Stars Heart will be the second US release for Arts&Crafts, a Canadian-based record label, artist management, art house, distribution and production company. Their first official US release was one of my top five albums of 2003, Broken Social Scene's You Forgot It In People. Two members of Stars are also very tight with BSS, as Amy Milan toured with the band this summer and Evan Cranley is an official member of the collective. Sharing a similar outlook, love and passion for music, these two bands refreshingly portray Arts&Crafts as one big family of like-minded musicians. Stars' sophomore album, Heart, will street domestically on September 23 and judging by the most passionate group of Schubas fans I've seen in some time, there are a number of Chicagoans who are already psyched for its release.
With no airplay, no video on MTV/MTV2, and really no album, Stars drew a good number of people, especially for a Sunday night. The small room at Schubas is normally very spaced out when it's not a completely packed house. Most people will hang out towards the back bar, nod their heads, and enjoy the music, but that was not the case last night. A solid group of at least 75 people actually rushed the stage as Stars began. They gathered at the front edge of the stage and hung on the band's every note.
Stars ran through a number of songs from their debut, Nightsongs, as well as the forthcoming, Heart. They write passionate, lovely, pop songs and they play like veterans. Vocalist Torquil Campbell exudes confidence on stage and is the main focus during the band's live show, though it is Amy Milan that holds everything together. She strums and plucks away at her electric guitar like a weapon of musical love. Couple that with a sideways ponytail and a voice that would make anyone melt and you've got the perfect balance. Stars will be bringing their first single, "Elevator Love Letters," to commercial specialty radio this month and they'll be on tour again with Broken Social Scene in November along the West Coast.