Please allow me the indulgence of singing the praises of one song, the soon-to-be-released 7-inch “Julius” by Starfucker (pardon my language, but that is the unfortunate name of the band, though they are sometimes referred to as STRFKR for the sake of the easily offended). After I heard it on-line, Polyvinyl has been so kind as to provide a copy for review (It’s officially due out on Oct. 12).
“Julius” is an amazing melding of dream-pop and retro-tinged electro with a hint of Tangerine Dream Kraut rock. When I first heard it, the first 10 seconds or so seemed to last eons, as it threw me back to the noodling, lo-tech synthesizers of Tangerine Dream. It’s the kind of music twinkling stars would make back in the seventies. But then the song takes an even more interesting turn as the beeps and burbles pile up, making the song sound like the soundtrack for an 8-bit Sega video game (“Fantasy Zone” comes to mind). In this band pic from the label, it’s fitting they decided to pose with vintage Apple computers:
Of course, that is only the bare bones of the music of “Julius,” as a fat luster of shiny production coats it all, offering an enveloping swirl of psychedelic noise. Live drums and bass propel the music deeper into sonic surrealism when, almost a minute in, a voice emerges from the ethereal sounds singing unintelligible words coated in layers of echoing effects. The only words I can seem to make out are in the chorus: “Picture your body/hearing your voice/fall in to your aaaaarms.” I’d like to think it’s “Fall in to your eeeeyes,” a song about a lover conjured up by the mind’s eye that in turn sucks the dreamer back in, in an ever evolving loop. It’s an image that would perfectly compliment the layers of noise and melody that wrestle over the course of this all too brief 3 minutes and 48 seconds.
The B-side, “Helium Muffin,” slowly builds from a sporadic metallic, synthesized beat and swirling synthesized melody– with some Japanese words spoken by a feminine voice– into a decidedly more dancy beat and more noodling electronics. It’s a cute instrumental piece (discounting the unintelligible spoken Japanese bits [but as an American release, the female voice could simply be considered another texture in the instrumental pallet]). It’s a perfectly suitable B-side.
Polyvinyl has also released a limited edition 7-inch on blue vinyl, which has almost sold out during pre-orders. According to the label, there are less than 100 left of the 500 edition run. You can buy the regular vinyl or limited edition blue vinyl here. Both are the same measly $5 and include a sticker and button.
Besides on their MySpace page above, you can also hear “Julius” in its entirety, as well as read more about this group from a longtime fan and native of the band’s Portland home, here.
Finally, that band’s on tour with Octopus Project, but the closest they get to me here in Miami, Fla. is tonight… in Atlanta , GA. Here are their remaining tour dates:
10/2 Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
10/5 Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
10/6 Washington, DC @ DC9
10/7 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
10/8 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
10//9 New Haven, CT @ Café Nine
10/10 Cambridge, MA @ TT The Bears
10/11 Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo
10/12 Toronto, ON @ Wrongbar
10/13 Pittsburgh, PA @ Garfield Artworks
10/14 Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop
10/15 Chicago, IL @ The Bottom Lounge
10/16 Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
10/19 Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s
10/20 Portland, OR @ Roseland Theatre
10/22 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
10/23 Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex
10/24 San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
10/25 Tucson, AZ @ Plush
10/28 Costa Mesa, CA @ Detroit Bar
Check out the unfolding of their creative genius in their ongoing tour diary here: