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"Starfucker at Towne Lounge"

[BEEP POP] When he takes on the pseudonym Starfucker, local songwriter (and Sexton Blake frontman) Josh Hodges decorates the stage with more instruments than he can actually use. You wait for the rest of the band to walk onstage, pick up the nearby bass and guitar, and start rocking out. But that never happens.

Instead—as he did at last Friday’s well-attended Towne Lounge performance with Typhoon and Dramady—Hodges seats himself at a pony-sized drum set and mans his mess of instruments alone. As per usual, Hodges began his Towne Lounge set by craning his neck to sing a few quiet opening lines over strummed guitar. He then reached to twist an amplifier knob that filled the room with squealing feedback. Just when the near-deafening distortion had worn out its welcome in the hearts and ringing ears of audience members, Hodges flipped a switch on his sampler and counted to four with his drumsticks.

The ensuing one-two punch of Hodges’ looping beep-pop soundscapes with blistering, breakbeat-style live drumming (he thrashes his low-riding set as if it had done him some serious wrong) is a powerful combination. And while it seems strange for an indie-rock musician like Hodges to put drums front and center, Starfucker is dance music—booty-shaking, pop-based dance music—the most important element of which is the beat.

The same Towne Lounge patrons that had plugged their ears during Starfucker’s noisy introduction began nodding in unison upon hearing the catchy beats-and-bright-synths compositions, with a couple dudes improvising dance moves. Starfucker will do that to you: Amid a sea of noise, it will carjack your ass, announcing, “Bitch, we are going for a ride.”

But Hodges’ greatest success on Friday was just being heard. Though blessed with a pure-sounding, high-range set of pipes, his vocals are also on the breathy side, often getting lost in the mix during Starfucker (and Sexton Blake) shows. Hodges, who says he was “sick of people complaining about the vocals,” solved the problem by including an extra vocal track with the sampled portion of his songs. He alternated between harmonizing and singing along with this ghost voice, both of which are preferable to not hearing nerdy-sweet lines like “German love I will give it to you” and “She won’t have a thing to do with me” during the video-game bonus level of “German Love.”

Don’t let the “dance music” tag scare you. Everything that’s great about Sexton Blake—the clean-cut melodies, the pop-mantra lyrics and Hodges’ own timid charm—is here as well. It just moves to the beat of a bigger drum. - Willamette Week

"New Music: Sexton Blake: "Hungry Heart""

Springsteen's original was written for the Ramones, and he upped its jaunty poppiness even further by speeding up his vocal. Portland's Josh Hodges (aka Sexton Blake) meets the song in a more resigned and downcast place, like maybe we're catching him in that Kingstown bar well after he and the girl it's addressed to took what they had and ripped it apart. We heard from Hodges last year on the To Elliott, From Portland compilation, covering "Rose Parade" and capturing a little of Smith's famous whispered croon. His delicate approach at the microphone works just right here, finding the extra bit of sadness that the bar band anthem parties to forget. - Pitchfork

"Rawnald Gregory Erickson The Second Track Review"

I had not heard of this band prior to their arrival in my inbox, but I really like their catchy electronic pop sound. It's got this smooth beat-heavy instrumentation that I just can't stop listening to due to the fact that it effortlessly sticks in your head and leaves you grooving long after the song has ended. Count these guys as another band that I need to check out more in-depth - Side One Track One

"STARFUCKER - “German Love” Single Review"

Seeing Starfucker’s one and only member, Josh Hodges, thrash out beats on his low slung drum set is like watching little Timmy let loose in the candy emporium, purely ecstatic. Then there’s the juggling act of samples, live loops and guitar, or whatever is at hand. At moments, it seems as if the whole, booty-shaking stew is oh-so-tenuous. Then with a wall of feedback, it all implodes perfectly. The result is music that is both sunny and experimental yet dancey. This track, “German Love” is bright pop, something akin to the dawning of another beatific Portland summer, but to truly appreciate the brilliance of Starfucker, you should see him live and ride bikes in the sun. - DREW LAUGHERY - Paper Thin Walls

"Are you ready to fall in love with Starfucker?"

My love affair with 'German Love' began last week when I was reading a LocalCut post about Blitzen Trapper's MP3 selections for Paper Thin Walls. Since I have an affinty for Blitzen Trapper and Matt Wright, I clicked the link and listened to a bit of Starfucker's 'German Love'. Cue me migrating over to his myspace. Cue me becoming obsessed.
So I headed down to his show at a house show on SE 15th and Clinton on Friday. Even though it was the night before Sasquatch and I'd have to get up super early the next day, his show coming up on the 8th is not an option since I'm going to CSS and I couldn't wait to see the art of his sound come alive much longer.
Wow - the party was packed even for it being so early. He was playing second and the house was already to capacity. I got there in time for his scheduled 9:45 start time and headed down to the sweltering basement, but alas he was still in the middle of his set-up - a forty minute one according to Billy of the Newspapers who also had a hand in putting on the show.
So we watched and we waited and soon came the static-y drown of his feedback as he began his short-ish and beyond super sweet set that had the frontlines dancing.
It was clear that most people were there to greet the buzz around Starfucker in person than for any other purpose, well. . . maybe other than getting hammered. The bar in the corner of the basement was doing some major business and at times it felt like the median age of the attendees was 10 (yes, that's an exaggeration, but it was very young crowd) and we know what their priorities can be. . . :)
Turned away from the audience, he raised his guitar to the amp, enveloped in his own sonic world as we watched on.
After a few minutes he took to his drum kit, back hunched, head bowed, lips to the mic trading the static for the melodic.
He launched into 'German Love' as his second song which was a bit surprising - playing the bona-fide current and future hit so early, but he easily continued to keep everyone captivated.
He drummed as he sang and sporadically played the keyboard and guitar while wearing two layers that betrayed the humidity of the basement and rolled up trousers that revealed him to be a biker.
He soon exited the same way he allowed us to enter - in a mass of feedback.
At the end I wondered to myself how I could have so few photos, but the lapse was understandable - I appropriately spent the moments dancing and singing along like the people I swayed next to as opposed to snapping.
It was a beautiful escape into a musical world I only found out existed a few days prior and one I intend to visit often (as if I don't already live there what with my continued repetitive plays of all things Starfucker).
'German Love' - if ever there was a song to fall in love with. . .
Friend him before he hits 5,000 profile views. You know it's only a matter of what one hopes will only be minutes before that happens and then when it's over 100,000 you can say "I friended him when. . ." - Not on the Guest List

"Starfucker, “German Love,” Failing Records: A Compilation of Portland Music Volume 4"

I recently put the first disc of Failing Records’ latest compilation (Volume 4) on the ol’ car stereo, and once I arrived on track 12, I went no further. I hit back every time said track–Starfucker’s “German Love”–ended and listened to it again. And I’m listening to it now. It is relentless. It is mesmerizing. It is impossible to ignore.

From the first snappy snare hits, Josh Hodges (a.k.a. Starfucker, also of Sexton Blake) has you in his grasp. It’s rare that a song’s drum track is the thing that catches and holds my ear, but beats are where Hodges excels. And the pops and hisses of his drumming on “German Love” become ingrained in some primal part of your psyche even before the repetitive, dreamy vocals carve out a place in your heart.

Though I can’t help but think Hodges is saying, “Jungle love/ I will give it to you,” every time I hear “German Love,” the title suggests otherwise. But, however you decided to sing along, get used to it, because you won’t be able to stop for days. The song basically only has two lines, the above-mentioned-line-sub-”German” and the words, “She won’t have a thing to do with me”–both of which are repeated throughout the song. Hodges’ airy, almost girly voice is so subdued that it’s almost like another instrument, and the whole thing meshes into one, dreamlike state that only breaks at the very end. A pronounced drum hit signals the song’s wind-down, and Hodges drops into a more casual, goofy refrain of “She won’t have nuthin’ to do with me.”

The song’s hypnotic blip-n-beats construction calls to mind a lighthearted, far more danceable Pinback, and the good-natured vibe of “German Love”’s loose ending recalls the freewheelin’ spirit of bands like Dios Malos or Dr. Dog. It’s awesome, and it makes me endlessly long for a Starfucker full-length. - Willamette Week


PDX Pop Now! 2005 and 2007 Compilation
Failing Records Compilation Volume 2,3 and 4
Sexton Blake Plays the Hits
To: Elliott, from: Portland Compilation
Josh Hodges, "Explosive motion picture score Sexton Blake"

"Hungry Heart" can be streamed at:

Songs that have received air play include, "Bette Davis Eyes", "Hungry Heart", "Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second", and "German Love" on KNRK, KINK, KPSU, KZSU, and others.



One isn't the loneliest number when it comes to multi-instrumentalist Josh Hodges - it's the number that works best. Raised in Portland Oregon, Josh relocated to Brooklyn New York seven years ago. It wasn't long until Portland came calling him back in the form of a record deal for his solo musical project Sexton Blake. Coming back for his CD release show and also in the midst of a break-up he decided to stay and now another Sexton Blake album down, Starfucker has emerged.

The sad and pretty dance music of Starfucker was born from fooling around with a loop pedal and realizing it was "fun as hell," an element which sums up the Starfucker aesthetic. Swiping the name from a friend's Chicago-based zine, the cinematic sound of Starfucker comes alive from behind his drum-kit at house shows and concert venues alike. While Starfucker shows have been solo thus far, Josh is hoping to soon incorporate a spectrum of visuals, from projections to hula-hoopers as he continues to drum, sing, play the keyboard, and tune radios in time with the dance steps of his audiences.

Each show is different as he tries to play as least one new unperformed song a set. With that, his prolific song writing ability comes into play. Writing the music first, tackling the lyrics second, a song a day isn't out of the question and even with that, it's always quality over quantity with Josh Hodges - evident upon every listen.

An avid watcher of old Simpsons episodes and a subscriber to Harpers, everything from video games to the Flaming Lips influences Starfucker's signature sound. Both indie and commercial, you can just as easily picture his songs sound-tracking a starlet rolling around in the grass while rocking the latest dress in a fashion advert to a car making it's way down the street to friends just having fun and sharing an i-pod on an easy summer day away from any commitments.

As a child he used to envision giving concerts to alien audiences who had never heard music before therefore finding every note he played to be a masterpiece. That scenerio is now a reality, albeit with a crowd of critics, fellow musicians, and casual concert goers all interested and excited for what continues to build for Portland's next big export.