The Vega Star
Gig Seeker Pro

The Vega Star

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Band Americana Alternative


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



"The Vega Star, Reviewed: The Night"

Bands will often up and change formula after they’ve made a comeback. For fans of Milwaukee’s the Vega Star, who began playing music together about seven years ago, only to pick up again in 2006, it’s a happy discovery that they haven’t changed much from their original sound of dark and brooding, southwestern style folk-country. Formed right around the time that Calexico and the Black Heart Procession took off, the Vega Star bring their own Midwestern flavor to somber balladry through a creationary environment of deep winters and limited daylight during the colder months.

The group’s recent release, The Night is exemplary of their return to form; a gorgeously spacious and mellow dive into the cooler shadows of the waters of indie folk. The first track, “The Well”, starts off with a rolling line of of twang-y acoustic guitars and dynamics created by the pattering of a ride cymbal building up vocalist Justin Rolbiecki’s tale of hopes and dreams found inside the depths of a wishing well. Vocal harmonizing comes to the forefront on the second track “The Error” and is emphasized in other songs throughout the album, providing the lightness needed from its otherwise introverted nature.

The Night plays up the acoustic guitar aspect heavily. A good chunk of their songs start with pickings and strummings, up-playing the album’s desolate nature and kicking off loping rhythms that emphasize the Vega Star’s penchant for vast sonic qualities and reverb that cradles their dark tunes of doubt into a sound that’s a cool-shadowed soundtrack to the beginning of summer. -

"If You Haven’t Heard – The Vega Star"

Sorry I have been remiss on the “If You Haven’t Heard” series here on Slowcoustic, but we have someone that you need to hear…if you haven’t heard. It’s corny I know, but sometimes it is simply a fact, The Vega Star is a band you will want to hear.

The Vega Star are a Wisconsin foursome that draws you into the swirling Indie rock shoegaze that is their new album “The Night” that was released in February of this year. Their debut album is fittingly titled, though not to be confused with depressing dark corners, it is meant to revel in the dusk, that time of night that you lose focus and can drift away and get lost in something – in this case the beauty of “The Night”. The current line up of Justin Rolbiecki | Jackson Messner | John Juchemich | Stephen DeLassus have created a great alt-folk rock album in “The Night”

To start off, their debut album “The Night” is comparable to a more band orientated Gravenhurst. So anyone knowing the folk noir of Gravenhurst can enjoy a folk-Americana noir from The Vega Star. I also don’t want anyone to get the impression this is your indie-pop shoegaze either, it is more your indie-rock version. I dare say that the album isn’t entirely a trip down “Sad Bastard Lane”, but might actually be secretly hiding a bit of rock band in despair. I wouldn’t be too surprised if the band is secretly lurking behind a veil of sombre song crafting that can effectively lead to a great stage performance.

I also must apologize for being a bit all over the map on this “review”, but the album can be an enigma at times. There seems to be a common thread that I keep tugging at, one that keeps providing more to sink my teeth into. There is modern day 60’s Psychedelia in “The Lullaby” that has the band doing a sombre march through dark times, while a track such as “The Cell” shows a bit of folk Americana wrapped in the “Stone and Steel” of a prison lament. And there is more, 10 tracks more to be a bit more accurate. You might also find additional stand outs including “The Collector” and “The Wicked” that continue down the path along some terrific gothic rock – this is a band that would close out your Austin evening in style, if you know what I mean. -

"Vega Star Brightens 'The Night'"

It's hard to classify the sound that is so familiarly Vega Star with mixed parts of rock. alternative and bluegrass. What's not hard to do is enjoy their unique and soulful music that feels so comfortable yet intense at the same time.

At a recent performance at Linnemann's in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood, lead singer Justin Rolbiecki apologized for being under the weather and admitted that he feared that his performance might suffer. His fear was unfounded as he was nothing short of brilliant onstage along with the rest of Vega Star- guitarist Jackson Messner, drummer John Juchemich and bass player Stephen DeLassus.

The set was made up of songs from their album The Night, with aptly dark melodies and introspective lyrics that conjure the mood of a soul-searching late night drive. While the Vega Star may have a dark and reflective feel, there is nothing depressing about their music but rather a more hopeful story about redemption from mistakes and the resilience of human nature.

Despite Justin's self-proclaimed illness, the Milwaukee-based group played through the majority of their tracks from The Night including "The Error" and "The Wicked". Each of the songs plays like a chapter in a timeless piece of literature, with the illustrative album art done by local artist Eric Bailey completing the feel. - Milwaukee Indie Music Examiner

"The Vega Star"

After taking two years off to write songs and recruit new musicians, Justin Rolbiecki revived The Vega Star for a show in February(2007) at Bremen Cafe. It wasn't just a one-off gig---The Vega Star is back as a working band, and Rolbiecki plans to record a new record later this year. Even with a new line-up, this Vega Star is pretty similar to the old version---a little louder and more upbeat, but in the same darkly atmospheric alt-country vein.
- The Onion

"The Vega Star E.P."

Four songs introduce The Vega Star to the world on their beautifully produced and recorded debut, E.P. Sonically, the group owe a large debt to post-Barrett, pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd, plus the drones and sustained chords of shoegazing. Unsurprisingly there's a melancholy air to the record, but it never gets mopey or depressing. Opener "Too Many Machines" is a spacey lament, repeating "I can't believe all the things that we destroyed" against a background of tom toms, slide guitar, and organ, maintaining a laid-back pulse until it ends suddenly in a few discordant blasts from the keyboard. "How Long Should I Wait" moves in a similar fashion, albiet with more grounded drums and more bite to the guitar and vocals. "Sleep Brings a Storm" falters, repeating much of what's been done and dragging, but "Time Waltz" shows the band's versatility. It's still spacey, but a meaty bass and rhythmic acoustic guitar ground it in a waltz time groove, which the snare drum, wholly absent elsewhere, augments with bursts of marching cadence. An excellent debut.
- Riverwest Currents

"The Vega Star E.P."

At first listen, the Vega Star EP may seem to belong to another era, when it took days and weeks for news to travel around the world, not minutes. There's no sarcasm, no caustic wit, no gimmicks. This is serious guitar-driven music, saturated with honesty and desperation and healing, evoking campfire meditations and caves, cheap wine and patience stretched taut, like a muscle. Rolbiecki's subdued and mysterious rasp anchors the listener throughout, sketching the melody, black ink on white paper. Burich's lead guitar line comes off almost like a dueling vocal, challenging his counterpart then blending with him, adding much of the color to the first three songs. It's an unconventional narrative approach that nevertheless appears to come naturally to the Vega Star. Subtle, unbalanced drumbeats drive the madness on "Time Waltz." The fourth and final song on the EP is somehow the most pleasing to the ear, despite its rythmic eerieness. Better than good, the Vega Star's self-produced first release will intensify your mood and then vanish, leaving you wanting more.
- A Common Sense

"The Night"

By Maureen Post

You're going to have to wait until tonight for The Vega Star's live performance and "The Night" CD release party but a sneak peak at the album reveals a masterful flow from start to finish.

It's honestly a struggle to describe The Vega Star's sound. Undeniably dark, but not for the broken hearted or the self loathsome. There is profound depth to the album's ballad like sound but Rolbiecki's vocals induce self reflection more so than self-repudiation. The album has inherent intensity in tone and melody that adds intellectual weight to forthright lyrics.

It's as if the band took pieces of folk, alternative, bluegrass and rock; melding a sound both indescribably unusual and assuredly familiar. The album plays a familiarity impossible to place but the complexity of each song is alluringly addictive.

Song titles like "The Error," "The Wicked," and "The Collector" mask complexity with simplicity; something that band members Justin Rolbiecki, Jackson Messner, John Juchemich and Stephen DeLassus continuously master with instrumentation.



The Night (2009)
The Vega Star E.P. (2003)



With whispers of its existence since 2001, The Vega Star was officially introduced to the world in April of 2009 with the release of their debut full length recording The Night. Wonderfully described by Fan-Belts Erin Wolf as: "A gorgeously spacious and mellow dive into the cooler shadows of the waters of indie folk.” Maureen Post of describes the band as: “...Melding a sound both indescribably unusual and assuredly familiar.”

Psych/folk project The Vega Star was formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2002 by singer/songwriter Justin Rolbiecki. The project was originally based on a collection of dusty lo-fi four track recordings made by Justin the previous year. The early line up included Justin Rolbiecki(vocals, acoustic guitar), John Crockett (bass guitar), Jordan Burich (electric guitar) and Trevor Irish (drums) who was later replaced by Joe Crockett. In 2003 the quartet self recorded and self released a four song self titled EP reminiscent of mid ‘70s era Pink Floyd and mid ‘90s shoegaze. Selling a disappointing 200 copies locally, the band parted ways to pursue other projects. Over the next three years Justin wrote the framework for what was to become a loose concept album about the basic human struggle of good vs. evil. 2006 brought new life to The Vega Star when Justin recruited drummer John Juchemich, Guitarist Jackson Messner and Bassist Benjamin Shaske to help realize the new material. After almost two years of heavy rehearsal and many regional performances and festival appearances, the band began recording in 2008. With the help of new bassist Stephen DeLassus, mezzo-soprano vocalist Shannon Rolbiecki singer/songwriter Kurt Spielmann(Big Magnet) and graphic artist Eric Bailey, The Vega Star crafted their debut 12 song full length album The Night. Released in early 2009 The Night is a sharp divergence from the 2003 EP sighting more ‘60s folk and ‘70s rock influences while still adhering to the original psychedelic musings.