Stars: Maybe the most listenable band on the planet. - Oh My Rockness

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Stars: Maybe the most listenable band on the planet.

April 21, 2005
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This morning as I was eating my breakfast from the downstairs deli (one of the worst in Manhattan, mind you), I thought to myself, "You know, this muffin isn't the only thing that's warm, soft, and poppy." Of course I was also thinking about the band, Stars. If ever there was a group meant for the O.C. soundtrack, it's these sugary Canadians. Sometimes I hate myself for liking them so much, especially when they begin songs by saying, "I'm Evan and this is my heart," (I don't even know you, Evan) or more recently, "Here we go!" (yeee-hawww!). But even though I know my muffins are loaded with empty calories, I still eat them. And, like my muffins, I know that Stars are loaded with youthful cheesiness, yet I still listen to them. Often.

You know how when bands have dual singers, it almost always fucks things up? It's like, "Either have him sing, or have her sing, just pick one." (And don't even get me started on people who have two first names..."Look, your name is either Jim or Bob. It can't be Jim Bob. Everyone else has to choose, so you choose too.") However, in the curious case of Stars, having dual vocalists is actually amazingly right. When Amy Millan sings it's perfect for the song, and when Torquil Cambell sings it's perfect for the song. It also helps that both of their smooth voices are as lulling as a warm womb.

Ok, Stars aren't ALL cheesiness. That would be selling the band short. On their latest album, Set Yourself On Fire, (with cover art that completely rips off Explosions in the Sky's The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, but never mind that) the final song is called "Calendar Girl" and it's one of the most poignant, heart-tugging songs I've heard in a while. It's hard to write a song about not wanting to die and time passing without sounding completely cliche (the two subjects, after s-e-x, that have been written about most, perhaps) but they manage to pull it off. It takes a lot for me to "feel" something because I'm such a ball-throwing, domestic-beer-drinking macho jock. But "Calendar Girl" gets me every time (as does the theme song from "The Money Pit").

Stars are a band that everyone could conceivably love. They probably won't stay "indie" for long. If Starbucks can play Iron & Wine, and Houlihan's can play The Postal Service, then certainly someone like, say, Crate & Barrel can play Stars ("When I need killer dishes, hip lamps, and top-notch throw pillows, I go to Crate & Barrel. Crate & Barrel: you care, because they care about you, caring about them.") Great, now I can feel even guiltier about liking them. Oh well.

Stars play Bowery Ballroom, Wednesday, April 27th, and Southpaw, Saturday, April 30th.

**JUST ADDED** Stars will headline a benefit for the Save Darfur Coalition at Northsix on Tuesday, April 26th with Kevin Devine, Jeffrey Lewis and The Fatales.

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