Sunday, 30 September 2012

Toronto Tim Says: Memphis and Stars

It's been a while but here I turn over the page to Toronto Tim who's waxing lyrical about two Canadian bands:

MEMPHIS - Here Comes A City
STARS - The North
(Canadian, eh?)

MEMPHIS is one of a number of growing side-projects of Canadian indie electro-pop band STARS' Torquil Campbell. Recently interviewed on CBC Campbell joked that he's hoping to earn 50K a year if he can find 5 or 6 more side projects. This time he's joined by his longtime friend, NYC Central Park carousel operator/actor Chris Dumont

"Here Comes A City" is the band's latest offering. 
Campbell often cites Prefab Sprout and the Go-Betweens as musical heroes, so it's not surprising the album title is a nod to a song by The Go-Betweens. I must say my expectations for this CD were mediocre given the good but uneven electronic and jazzy excursions of previous Memphis releases. However here those inclinations have been somewhat shelved in favour of well-crafted melodic pop delights mixed with just the right touch of darker lyrical ambiguity. Lush guitar jangle, swirling strings, subtle pedal steel swoop throughout the tracks creating a blissfully dreamy atmosphere. 
It's hard not to like this. 

On another note... Stars' have a brand new release "The North". Their last CD, 2010's "The Five Ghosts" was a disappointing mess, but this is a one is a nice return to form. Wearing their influences on their sleeves more than ever, it's fun to play spot the inspiration.


  1. You are spot on with the Stars - 5 ghosts was a big disappointment except for the opening track Dead Hearts, whereas North is chock full of top tunes. I've got a couple of tracks by Memphis none as good as the ones you've posted - funny how his vocals sound like the guy from Stars ... must be a Canadian thing!

  2. I focused on "Here Comes A City", but the earlier Memphis CD's and Stars' often overlooked "Nightsongs" and "Heart" are certainly worth buying. If only to assist Torquil Campbell in his pursuit of climbing above the poverty line!!!

    Some other cool Memphis tunes to sample:

    The Phone Call:

    Ferry Boy:

    The Second Summer:

    I Dreamed We Fell Apart:

    In The Cinema:

    I'll Do Whatever You Want:

    Incredibly Drunk On Whiskey:

  3. The Stars new album arrived through my letterbox a few weeks ago. You're right, a return to form.
    As for Memphis, this is the first I've heard of them and they sound excellent especially 'I am the photographer'.My credit card is twitching...
    Tel Aviv