Three-member band plays ‘noise machines’

Alec Vanhove

Alec Vanhove

Starf_cker belongs in a Zach Braff movie. They possess an indie sound, with heavy reliance on electronics and a laid back style that conjures up images of Mr. Braff daydreaming in an episode of Scrubs, but to the music.

Starf_cker consists of Shawn Glassford, Ryan Biornstad and Joshua Hodges. Each plays at least three different instruments or miscellaneous noise machines during live shows. How they combine all these sounds is very interesting and worthy of a listen.

Initial shock of the band’s name aside, Starf_cker is a suitable moniker. The opening track, “Florida,” off their self-titled debut reveals a spacey, ambient sound. The second number, “German Love”, is also ambient with words that are barely understandable. “Laadeedaa” kicks up the tempo as much as this group likely can, with a quick, steady bass drum hit supported by rhythmic clapping and the sound of children playing in the background. A little off, yes, but the track pushes on, proving to be quite catchy. Certain tracks, such as “Hard Smart Beta,” serve as an instrumental introduction to the next track.

Their catchiest song with the most potential for mainstream success is aptly titled “Pop Song,” employing a danceable drum beat and featuring synthesized keys. Also, the sound of children playing shows up again. “Miss You” is the ballad of the record, showcasing the keyboard again, a steady drum beat and what sounds to be alien robots making love with lots of beeps, blips and drawn out tones; no audible words. The last track sticks to the usual formula of a steady rock drum beat, synthesized keys and distortion-free guitars.

At times, I am reminded of the group Hot Chip because of the peculiar electro beats but to a mellower feel. Starf_cker incorporates clear guitars, reliance on the bass pedal, lots of clapping and the instrument that IS this band, a heavily synthesized keyboard. Whole notes on the keys with quiet vocals are a dominant theme and are used quite well actually.

Starf_cker is not a group to listen to at dances or house parties. They will likely not be winning any Grammy’s or be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but their talent is obvious. Indie kids should eat this group right up because Starf_cker has done a good job of mixing electronic instrumentals with catchy electro pop songs. If you desire a fun, yet artistically serious band from the depths of the Andromeda galaxy, then Starf_cker is for you! Or, you will want these guys to just play their guitars and drums and leave their tape deck for background noise at home.

Starf_cker will be playing at Nutty’s North April 15 in Sioux Falls. Opening bands are Kuroma, local group The Smoke and Mirrors Band and A Ghost Wood Calm. The show starts at 8 p.m.