Preview: Starover Blue @ Holocene January 16th
Written by Ned Tilbrook on January 14, 2020
FFO: Beach House, Cocteau Twins, Wye Oak
On Thursday evening Portland dream-pop duo Starover Blue will take to stage for what promises to be an enthralling evening of dreamy indie music with Silver Medal and Young Elk. Starover Blue use the distinctive sounds of a Roland Juno 106, layering its output around enticing, bittersweet vocals, to create an indie-cum-dream-pop sound that is sure to be familiar yet new and unique to fans of acts such as Beach House and Wye Oak. Starover Blue’s debut album, Spacegeist (2016) features a name and cover that evokes the stars – and indeed the album can easily make a listener feel as though they are drifting slowly through the universe on a wave of pleasing noise.
However, Starover Blue have also shown a desire to ground their work in real-life problems. Their second and most recent album, last year’s Ordinary Magic, features the single ‘Parlor Trick’. The song takes aim at the funeral industry and the exploitation of grieving friends and relatives – an issue that many will be familiar with from bitter experience, yet we hear very little about in public discourse. Lyrics include:
A money grab, a parlor trick
No I don’t wanna play
But if you want to die dignified
You’re gonna have to pay
Highlighting such an under-covered issue is a wonderful use of art in general and music in particular: whilst overtly political artists perform a valuable service in speaking to widespread discontent and major issues, art can also be used to elevate a less-discussed issue to broader public discussion. After all, many people will not experience this issue first-hand until a close relative passes away, something that may not happen for the first few decades of a person’s life, if they are lucky.
This exciting act was formed by Kendall Sallay and Dirk Milotz in the San Jose State University music department all the way back in 2007. Since then they have released two albums and an EP, 2017’s Moneystealer. With releases now coming regularly and a growing confidence in their sound, Starover Blue are showing all the signs of an artist who have truly found their voice and style and are now in the process of taking it to ever-greater numbers of people. Be sure to catch this exciting band on Thursday at Holocene!
‘Parlor Trick’ is from Starover Blue’s 2019 album Ordinary Magic
- Ned (Real Soon in Rose City)