Stars Like Fleas
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Stars Like Fleas


Band Folk Acoustic


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New york, New York, USA

New york, New York, USA

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This band has not uploaded any videos



Of the many bands trying to combine song craft with true, flexible, reactive group improvisation, none I've heard is quite so successful as Stars Like Fleas...few bands have the resolve to push their music as far toward formlessness, as well as the skill and concentration to coax that formlessness into something listenable, coherent and beautiful….brilliant -

As if being one of the most fascinating live bands in New York wasn't enough, Stars Like Fleas' The Ken Burns Effect takes the group's aesthetic—weird, wondrous, naïve, bewildering—and wrangled it into a full-length that finally does overdue justice to their immense promise…one of those rare records that you want to hear on headphones to uncover each nook and cranny of its myriad contours. It's a record that you want to live in. - Todd Burns, Editor in Chief - Stylus

“the spectacular result [i.e., The Ken Burns Effect"] is full of pop songs…far more traditionally cogent than a typical Animal Collective offering…contradictory but not obtuse, [it] doesn't have the prodding instinct to withhold or stymie that embodies acts like the Fiery Furnaces… The Ken Burns Effect will not only defy characterization, but will probably be the big break for one of New York's most sublime and continuously undiscovered bands” – Jonas Oransky, Paper Magazine
- Paper Magazine

“A dreamy experimental-pop band that pushes against band-ness…[the] new record has an eerie original and mysterious record” – Ben Ratliff, The New York Times - The New York Times

“one of the year's most ambitious and daring records…Sometimes, I think The Ken Burns Effect deserves a 10.0. Sometimes, it feels like a 2.0. You might hate it. You might love it. But you need to hear it” - Pitchfork

“[Notable Releases – 8/10] dreamy and calamitous…loaded with soft vocals, harsh noise, and an utterly unpredictable drift from gorgeously plaintive country-folk balladry to explosive outbursts of distortion and bludgeoning drums…deeply confounding…a journey worth taking” - Under The Radar

“TOP TEN: both accessible as your average indie rock band and puzzling as the most abstract soundscapes…In the hands of some artists, a combination like this would spell disaster. Here, a perfect balance has been struck between conceptual electronics and emotionally weighted songwriting” - XLR8R

“Your first listen to The Ken Burns Effect…is kind of like your first kiss. It’s hard to describe in a few words. You feel a little confused, a little elated, a little unsatisfied. So you go back for more. The disorientation makes you giddy…The addictive, come-hither quality doesn’t fade away either. …you have heard other “experimental bands,” [but] this is a new kind of energy.” - Nylon

“Is Stars Like Fleas a folk-pop band with experimental elements, or the reverse? If The Ken Burns Effect aims to make that question unanswerable, it’s a resounding success" - Time Out New York

“The Ken Burns Effect, for all its tangled roots, is worth your time….[it is] the follow-up that Akron/Family should have made, the calmer, darker Yellow House [Grizzly Bear] that would have been more challenging than readymade for indie-darling coos... tempered epilogue to Beaches & Canyons [Black Dice], a Women As Lovers [Xiu Xiu] without the grating morbidity, the sequel Brightblack Morning Light could create if they pushed the hair out of their eyes…the Fleet Foxes debut I’ll probably want if I ever get around to them…the EP Animal Collective could be proud of, the group that Vashti Bunyan will seek, the aesthetic Chan Marshall will co-opt. Here is the swarm that will overwhelm club stages…equal parts noise, Americana, electronica, musique concrete, and power pop. Here’s your new favorite band: their album is under an hour and it swallows universes whole.” - Cokemachineglow


* "took the ass for a drive" LP, 1999 (dig re-release by File-13 in 2007, distributed digitally by Touch & Go)

* "Sun Lights Down on the Fence" LP, 2003 (Praemedia)

* "End Times (for Elis Regina)" track, 2008 (Hidden Hive Recordings, split 7" with Tunng)

* "The Ken Burns Effect" LP, 2007 (european edition on Talitres -- France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands)

* "The Ken Burns Effect" LP, forthcoming May 2008(US Edition on Hometapes/Absolutely Kosher in U.S., UK, Scandinavia)

* "Call Me Trimtab" track, forthcoming Asthmatic Kitty/Unusual Animals benefit compilation TBA)



"Stars Like Fleas juggle the disturbing, confrontational, direct, sincere, romantic, and the blatantly contrived, in quasi-improvised song cycles".

Begun in the early aughts as a recording project, Stars Like Fleas gained worldwide attention with the small handful of people who cared in each country they invaded. They sold literally tens of records (and were traded for free everywhere fine records were traded). Fortunately many of those listeners happened to be tastemakers, bands, and other people who do things -- soon Pitchfork, Salon, Stylus, Paper Magazine, Time Out, the Village Voice, and others were propping them up on 'best of' lists and praising the bands unreleased releases.

A couple of years ago Stars Like Fleas began playing shows in unmarked spaces in Brooklyn, lighting a fire overnight, with many FAMOUS! and IMPORTANT! people coming to their shows and leaving frustrated, angry, or strangely moved and uplifted (in all cases inviting the Fleas to perform). Even though Stars Like Fleas reconfigure their lineup, sound and music for almost every room they play (sometimes absurdly loud, sometimes entirely unamplified, performing amongst the audience, sometimes abstract, sometimes pop, sometimes sticking w/ sentimental drivel).

Stars Like Fleas were invited to play shows with Deerhoof, Dirty Projectors, Excepter, Grizzly Bear, Beirut, Kyp Malone (TV On The Radio), Phosphorescent, Akron/Family; at concert halls, in illegal dingy spaces, at camping trips upstate, at festivals, in galleries.

Choosing not to capitalize on their hard-earned buzz, Stars Like Fleas went back below deck in 2006 and spent a year making a record (called "THE KEN BURNS EFFECT", a title they think is funny but nobody else does) with Nicolas Vernhes (Animal Collective, Fiery Furnaces, Cat Power, Black Dice, Oneida) and at Brooklyn's Seaside Lounge (The Occasion, Psychic Ills, The Double, New Pornographers); the Fleas were invited to Iceland by Bjork/Mum/Sigur Ros-producer Valgeir Sigurddson to mix their record. They mixed with sound artist Ben Frost, mastered with Valgeir. They came to an understanding with galciers.

First releasing in non-English speaking European countries late in 2007, their record ended up on many, many French/German/Italian/Spanish year-end "best of" lists. They are currently releasing a split 7" in the UK with Tunng and contributing a track to an upcoming Asthmatic Kitty compilation. People are talking again.

ON JUNE 3rd, 2008, "THE KEN BURNS EFFECT" (destined to be at least one of the most polarizing and perplexing records of 2008) WILL BE RELEASED IN NORTH AMERICA AND THE UK BY HOMETAPES (distributed by ADA via Absolutely Kosher/Misra).

Stars Like Fleas live to perform but do not make a habit of it. They will play as many dates as they can afford in support of the record. Hopefully one of them will be yours.