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Stars of Track and Field

Who? Stars of Track and Field are a trio hailing from Portland, Oregon. The Northwest rock conglomerate consists of Jason Bell on guitar and vocals, Kevin Calaba on guitar, keyboard, and vocals, and Daniel Orvik on drums, samples, and programming. Centuries Before Love and War is their first LP, following on the heels of 2005’s critically adored debut EP, You Came Here For Sunset Last Year. Centuries was released on iTunes Aug. 22, but the record will see release in actual record stores Nov. 1.

What’s the Deal? They may share a name with a Belle and Sebastian song, but Stars of Track and Field aren’t twee. The band actually somewhat recalls Toronto Broken Social offshoots Stars being hijacked by the beatmakers in Ratatat — lush arrangements that one could fall asleep inside surround vocals that are at once pining and accusatory. They lost their bass player somewhere along the way, and never really looked for a new one, so the rhythm section is pretty minimalist, with the bloops and bleeps that punctuate this record like stars through the smog complementing the soaring guitars and longing lyrics.

Fun Fact: If you find the stars of Stars of Track and Field with broken arms, don’t attribute it to an athletic injury, as it might be the work of a vengeful bookie. “I think few people know that the three of us have become serious gamblers while on the road,” Orvick says. “We bet on everything. While walking down Sunset Blvd. to get some lunch, Kevin lost ten bucks to me because we walked by a ‘Ferrari’ (I knew it was a Lamborghini). I bet him ten bucks, we walked back to check the evidence, and then he bought my lunch.” Now, maybe these bets are confined to friendly intraband rivalries, but if one of them shows up at the next practice with two black eyes and equipment to pawn, you’ll know why. JEFFREY PARKER

Now Hear This:
Stars of Track and Field – “Movies of Antarctica” Download MP3

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