Digging on Soviet Soviet

sovietsovietThere was a time in the early 2000s when I soaked up all these post-punk acts, especially the ones that played along the lines of the genres dark side while still looking to give me a hook; I remember Stellastarr* being one of the bands that highlighted that sound. So, hearing Soviet Soviet, I’m totally taken back, and completely falling for the group. Sure, there’s some careful moments where they’re playing with ambient noise bits, but almost the entirety of this single is this swelling hook filled bit of angular pop…that middle ground where shoegaze let us all in on underlying accessibility. The Italian act just announced Endless, and sounds like a good time to me; look for it via Felte on December 2nd.

New Track from Dizzy Eyes

We’ve been super busy with SXSW, so a few things have slipped under the radar, and such is the case with Dizzy Eyes, one of the band’s just signed by our friends over at Hardly Art.  The band just released their new Let’s Break Up the Band 7″ last week, and I’ve been loving the lead title track.  Vocals remind me of Stellastarr, yet there’s a cutting melody that works beneath the entirety of the song, giving just enough bounce to the song to make it more than your average tune.  We’re still happy the guitar is full on this year. Oh, and we included this track on our SXSW Sampler, which you can grab here: SXSW SAMPLER.


Download: Dizzy Eyes – Lets Break Up The Band [MP3]

7/27 Stellastarr* @ The Parish

stellastarr02Monday nights aren’t usually highly-anticipated in the Austin music scene, unless a touring band is making a stop in town. Last Monday, the 27th, The Parish hosted a stop on Stellastar’s album release tour. The New York quartet just released their third album, Civilized, the first release in over 3 years. Expectations were high for this show and Stellastarr didn’t disappoint. The same can’t be said for the opening acts, but overall it was a very good Monday night in Austin.  Follow the jump to read more and see some fancy pics.

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Stellastarr – Civilized


Rating: ★★★ · ·

For their third album, Stellastarr opted to go it on their own and release the record, Civilized, on their terms, and their label, Bloated Wife Records.  However, nothing about the band seems to have changed at all since their previous efforts, which is either a good or bad thing, depending upon which camp you sleep in with regards to your opinion on the band.

Kicking off the album is “Robot,” and Amanda Tannen’s presents the most throbbing bass lines to date for the band.  While the guitars shatter in some other worldly angular atmospherics, Shawn Christensen repeats the lyrics “by design/you’re going to hurt yourself.”  The lyrics appear to have less of an impact than on previous efforts, but the cutting edge guitar riffs show that the band means business.

When track three, “Tokyo Sky” sets off, you’re tossed back into that classic new wave sound, with clean jangling guitars, but just as you get comfortable and nostalgic, they press down on the distortion pedal, they pull out some “Today”-era Smashing Pumpkins guitar miming.  While the guitars continue to swirl about the song, Christensen does his best to fall somewhere between himself and Davey of The Promise Ring.  Oddly, the lyrics refrain of “my Tokyo sky” recall the same refrain of “My Coco” off the group’s first album.

“Graffiti Eyes” probably has the most bounce of this set of songs, which is sad, since the band has been successful with such styles.  However, Tannen’s backing vocals provide a great counterbalance to the jagged yelp of Christensen.  In the chorus we find the band nearing their most straightforward pop approach to date, although the music doesn’t seem to comply necessarily.   Although this is the single for the band, this isn’t necessarily the best song on the album.  That award goes to “Prom Zombie” with its entirely playful singalong moments between Tannen and Christensen.  It’s the one song on this album that just seem like they’ve been rehashing themselves entirely.  And, there are horns! Horns bro.

The latter half of the album is much like the first half, with it all ending in “Sonja Cries,” the one song when you can clearly hear Christensen’s vocals.  Surprisingly, this seems like the exact direction the band should have gone to begin with, or at least built into the album as a whole.  By this point, the airy atmospherics of the guitars have grown weary after listening to them for three straight albums.  In the end, the band has created more enjoyable numbers for you to add to your collection, though they might not be the most memorable moments in the Stellastarr‘s history.


Download: Stellastarr – Prom Zombie [MP3]

New Tunes from Stellastarr

stellaStellastarr has flown under the radar since their debut album, seemingly swept aside by the move past the nostalgic 80s rehash revival.  But, the band has stayed strong, and they are about to self-release their third album, Civilized, on July 7th. We’ve got a song to toss your way in preparation for the release of said album. You’re sure to find it a pleasing little number.


Download: Stellastarr – Graffiti Eyes [MP3]