Star Parks Announces New Album 'The New Sounds of Late Capitalism'
Austin-based band Star Parks has announced the release of their sophomore record The New Sounds of Late Capitalism out February 14 via Modern Outsider (pre-order). Today the band shared "Something More" the latest single to be lifted from the release with PopMatters and the song will be on all streaming services on Wednesday. About the song PopMatters says, "Having grown from a solo act to an expansive, multi-piece orchestra, Star Parks offer listeners a sophisticated, soulful pop sound that lands somewhere between Roxy Music and Saturday Looks Good yet carries a particular combination of starkness and buoyancy. If these are the sounds of late capitalism, at least we can shake our groove thing as the chairs shift on the deck, and the water rises. If we've seen this movie before, we at least know that the band plays on."
Star Parks' Andy Bianculli tells Popmatters:
It's a now or never song. Knowing you're not going to be able to live with something or someone any more because it will never be enough. And I suppose it's a time travel song. Maybe like that movie Magnolia where it's all just a weird cycle and nothing ever gets resolved. I think it's a greedy song too. I know the subject has been covered pretty throughly and better than this in song, but it's about not being satisfied, which I feel quite often. I didn't realize I had put so many references to doors and windows in my songs. But I like that image for this song in particular. Just staring at a door and not being able to walk through it or walking through one and wanting to go back. There's a lot of Motown in there and everything from bells and tingshas and car keys and a garden weasel as well. I think I spent the most time writing this song than anything else on the record because I really liked the hook and I didn't want to blow it. And we ran it through 5 different keys, sped it up, slowed it down, before we came back to the original. We had the idea to make it like a Four Tops song at some point but I don't think we ever got there. It turned into a bit of a suite in three parts, my favorite being the lounge organ bridge shoved in the middle.
Star Parks is hard to pin down. Since the release of their 2016 debut Don't Dwell the band has grown into a 7 piece mini-orchestra, a far throw from its beginnings as a solo act of the group's principle songwriter, Andy Bianculli. Touring France and Ireland as a solo artist in early 2016, Bianculli caught the attention of Dublin based label, Paper Trail Records when a mutual friend heard the then unreleased album and passed it along to Jack Rainey and Dan Finnegan at Paper Trail. In April of 2016, the band released their first single Theoretical Girls. A somber ballad of unrequited love and disrupted fates. It was featured prominently on playlists as one of the best indie and undiscovered singles of the year.
In May, the LP Don't Dwell was released. Bandcamp described the album as "erudite chamber pop that hearkens back to the elegant and experimental production of the 1960s, swinging from melancholia to playfulness." Star Parks, now a four piece with Keith Lough on drums, Ben Burdick on bass and Nathaniel Klugman on keyboards, embarked on a tour of France, Ireland and the United Kingdom in support. The group would later add trumpet player, Derek Phelps and trombonist Wayne Myers later that year. In July 2017 the group released a new song, this time with producer and engineer Danny Reisch (Shearwater, Other Lives). They released The Past is Like a Foreign Country and started work on what would become their follow up LP.
The band's sophomore album The New Sounds of Late Capitalism was recorded again with Reisch, now located in Lockhart, Texas, it is a record about alienation, dissatisfaction and postmodernism. "I found an old Concord reel to reel in my parent's attic in New York and when I played the tape it was my father as a 12-year-old boy recording the The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show off the television" explains Bianculli. "There are so many layers to that discovery that affected me and made me contemplate my place in time, my family, America, culture and music." "To me it was like discovering the spark that gave man fire, in that it is a first hand account of a moment that propelled me and the whole world in a different direction." "I knew I wanted to write about moments like that, that had promise but inevitably lead to disappointment." Reisch played a pivotal role in helping the band shape the sound of the new album, which at its heart was an attempt to reproduce a time where studios could employ dozens of musicians and keep orchestras on hand. Without such resources, the band developed what they called "Burt Bacharach on a budget". The band cites exotica legends Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman as major influences as well as Ethiopian organist Hailu Mergia, Van Dyke Parks, Kevin Ayers and Alice Coltrane.
Listen to "Oh Boredom (Schmaltz City)" below!
Star Parks Tour Dates:
02.14 - Austin TX @ Waterloo Records In-Store
02.15 - Ft Worth, TX @ Shipping and Receiving
02.18 - Oklahoma City, OK @ Ponyboy
02.19 - Kansas City, MO @ Mini Bar
022.0 - Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
02.21 - Madison, WI @ Mickey's Tavern
02.22 - Milwaukee, WI @Cactus Club
02.23 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
02.24 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
02.25 - Detroit, MI @ PJ's Lager House
02.26 - Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR Pub
02.27 - Knoxville, TN @ Barley's Taproom
02.28 - Memphis, TN @ B- Side
02.29 - Tyler, TX @ Stanley's BBQ
03.06 - Austin, TX @ Barracuda
03.07 - Houston, TX @ Axlrad
03.12 - San Antonio, TX @ The Lonesome Rose
Photo Credit: Letitia Smith