Marie Stella
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Marie Stella

Portland, Maine, United States | SELF

Portland, Maine, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


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



"April 2 show review by Chad Chamberlain"

Marie Stella may well be in contention to be our city's best new act. Sydney Bourke leads the group by covering the highest and lowest of ends: she sings with a sweet and haunting falsetto while her bass guitar is set to a slightly overdriven tone that brings a sharper edge to what would be otherwise seemingly sweet indie-rock songs. The guitars also provide a dissonance, while Ethan Boardman does what he did so well in Citadel — keep straightforward tight rock beats. However, we had to listen through poor sound quality in order to really catch the richness that this band has to offer, and lucky for everyone it shone through. - the Portland Phoenix

"Total Run Time: Marie Stella"

Those that have an encyclopedic mind of the New York music scene may remember our buddy Bryan Bruchman from either his music blog Subinev or from his former band Man In Gray. You may also know that Bryan has abandoned our little town in search of greener pastures up in Portland, Maine. What you probably don’t know just yet is that Bryan has kept his passion for music burning brightly and has become part of a new power pop act called Marie Stella. This week the band released their debut album TRUST via their Bandcamp site (where you can also stream the album for free) and based on a couple of listens this is the sort of excited pop rock Bryan was always meant to play! Below we’re giving you a track-by-track look at their debut record and a free download of the album’s first track, but make sure you listen along to the album’s stream. Also if you’re anywhere near Maine make sure to check our Marie Stella at one of their upcoming gigs or wait until later in June to see them somewhere in Brooklyn (details on that show coming soon, I promise!).

“Message From Limbo” (3:30);The opening track to any debut album is an important one and here Marie Stella burst out of the gate with killer riffs, lots of feedback, and a steady rhythm that will be pounding in your head hours from now. After a short instrumental introduction we are met by cute female vocals that belly all the noise going on behind them. The combination of adorable singing and loud music is nothing new in pop music, but Marie Stella keep it sounding fresh and energetic by creating a controlled chaos meant to be danced about to. Try it, it’s totally freeing!

“Lonely Is Better” (2:29); After all the energy poured into the first tune you’d think Marie Stella would try and scale things back a bit for the second tune, but no they continue charging straight ahead and now we have this vision in our mind of dudes getting really sweaty while rocking out to this music. One again we are given cute vocals, but here the music plays closer in tune with them, skipping out on some of the noise. It’s still meant to be played loud, but there’s more of a uniform pop ideal hanging over the whole song.

“Blue Blood” (2:31); Dinosaur Jr. meets twee minus the lengthy guitar solo? Yeah, that seems about right. Quite a shift if you’re comparing this to anything Man In Gray did, which you should probably stop doing at this point. Kind of would like to hear male vocals harmonizing instead of the whole looped effect but I’ll deal.

“1985? (3:58); As our lead singer pours her heart out her band is flying through at breakneck speeds. It’s almost like those moments where your girlfriend is saying something serious and you are totally hearing the teacher from Charlie Brown as she speaks. Except much, much louder. A brutal combination but one that works nonetheless.

“Never” (3:24); Listening to this is anyone else reminded of the final scene of Empire Records. The music isn’t nearly as sugary sweet, but it’s damn close to that whole dynamic they had on that little rooftop. Some people will probably take this as an insult, it is not, I love that tune. Cred be damned!

“Taken” (4:29); Okay, this is closer to The Runaways than it is to Coyote Shivers, but it’s still mixing twee and pop and heavy noise rock and we’re loving every second of it. This record is brutal with heart and this tune sums that up beautifully. In just 20-minutes we have fallen for a new rock band. Hope you’re on the same page with me! - Pop Tarts Suck Toasted

"Must Be Marie: Marie Stella's debut EP full of pop and Trust"

I’ve always loved Sydney Bourke’s contribution to Satellite Lot’s Second Summer album, and it’s great to see a band built around her excellent lead vocals with the indie-pop Marie Stella. She’s got ample parts baby-doll innocence and skater-grrrl attitude, but most important is her pure tone, almost never dipping into a rasp or whisper, nor really needing to belt it out. She just sings and everything is right with the world.

On Marie Stella’s debut EP, Trust, that pure tone is constantly in contrast with jangly guitars, feedback, crashing cymbals, and generally lo-fi production values provided by Ron Harrity’s engineering work. The result is an easy-to-love six songs that are equal parts sing-along and jump-up-and-down, and not quite as loud as the band can get live.

Fitting then, that the first lyrics out of Bourke’s mouth on the opening “Message from Limbo” are “I want something easy/To consume.” For indie-flavored stuff you likely wouldn’t hear on commercial radio, these songs are remarkably easy to consume. The squealing distortion that opens the song is downright charming, and the three-note rhythm Bourke carves out with her bass is solid foundation for Bryan Bruchman’s and Matthew Erickson’s swirling guitars, like twin towers slowly falling down. When Bourke reaches up for the second go-round of the chorus — “You have to trust me/I’ve been terribly unlucky” — she’ll likely have you in the palm of her hand.

Seriously. The verse for the closing “Taken,” where then-drummer Derek Gierhan (Haru Bangs — Max Heinz is in Marie Stella now) holds things together nicely through peaks and valleys of activity, runs “no more shenanigans” over and over again and it manages not to sound silly at all.

But it gets better. As in “Lonely Is Better,” where Bourke is backed by Katherine Hulit, who chimes in between phrases in the verse, and the combination is very much early-run Throwing Muses. And just when you thought they couldn’t get any poppier, in comes “Blue Blood,” which has a verse straight out of early Belle and Sebastian, with a shaking tambourine for accent and the bass thriving on each chord’s root note. “I don’t need a lover to bring me down,” Bourke declares. “Now that I’m stronger, I deserve more.” Great finish, too, with what I hope is an Alphaville reference: “I thought there were rewards for staying forever young.”

If one of the rewards is getting to hear more from this very promising band, that’d be okay by me.

Read more:
- Portland Phoenix / Sam Pfeifle


TRUST ep [June 12, 2010] Recorded at Forest City with Ron Harrity in January 2010 with the help of Derek Gierhan (Cougars Kill Cobras, Haru Bangs, Jesse Pilgrim) on drums and Katherine Hulit (Satellite Lot, Witch Stuff, Cloven Dozer) on backing vocals and keyboards. Named one of the 5 best local music EPs of 2010 by the Portland Phoenix.

"Message From Limbo" single self-released limited CD-r for Record Store Day April '10.

"En Fluxx" single (b/w "Jealous Powers") released online through Bandcamp, iTunes, etc. January 2011.


"Little Drummer Girls" (Dec. '09) appears on the holiday charity mix "Do You Ear What I Ear" along with the Tom Tom Club, Asobi Seksu, Goes Cube, Sharon Van Etten, and more.

"Message From Limbo" (Oct. '10) appears on "Treble Treble Volume 2," Curated by through SPACE Gallery, featuring Maine bands participating in CMJ 2010.

"Lonely Is Better" (Nov. '10) appears on "Greetings From Area Code 207: Volume 8" on Cornmeal Records, presented by The St. Lawrence Church and Maine. Magazine. Also on this collection are Ray Lamontagne (with Rustic Overtones), Spose, Darien Brahms, and more Maine-based artists.

A cover of "Little Lines" (April '11) appears on the Guided By Voices tribute album (digital bonus EP and double colored vinyl editions) put out by No More Fake Labels alongside artists including Flaming Lips, Cymbals Eat Guitars, La Sera, Blitzen Trapper, the Clean's David Kilgour, the Breeders' Kelley Deal with Buffalo Killers, Elf Power, Of Montreal's James Husband, Drive-By Truckers' Jason Isbell, and Thurston Moore.

"Spade (Belfast Version)" appears on HillyTown Compilation: Belfast Free Range Music Festival Sampler (April '11)



Marie Stella is a four piece indie noise pop band in Portland, Maine. Two of us are from Away (NJ, by way of Brooklyn, and Chicago). Started at the very end of 2008 and solidified in early 2010 with the recording of the TRUST ep – along with settling on our permanent lineup with drummer Max Heinz – the band got off to a fast start, playing the CMJ Music Marathon in 2009 and 2010, as well as the 2010 Northside Music Festival in Brooklyn, NY and the Deep Heaven Now Festival in Somerville, MA. We have shared the stage with The Hold Steady, Screaming Females, Land Of Talk, Goes Cube, Clues, Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers, My Teenage Stride, Villanelles, the Art Of Shooting, Humanwine, Lorelei, Coyote Eyes, Saint Solitude, Phantom Buffalo, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper, and many more at venues throughout the Northeast.

The name Marie Stella came from Sydney's French-Canadian roots, from the Acadian anthem, "Ave Maris Stella." Hail, Star Of The Sea... we can see the water from our practice space. We are inspired by New England winters, Portland in the summer, where we’ve been and where we’re going.

We are part of the Dooryard Collective.