On July 29th, Stardeath and White Dwarfs are set to arrive with their first full-length album in almost 5 years. As far as self-penned material goes, the group have remained relatively quiet since 2009’s Warner Bros. released The Birth. Apart from an appearance on The Flaming Lips’ full-album cover of Dark Side of the Moon, they’ve been silent. That’s all about to change with their brand new album, Wastoid, their first for Dave Sitek’s imprint Federal Prism.
As leader Dennis Coyne is the nephew of Flaming Lips’ leader Wayne, it makes sense that the band appear as guests on the song “Screaming”. The song begins with a minute of looped noise and a pulsing synthesizer before the younger Coyne chimes in: “it’s like starting over when you thought you’d arrived”. At two minutes in, an atypical Lips drumbeat begins over the loop, filling in the blanks to make the song sound like an outtake from The Terror. The song works wonderfully, both as a Lips outtake and a Stardeath a-side.
One standout in particular is the hypnotic “Hate Me Tomorrow”, featuring an appearance by Daniel Huffman, better known as solo psych-rocker New Fumes. In keeping with the theme of the album, Huffman is also a friend of the Lips, spending time with the group as a touring guitarist and appearing on their collaborative cover of King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King. “Hate Me” is a downer folk song, with a meditative acoustic riff leading the track. Huffman’s signature is all over the track, especially on the sound effects that linger throughout. It’s a heavy song, but doesn’t sound like anything Stardeath, New Fumes, or Flaming Lips have done, making it that much more exciting when it arrives.
“Sleeping Pills And Ginger Ale” is the second-to-last track, equally jarring for different reasons. It’s a mixed bag of genres – exotica bongos, delayed post-rock guitars, a deep modulated synth bass line. Miraculously, Stardeath find a way to tie all of these unrelated elements together (largely by way of Coyne’s laid-back voice), and it works.
This album has been a long time coming, and is worth the wait. Despite Uncle Wayne and crew appearing as guests, Dennis manages to make the album his own without riding on their coattails. On Wastoid, Stardeath have grown into their own skin.