Stars

Montreal-based indie rock band, formed in New York. Members include Torquil Campbell (vocals), Amy Millan (vocals/guitar), Chris Seligman (keyboard), Evan Cranley (bass), and Patrick McGee (drums).

Stars performing in Toronto.

Montreal-based indie rock band, formed in New York. Members include Torquil Campbell (vocals), Amy Millan (vocals/guitar), Chris Seligman (keyboard), Evan Cranley (bass), and Patrick McGee (drums). While Campbell and Millan are Stars' lyricists, Cranley, Seligman and McGee collaborate to write the band's music. Stars, along with groups such as the Arcade Fire, The Stills, Wolf Parade, and The Dears, contributed to Montreal's indie music explosion in the early 2000s.

Early Years & Recordings

Campbell and Seligman formed Stars while living in New York City, where Campbell was studying acting and Seligman was playing in Broadway pit orchestras. The two recorded Stars' first full-length album Nightsongs (2001, Le Grand Magistery) in their New York loft, where they lived with future band members of Metric, TV on the Radio, the Liars, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Featuring Metric's Emily Haines, the album's narrative lyrics and soft vocals were complemented by elements of electronic, pop, and ambient music.

Burdened by financial and creative difficulties in New York, and feeling detached from the local music scene, Campbell and Seligman relocated to Montreal with new Stars members Amy Millan and Evan Cranley to record Heart (2003, Paper Bag Records). Heart revealed the lyrical romanticism, warm harmonies, and lush instrumentation that would comprise Stars' signature sound, and was nominated for a 2004 Juno Award for alternative album of the year. Having toured with Stars for several years, Patrick McGee became an official band member for their third release, Set Yourself on Fire (2004, Arts & Crafts). The album received critical acclaim, was named one of the 50 best albums of 2005 by Rolling Stone Magazine, and garnered a nomination for alternative album of the year at the 2005 Junos. Following the success of Set Yourself on Fire, the band embarked on a two-year tour, which left them exhausted and prompted them to explore more melancholy material. The resulting album, In Our Bedroom After the War (2007, Arts & Crafts), contained dark, disturbing lyrics accompanied by pretty pop melodies and upbeat rock-infused arrangements. The album was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize in 2008.

Side Projects

Campbell, Millan, and Cranley are members of the Toronto indie rock band Broken Social Scene. Seligman has also performed on Broken Social Scene albums. Millan has released two solo albums and has made guest appearances on the albums of several Canadian artists, including Jason Collett and Apostle of Hustle. Campbell has appeared in New York stage productions and guest-starred on episodes of "Law & Order" and "Sex and the City." Campbell also formed the indie band Memphis with Chris Dumont in 2002.

Selected Discography

A Lot of Little Lies for the Sake of One Big Truth EP. 2000. Grand Magistery HRH-014

Nightsongs. 2001. Grand Magistery HRH-019

The Comeback EP. 2001. Grand Magistery HRH-024

Dead Child Stars EP. 2002. Paper Bag Records PAPER002

Heart. 2003. Paper Bag Records PAPER003

Set Yourself On Fire. 2004. Arts & Crafts A&C009

In Our Bedroom After the War. 2007. Arts & Crafts A&C028

Sad Robots EP. 2008. Stars/Arts & Crafts ACD-5003

The Five Ghosts. 2010. Soft Revolution/Vagrant


Further Reading

  • Dixon, Guy. "Stars sparkle as Heart pumps up the buzz," The Globe and Mail, 13 Jun 2003

    LeBlanc, Larry. "Stars take U.K. influences to 'Heart': Montreal act goes back to the '80s for sophomore album on Paperbag," Billboard, vol 115, 8 Mar 2003

    Goodman, John. "Stars capture the drama of everyday life," North Shore News (North Vancouver), 12 Nov 2004

    Gold, Kerry. "Stars on the cusp of commercial success," The Vancouver Sun, 2 Feb 2006

    Sperounes, Sandra. "Stars shine in sometimes dark, wrenching fourth album," The Ottawa Citizen, 29 Nov 2007

    Vanasse, Zachary-Cy. "Set the townships on fire," Record (Sherbrooke, Que.), 19 Dec 2009

External Links