the dazzling strangers
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the dazzling strangers

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What made me sit up and take notice of these "strangers" is that the group is led by Chris Streng, who used to sing and play guitar for the sorely missed shoegazers Stratford 4. Those looking for a continuation of The Stratford 4 sound won't find much of it in on The Stars Are Ours, but that's OK because the band impresses in a completely different way. The most enjoyable thing about the EP is that each of its four songs sounds different from the previous one, almost like the work of four different bands. The only common thread throughout is Streng's trademark Brit-drawl vocal style and his interesting lyrical narratives. Opener "Going Out" is a spacey electro-pop number with a motorik groove that sounds like a more lo-fi Postal Service. The next number, "Stella Gonet", reminds me of The Kinks circa Village Green, but adds in flutes and strange background noises for good measure. "Regina Maris" is a reverb-heavy character portrait of a song that comes closest to the old Stratford 4 sound, but with a gentler touch and summery vibe. Closer "Taxi Cab" is a short country-folk number that wouldn't sound out of place on a Mazzy Star album. Let's re-cap here: Four songs, 13 minutes, never predictable or repetitive, and always dazzling. - Losing Today


Ever wonder what happens when shoegazers grow up? When they mature and hit a fiery stride, like a comet bouncing off satellites? Well wait no more, the new Dazzling Strangers is out in indie form. "The Stars Are Ours" is their debut CD, featuring reverb, layered guitars and space-age high-fidelity sounds, reminiscent of bygone days and folky-fuzz phonics. Mix up some 70's drone music and fuzzbox with the remnants of the Stratford 4 and the sounds of Ride or Slowdive and you get a stones throw away from the unique sounds that compromise of The Dazzling Strangers.

I recently popped in this indie CD, a self-pressed gem of a record, to hear some fantastic tracks, by Chris Streng and team. If you have a chance to get this disk via the website, do it. You'll love the high-country gold of "Oregonagain" and the trippy "Sister Cyclone". I am especially fond of the tracks because they layer such a vibrant wall of sound. My favorites are "I Fell Asleep Onstage", "Single Girl On A Sunday Morning" and "Taxi Cab" -- but hey I am a square. I am sure you'll dig them all. I've enclosed three tracks for your listening pleasure, but no more. You have to go out and seek this CD, so you can say you heard them way back when. - Frank McCrank


Discography

"The Stars Are Ours" debut full length cd out now.
"Poor Petey Libertine" & "I Destroyed Myself" used in the film "Almost Everything" by Grammar School Pictures.

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Bio

The Dazzling Strangers are poised to establish themselves in the firmament of outsider pop music. Their debut album, The Stars Are Ours is an 11 song meditation on minimalism, romance and beauty.
Band leader Christopher Streng established himself as an astute song-writer in his previous group, the Stratford 4, who's 2 albums for Jetset Records received glowing reviews from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork Media and others. Inter-band squabbling caused the S4 to split after their Ric Ocasek-produced debut for Elektra Records was shelved. Previously, Streng fronted Wave, an early incarnation of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with Peter Hayes and Robert Beene.
The Dazzling Strangers is a distinctly different proposition. Using a revolving cast of musicians from San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, the recording sessions were loose and spontaneous. Often, the songs were captured first take and occasionally, the recorded version is the first time the band had played the song together at all. The free-wheeling bon-homie of the recording sessions was grounded in Streng's vision that the music adhere to droning minimalism of the Velvets and Spacemen 3 while espousing the rickety naivete of Beat Happening. The remaining tracks on the disc were recorded at home in Nevada City, California and feature Streng playing all the instruments himself with stylistic nods toward krautrock, folky blues primitivism and the fashion-conscious output of Englands El Records.