Label: Badstuerock Records
FIND THE ALBUM ON SPOTIFY – HERE.
About a year ago I was crate-digging through my favorite local second-hand shop (I’m not telling you where) in Aarhus and came across a cool looking 7” by a group called “My Friend George”. I paid the 5 kroner, not expecting anything special. When I eventually got to ceremoniously spinning it one night after coming home and drinking everything in the house I was pleasantly surprised to hear a great piece of lo-fi indie from the 90s here in Aarhus. I asked around, and nobody I knew had heard anything about this long-lost group and their music. Until last week when Badstue threw me a copy of Starcrash’s debut LP.
I didn’t think to ask the one person I should have, Björn – current landlord and curator in Aarhus’ longest running record shop, Badstuerock. Judging by my ever-eclectic purchases from the shop over the years he simply stuck the Starcrash LP in my bag and said humbly “I think you’ll like this”. Never one to refuse a gift-vinyl, I skittered home pleased as punch that I had a completely unexpected record to play, and slightly sceptical of what lay on the grooves. After all, anything good is worth paying for right?
Something seemed familiar about some of the songs – and I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I mean, for one – I was blown away over the amount of amazing songs on the record – lushly produced, some with orchestral strings on them – some containing completely weird lyrics about “Cat Man”, outer space and love with titles like “Abortion Of Love” and “I’ve Had It Going Since You’ve Been Gone”. Each of the LP’s 12 tracks were seemingly self-contained “mini-operas”, with a down-home thread running through. I heard touches of classic 90s indie, but also huge songs owing influences to groups as iconic as Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, The Band and even Bowie. It was a record that put me in such a good place – comfortable, familiar – but also bewildered as to WHY the fuck no-one was talking about this – frustrated yet excited that no-one knew about this. It’s a weird feeling that record collectors sometimes get.
I asked Björn to send me some more material on the band – Badstue had released it as their 3rd ever release on their own label a few months back. Previously, Badstue had put out a couple of my favorite local records – the Snaredrum LP, and of course Yung’s first full-lenth, “Falter”. SO – they don’t mess around when it comes to releasing good music – and I know a guy as passionate as Björn about the same music as I wouldn’t lead me astray. There is nothing on Starcrash on social media, no website, no Bandcamp – only this record up on Spotify. I kind of liked the mystery – but the musicologist in me needed some more to go on.
A few days later Björn got around to sending me a mail about the group. It turns out that the familiar voice I was hearing has none other than Rasmus “Rallie” Hald Jensen – formerly of My Friend George. Aha. The group’s other songwriter, Rasmus Hedeman also having a few notches in his CV – Charlie Don’t Surf (a highly underrated group from the 00s) and Hell Is In Hello – yet another gem lost to most people’s ears from the 00s indie scene here. Not only had I kind of re-discovered what had come of My Friend George, but also uncovered pretty much a whole trove of projects from before my time – or most social media’s time altogether. Apparently, Rasmus Hald Jensen is also working on the final instalment of a trilogy under his solo name. Why have I not heard this?
Bjørn mentioned that the Starcrash LP was a “Space opera about platonic love” and described their sound as “Cosmic Country” and “Old Man’s Glam”. Which further intrigued me. This record is in no way lo-fi. If anything – again with its lush production on most tracks – it’s “super hi-fi”. It’s a beautiful record with not a single bum moment inside the 12 tunes. You can definitely hear a passion and sincerely – as well as a bunch of guys with eclectic tastes who are doing this for the pure love of it. There’s no “formula” here to get famous – just some good fucking songs from some dudes who have been around and not too much applause way too long.
The only thing that frustrates me about the Starcrash LP is its apparent lack of ambition. Just the fact that it exists is great – but seriously – more people need to hear this. They might be terrible at PR, but this band won’t be letting you down with the music.
The story here is also how I came across this music – or how it came to me in fact. Taking a chance and buying a cool looking record from the second-hand charity shop, chatting to local record store clerk and generally sharing interests with another real human. Going into physical music stores and building these little relationships – getting info from the sources – this is how it used to be when I was coming up – and I think if you look hard enough, it still is for a lot of folks.
So, give “Tarantula Wallpaper, Dracula Screensaver” a play on your streaming service, or head on down to Badstue and pick up a vinyl, or just chat with your record store clerk (if they have time) and rap about music – see if they can help you uncover some great moments to soundtrack your life with. I promise you won’t regret it.
The story here is also how I came across this music – or how it came to me in fact. Taking a chance and buying a cool looking record from the second-hand charity shop, chatting to local record store clerk and generally sharing interests with another real human. Each of the LP’s 12 tracks were seemingly self-contained “mini-operas”, with a down-home thread running through. On this album, I heard touches of classic 90s indie, but also huge songs owing influences to groups as iconic as Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, The Band and even Bowie. It was a record that put me in such a good place. (5/6)