Yesterday I was in H&M—guilty—and a familiar tune came through the sound system. It was obviously a holiday-themed lineup and what to my wondering eyes ears should appear, but Starflyer 59’s “A Holiday Song (Happy Holidays)” to bring me great cheer. This track is rather an oddball off of 1998’s The Fashion Focus and what struck me most about hearing this song in public is that Starflyer really hasn’t gained much notoriety over the past fifteen years that they (or rather “he,” referring to Jason Martin, the only consistent member of the group) have been making music.
Starflyer is fairly prolific, having released eleven albums to date, and even with that under their belt, they remain under the radar. They’ve a sound somewhat difficult to pin down (what if Galaxie 500, The Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., New Order, and David Bazan produced magical offspring…), though characteristically shoegazing indie rock. Maybe I’m a sucker for music that requires patience, but if you’ve not given Starflyer 59 a significant listen I’d encourage you to change that. To perhaps help change that, here is a quick guide I’ve made to briefly describe each of their studio albums:
Silver (1994) – Shoegaze/dream pop, highly-distorted/effected, rock.
Gold (1995) – Slightly more pop than Silver.
Americana (1997) – More of the same shoegazing rock, though less engaging than Gold and Silver.
The Fashion Focus (1998) – Less My Bloody Valentine-esque, more keys.
Everybody Makes Mistakes (1999) – Moving in the same direction as The Fashion Focus, (except “A Dethroned King,” perhaps the thickest track on the album). Excellent songwriting.
Leave Here A Stranger (2001) – Similar to Everybody Makes Mistakes, though a little darker (lyrically) and recorded in mono (as opposed to stereo).
Old (2003) – Back to the harder rock/shoegaze style. Perhaps their best release to date.
I Am the Portuguese Blues (2004) – Loud guitars, straightforward rock n’ roll. Jason Martin is Portuguese.
Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice (2005) – Resembles a lot of 80s pop and new wave music (even some synth bass), with some very dancy/catchy tracks. A very fun listen.
Dial M (2008) – I also don’t own this album, but it just came out this past October and from what I’ve heard it’s pretty fun rock. There are currently a few tracks from the album on Starflyer’s Myspace page. The album artwork is pretty bitchen’ too.
[The Changing of the Guard (2010)]