After quietly releasing a number of highly-praised, mostly hand-traded cult releases over several years, Stars Like Fleas re-emerged recently with new clothing, sonic plastic surgery, and a desire to shed its underground trappings and engage audiences in the flesh. Almost instantly creating a stir and an overnight name for themselves in the overcrowded and sentiment-suspicious Brooklyn music scene, the Fleas began selling out exponentially larger shows in secret spaces as well as established venues. The group now has a brand new label home in the US, the esteemed Hometapes label which will release the band’s third album, The Ken Burns Effect on June 3, 2008.
Stars Like Fleas may truly represent a new branch on America’s phylogenetic musical tree, distinguishing themselves through an unlikely alchemy where anxiety and confrontation accompany something candid, joyous and unashamedly romantic. In already-mythic, transformational performances (praised in The Wire, Time Out, the Village Voice, etc, and countless blogs), Stars Like Fleas create music of its own haunted species; as accessible and humane as it is unsettling and extreme.
Having been compared to such far-flung groups as Xiu Xiu, Butch Morris, Animal Collective and Talk Talk, describing Stars Like Fleas is not a chore for the imagination-challenged: Pitchfork called Sun Lights Down On The Fence an uninhibited, “precognitive glimpse into the workings of the subconscious mind”; fellow Brooklynites Grizzly Bear called their live show “absolutely mind blowing” in a Dusted Magazine interview, and Salon.com said “few bands have the resolve to push their music as far toward formlessness, as well as the skill and concentration to coax that formlessness into something listenable, coherent and beautiful – brilliant”. Journalist Julianne Shepherd (Spin, XLR8R, Pitchfork) called Stars Like Fleas “possibly the best band i have seen in New York”; “quietly majestic”, said the Village Voice describing an electricity-free acoustic show in the Catskill Mountains.
The Ken Burns Effect, a document of the band’s growth over the past year, is an iconoclastic but more immediate, organic and lush album than its predecessors Sun Lights Down On The Fence, and Took The Ass For A Drive. When Fleas-fan, the composer Nico Muhly (arranger to Björk, Grizzly Bear, and Antony & The Jonsons) helped pass along early recordings drafts from The Ken Burns Effect to Björk producer/collaborator Valgeir Sigurðsson, the band were invited to Iceland to complete the record with him.
FUN FACT: Stars Like Fleas features (ex) members/contributors of TV on the Radio, Scarlett Johansson’s band, The Fiery Furnaces, Beirut, Tall Firs, Celebration, Mercury Rev, The Silent League and additional contributions by Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Sean Lennon, Fantomas)
STARS LIKE FLEAS – THE KEN BURNS EFFECT
OUT: JUNE 03, 2008 ON HOMETAPES
1. Hoax Head
2. Karma’s Hoax
3. I Was Only Dancing
5. Early Riser
6. Berbers In Tennis Shoes
7. Toast Siren
8. See For The Woods
9. You Are My Memoir
10. Some Nettles
Band Page: www.slf.praemedia.com/
Label Page: www.home-tapes.com