Asheville, NC band Stephaniesid return with their sparkling, new pop gem Starfruit, cementing their status as one of the region’s most ambitious, innovative, and influential bands.
In the downtime since their last record, lead singer Stephanie Morgan formed a local songwriter’s group to help spur her creativity.
She began recording the songs that emerged from these sessions, and posting them online for fans. This collection of singles formed the nucleus for Starfruit, and the rest of the band joined her over the course of many months to record more material in the home she shares with husband/co-bandleader Chuck Lichtenberg.
As a result, Starfruit has a much looser, more organic feel than the band’s first three full-lengths, while retaining the band’s penchant for intricate arrangements, unusual textures, and virtuosic playing. The sprawling 14-track effort touches on all of the band’s many influences, even including a faithful cover of Dream Academy’s hit “Life In A Northern Town,” and a cheeky reworking of the Laverne & Shirley theme song.
“Cinematic” Official Video (Stephaniesid) from Stephanie Morgan on Vimeo.
Stephaniesid quickly became a local powerhouse with their debut Spiral In (2005). The band was signed by Nine Mile Records in 2007 and released Grus Americanus, a record that NPR’s Robin Hilton described as “A mesmerizing mix of songs that can be hushed and calm one moment, and then suddenly dark and explosive the next.” Grus also spawned singles which appeared on HBO’s “Nurse Jackie,” the award-winning short film “The Red Helmet,” and numerous compilations.
In 2008, the band performed at Bonnaroo, and was reviewed in The Bonnaroo Beacon: “…a rather transcendent set …the band was different, melodic, quirky, and just plain good…. A sleeper act which hit the mark with an almost Bjork-like panache.”
2009’s Warm People garnered more national attention for the band, with plays on NPR’s “World Cafe” (“Sharp writing!” exclaims David Dye), and glowing reviews in Blurt, Billboard, and Big Takeover. By 2010, Stephaniesid had been named “Best Rock Band” in Asheville in the (weekly paper) Mountain Xpress poll 4 years in a row.
Touring in support of “Starfruit” are Steph (vox, guitar, synth), Chuck (keyboards, vox), Maine-born Tim Haney (drums), and former NYC horn players Justin Ray and Jacob Rodriguez, with Matthew Richmond (vibraphone) and Jonathan Pearlman (guitar) also appearing on shows in the Southeast.
“This looks happy, but the music hits much deeper. Stephanie Morgan’s vocals [move] delicately between The Sugarcubes and The Sundays, but always with a childlike wink and skip…. Sometimes the band evinces a sadness that lives in the world, but there is always an answer of music and joy to bring light out of every possible shadow.” –Marcel Feldmar, The Big Takeover Magazin
“The songs move from intimate to anthemic… effortlessly poetic letters…acute insights … shimmering synth hooks and smoothly shifting melodic textures… difficult to classify but easy to love.” –Wayne Robins, Billboard Magazine
“This is world-class music, period. No labels necessary.” –Fred Mills, Blurt Magazine