Star Rover

Star Rover

Star Rover is Will Graefe (Okkervil River, Landlady) and Jeremy Gustin (Rubblebucket, Albert Hammond Jr.) -- a duo that makes ambitious, dense post-rock with a commitment to melody and dynamics. Though a rhythmically aggressive and near telepathic improvisational rapport is at the core of their sound, occasional unison and harmonized vocals are interwoven into the songs; imagine if Brian Wilson produced a Lightning Bolt record. Star Rover's songs conjure imaginary landscapes, textures, climates, and emotions, often alternating between delicate interwoven polyrhythms and hurtling walls of sound.

The band's debut album I May be Lost But I'm Laughing will be released on October 24 via NYC label 11A Records. Album opener and lead single "Byron Bay" is bright, beaming, and hypnotic, pulsating forward in a circular, perpetual motion--like beach waves. It was inspired by a visit to Byron Bay in New South Wales, where Gustin noticed a solitary woman lying on the beach: "So close / The waves almost touching her toes / She knows." The track was completed in Brooklyn at Figure 8 Recording with Sam Griffin Owens (Sam Evian), who performed synth on the song as well.

Gustin name checks Aphex Twin and Tortoise as influences, specifically on tracks like "Snow Moving," which he wrote after running around NYC in a blizzard, as well as "Inclined For Wren," which speaks to social media over-saturation. Of the latter, Gustin says, "It's fun to come up with these ideas as a non-guitar player, and to see [Will] try to figure them out." "Inclined For Wren" and previous track "Red Skies" both feature original arrangements by visionary string player Rob Moose (of yMusic).

"Peppermint Olive"--the song on the album with the most vocals--features Mikey Freedom Hart (of Ex Reyes, Blood Orange) on keys and Sarah K. Pedinotti (of Okkervil River, Lip Talk) on background vocals. Both artists also appear on "Up Up," which was recorded at Alligator Lady Studio in Greenpoint with Cedar Apffel. "Up Up" is the only song on the album with a guitar solo.

Album closer "And Then I Remembered" was written by Graefe during a stay in Lisbon, and features a vocalist named Dr. Stuff, who discovered the duo through Instagram back in 2016. After a year of messaging back and forth, Star Rover invited Dr. Stuff to add his vocals to the finished track, and upon completion he disappeared from Instagram and email and was never heard from again. The video for the song follows a unique kind of couple (played by Holly and Jonathan of BREAKTIME) who come together and fall apart as they raise a "child" together. Director Julia Barrett-Mitchell calls it, "A story about partnership, about loss, and about healing."

The album also features a cover by free-jazz legend Sonny Sharrock. "We decided to record 'Blind Willie' as a tribute to him, but it's also representative of what we do live. His original recording is a masterpiece of American music and it has a spirit we'd like to communicate in our music."

I May Be Lost But I'm Laughing is out October 24 on 11A Records.

Henry Jamison

Assuming that a pedigree in such things has any relevance at all, which is certainly unclear, Henry Jamison was perhaps predisposed to songwriting. His great-great-great-great-great-great-great (etc.) grandfather was the 14th century poet John Gower (friend to Chaucer and Richard II) and his great-great-great-great grandfather was George Frederick Root, the most popular songwriter of the Civil War era. Probably more relevant is that his mother is an English professor and his father a classical composer, who gave him a Korg 8-track recorder and his first guitar.

Henry attended a Waldorf School near his hometown of Burlington, VT, sang in a traveling folk choir and played viola in local youth orchestras. After an academically turbulent stint as an English major at Bowdoin College in Maine, he left on tour for two years with a band of bearded friends. This period was full of joys and sorrows and ended in a move back home. After a few attempts at recording a solo debut with a cadre of talented players, Henry decided to demo some new ideas on his old Korg 8-track, which would go on to become The Rains EP. These songs show a central interest in exploring inner worlds, observing their treasures and holding none in contempt. They run the gamut from an earnest reckoning with romantic upheaval ("Real Peach"), to a knee-jerk and distorted view of the same ("Through a Glass"), to storm-driven dreamscapes ("The Rains" and "Dallas Love Field"). Finally, in "No One Told Me," Henry stands metaphorically on his own "Galleons Lap" (the summit where Christopher Robin says Goodbye-for-Now to the Hundred Acre Wood in A.A. Milne's House at Pooh Corner) and looks out, with a newfound composure born of relationship, to the horizon of the Who-Knows-What that is the life of a musician.

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