Monday, September 24, 2007

Spotlight: Beard of Stars
Hair today, gone tomorrow?

It is with mixed confusion and sadness that I include my latest "Spotlight" feature on the Columbus, OH. band Beard of Stars. The group has put out some of the freshest indie pop I have heard in a long time. It's energetic, slightly crazy sounding, lo-fi gang vocal, indie pop rock.
But sadly, I also just noticed that they may have broken up...
I will confirm this by the end of my article. But for now, you just need to know that the band has a cassette of music coming out soon and Miller may be collaborating with a former Terribly Empty Pocket.
So here is a recent email interview I did with Beard of Stars songwriter Bobby Miller the other day:
PWAH: I was hoping to get a description of who's in the band, and a brief bit on how it came together:
Miller: Well, Beard of Stars was born about a year-and-a-half ago. We’re made up of me (Bobby) and three other dudes (Matt Wagner, Matt Ogborn and Sam) who also happen to spend quality time in some other excellent Columbus bands – namely Earwig, Heavy Mole and The Proper Nouns. Originally, it was my intention to assemble a group of people who I knew had the ability and the desire to pull off the kind of eccentric pop music I was hoping to make. Once we all got in a room together, it was a pleasant surprise that all the songs actually came out a little more rough and tumble than I originally imagined.
PWAH: Your thoughts around the "style" of music you guys put out...
Miller: Our “style” of music? Hmmm. I guess we do have a certain lo-fi pop-rock aesthetic, in the vein of Pavement or Guided by Voices or whatever. But ultimately I prefer substance over style. I’d like to think our music is the kind that sticks with you. You know, those types of melodies that all of sudden you realize you are humming out loud when you’re standing in line at the bank or the grocery store.
PWAH: Does everyone sing live?
Miller: We all sing, but typically only a couple of us are privy to microphones.
PWAH: Or is this an effect you guys created on recordings?
Miller: Yeah, we do all kinds of wacky stuff when recording - you know, think outside the proverbial box and all that. We try to keep it interesting and like I said before, memorable.
PWAH: Do you have some main themes you touch upon in your music? In other words, what are you hoping to convey?
Miller: We try to write mostly upbeat material with lyrics that are literate and smart and fun. We want people to know when they come to one of our shows that it’s gonna be a fairly loose affair. They’re gonna need to be prepared to drink a decent amount of beer with us and generally have a good time. Those are the rules!
PWAH: What are some other bands you guys enjoy throughout the Midwest?
Miller: Well, I’m a big fan of The M’s from Chicago and I also love The High Strung from Detroit. Locally it doesn’t get much better than The Lindsay.
PWAH: Do you have a release on the way?
Miller: It’s funny you should ask. We plan on doing a hand-packaged cassette release on Oct. 11th at Bourbon Street in Columbus, OH. The bill is pretty top-notch. Also playing are Monotonix from Tel Aviv, White Denim from Austin and local icon/hero Jeff Fernengel. The tracks will be available after Oct. 11th from our website ( for free digital download.
Of course, then I read this post on Myspace from Monday, the 24th:
OK…so the cat is out of the bagz. Beard of Stars is breaking on up. Don’t cry for us, Sergeant Tina. It’s been a great run, but the kids are getting older and Ogborn drinks too much.
More importantly, please note that on Thursday, Oct. 11th at Bourbon's Streets we will be playing our last show everrrrr (AND!!) and we will have free cassettes available with all of our songs on them and we’ll be launching the hott new local ‘zine (from the creators of Justin Riley and The New Dark Ages) that same night. Other jokes and small ideas planned.
Also playing: Monotonix (fucking crazy from Argentina Land), White Denim (Austinites pissin’ their jeans) and fucking Tree of Fernengel (solo in the flezh).
Seriously, please come and have fun with us this last time out. It will mean the world to us to see you boppin’ your silly asses headsss to our silly asses songs.

Miller: Ha! Yeah, I didn't know if I should really go into it or not - I guess I just wanted the piece to focus on the positives. Still, we are indeed breaking up. But, it's one of those totally cool, mutual-type things. Basically, everyone else in the band had other prominent gigs that were slowly but surely sucking time and energy from Beard of Stars - you know how it goes - and we all had the same feeling that it had sort of run its course. Regrettably, we did have to cancel our Midpoint appearance, but we've been recording here and there over the last few weeks and plan to put out a cassette release of all of our material at our last show ever on Thursday, October 11th at Bourbon St. in Columbus. We plan to go out with guitars a blazin'! It's going to be a huge party!
Miller also said that out of every death there has to be some kind of rebirth.
I’m actually incredibly excited to say that I’m already working on a new project with Justin Riley (formerly of Terribly Empty Pockets) that we are calling it Super Desserts. It’s intended to be quite the ambitious pop project with acoustic and electric guitars, multiple keyboards, lots of people singing, some sitar and other non-traditional instrumentation, visuals, bells, whistles, etc. I think it’s going to be a blast! So, keep your eyes peeled for that as I imagine we’ll be looking to do our first show sometime around Christmas.

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