Once again, the Big Apple has produced sonic gold for an pleasurable audible experience (and this time, also for the intellectual listener), After all, why wouldn’t they – this is, as they say, “Only in New York!” Who are we raving about here? None other than Star Rover, who are new on our radar (and thank goodness that they have appeared here with their new single ‘Ghosts of New York State’)… Impeccable and moving music that is this intricate, deep, shifting and tastefully orchestrated should be celebrated, elevated and shared widely (so do join us in this mission). Both the song itself and the stunning animated video by Clara Trevisan are flawless.
This beautiful track heralds their forthcoming self-titled album ‘Star Rover’, sprung from the musically fantastic minds of Will Graefe and Jeremy Gustin, who seized the touring lull experienced during the current Covid-19pandemic to write and record this new album, exploring ideas they’d accumulate for the past few years into a striking collection of tracks that build on their exuberant live energy, as well as the clarity and fidelity afforded in the studio. We love it!
“The seed of ‘Ghosts of New York State’ began with the fingerpicked riff, which alternates between 6/4 and 7/4 meters throughout. We wanted this song to communicate the numb and dislocated feeling of the words while maintaining a propulsive groove and nervous energy. The burst of color in the middle represents a kind of blinding epiphany. This song is about family and the weight we carry, sometimes unknowingly and unconsciously. The end mantra is ” The ghost, the host. The ghost, my host,” says Will Graefe.
On this album, they worked with sound engineer Vira Byramji, they let the environmental sounds inspire the material, and also involved frequent collaborator and Grammy award-winning songwriter Jesse Harris to help them produce a new record at his Long Island studio, a fruitful exercise of telepathic communication in spirited live takes, using those as springboards for sonic experimentation.
Will Graefe and Jeremy Gustin first united in music when playing music together at Gustin’s Bushwick loft in 2011, little did they know that they would form a bond during those early sessions over their shared love of John Fahey, as well as the spiky post rock of Deerhoof and Lightning Bolt. Later that year, they recorded their first record ‘Western Winds Bitter Christians’, a short lo-fi collection of grungy Fahey covers and distorted originals. Besides touring throughout the United States, Europe and Japan, they have both become in demand session and touring artists, working with the likes of David Byrne, Kimbra, Bill Frissel, Okkervil River, Sam Amidon, Marc Ribot, Delicate Steve and Nels Cline, among others.
At times in between touring and recording work with other artists, their collaborative writing began to develop into a sort of futuristic post rock that was always connected to the directness of folk melodies. This new direction led to their 2018 sophomore album ‘I May Be Lost But I’m Laughing’, a more produced effort featuring contributions from artists such as Sam Evian, Shahzad Ismailly, Rob Moose (yMusic), Daniel Rossen (Grizzly Bear), and Sarah K Pedinotti.
The next year, Star Rover collaborated with Brazilian musician (and frequent Caetano Veloso collaborator) Ricardo Dias Gomes. They wrote and recorded ‘This Whole Emptiness’ album in Lisbon at the studio of Marcelo Camelo.
As of August 31, ‘Ghosts of New York State’ will be available across digital platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. The ‘Star Rover’ LP will released on October 15 and can already be pre-ordered via Bandcamp at https://starroverband.bandcamp.com
Written by Jeremy Gustin (Peppermintolive Publishing) and Will Graefe (Gravymusic Publishing)
Will Graefe – Guitars, vocals, bass, programming, Casio
Jeremy Gustin – Drums, percussion, vocals, programming, Op-1
Jesse Harris – Bass, Casio
Shahzad Ismaily – Bass, Moog
Produced by Star Rover and Jesse Harris
Recorded at Secret Sun East
Engineered by Vira Byramji
Mixed by ze’ Nando Pimenta
Mastered by Michal Kupicz
Familiarize yourself with some of Star Rover’s past work and you’ll thank us dearly