The Starfolk - "Sleeping Without Dreaming" (PopMatters Premiere + Interview)
Brian Tighe has exhibited his pop songwriting chops with groups like the Hang Ups and the Owls. Now, with the '90s rock-loving the Starfolk, he may have crafted his masterpiece, and shares "Sleeping Without Dreaming" with PopMatters readers exclusively.
For a certain contingent of music fans, there will never, ever, be anything better than '90s alternative rock (or indie rock or college rock or whatever you want to call it).
While Nirvana & Pearl Jam grunged their way to the top of the charts, slaying all of hair metal in a single "Spirit"-ed riff, there was that weirder, stranger offshoot of '90s rock groups that found the Pixies more enlightening, and before long, Pavement, My Bloody Valentine, the Breeders (how apt), and Guided By Voices mixed catchy melodies with lo-fi production, each album feeling like an artful world unto itself. Although this era feels long-lost to some, there's a litany of younger bands who are lighting up smiles all up and down the blogosphere with albums that are very much indebted to the wiry jangle-pop of yore.
While Yuck have already made commercial inroads with their very Dinosaur Jr.-indebted sound (and that's nothing next to the revived Dinosaur Jr. that's still playing), bands like Speedy Ortiz and Popstrangers have done an excellent job of reviving those open-air melodies of the past and giving them a modern twist. True fans would know when to call it derivative: this new crop of young'ns are very much proving their worth with their unique take on a genre we all know too well.
Enter the Starfolk: Brian Tighe, best known for his worst in the Hang Ups and the Owls (which features his wife Allison LaBonne), has gathered a group together that not only knows their '90s counterpoints, but freely acknowledges them on their eponymous debut, each song completely changing the songwriting style to reflect a different moment. The band goes through these styles with ease, roping influences together while still keeping things grounded with their acoustic sensibilities and all-around great tunes. To help celebrate the pending release of the band's debut album, the group is sharing "Sleeping Without Dreaming" with PopMatters readers exclusively. Stream the track, and read below Tighe's own thoughts on the journey the band took to get here, the power of Jacqueline Ultan's cello to the mix, and how it all ties back to Carl Sagan (as always) ...