr. or Pavement, as immediately notable on opener chainsmoking for two, a track that if you were otherwise ignorant you may ascribe to one of the aforementioned legends. As such, Campbell is pumping out pure sloucher gold for the early 90’s nostalgic, which is something to behold given his tender age (Campbell is a teenager), meaning he never knew that era. Tracks like [alarm clock] render that sort of alt-rock meets folk meandering through the affluence of millennials who have had the benefit of their parents experience to help guide their interests. We can all only hope to be so fortunate.

The production is as always punctuated by weird choices that deftly tackle challenging ideas, attempting to pull them off with whatever tools are available. You may hear the pitter patter of tiny drum machines, the downstroke of an acoustic guitar, or the lo-fi bedroom sounds of the recording itself, likely set to digital instead of the soft tape hiss of Campbell’s predecessors of the genre. You can hear doors open on tracks like Juliet, capped here with a whispered female (or it sounds female) vocal, or the brittle distorted freak out of put the mask back on. Campbell’s willingness to take risks is a welcome foray away from an exercise that would otherwise manifest as folk heavy grunge riff inspired nostalgia.

Listen below and let Campbell take you on a journey.