Starred: "No Good"

Single (2012)

By Maura McAndrew | 25 July 2012

There’s not an abundance of buzz out there yet about LA duo Starred, and that’s a good thing. Their music has a hint of loneliness and obscurity about it; it feels grainy and far away, though the sound is crystal clear. “No Good” is a hypnotic new track by this so far record-less band, full of languid guitar and hushed, woozy vocals, courtesy of Matthew Koshak and Liza Thorn respectively. On first listen (because I always have R.E.M. in the back of my brain) “No Good” reminded me of those lush, heat-stoned tracks from Automatic for the People (1992), “Star Me Kitten” and “New Orleans Instrumental No. 2.” This isn’t to say that Starred sounds like R.E.M., not really—their sound is surprisingly otherworldly.

Unfortunately, no band can dwell completely in obscurity, and I already know some things about Starred that I wish I didn’t: that Thorn enjoys performing in a fur coat and underwear, and models Volcom jeans; that the two have already been photographed for Hedi Slimane’s “Rock Diary,” looking like they got lost in Johnny Depp’s scarves closet. Another tidbit to color your impression is that Thorn used to be in Christopher Owens’ band Curls, though Starred doesn’t really sound like that band, or Girls. “No Good” shares the slow-burn feel of tracks like “Hellhole Ratrace” and “Summertime,” but never actually explodes the way those songs do. It simply wallows, airy yet stifling, half scary-bad trip and half peaceful high. And here’s where I come back to the song, which is beautiful, and doesn’t have a whiff of LA scene to it, not yet. It’s an open invitation to get swept away in sound and mood, and if you accept, all preconceived notions get washed away.