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Friday 4 January 2008


Do Sleeper count as a forgotten indie band? You'll have to decide for yourselves on that; but what isn't in doubt is that their debut single release, the Alice EP, is as indie as they come because it's rare are hens' teeth and well, how to put this kindly..? It's not very good.

No, that's unfair. The single is classic "trying to be indie" before finding out what they were actually good at material and for that reason alone needs recording here. In fact before Sleeper became the BritPop behemoth that we all know and love*, they put out three less-than-well-received EPs between 1993 and 1994. What they then became of course is the classic belt 'em out sing-alongs like "What do I do now?" and "Inbetweener", so let's enjoy this single for what it is (and fondly remember Louise Wener).

What this bit of vinyl also is, is a single that the band had to release as Sleeper UK as there was a far more famous (hmmm...) American band of the same name and as is the way with these things (Verve UK anyone?) they had to chose an alternative name. And of course went on to be far more popular then their erstwhile American namesakes.

This vinyl is limited to 1800 copies according to the internet (although, confusingly it's listed as limited to 5000 copies on the same site); having said that there seems to be some confusion about whether this particular version was ever released at all.

Well, as it's a new year I'm not going to split hairs, again if anyone can clear up what's going on with versions and what-was-released-as-what I'd be more than happy to know. And here is Sleeper - Alice in Vain from the limited edition or non-existent Sleeper debut EP.

Oh and Happy New Year! Santa and his little elves brought me loads of requests and names of new bands to hunt down so between me and Mr eBay I reckon we can carry this piffle on for a while yet!

Buy Sleeper's Greatest Hits


  1. I was neither a fan of Sleeper or not a fan of Sleeper but a somewhat inbetweener... :D off to eat some Salad now.

  2. Have you done Adorable yet? I'd forgotten about Bleach...not about Sleeper though. Didn't the singer turn into a writer?

  3. Sleeper were one of those bands that I caught onto at the time (aah the heady days of Britpop). I've got Swallow, Delicious and a few promos among others which I got signed by the band at a gig at Stoke Wheatsheaf in 1994 supported by Nyack (see the Spoilt Victorian Child website).
    In fact Jon the guitarist even signed some of my stuff as to Matt - shame as my name is actually Max, but never mind!!
    To reply to anonymous, yes Louise Wener did become a writer - most well known for writing a book called Goodnight Steve McQueen.
    On the subject of Adorable, I saw them at The Wheatsheaf too on their final tour - 12 people turned up and they were supported by The Nubiles (Tara Milton of 5.30 fame).

    P.S. How about doing a feature on the utterly wonderful Lowlife?

    P.P.S. Many thanks for a great website well worth a regular visit!!

  4. Hmm...

    Not sure it's a rare as you think it is...

    I saw and heard Sleeper for the first time when they supported Blur on their first Parklife tour of the UK, and promptly hit my local indie record shop for anything they'd released.

    I bought Swallow, Delicious, and some other record - which turned out to be a 7" by the US Sleeper.

    I sent this to Indolent records, asking if they knew about it... whilst also asking if there was anymore Sleeper (UK) records I was missing (this being a pre-internet era). They sent me the Alice EP cd single back, and my collection was complete.

    So the cd single of Alice is rare-ish - but the 7" single of it isn't, because initial vinyl copies of their debut LP "Smart" came with a copy of it. And there was plenty of those bought and sold.

    The rarest Sleeper singles (though try finding a buyer these days) would be the green vinyl copy of the Bucket & Spade EP (a mail order only "live recording"), and a flexi that came free with Sleeper's 'official' fanzine, Gorgeous & Fully Equipped/Fantasy Y-Fronts.

  5. I was/am a Sleeper fan. I believe their debut EP was limited to 1000 7"s/1000 CD singles and 500 12"s. When the album 'Smart' was released, initial copies came with a re-press of the EP, I believe there were 1000 of those. Another rarity would be the 'Delicious' 12", again 500 only, but this one had an exclusive track called 'Tatty'. 'Inbetweener' also came on a limited 12" + poster with an exclusive track called 'Bank'. I agree the flexi and mail order 7" are probably the rarest items (I have both), but I recommend tracking down the 7" of 'Romeo Me', their last single, for the excellent 'Cunt, London' track...

  6. lol at the dave, and agreement with other anon for adorable espesh thier b-side song "summerside" also airhead would be kwalatee!