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"Band of the Week 7.27.06!"

by Rich Kane


So we actually get a CD in the mail—as opposed
to the usual MySpace link, which we prefer, but
whatever—and we instantly remember why we
prefer hearing our local music sniplets in easily-
digestible four-song bites: Because bands like
Protostarr are just too damned ambitious. Look at
this thing—one album, two discs, each about 45
minutes long. As if we had the time!
Thank A’llah they have a MySpace—better they
pick the tunes than us. What we’ve got here is a
lot of synths and electronic drums—a bad ‘80s infatuation,
or so we thought at first. Usually when
kids start waving the don’t-call-it-new-waveit’s-
electroclash flag, it really means they’ve just
found their parents’ old Roland keyboards from
high school and dreamed of joining A Flock of
Seagulls, shitty hairstyles and all. And maybe
that’s true for Protostarr too, but the thing is, Protostarr
do the retro thing very, very well.
Take “Nonlinear”—very Duran Duranish, or
at least their singer’s a dead-ringer for Simon
Le Bon. It’s ridiculously catchy pop, with solid
hooks, choruses, and the required nice-beat-and easy-
to-do-the-Robot-to. If Duran Duran had
been this good 20 years ago, maybe we would’ve
liked Duran Duran.
“Sponge” is swirled in a more dance club aura,
with deep intro beats that make you think you’re hearing a Volkswagen commercial. But with phrases like “I just want to absorb all of your
love,” “piece of the pie,” “cheap thrill,” “crazy
horse,” “start the charge,” “primal scream”—
well, yes, of course it’s about fucking. Maybe in
a Volkswagen.
“Lucky Number” seems to be an attempt at
bridging the gap between Pink Floyd and Portishead,
but it’s really just a pleasantly hazy jam
that’d probably go well with the intoxicant of
your choice (Waiter! I’ll have a double-barrel
bong with a side of extra THC, please!) And on
“Ascension live 42305”—we’ll break their code
and assume that’s “April 23, 2005”—the Radiohead
influence introduces itself, especially when
their singer spits “Don’t ever fucking wake me
up.” Cute, because the song is so dreamy and
melancholy that it seems as if it was recorded as
a lullaby for 4-year-olds—they’re good and evil
like that, this Protostarr.
More info and song clips at their MySpace site
or at

Attention, Riverside/San Bernardino County bands
and musicians (you too, Claremont, La Verne and Pomona)!
Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital
contact info, plus any impending performance dates)
for possible review to: Band of the Week, IE Weekly,
2175 Sampson Ave., Ste. 118, Corona, CA 92879.


- Inland Empire Weekly

"Your own personal time machine!"

Malai Kofta

Vesuvius Records


Listening to ProtostarR’s Malai Kofta is like hitching a ride on a time machine back to the 80s. There’s enough techno pop on the album to make members of Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys smile. The first half of the album, though, tends to highlight more guitar, including a few shoegazing-like touches, or reggae rhythms on “Tarantula.”

The latter songs on the 14-track album are more heavily laden with synthesizers. The production on the album is rather thin, and seems to work better later in the album where a few songs are so steeped in techno, they‘d be worthy collections on a dance-trax mix.

Favorite Track: Track 12, “ Capri”


"Awards spotlight I.E. musicians"

Link To Article Print Article Email Article

Tuning in to local talent
Awards spotlight I.E. musicians
Mari Nicholson, Staff Writer

January 18, 2006

Some 90 local bands and solo artists will be rocking the newly opened Key Club at Morongo Casino, Resort and Spa on Thursday night.
It's the second annual Inland Empire Music Awards - presented by producer, publisher and music philanthropist Martin Brown along with KCXX-FM (103.9).

The IEMAs - given in 18 categories - recognize and seek to expose local musical talent in all genres. Volunteers do the majority of the work, and it's a long way from making anyone any substantial amount of money.

So why do it?

"I've had a passion for music ever since I saw The Beatles in England in '66," said Brown, who's never been in a band or played an instrument.

In fact, the 53-year-old Garden Grove man describes himself as shy - a party wallflower, even. But when there's a beat going on, something musical to relate to and revel in, Brown can talk for hours.

"I love the thought that I'm helping musicians; they can exploit me as much as they want," he said.

Brown came up with the idea of locally based music award shows several years ago, when he was running the music magazine LIVE, which he still publishes.

He launched the Orange County Music Awards in 2002, then the IEMAs and the Toronto Independent Music Awards, both in 2005.

They provide a place for artists to network with media sources and one another, said Brown.

Erin O'Toole, bass player for San Bernardino-based trio ProtostarR, said local musicians usually have to make a trek west to Los Angeles just to be heard.

"There's always a lot of driving to play or promote yourself," said O'Toole, a senior producer at KVCR-FM (91.9) when she's not playing with the boys.

ProtostarR is nominated for Best Electronic Rock, the category with the closest fit.

"Our sound is kind of hard to describe; when we play the new record for people, they say the same thing," O'Toole said.

She joined the already-formed band - Jonathan Payne on guitar/keyboard and MC Logo 65 on drums - in March and likes to think she brought the "rock sensibility back into ProtostarR's music."

Whatever she did, ProtostarR sounded great to Brown. "ProtostarR's a gem. There's a lot of bands out here, and some of the submissions this year blew me away," Brown said. The IEMAs received more than 150 submissions this year from signed and unsigned artists in all genres, all over the Inland Empire.

And those who recorded on lesser-quality systems in their basements got just as much consideration as those claiming full-length CDs, professional gigs and Web sites, according to Brown, who also helps in the judging process.

"This year, we had a wide variety of music I wouldn't otherwise have been exposed to," said Steve Hay, a judge as well as Thursday evening's emcee.

Even if we're not fans of the genre, all the judges can appreciate the musicianship, said Hay, 26, a promotions director and morning-show host



for KCXX-FM.

Brown, Hay and five others from all walks of the music industry rated the tracks on a 0-100 scale. The top five submissions in each category scored an invite to the ceremony, and the leading vote-getter will take home the trophy.

"It's an honor just to be nominated," said 14-year-old rock violinist Antonio Pontarelli of Temecula. "I'm not really competitive."

Although the majority of this year's performers were last year's winners, Antonio, who will be performing his original song "When Things Fall Apart," is the exception.

He might be new to the awards event, but he's a veteran performer.

"When I was 4 and starting to play in public, my mom asked me if I got nervous. I asked her what nervous meant," he said.

Antonio is nominated in two categories: Best High School and Best Instrumental.

As are the Souljourners of Temecula.

Antonio played before with their pianist, Paul Ellingson, as well as with the Kelly Bowlin Band, a Best Classic Rock nominee whose members are from Corona and Orange County.

Some of the musicians know each other, but many don't, Brown said, "so it's a great place for bands to meet and possibly collaborate later," he said.

A portion of the show's ticket sales will benefit another one of Brown's projects: Right to Rock, a nonprofit organization that raises money for music programs in public schools.

It's an organization Brown hopes will gain more popularity soon, as he finds schools often express early interest in getting funding but don't follow through.

"I offer schools money, tambourines, whatever, and they don't come get it," he said, incredulous.

"I don't know where I'd be without music."

----------------------------- - San Bernardino Sun


Named "Best Electronic Rock" band at the 2006 Inland Empire Music Awards.

Winner of the 2006 Southern California Music Awards - "Best Electronic Rock."

Airplay on:

KUCR 88.3 Riverside, CA
KUCI 88.9 Irvine, CA
KZSU 90.1 Stanford, CA
KCSN 88.5 Northridge, CA
Pulse!Now Internet Radio
KCXX 103.9 San Bernardino, CA (Local Band Spotlight artist)
KRUI 89.7 Iowa City, IA

"Wanderlust" - 2000
"Malai Kofta" - 2003
"Accretion Disks" - 2005
"Flakey Actress EP" 2006



Protostar: noun ; a cloud of gas and dust in space, believed to develop into a star.

Aside from a few tales that may in fact be urban legends, not much is known about this mysterious group. It is rumoured that the members of Protostarr met while in zero-g at NASA’s astronaut training facility. The three soon washed out of the training programme, however, due to extreme motion sickness and the unfortunate inability to distinguish right from left when upside-down.

This story could have been a sad tale of three failed astronauts drowning their sorrows in wine and Cheez-its, but it took a happy turn in 2004. They discovered that music could take them into outer space without annoying side effects, and the aspiring space cadets decided to form a band.

Thus was Protostarr created.

They currently live and create music in their Southern California home studio. ProtostarR can be seen and heard in the Southern California area, and on Their brand-new EP, Flakey Actress, will be available in September 2006. ProtostarR's 2005 double-disc release Accretion Disks is currently available from Vesuvius Records.

It’s not rocket science…it’s better.