Brooklyn locals Dead Stars sound like they could have been plucked from an alternative punk-pop venue smack in the middle of the 90s. Their latest, the paradoxically named "Calm Punk," reminds me of a Doolittle
era bass line layered underneath a heavily distorted chorus and a scaling guitar riff scattered throughout the verses. Dead Stars' self described simplicity matches the song's straightforward structure, as the fuzzy, choral guitars cleanly mirror the crisp bass sections.
They've previously shared stages with bands like Nude Beach, White Fence, and Girlpool. Hopefully this isn't the last well hear from Dead Stars in the coming months, but in the meantime, check out "Calm Punk" below, and purchase the single on iTunes, here
as well as checking out our conversation with the band.
We're in the midst of a really notable resurgence of what Kevin Devine once explained to me as punk-pop (as opposed to pop-punk): bands making punk tracks with pop elements instead of vice-versa. "Calm Punk" definitely fits that bill. Were there any of those sort of punk acts that influenced you as a band?
Dead Stars: I'm not exactly sure what bands fall into that category, but if it's guitar-heavy and catchy, then it probably has an influence on us. I don't really pay too much attention to genres anyway, if I like something, I don't care what it's called.
As a Brooklyn band, I'm sure you've witnessed this unfortunate continual homogenization of the rock clubs in town as so many of the independent locations shut down. What's it like trying to make it as a performing band in this city these days?
Yeah, it sucks when these venues close down for whatever reason. But it's inevitable. Nothing lasts forever and you just have to enjoy it while you can. As a band, ultimately it doesn't really affect us. There's always going to be somewhere to play and other bands to play with. You just have to keep finding those places and continue to make music. I always say the best venues are the ones where a lot of people show up.
There's also very much a 90s grunge touch on "Calm Punk" though Nirvana absolutely fits the bill of that punk-pop thing I had mentioned earlier. And bands like Cloud Nothings & Japandroids have helped bring that fuzzed out guitar rock back in a major way. What goes into making that loud, reverbed wall of noise on tracks like "Calm Punk?"
There's really not a whole lot that goes into it honestly. We like to keep things pretty simple. Everything starts out on an acoustic, but when we add the drums, bass, guitar and pedals, it just gets a lot louder. I think the most important thing is making sure we've written a good song. That's our main goal. If you don't have that, you don't have much.