Bigfoot

Sleepwalk

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Following the breakup of Ohio's Ugly Stick, that band's core -- vocalist/guitarist David Holm and drummer-turned-guitarist Jeff Clowdus -- regrouped with the addition of Holm's wife Melanie Bleveans on bass and backing vocals, and Brad Swiniarski on drums, calling themselves Bigfoot. Following the release of two songs ("Wait So Patient" and epic live favorite "Lollipop") on a 1995 LFM compilation, The Beautiful People, LFM released Bigfoot's debut full-length in 1996, Sleepwalk. Marked by Holm's drawly, warbly, vaguely Dylanesque vocals, Bigfoot's songs use fuzzy, twangy guitars, the occasional pedal steel, and lyrics that draw lonesome, abstract pictures of Appalachian melancholy to create music that could lazily be filed under the heading of alt-country (although the dusty twang rock band generally has little or nothing in common with the airy, acoustic pop of similarly labeled acts like Wilco). Tracks penned by Holm, such as album-opener "Come On" and fan favorite "Wait So Patient," have rugged pop sensibilities with melodies that are dirty and smart. The music is brought to life by the vocal harmonies between Holm and Bleveans and guitar tones that sometimes resemble the fractured country buzz of the Country Teasers (as on the track "What You Done?"). The two songs on the record written by Clowdus have a decidedly dark tone both musically and lyrically. "Larry & Laverne," for example, tells the story of "Siamese twin dwarfs/...they never saw each other's faces/for their heads looked different places," a topic that seems odd until one considers the fact that the band has shown the film Freaks during their live shows. Drummer Brad Swiniarski's lone track on the record calls to mind, oddly enough, Sebadoh circa Bubble & Scrape. While the confines of being on a self-described "micro-indie" label prevented the band from gaining much exposure outside of the Midwest, Bigfoot had a brush with fame in the form of television when their brokenhearted acoustic track "Amy's Gone" was featured in an ad for Kudos snack bars. A little rough around the edges, Sleepwalk is a record that should restore faith, even to disenchanted music fans, that there are still amazing bands in the Midwest releasing strong, melodic, rocking, and strikingly original independent music. If there were any justice in the music world, Bigfoot would have been snatched up by a major label long ago.

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