Stargazer by Stella Luna

Tell me if this sounds like fantasy: five apparent newcomers release a half hour, four-track shoegaze EP as blurred as their album art at the dawn of the millennium, recorded on space-age analog equipment, only to disappear without a trace. The album is later celebrated and poured over by music geeks scattered across the internet as a solid entry into a genre that had all but died before Finelines introduced it to a new generation. This is the story of Jacksonville, Florida's Stella Luna and their 2002 EP Stargazer. Aside from a Blogspot promising new material in 2010 and a demo of another song appearing on YouTube, they've been missing in action for over fifteen years now. Making matters worse is that, if you're in tune with it, you'll find a lot to love about Stargazer.

Despite the ostensible calm of its smoggy atmosphere, there's something vital, destructive even, thrashing about inside Stargazer. The opener here, "Change", puts sticky, paralyzing bitterness on display, while "Antares" parts the crashing waves of garbage can drums and smeared guitars just long enough to make a break for it. Hints of other prominent shoegazing artists show up in the mix as well. The title track plays like a long-lost Slowdive cut, while "Change" sounds like Hum when they inevitably get dizzy off the rocket fumes. Though the ending is a little meandering, Stargazer is a clattering, skyward EP that makes you wish Stella Luna stuck around just a little while longer.


Essential: "Change", "Antares"
Quintessential: "Stargazer"
Non-essential: "A Bridge to Nowhere"

Rating: Great
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