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"Astral review in"

Listen, we're all aware of how influential The Cure was. Even though they were the perfect soundtrack to sitting in your room writing terrible poetry, there was some serious songwriting going .. Robert Smith started looking like a deflated blow-up doll. Were they silly? Of course. At their worst they somehow managed some space/time manipulation and fold back in on themselves, becoming a parody of everything they were once good at. So where is this going? If The Cure had some balls they'd probably sound like Astral. Just as I Love You Interpol But I've Chosen Killers combine the dour theatricality of The Cure with the funereal beat of Joy Division, Astral are devout to their influences, sounding like they could have hung with latter day post-punk torch bearers like For Against. Hell, they have a lyric that goes "sitting by the sea again."

On other songs, like the hazy "A Lullaby from Amsterdam," they sound like early Cocteau Twins. This list of obvious influences could go on and on, but the tunes themselves are decent enough if not earth shattering. The thing is its all atmosphere, but if you ignore the fog machine and strobes you'll hear a band, a real band. They have the same raw urgency of British post-punk bands in the late 1970s, eschewing hooks for a doomy mix of vague melodies and ethereal textures. They start with vaguely tribal beats, add echo-laden guitar and vocals, and let the mood settle. Sometimes the drums hit a double beat, pounding away like a runaway drum machine.

The differences in songs here are subtle, and it suddenly occurs to me that this album would make a great soundtrack. Most movie cues are either taken from a single composition or several related ones; Sleepwalker would be the perfect accompaniment to an '80s British independent picture, perhaps about the grimy working class and a mysterious murder. The crime remains unsolved, someone gets addicted to heroin, and the surviving characters stumble into a club to dangle cigarettes from their lips while listening to "White Tigers," a Cure tribute that would have been the toast of the raincoat-clad teenagers in the Thatcher years. -

"Astral review in Black and White Magazine"

San Francisco based Astral have deep rooted influences in Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine, as proven by their full-length debut, Orchids. Dave Han (vocal/guitar) has a whispering approach that cuts to the heart while every other sense is swirling in an array of dreaminess. Turn Me Around is Astrals Only Shallow, a stereo assault of bleeding feedback and driving post-punk percussion courtesy of Shawn Poh. Other standout tracks include Blinder, the affecting Orchids, and Under Lock And Key, all showcasing a very 4AD bent to shoegaze. Astral could easily fit onto a Merge, Matador, or 4AD roster, because theyre the essence of dream rock, stuck in the late 80s and playing their reverbed hearts out. Orchids has a very classic tone to it while representing the face of what modern shoegaze has become. I like this little 3-piece, and hopefully I wont be the only one. - Black and White Magazine


Only Sometimes EP, released in 2002. Out of print

Turn Me Around 7” single, released in 2002

Second Stitch EP, released in 2003. Out of print

Orchids (10 songs) was the band’s debut album, released in 2003, charted CMJ 200 in 2004 and topped at #119 nationwide. Out of print

Transmitter EP, released in 2007

Sleepwalker (10 songs), the second full length album, was released in 2007 and charted CMJ 200 in 2008, topping at #162 nationwide.



Astral is a San Francisco based 3-piece indie band with a sound best described as post-punk with a shoegaze bend, occasionally referred to as dream pop. Formed in late 2000, the band started performing live in 2001 and has performed consistently since, with west coast regional touring from Seattle down to San Diego and as far east as Las Vegas and Reno. Astral has made numerous college radio appearances on KFJC, KSCU, KCRH, KZSU, and KXLU (in Los Angeles).

Astral has an extensive history of performances supporting headliners such as:

David J (of Bauhaus/ Love and Rockets)

Tiger beat (featuring Colm O’Chiosoig of My Bloody Valentine)

Mr. North (produced by Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads and The Modern Lovers)

Lisa Dewey (recorded with Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins)

Audra (Bret and Bart Helm of Black Tape For A Blue Girl)

The Sagittarians (featuring Neil of And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead)

Inner (Jennifer Turner, formerly of Natalie Merchant’s band)