the stargazer lilies

“We approach the live thing as a completely different animal,” says bassist Kim Field, shown here at right with her Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Special. “We rarely follow the same arrangements live that we track on the albums.” Photo by James DellaRocco

Guitarist John Cep and bassist Kim Field plant roots in songwriting terra firma while expanding their universe with stereo Marshalls, myriad pedals, vintage gear, and influences ranging from Kevin Shields to bossa nova.

Get an earful of “When with You” from the Stargazer Lilies’ new album, Door to the Sun. It’s a cascading waterfall of sound, brightened by bassist Kim Field’s sweet vocal melody.

You may have noticed that shoegaze music is experiencing a renaissance. On one hand, nearly all of the genre’s defining legends are back in the saddle, either actively touring or creating fresh music, and on the other, a new generation has simultaneously lifted the torch and begun weaving its own tapestry of lush, psychedelic sounds. The Stargazer Lilies are among these newcomers putting their stamp on the style. And with their second full-length, Door to the Sun, the band has crafted an aural journey through a world of expansive atmospherics, gossamer vocals, and beautifully dynamic textures.

Helmed by the duo of John Cep and Kim Field, and joined live by drummer Tammy Hirata, the band formed out of the ashes of Cep and Field’s former group, the electro-pop outfit Soundpool, driven by a desire to return to more organic sounds. The Stargazer Lilies identify themselves as a “flower-power trio” and have managed to create immense soundscapes on their own terms, with Cep producing and recording Door to the Sun entirely within his and Field’s Pennsylvania home. Although much of the five-year-old band’s sound relies upon Cep’s penchant for stereo guitars pushed through spatial effects, Field’s delicate vocals punch through the swirling din with an angelic quality that lends heaps of gorgeous melody and humanity to the threesome’s musical dream-state. And Cep’s droning bass lines, played in concert by Field, underpin the somnambulistic vibe. Rife with mercurial dynamic shifts and seemingly endless layering, Door to the Sun draws on an unexpected range of influences, from French pop music of the ’60s to Brazilian bossa nova. The result is pure, blissed-out psych magic.

Read MoreShow less