Star & Micey EP release show with Carolina Story
Thursday at the Hi-Tone Café, 1913 Poplar. Doors: 5 p.m. Ages 18 and up. Cover: $5. For more information, visit hitonememphis.com or call 901-278-8663.
Memphis band Star & Micey has become one of most ubiquitous and popular groups on the local scene. But if all goes according to plan with the upcoming push behind the band's new EP, I Can't Wait, a lot more people outside of the Mid-South will be calling Star & Micey their favorite band.
Star & Micey will mark the release of I Can't Wait with a show Thursday at the Hi-Tone featuring their close friends and kindred folk spirits Carolina Story. Though the band has been prolific of late — releasing a handful of singles, two EPs, and a digital album of field recordings cut on an impromptu road trip through Mississippi and Alabama over the past two years (all of which are available for free download on Bandcamp) — I Can't Wait is the most high profile record since their 2009 self-titled debut.
The group is releasing the EP on an elaborate limited-edition vinyl, is about to embark on the biggest tour of its members' careers, and has hired its first publicist to help promote the effort.
"It's kind of make or break," says vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Nick Redmond. "It's kind of all on this EP."
I Can't Wait finds Star & Micey working for the first time (except for the field recordings) outside of the confines of Memphis Ardent Studios. This time the band traveled 100 miles south to work in Oxford, Miss., at Sweet Tea Recording Studio with famed producer Dennis Herring (Elvis Costello, Buddy Guy).
After sorting through more than 80 demos the band submitted, Herring surprised them with the five selected to work on, four of which made the final product.
"Some of the songs he picked weren't even like completed songs," says vocalist/percussionist/bassist Geoff Smith, who founded the band in 2005 with childhood friend Josh Cosby. "They were just ideas. We had to build the songs, which was fun and a big challenge. One song, 'Soul Stormin', had never had a band behind it before we went down to Oxford and built sounds around this little song Josh had."
Taking advantage of the discipline Star & Micey has built through almost three years of hard touring and live recording, Herring had the band play every take live in the studio.
"What he does after that is his alchemy or whatever," says Redmond, describing the record as their most vocal-forward effort. "There's no kitchen sink in there. What he did with the space was amazing. He would turn up the room noise, and it would sound like an effect, but it's just the room."
I Can't Wait may end up being Star & Micey's last record with just the original trio of Cosby, Redmond and Smith. The group recently added Jeremy Stanfill (Crippled Nation, Streetside Symphony) to the lineup as drummer, fourth vocalist and songwriter. Stanfill will accompany Star & Micey later this month as they head out in their van and trailer, nicknamed Poncho and Lefty, on a 15-city sojourn from Texas to New York City, where they made their debut this summer.
"This is going to be a pretty amazing haul," says Smith, adding that the band has started a campaign on the crowd-funding website Pledge Music to raise money to fund for the tour. "We're going to be putting all our powers to the test."