Gig Seeker Pro



Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Friday, November 18 - Tiny Darkness"

“What do they call you?” asked a voice. “I call myself Darstar.” was the response, and with that they launched right into what may be the most raw rock song on their record, “Millennium Maiden”. It was another one that had just about everyone singing along with the chorus, “Fuck you, stupid bitches, I’ll put you all in stitches…”. I missed it when it happened, probably because I was standing at the side of the rotund stage and guitarist, Ben Piché, was the main musician I could see, but in the final minute or so of the song, Lisa ended up crowd surfing. The crowd pushed her from stage left to stage right, then back again, and all the while she continued to rock out on her guitar, before hopping back on stage.

Besides that trouble I had hearing the vocals, and even then that was only for about every other song in the first half of the show, I’d say it was flawless. I’d already become a fan just from listening to the music on Bandcamp, but seeing the show made me even more of one. - The Music Enthusiast

"Darstar "Tiny Darkness""

Darstar “Tiny Darkness” On this raucously splendid debut disc, Darstar swarms with a heavily distorted shimmering opulence that's both grungey and otherworldly. The sweet and demure she-vocalist purrs, growls, and ultimately croons like a breezy gust of sin wrapped in hellfire satin. The guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards/synthesizers tumble, roll, and roar with the utmost of caterwauling rhythmic perfection... heavy vibrant excursions into bombastic musical crunch. If The Breeders and Veruca Salt joined forces telepathically on a planet of sound, Darstar would be the resulting cosmic whoosh. Life in the audio sense doesn't get any better than this!

- Roger Moser, Jr.

- Under The Volcano Zine

"Darstar's CD release party will put the edge on your family-filled weekend"

There’s really no better way to detox from a family-oriented Thanksgiving—filled with good cheer and wholesomeness—than spending a few hours with someone who spends that time crowd surfing and yelling crass comments while encouraging you to do that third, fourth or eighth shot of Jack.

For a breath of fresh air after a few days of polite over-bonding, join Darstar for their Austin CD release party at Trophy’s on Saturday, November 26.

Their buzzy, hard-edged debut album, Tiny Darkness, is lead by the powerful vocals of Lisa Hardaway. The album was officially released in Dallas last week, on indie Idol Records (Old 97’s, anyone?).

The record is a decidedly modern, edgier take on some classic female-lead rock bands—Breeders, Hole and L7 come to mind.

And while the DFW-based band isn’t local, the name sure is. “Darstar” was the most interesting character in that 1986 kitsch-bomb of a movie, Solarbabies, starring Jason Patric and Jamie Gertz. (In which Darstar and his owl minions made all kinds of trouble for the post-apocalyptic Solarbabies roller-derby team (yes, you read that right); the character played by part-time Austinite Adrian Pasdar. Pasdar, whom you might recognize from Heroes, and his wife Natalie Maines have a home in Los Angeles and one in Austin.)

You can preview tracks from Darstar's latest album online. - Austin Culture Map

"From Alan to Darstar, new local CDs worth hearing"

Darstar, Tiny Darkness: An intriguing blend of heavy, grinding rock music (by Ben Piche, Tony Newman, Josh Pitts and Carson So) and the sweet vocal stylings of Lisa Hardaway, Darstar's songs are deceptive. Hardaway's voice lulls you, just before a serrated hunk of guitar or a punishing drum fill reaches out and levels you. The aggressive Millennium Maiden is built for a beer-soaked riot in a dark concrete bunker somewhere, while The Mayor is a wonderfully sleazy come-hither. Produced by John Dufilho and Casey Dilorio, Tiny Darkness is a first record brimming with promise. - DFW.com

"Killer or Filler?"

Perhaps as a testament to Darstar’s exceptionalness, Dallas-based Idol Records (Calhoun, Little Black Dress, The O’s) signed frontwoman Lisa Hardaway and her four bandmates before they ever recorded anything properly. Their recently released debut, the 10-track Tiny Darkness, is heavy and melodic, though it might take a few spins for it to really sink in.

Purely for categorization purposes, Darstar practices a species of rock ’n’ roll commonly referred to as “crotch rock”: often lyrically dark and relationship-driven hard rock in which moments of sheer loudness are juxtaposed with relative quietude, conveyed in live settings usually with the lead guitarist’s foot on a monitor, mountain-conqueror-style, and an expression on his face somewhere between ecstasy and pain. If performed properly (The Toadies, Goodwin, The Nuge), crotch rock is an invigorating, life-affirming experience. If performed poorly (Creed, Nickelback), the genre can seem bloated, toothless, and superficial. There’s also the less horrifying danger for a crotch-rock band: that all their songs will sound similar, and not in a good, signature-style way. Since the genre is aimed at listeners’ primal pleasure sensors (hence the name), broad sonic strokes seem to work best.

Darstar, however, is interested in subtlety. Tiny Darkness offers blistering, often gloomy college-radio-ready rock, driven by Ben Piche’s supersonic, buzzing, Smashing Pumpkins-esque guitar tone and Hardaway’s highly stylized, alluringly feminine vocals. One of the album’s highlights is the lead-off track. The somewhat self-aggrandizingly titled “Defenders of Quality Rock ’n’ Roll” is a mid-tempo rocker anchored by a hyper-melodic but seemingly nonsensical refrain –– the song’s only lyrics, repeated throughout –– and punched up in parts by an uptempo blur of staccato riffage and quickly percolatin’ drums. The song is wholly original-sounding and in its novelty as a simple masterstroke of melody comes to serve as a sort of album overture or band theme song.

A lot of the songs are in that same hard-drivin’ tempo, which could be part of the reason why the album doesn’t exactly explode from the speakers. But Darstar keeps things interesting enough on the surface to ward off sameness –– you might just have to listen more closely for the subtleties to reveal themselves. One song that diverts from the rhythmic formula and manages to soar is “Underestimated a Doorjamb,” a partially doom-rocking number that pivots on a crunchy, molten riff and ominous stomp. It’s set off against a rapid-fire instrumental refrain ––Darstar does like switching tempos for brief stretches –– but is still head-bangable and catchy. “The Mayor,” a gorgeously brutal slow-boiler, is another non-fussy, non-glamorous gem, whose lyrical refrain is simple –– just one word repeated several times; sounds like “more” –– but it works.

Not every attempt at simplicity does, though. “Millennium Maiden” starts off all drama: just an ominously resonating guitar chord riding a throbbing kick-drum beat and eighth-note cymbal taps. Trés Iron Maiden. “My, my, m’my, my my millennium maiden,” Hardaway coos a couple of times before the song erupts into a proto-punk bash-fest in which she sings something about, “Fuck you, stupid bitches.” The song goes back and forth between the intro and the “Fuck you, stupid bitches” part. Meh. The instrumental “Val Kilmer’s Tennis Album” is as anti-exciting as its title; just two simple riffs on a cheesy keyboard over loud straightforward banging with no changes. At all.

Recorded in Dallas and co-produced by John Dufilho (Apples in Stereo, Deathray Davies) and Casey Diiorio (Bowling For Soup, Midlake, The Crash That Took Me), Tiny Darkness isn’t an attempt to sell anything other than music –– almost every note exudes sincerity. For a mostly Fort Worth band –– two of the other members live in Dallas –– sincerity backed by superb technical skill can go a long way. Just ask Calhoun. - Fort Worth Weekly

"Casing The Joints"

I liked Metric –– until I saw frontwoman Emily Haines and company perform on some late-night TV talk show. Never having seen them before, I was expecting some cute, young, brunette indie chick playing bass and singing, backed by young, skinny indie casualties. Of course, the, um, distinguished folks onstage shattered my illusion. Nothing against people my age (and older), but the Metric folks just looked so darn professional. Their Establishmentista appearance belied their groovy, bratty, anti-Establishmentista tuneage. Anyway, I’ve recently come across a possible Metric replacement: the Dallas/Fort Worth quartet Darstar, whose sound is reminiscent of Metric’s –– fuzzy, soaring, Smashing Pumpkins-esque guitar, honey-sweet vocals –– and whose debut full-length, Tiny Darkness, will be released on Dallas-based Idol Records (Calhoun, Little Black Dress, Here Holy Spain) next month. Darstar’s CD release show will be at La Grange in Dallas on Fri, Nov 18. - Fort Worth Weekly

"Darstar Tiny Darkness "Idol Records""

If albums were rated by simply how badass they are, Tiny Darkness, the debut record from Dallas-based Darstar, would rate a five-out-of-five bottles of Jack Daniel's. The urgency of the fuzzed-out and bombastic collection bursts from the speakers, as does the brazen lack of concern for any who may be put off by lines such as "Fuck you, stupid bitches, I'll put you all in stitches," which is the central hook from the album's gnarliest track, "Millennium Maiden."

It would be easy, but terribly shortsighted, to place this Lisa Hardaway-led project in an angry punk-girl category and leave it at that without recognizing the deeper elements that give the record its buzz-saw swirl of guitar-driven grit. While Hardaway's vocals provide much of the ferocity for her songs, it's the balls-out playing of her seasoned band that lends the venom making the tunes properly sting any who push play.

Darstar effectively come to the local-music party bearing gifts of spite and danger that are all their own. - Dallas Observer

"Bonus MP3: Darstar -- "Trapdoor Spider""

Being as this year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of such seminal albums as Nirvana's Nevermind, Pearl Jam's Ten, Pixies' Trompe Le Monde, and Smashing Pumpkins' Gish, the sounds of early '90s grunge and alt-rock are once again becoming fashionable. From its meteoric rise in 1991 to subsequent downfall, the genre became almost a parody of itself there for a minute. A punchline. Something Gen X-ers classified as a "guilty pleasure" if their affinity for it ever came to light.

But 20 years, it seems, is precisely the appropriate length of time for a band mining the sounds of the past to be considered more an homage than a bandwagoner, more a herald of nostalgia than a cause for groans. As such there has been an outpouring of support for reunion tours from '90s bands of late (see: Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots), as well as a surge of newer bands writing material that is no doubt heavily influenced by this period.

One such example from right here in town is Darstar, led by former Gun Gun frontwoman Lisa Hardaway, who are getting ready to release their first studio album, Tiny Darkness (see the album cover above, right). The recorded versions of their tunes maintain the simplicity and subtle intensity of their live shows, with less emphasis on the electronic elements and samples. The other noticeable difference: Right off the bat, you'll notice some much-beefed-up guitar and drum tones, thanks in part to co-producer John Dufilho.

In advance of their November album release, the band has been kind enough to pass along the track "Trapdoor Spider" as a free download for DC9 readers. Continue down nostalgia lane and give 'er a right-click after the jump. - Dallas Observer

"Poster of the Week"

White space. It's a beautiful thing.

And it's the big visual standout in this winning design that promotes a show tonight at Lola's Saloon in Fort Worth. The poster comes from the folks in the Dallas band Darstar, who are headlining this bill and, far as I can tell, named their band after the character in the movie Solarbabies that was played by the guy who went on to become Nathan on Heroes.

An aside: Who knew Solarbabies was such a big deal in the Dallas music scene? Aside from apparently being the inspiration for this band's name, the movie was also used to provide the footage for Ishi's "Pastel Lights" video back in '09. Kinda interesting, maybe.

What's definitely interesting, though, is that, color-wise, this Darstar design is superbly simple -- just a two-color design featuring different shades of blue. And it's a looker, too, with the chandelier hanging from the top of the page, right by the whited-out band name lettering, and shining a light down through an apparently dark room and onto... a lobster? Sure, why not?

No, this poster really doesn't make much sense. I'm not altogether sure what a chandelier or a lobster has to do with Darstar, or even the other bands on the bill, The Phuss and The Skeeves. But it looks nice. And it has all the pertinent show info. So maybe that's all that matters.

In this case, yes, that's true. And, as such, congratulations are in order. It's eye-catcher, to be sure.

Think your poster is better than this one? Want to see one of your designs get honored next week? Drop us an email with an image promoting an upcoming show right here. Cool? Cool. Thanks! - Dallas Observer

"Peep a Pair of New Darstar Tracks"

Our buddies in Sea Lion originally hipped us to their pals Darstar (whom one of their songs was formerly named after) a few months ago and we're sure glad they did. We've seen them a couple times now and dig their mix of keyboard-heavy indie pop with firm nods to '90s alternative, replete with winks at the Cobain-lead grunge scene as well. Futhermore Lisa Hardaway (formerly of Gun Gun) makes an oddly compelling, subtly intense frontwoman.

Over the next two nights the group will be wrapping up the recording process for their first release, but earlier today they offered up a sneak preview in the form of a pair of tracks they uploaded to their Spyrock account. - SubEx Blog

"Darstar March 12th at Double Wide"

It is pretty hard to ignore the humongous 4-day walking festival that inundated the entire region this time of year –well for each for at least each of the past few years anyway. And for good reason, it is a pretty magical event that brings tons of bands and music fans together for the better part of a week.

So I don’t really have a huge problem admitting I’m as thrilled as anybody about this week’s musical bounty. At the same time, it would be extremely naïve to assume that every single local music fan had the time and/or cash flow to invest four days and $50-$100+ to experience the wonder of the 35 Conferette. It would be equally naïve to convince one’s self that the only cool music happenings this week are taking place in Denton.

In fact, this Saturday there is at least one option that might even be compelling enough to convince a few holders of the ever-so-coveted 35C wristbands to sneak away from the little D for a few hours. Perhaps for some local newcomers Darstar just might be that excuse.

They have yet to release an album (expect a debut later this summer) but the self-proclaimed electro-grunge outfit are already starting to turn a few heads –myself included. Their nod to gritty, melancholic early 90’s alt-rock is balanced out with more modern electro-pop keyboards and bisected with the super clean female vocals of Lisa Hardaway. The addition of Kaossilator and triggered samples complete the blend of modern electronica with the more conventional grunge elements.

And not to further confuse the matter by throwing yet another genre tag into the mix, there is still something a little punk rock about the whole combination and overall aesthetic. Check them out this Saturday at Double Wide. - My Dallas Music


Tiny Darkness LP Out November 22nd, 2011 on Idol Records



Darstar produces an easily digestible electro-grunge sound via low-end distortion, out-of-this-galaxy synth effects, and hard-hitting drums. Lisa Hardaway's sweet-sounding larynx conflicts with this heavy grunge noise in creating a cacophony of musical elements whose final product ends up being somewhat of an anomaly: Dark Pop-Rock.

Darstar's debut album Tiny Darkness, was co-produced by John Dufilho (Apples in Stereo, Deathray Davies) and Casey Di Iorio (Bowling For Soup, Midlake, The Crash That Took Me). Casey Di Iorio recorded, engineered, and mixed the album at Valve Studios in Dallas, TX. The album was mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music studio in New Windsor, New York.