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"Austin Sound"


Local duo Aster drop their gorgeous debut Some Things Seldom Heard Of today, and the video for the album's lead single, "Attempting to Multiply" couldn't capture their dreamy, nostalgic sound better. Working a subtle Brit-pop sound through an American Analogue Set haze, and then interjecting jolts of Octopus Project-styled electronic bursts, if "Attempting to Multiply" doesn't capture your attention, then we don't know what will. - Austin Sound


Aster is Tim Hussman and Bryan Ellis, an Austin based duo named after an imaging instrument on the Terra satellite floating above us. On their impressive debut LP Some Things Seldom Heard Of, set to be released January 22nd, the group beautifully builds up layers of acoustic guitars, keyboards, synthesizes, samplers, and soft-spoken, heart filled vocals to create space age dream-pop sure to please any fan of American Analog Set, Electric President, Grandaddy, or space traveling legends themselves, The Flaming Lips.
Not quite post-rock for their pop sensibility and not quite pop for their affinity of atmospheric wall-of-sound aesthetics, Aster makes music that stretches genre expectations and truly speaks for itself. On their first single "Attempting To Multiply," Aster homes in on their unique sound that resonates as the soundtrack to a feel-good voyage, like one aboard an interstellar dingy with your closest friend.

This incredibly cohesive record sonically evolves through emotions of affection, nostalgia, fear, and ambition, proving they can be dynamic rather than mundane. "Some Things Seldom Heart Of," the title track of the debut, sounds more like a melancholic representation of being lost in space - flying past wandering comet fields and space dust, not knowing what else lies ahead besides star-filled black.

- AntiMusic

"Big Smile"

By Josh Snider 4 out of 5 stars

When you listen to this album, it is like one smooth song the whole way through. With different aspects of their music, and a mixture of sweet melodys whispered in your ear. This whole album has an outer space feel to it, almost like something you would here with electronica but couldn't be more different. It's great background music for a party to talk over, and for your car to calm you down. If you take a listen, I believe you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Just two guys recorded (at their home) the many instruments played. Their live shows consist of playing the pre-recorded tracks with their live instruments and a video projection. It takes a lot of tallent to compose this way, and they do an amaizing job. The quality of the recording is top notch. - Big Smile

"Austin Independent"

08 September 2006

Album Review
Aster: The Suitcase Sessions EP

RATING: 4 out of 5

Aster, an Austin-based duo named after an imaging instrument on a NASA satellite floating above us, pulls out a huge, layered sound on their debut, Suitcase Sessions EP. This band weaves catchy, melodic indie pop a la The Flaming Lips and even Coldplay mixed with a shoegazer sensibility that brings a more “underground” artisticness to their sound. Though there is only two of these guys, Tim Husmann on drums and keys and Bryan Ellis on vocals and guitar, they achieve their thick sound by building up layers of keyboards, synthesizers, beat machines, samplers and other electronic gadgetry (housed in a suitcase no less). The bouncing rhythms and complex drum patterns keep you moving throughout the album while the reflective lyrics suck you in.
– anatol ziege

Posted by Dániel Perlaky at 10:37 AM - Austin Independent

"Austin Chronicle Lists Suitcase Sessions In Top 30 Releases Of 05"

Austin Top 10

Most, if not all, of these outrank even the highest entries on TCB's national list.
1) Spoon, Gimme Fiction (Merge)

2) Okkervil River, Black Sheep Boy/Black Sheep Boy Appendix (Jagjaguwar)

3) ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Worlds Apart (Interscope)

4) Milton Mapes, The Blacklight Trap (Undertow)

5) Patricia Vonne, Guitars & Castanets (Bandolera)

6) Glass Family, Sleep Inside This Wheel (I Eat)

7) Nic Armstrong & the Thieves, The Greatest White Liar (New West)

8) James McMurtry, Childish Things (Compadre)

9) Ghostland Observatory, (TrashyMoped)

10) Banjo & Sullivan, The Ultimate Collection (Universal)

Austin Honorable Mention

Because 10 is hardly enough for a town with this much music.
11) Manikin, Still (Super Secret)

12) Moonlight Towers, Like You Were Never There (Spinster)

13) White Ghost Shivers, Live on the Radio (Chicken Ranch)

14) Single Frame, Body/End/Basement (Volcom)

15) Secret Weapons

16) Crack Pipes, Beauty School (Emperor Jones)

17) Voxtrot, Raised by Wolves EP (Cult Hero)

18) Elizabeth McQueen & the Firebrands, Happy Doing What We're Doing (Freedom)

19) Winks, Too Hot to Be This Cool (Super Secret)

20) Gorch Fock, Lying and Manipulating (Australian Cattle God)

wait, there's more

Neither, come to think of it, is 20.
21) Cruiserweight, Sweet Weaponry (Doghouse)

22) Attack Formation, Somebody as Anybody (Australian Cattle God)

23) King Tears, Rope Chair Needle

24) Octopus Project, One Ten Hundred Thousand Million (Peek-a-Boo)

25) Handsome Charlies, Gentlemen Never Tell (I Eat)

26) Los Super Seven, Heard It on the X (Telarc)

27) Small Stars, 8 Stereo 8

28) Yuppie Pricks, Brokers Banquet (Alternative Tentacles)

29) Aster, Suitcase Sessions EP

30) Honky, Balls Out Inn (Small Stone) - Austin Chronicle

"Bring Me Up"

Next week, Aster will release Some Things Seldom Heard Of for your purchasing pleasure. Make sure their album is one thing you WILL HEAR. MMkay?

This morning I was thinking about how to review Aster. I popped the disc in and drove to work, listening, thinking, repeating, etc. It's almost overwhelming to pick out all the different pieces of each track. There is such depth and texture to their music it's incredible.

It is difficult to distinguish the best part of Aster's music though because in one ear I'm loving the bells and in the other ear I am caught by their lyrics. Real life lyrics about the corporate world, politics, it is truly all encompassing. You'll find yourself tapping a foot to the chimes while letting the verses absorb.

They remind me a bit of Straylight Run or perhaps a toned done melodic pop version of Ben Kweller. Regardless as to who you may or may not compare them to, their music is top notch. And I am positive by first listen you will be compelled enough to want more.

Aster - "Run Away From The Suit" (mp3)

- Bring Me Up

"The Run-Off Groove"

Who are these Aster kids, and why should I or you care? Well, if you are into dreamy pop with hints of rock in there to give the music a much needed punch every now and then, Some Things Seldom Heard Of (self-released) is for you.

Despite their huge, massive sound, Aster is only a duo, but it shows what can be done in the studio if done properly. They mix the traditional guitars, basses, and drums with various electronics and gadgets to create something that is actually more accessible than that basic description, and I think that's partially due to a combination of the force of the music and how the lyrics tell a story that is worth learning about, understanding, and remembering. Aster can often get awash in their own cacophony, or they lay low and help color the pictures they're trying to paint. They are a variant of similar sounding bands, but are distinct enough to set themselves from the pack, which I feel is important in a marketplace that tends to be clustered by bands who are there merely to fill the void. Aster is a band that separates them from the cluster.
- The Run-Off Groove

"My Big Mouth"

The sparkling debut album from the Austin, Texas band, Aster, is a fine example of dream/noise pop for the 21st Century.
The tracks on Some Things Seldom Heard Of [buy] are shiny little nuggets of indie-pop infused with just the right amount of electronica to make you smile. - My Big Mouth

"Parasites & Sycophants"

Aster are a duo from Austin, and tomorrow they will be releasing their new record Some things seldom heard of. Sometimes, I feel like pop is a bad word, but then I get a record like this one and am reminded that it can be such a delicacy. The lush sounds and melodies on Some things seldom heard of, combine to take the listener on a journey, complete with a rare music box quality, exemplified by the finely sculpted "The Great Escape." I don't know what any of the songs are about, nor do I care, but I do know how the music makes me feel, and that is most important. Moving forward to complete the picture, piano and drums combine to create a regal atmosphere on the processional "Solitary Life," filling the room with a mood of peace, as if a revelatory episode. Throughout Some things seldom..., the album travels well, and while some songs stand out more than others, the record never dips too low. The best tracks are so well detailed with fine melodies that they are almost sure to evoke vivid imagery in your head space. In fact, a lot of bands are out there making "quasi-introspective indie pop," which comes off as overly self-indulgent, mealy mouthed, and a waste of ruin for the ears. I guess that is the point, Aster are none of those things, but perhaps a much more refined step-brother who actually had a vision in the first place, and thought it out, which is why they succeed where many fail, because they are actually talented and have a real reason to make music. Finally, Some things seldom heard of, is an odyssey of atmospheric, well thought out songs, which make me for one, think of majestic glass houses, long hallways, huge cascading stairwells, and more so, an escape to explore for a while.
- Parasites & Sycophants

"Music Geek"

Spotlight: Aster
January 22, 2008
Aster, a Texas-based pop group, is good. How good? That’s a hard question to answer for any group, but their song “Attempting to Multiply” is interminably pop-ridden and on the cusp of catchiness. The sounds of some sort of keyboard are omnipresent through the track, and we see that Aster has a very keen sense of crafting something enjoyable. “Some Things Seldom Heard Of,” the title track from their album being released today, is likewise good, though a little more downbeat. The breathy vocals and spacey demeanor utilized on both tracks, posted below, make for a nice experience that evokes some musical greats; it’s clear that Aster is on the right sort of path.
- Music Geek


Suitcase Sessions EP (2005)

Some Things Seldom Heard Of LP (2008)



Aster: A Biography Of Epic Proportion

Preface: An Assertion

There are currents. Indisputable channels of energy that constantly ebb and flow. Like the entangled arms of an infinite host of octopi writhing and enmeshed together in some salty roman orgy. But the beasts have no heads and there is no common goal. Accidents happen.
Sometimes the currents bring strangers together, sometimes they pry friends apart. Most of the time the riders simply find themselves staring up at foreign stars, oblivious as to what current it is that has them in its grasp. All a lost sailor can do is consult his compass and his nautical maps, his gods and his star charts.
Every musician in Texas who suckles with eyes fixed upon the constellations at the sacred temple of the teet of the muse knows that in order to consult the serpentress and pay homage to their respective gods, a journey must be undertaken. And so, like many before them, they set out on their Hajj seeking enlightenment and the favor of the deities, all paths converging at their Mecca: Austin. It was this depraved pilgrimage full of trials and flagellations that served as the current that brought the two halves of Aster together, but under a different incarnation.

Act 1: Gutenberg plays Cupid

Some two thousand and one years after the death of a demi-god, T. Husmann found himself perusing the musicians wanted ad in a local paper. At that same time, Bryan Ellis was playing guitar in a local musical entourage by the name of Revel. That same band had set out on a search for a keyboard player some two thousand and thirty four years after a strange star had appeared and set fire to a desert somewhere across an easterly body of water.
Through the magic of movable print and with the aid of horseless carriages, T. Husmann and Bryan Ellis met face to face at a Revel practice session in a shady, beat-down, cramped, rented space littered with cigarette butts and Peavey electronics. Subsequent practice sessions occurred, parts were learned, shows were played. More practices occurred, band members were frequently late or absent. Parts that had been learned previously by certain members were forgotten or botched due to lack of practice. Shows were played. Brian and T. felt something was lacking. The other members had failed to properly commit either due to multiple engagements or misguided intentions.
The sirens had jumped from the shore and were now seated in the vessel right between T. and Brian. They sat there neither rowing nor holding fast to the rudder, but only mindlessly singing their wretched songs. A minstrel with his heart hell-bent upon replacing the sun will only succeed in being memorialized as a bright streak of crimson impartially imprinted upon cotton walls in dark acrid spaces. Knowing this, and realizing that there were some in their midst who were so inclined, T. and Bryan set out to streamline things. So as not to have their humble ship dashed upon the rocks, T. and Bryan packed their ears with wax and pushed the other members of Revel into the cold waters to die or to swim. Lashing themselves to the vessel, they dropped sail, made fast the rudder, and shot past the treacherous coasts that had been flanking their voyage.

Act 2: So Long, Brave Norseman

As the seas calmed T. and Bryan took a final look back to see what they had escaped. The shoreline behind them was a disaster scene strewn with pillars of salt and the bodies of unfortunate sailors who failed to negotiate agreeable terms with Neptune. Carrying on, the two rogues spotted a safe inlet and pulled their ship up on the shore. Stepping on dry land they shook the sea salt from their backs and left it lying in piles upon the rocky beach. Together they erected an altar upon the center of their ship, heaping bitumen and kindling beneath the sacred tabletop. Setting the bow alight, they laid Revel’s carcass upon the altar, covered his eyes with silver coins, and pushed him out to see.
Consulting their maps, the two decided to undertake a new crusade together beyond charted boundaries. With no maps of this foreign land, Bryan and T. Husmann combined their navigational instruments and set forth on an expedition of audial cartography. They gave their expedition the name Aster, an homage to the stars and the gods who controlled them. By day Bryan looked towards Helios, one end of his compass buried deep in the sands of pop sensibility, the other end anchored in his chest. Allowing the compass to act as a divining rod, Bryan pulled the six steely reigns in the direction indicated. By night Husmann took over, attaching the bit to a wooden beast of burden with ivory teeth, all the while looking to Luna and sending for answers from Delphi. Luckily, neither man was a stranger to reigning in the wooden horse and thus, when one man tired the reins were passed to the other.
Throughout the men’s journey, T. Husmann made inquiry to Thor through th