Story: Jack Foley
NEW York may lay claim to producing some of the finest punk-rock
bands of the moment (such as The Rapture and The Strokes), but
being labelled 'the latest to emerge from..' can be a pretty mixed
blessing for any new act at the moment.
Take the highly-rated StellaStarr*, for instance, who on their
website, state that 'its a weird time to be a band based
in New York City... So much is implied in being a 'band from NY',
that the music can get lost in the shuffle'.
However, as StellaStarr* is proving on stations such as Radio
1 and Xfm at the moment, it's not where youre from that
determines your music, but where youre going.
The NY-based four piece have blasted onto the London music scene
thanks to their debut EP, Somewhere Across Forever - and
anyone expecting another slice of Strokes-inspired punk-rock simplicity
would be sorely mistaken.
Sure, the track does start with the same type of vocal style
as a White Stripes/Strokes first verse, but then it gives way
into something different altogether - a breezy, hopelessly addictive
throwback to the Brat Pack-led Eighties new wave, which wouldn't
sound out of place on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, combined
with a strangely Brit-pop edge.
The Eighties comparison is something that a lot of critics are
picking up on, as the sound is making something of a revival at
the moment (witness the latest Good Charlotte single, as a prime
Comprised of singer/guitarist, Shawn Christensen, bassist, Amanda
Tannen, guitarist, Michael Jurin and drummer, Arthur Kremer, the
band has already gone down a storm in America, which is eagerly
anticipating the release of the debut album.
Shawn, Amanda and Arthur became friends while studying at Brooklyn
Art School, Pratt Institute Of The Arts, after which they formed
a group called Ghistor.
Though short-lived, owing to the fact that Shawn had only played
guitar for about six months, and Arthur had been playing drums
for about six weeks, it laid the foundations for stellastarr,
which was formed in Spring 2000, when the three reconvened in
NYC after graduation, adding guitarist Michael Jurin to the lineup.
Jurin, for his part, had recently moved to NY, leaving his former
band, Charlottes Funeral, back home in Philadelphia.
According to the band's website, Jurin had just settled in with
Kremers old room-mate, just at the time the trio had begun
looking for a more guitar-heavy sound.
The band subsequently developed its sound by gigging around the
Big Apple, at prestigious NY venues such as The Luna Lounge, and
at the Tiswas NYC weekly, Saturday Night party at Don Hills.
It was here that they DJ/promoter, Nick Marc, witnessed their
potential and invited acclaimed producer, Tim OHeir (who
had worked with The Folk Implosion and Dinosaur Jr) to check out
a live show.
The rest, as they say, is history...
StellaStarr*s debut EP, Somewhere Across Forever,
resulted from O'Heir's decision to get them into a studio and
was released on Nick Marcs label, Tiswas Records, in December
2002, quickly attracting a loyal following among listeners and
DJs in the States and paving the way for the band's path to stardom
in the UK.
The picture, above left, is copyrighted to Ruvan and is one of
several to feature on the band's website. We'll bring you more
details as we get them...