Coba Stella
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Coba Stella

Burlington, Vermont, United States | SELF

Burlington, Vermont, United States | SELF
Band EDM Soul




"Album Review: Now Is The Time"

Review by Stanzi Scribner

In September 2011, Coba Stella released the album Now Is The Time bringing us an upbeat, unique, and new vibe to the local hip hop scene. This album covers a wide variety of genres, including reggae, rock, blues, soul, trip hop, and hip hop. Coba Stella is an unconventional trip hop band from Burlington, VT blending live instrumentation with originally produced beats. Throughout every style, Julie Wiinn’s voice is the true centerpiece, weaving through the melodies, dropping intelligent rhymes, and soothing our souls with her smoky alto.

DJ Bhatch and Mike Scott work together to create melodic beats you can really get into. This album is highly danceable, “Take the Mic” plays around with a marching string symphony dueling with a tight keyboard line, and Julie shows her ability to wind it all together with expressive, almost diva-esque rhymes. However, Winn shows considerable restraint throughout the album, giving you the sense that she could blow everyone out of the water. In the tracks “Who I Am” and “Social Construction” she uses insightful lyrics over slightly jagged rock melodies, creating tracks that just beg you to dance, as well as putting across a strong message. Winn’s background in politics and social work give her experiences to draw from, and it shows through in her vocals. “Celebrate” brings it back to a clever, funky reggae vibe, making you bob your head and feel like going out to celebrate life, as the title would suggest.

The album overall shares a very chill, almost trance-inducing vibe, which can almost be too hypnotic. But overall the energy, variety, and self-expression Coba Stella puts forth here is very well executed. Now Is The Time shows us there’s more to hip hop than we thought, it’s definitely worth picking up a copy, and checking out one of their future shows. .::BM::.
- Burlington Music Magazine

"Coba Stella - Now Is The Time"

Sometimes (pretty often) I miss being able to just listen to music without digging into each song with sharp surgical instruments of criticism. Sometimes I just want to say that yeah, I liked the record, without having to go into any details. Music could be just... good, for no particular reason. Right? Well, I'm past that point at least with the downtempo electronica (I still have my Swedish pop for pure nonobligatory enjoyment), so it won't be enough to just say "I liked Coba Stella - Now Is The Time, it's a good record". I took notice of Coba Stella a while ago, while sifting through Reverbnation's diverse selection of trip-hop/electronica acts. Something just instantly drew me to their music, it seemed alive and vibrant, there were some intriguing and unexpected elements embedded into the usual vocals+beats+programming formula. I've been waiting for the release ever since hoping (almost expecting) to be blown away and torn to pieces by the innovative and powerful sound. That, unfortunately, didn't happen. Was I disappointed? No, because, see above, it is a damn good record. It's just somehow all those interesting elements, all that mixture of genres and styles started getting in the way of thoroughly embracing the sound. I am a complex individual when it comes to music, my apologies to whoever is reading this blog (not that I never warned you). I can absolutely love a record that has "nothing special" about it if it doesn't make it want to skip any tracks on it. Now Is The Time has many absolutely fantastic tracks, but it's that couple that (speaking in lingo of Project Runway guest judges) "I didn't get" that, combined with smorgasbord of stylistic elements, corroded the album's integrity. But screw it, I really want to talk about those great ones, the ones that could (and do) listen over and over again, appreciating them more and more. Now Is The Time has clusters of greatness, pairs and trios of songs that could have made killer EP's. Filed under different categories in music stores. My favorite is the one that begins with "State Of Passion" - an example of trip-hop brilliance where all the goodies that Coba Stella has to offer - Julie Winn's powerful vocals, Mike Scott's multi-instrumental skills and thoughtful electronic design by Kahlagh, - come together in a sweet harmony. This is where the band's ability to blend and merge those stylistic elements shines - it is a trip-hop song, but there's so much more to it - from quiet piano at the beginning to dub beats to rock-ballad guitar to cleverly gentle turntables. "Black Ink" follows, eerie and intense, with anxious beat, dueling guitars and vocals that rise above the darkness. Another chunk of goodness on Now Is The Time is the beginning, especially "Take The Mic" - a fun bright hip-hop track (bringing to mind the works of Dan the Automator & Co) - one of the few hip-hop numbers on the record (on which I sometimes wouldn't mind hearing actual rapping - Mr. Lif wasn't available?). As a whole, Now Is The Time is a very bright, playful and aware album, bold but approachable. Coba Stella definitely has tons of potential and skill that may sometimes be hard to control in order to create a cohesive record. Creating a fun record does not seem to be a problem at all even when they take on social issues with the lyrics (and especial kudos to them for that). Check it out and turn off your inner critic - you will enjoy it a lot more. You can listen to the entire album (and purchase it) on Bandcamp.

- Trippin' The Rift - Trip Hop International

"Coba Stella, Now Is The Time"

The evolution of Vermont hip-hop continues as Burlington’s Coba Stella release their first full-length, Now Is the Time. The record, a follow-up to the trip-hop trio’s debut last year, the EP Marigold, is a tantalizing appetizer that augurs well for both the future of the band and the increasing depth and diversity around Green Mountain hip-hop in general.

Singer Julie Winn is the group’s centerpiece, and from beat-dropping start to head-bobbing finish, she’s the star of the show. Winn is blessed with a rich alto, which she ably introduces on the album’s opening cut, “Rising.” Over a swelling phalanx of electro beats and synth, she approaches the mic with a sensuous, sly cool. You get the sense she’s capable of unloading diva-esque vocal acrobatics at any point. But here, and largely throughout the record, she shows commendable restraint, winding her smoky melodies around DJ Bhatch’s hypnotic beats and yielding to the overall chill aesthetic of the material.

Winn is similarly impressive as a lyricist. She has a background in social work and politics, both of which inform her high-minded approach. This is not vapid, ass-shakin’ dance music — though it’s certainly highly danceable. In the wrong hands, “music with a message” can be dopey and intellectually marginalizing. However, Winn attacks her prose with the same calculated savvy she displays as a vocalist. She favors insightful and often clever wordplay over stilted, bumper-sticker wisdom, especially on cuts such as the searing “Who I Am,” the rock-tinged “Social Construction” and the ambitiously heady title track.

At times Winn’s reserve almost works against her, though that has less to do with any flaws in her performance than with the general excellence exhibited by her cohorts, producer DJ Bhatch and multi-instrumentalist Mike Scott. This duo crafts dense, adventuresome soundscapes that expertly blend manufactured electronics with live instrumentation. “Take the Mic” is one such bombastic example, as a marching symphony of strings fights for space against a sinewy keyboard line. “Celebrate” boasts a smart, funkified reggae vibe, while “Worldwide” brings the mood down a bit with a dramatic piano progression propelled by a snappy, understated beat.

Now Is the Time isn’t perfect. The band’s trance-inducing ambience can be almost too anesthetic, too hypnotic. But, by and large, Coba Stella deliver a finely conceived and well-executed album that deserves a place in the collection of any local hip-hop fan.

Coba Stella celebrate the release of Now Is the Time at Nectar’s on Wednesday, August 31, with the Human Canvas. - Seven Days Newspaper

"Battle Stations"

Continuing on a theme, this Friday also marks the start of the third annual RhinoFest in Plainfield. The almost completely localvore lineup features, among others, the Eames Brothers, Movement of the People, Bearquarium, Gold Town, Vorcza and Coba Stella — the last of whom a reader recently wrote in about with glowing praise. And if you’re worried about missing the reggae vibes emanating from the north, fret not. The fest also features the irie stylings of Dubconsicous, Zion I and Montpelier’s MadMan 3. Visit for more details. - The Seven Days

"Manifest Destiny"

While we’re at Nectar’s, I’m hearing good things about new local electro-acoustic outfit Coba Stella. They wrap up a three-week residency at the club this Monday. - The Seven Days

"The Best of Myspace Blog Music"

Want a nice sample of what indie music sounds like up in Vermont? SpaceCadetz highly suggests listening to the tunes of a very talented musician named Julie Winn. And by talent I mean that she writes the lyics, sings the vocals, and plays the guitar and keyboard as well. It all comes together beautifully and you may find her haunting vocals echoing in your ears and your head still nodding to the beats long after your first listen to Julie’s music. She is also half of the trip-hop duo Witchz War that includes Kahlagah on the production, so be sure to check out that profile too. -


Coba Stella's Full Length Debut Album: To be released September 2011

Radio Airplay:

WDEV 96.1
WRUV 90.1
The Radiator 105.9
Vermont Public Radio
Radio Free Vermont
Farmfresh 102.9
Live365 Women of Substance
Rukus Radio



Coba Stella is an unconventional three piece band from Burlington, Vermont that blends originally produced beats with live instrumentation. Coba Stella's music is unique, upbeat, and full of substance and encompasses a wide range of genres, including trip hop, soul, reggae, blues, hip hop and rock.

Drawing on her experiences in politics, social work, and community service, lead singer Julie Winn writes insightful lyrics and sings with sincerity and soul. A brilliant melodic fusion of layered sounds is manifested with multiple instruments, sound bending, live looping and the clever sampling and scratching of kahlagh.

Coba Stella is quickly gaining momentum and making their presence known in the music scene. Coba Stella recently released their first full length debut album, Now Is The Time, in September 2011.