Welcome to UNBREAKABLE RECORDS

A List of Things We Lost is the rare vinyl blog of the sometimes corporeal, always ephemeral Unbreakable Records.

Nothing posted here will be found on a compact disc. Links are lingering somewhere at the end of each post; go find 'em!

No commercial endeavor is implied or supported by the posting of this music, it is for personal enjoyment and consumption only.

Looking for some killer tunes no one else has? Visit UR on Discogs.




Tuesday, August 31, 2010

MAJOR ARCANA

Love it, love it, love it. Another band I can find barely anything on. Stars' self-titled debut [Barclay 90030, 1976] was a triumph of oddness, no, madness, in its pan-genre approach. Led by Simon Lait, Stars was an incomparable session band, Brits who recorded this one-off for the French label Barclay, which was in turn pressed in Canada. Love it.

A few connections can be made to early psych-prog progenitors like Atomic Rooster - who's drummer, Ric Parnell came over for the project - and, through Stuart Uren, Stray, who's Saturday Morning Pictures is a hazy classic, & who's first LP goes for silly dough online

A true child of the 70s, Stars used hard-hitting, flawless playing to evoke a playful, disco-fusion vibe with serious rock pedigree. "That Was Yesterday" is a deceptively mellow intro that bursts into the kind of wah-ing synths that make Herbie Hancock's Thrust the beast it is. There are also strong odors of Zappa, particularly the George Duke/Napoleon Murphy Brock era that immediately preceded Stars' release: "Heart Of Stone" features all gruff-voiced and slinky and shit, his stuttered vocal verse and the bizarro-harmony Stax horns melting perfectly into virtuosic fuzz-wah guitar funk.

The album rocks on in several variations on these themes, a bocce match between Zappa, Herbie, Yes, Steely Dan, & Stevie Wonder. "Platform Soul" is the perfect play of them all, treading the line between Mahavishnu wonkery & slinky modern soul. Just as inspired is the closing gamut, an incongruous cover of "Not Fade Away", that's nonetheless a break-laden jaunt into good times that refuse to give up.

Stars recorded this sole album before moving on to other, greater things. Parnell eventually created the role of Mick Shrimpton in Spinal Tap, while Lait became a successful producer, working with the inimatble Betty Davis on her Crashin' From Passion LP.

But thanks for Lait & co to take a moment and bring the Stars they saw so briefly down to us.

No comments: