Review: So Long, Stargazer’s ‘Look Up’

Columbus, Ohio’s So Long, Stargazer (@solongstargazer) is a young, energetic quartet consisting of Chase McCants (vocals, synthesizers), Kristin Green (vocals, keyboards), Nick Wray (drums), and Tommy Davis (guitars).  Founded two years back, the group played live to get the word out, which served as anticipation for 2016 debut LP titled Look Up. The album is unlike anything that has dropped in recent memory, making it one of the standouts on the indie music radar.

The record is the epitome of variety, featuring both McCants and Green sharing lead vocals on some tunes and then one or the other handling lead on others. Look Up comes with a late 1990/early 2000s sound to it, when radio was more diverse and bands could chart across multiple genres. The band deserves a great deal of success now, but had they released this album about 20 years ago SLS would be in the same conversation with Blessid Union of Souls, Sarah McLachlan, Keane, Anna Nalick, among others. That is great musical company to be in and they would have skyrocketed up the charts along with said acts.

For instance, the second track “Rewind” could do well on today’s Hot AC chart. The way all individual parts just melt together makes for a tasty musical grilled cheese sandwich. McCants’ canary-like vocals are on display here and blend in with Green’s keyboard work, Wray’s on-point drumming, and solid guitar play from Davis. On the other hand, carried by its vocals “Wreckage” is a spot-on tune that would fit at R&B stations. If only two minutes longer, “Drink the Sin” would slay on Hot AC or CHR Pop stations, giving SLS one of its more crossover tunes in today’s times.

Two decades ago, there was more diversity on the airwaves and that is where the bulk of Look Up would have fit like a glove. McCants, Green, Wray, and Davis should be commended for making the music they feel like making despite what industry big wigs choose to currently peddle. Here is hoping they can breakthrough and attract the attention they deserve. Even though the album is rock solid, their live events are a sight to behold and in this era of hip-hop, electronica, pop, and folk rock will be what carries them forward.

Further diversifying the album, Green gets to show off her singing chops on tracks such as “From Detroit to Toledo”, “To the Hour”, and “Weightless”. These tracks could do damage on AC and Hot AC stations with the right record company behind them. If/when either vocalist is ready to fly solo, those records are going to be in high demand on the scene.

Listeners should not let the LP being 14 tracks deter them as the different song lengths on Look Up balance out the album rather nicely. So Long, Stargazer’s musicianship is undisputed, however, due to the album’s hodgepodge and the current radio state a record company will have to work hard in marketing it. Outside of staunch metalheads, the record has just about something for everyone, which makes it appealing to fans who like multiple genres. The downside is by being so difficult to pin down to one radio format, major labels may not be up for the challenge. That would be a shame as the record is superb musically top to finish, but business is about calculated risks so it would be great for a label to step up and give these hard-working lads a chance. As far as the record goes, the listening public ought to follow suit.

 

Photo courtesy of the band’s website

Americana For The Soul

Country soul singer Brigitte DeMeyer (Twitter: @BrigitteDeMeyer) has been honing her craft of creating soothing cafe music the last several years. On YouTube, there are an abundance of videos showcasing her smooth vocals with sharp yet laid back harmonies. Americana music lovers should embrace the sounds of DeMeyer, who could have hits on the Country and AC charts with the right marketing to radio stations.

For instance, on the bluesy “When I’m Gone”, this is an ideal song that should be part of the soundtrack to the TV series “Nashville”. It is amazing the beautiful music she can make with a backing band consisting of a classical bassist and a fellow acoustic guitarist. This is the type of song one can enjoy walking down the street, wolfing down a latte at your local coffee house, or hanging out with the family dog in the backyard sipping lemonade. DeMeyer’s music is about substance versus style and less theatrics are more effective in letting the music speak for itself.

“Somebody, Please” is another song that has value in telling a story instead of being a song just to make a buck and get a bunch of empty clicks. There is a place where music like DeMeyer’s can thrive and she will ultimately find her groove and make her way up the mainstream pipeline. “The Tonight Show” doesn’t book hip-hop and pop acts every night.

Regarding live events, Brigitte DeMeyer is back in action on Saturday, November 16 in Naples, FL. She has an abundance of live performances recorded online. That will give fans a taste of what they can expect at upcoming gigs. Fans of Jewel, Norah Jones, and Sara Watkins should add DeMeyer to their playlists for more prestigious well-written and beautifully performed tunes that are relaxing and family-friendly.