The Star Department

The Star Department‘Art rock with a nice, romantic/melodic edge’ – The Guardian

The Star Department juxtapose atypical song structures and shifting time signatures with unashamedly pop-leaning melodies and orchestral ambience. Never self-indulgent yet never predictable, their debut album The Pea Green Boat – mixed by Tom McFall (Bloc Party, REM, Stars, Weezer) – charts a beguiling journey through gently psychedelic waters.

 

Facebook  Twitter  SoundCloud 


Discography

 

 

The Pea Green Boat


July 2015

At its core, The Pea Green Boat is irrepressibly melodic and always inventive, never relying on predictable forms to deliver its charms. Each song is crafted around a playful, deftly composed structure, with a delicate yet potent mix of lo-fi guitars, horns, organ and off-kilter rhythm section. Given the album’s wonderful mix of indie pop and art-rock it comes as no surprise to learn that production credits for the album include David Brewis of Field Music, and Tom McFall (Bloc Party, REM, Stars, Weezer).

The first single from The Pea Green Boat, ‘This Ship Won’t Sail’, provides the perfect introduction to the album with its inventive take on expansive down-tempo indie pop. The song’s organ-driven twists and turns evoke the dark charm of Psychedelic Fur’s ‘Sister Europe’, Deerhunter’s more pop-leaning moments, and the chiming guitar work of seminal Flying Nun outfits. Never self-indulgent yet never predictable, this is hypnotic, emotive stuff. Second single ‘Stitches and Sleeves’ is bound together by a heartbreaking guitar line, a silvery waltz-time figure that sends shivers up the spine. Combined with shuffling drums, a muted yet ominous horn section, and Justin Commins’ vulnerable, almost defeated vocal, the song radiates melancholic pop magic.

Biography

The Star Department are multi-instrumentalists Justin Commins(Kill Krinkle Club) and Michael Orange (Feather Beds, Soft Bones), who formed in Dublin in 2006. Their debut EP Flickering Lights, mastered by Kramer (Low, Daniel Johnston, Galaxie 500), was released soon after, to much critical acclaim. After a hiatus, the duo began working on their debut album, The Pea Green Boat, and toured the USA and Canada during 2010 and 2011.

Album track ‘Antlers’ was mixed by David Brewis (Field Music), with the rest of the album mixed by Tom McFall (Bloc Party, REM, Stars, Weezer). The album also features the talents of Niall Jackson on bass and Gordon Wyper on trumpet. The Pea Green Boat is set for release in July 2015.

News

  • Eat Your Friends: A Hidden Shoal 10th Anniversary Compilation

    Eat Your FriendsHidden Shoal is excited to end the celebration of its 10th year of existence with the new compilation album Eat Your Friends, comprising remixes and covers of Hidden Shoal artists, by Hidden Shoal artists. This freely downloadable album not only showcases the wealth of original music released through Hidden Shoal, but also the creative ingenuity and deft musical touch of the remixers and cover artists.

    From searing solar-flared adaptations to delicately reconstructed covers, deep space jam reworkings, and shimmering ambient tapestries, Eat Your Friends reimagines the Hidden Shoal discography in new and beautiful ways, playing to all the strengths of the roster’s dizzying array of talent.

    Includes remixes and covers by: Antonymes, Arc Lab, Glanko, Wayne Harriss, Liminal Drifter, Makee, Chloe March, Markus Mehr, Erik Nilsson, REW<<, Slow Dancing Society, Tin Manzano, Willem Gator, and Zealous Chang  of music by: Arc Lab, Brother Earth, Cheekbone, City of Satellites, Medard Fischer, Gilded, Glanko & Daniel Bailey, Kryshe, Memorybell, Erik Nilsson, perth, Slow Dancing Society, Tangled Star, Umpire, and Zealous Chang.

    Eat Your Friends is available now as a free download via Bandcamp and is also streamable via SoundCloud. Listen and then throw yourself into the wormhole as you explore the originals and more work by the remixers and cover artists.  For all the filmmakers, games designers and others in need of engaging music, don’t forget that all tracks in our catalogue are available for licensing (film, tv, games, compilations etc).

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • Hidden Shoal is 10!

    Hidden ShoalHidden Shoal is extremely excited to be celebrating its 10th birthday this month. It’s hard to believe that back in May 2006, Perth-based musicians Cam Merton, Stuart Medley and Malcolm Riddoch began Hidden Shoal Recordings as a means to put out releases by local artists. Tim Clarke, based in Melbourne, joined the team in 2007. Hidden Shoal has since gone on to become a much-loved independent label and publisher, releasing over 120 albums from a diverse range of international artists and licensing music from its catalogue across film, tv, web and compilation.

    Stay tuned for special anniversary announcements in the coming months!

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • Featured Track – The Star Department ‘Stitches and Sleeves’

    The Star DepartmentAt the heart of The Star Department‘s superb debut album The Pea Green Boat lies ‘Stitches and Sleeves’. The track is bound together by a heartbreaking guitar line, a silvery waltz-time figure that sends shivers up the spine. Combined with shuffling drums, a muted yet ominous horn section, and Justin Commins vulnerable, almost defeated vocal, the song radiates melancholic pop magic.

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • The Star Department “The Pea Green Boat” Out Now!

    The Pea Green BoatWe’re excited to announce that The Star Department‘s gorgeous debut album is finally out. At its core, The Pea Green Boat is irrepressibly melodic and always inventive, never relying on predictable forms to deliver its charms. Each song is crafted around a playful, deftly composed structure, with a delicate yet potent mix of lo-fi guitars, horns, organ and off-kilter rhythm section. Given the album’s wonderful mix of indie pop and art-rock it comes as no surprise to learn that production credits for the album include David Brewis of Field Music, and Tom McFall (Bloc Party, REM, Stars, Weezer).

    ‘Art rock with a nice, romantic/melodic edge’ – The Guardian

    The first single from The Pea Green Boat, ‘This Ship Won’t Sail’, provides the perfect introduction to the album with its inventive take on expansive down-tempo indie pop. The song’s organ-driven twists and turns evoke the dark charm of Psychedelic Fur’s ‘Sister Europe’, Deerhunter’s more pop-leaning moments, and the chiming guitar work of seminal Flying Nun outfits. Never self-indulgent yet never predictable, this is hypnotic, emotive stuff. Second single ‘Stitches and Sleeves’ is bound together by a heartbreaking guitar line, a silvery waltz-time figure that sends shivers up the spine. Combined with shuffling drums, a muted yet ominous horn section, and Justin Commins’ vulnerable, almost defeated vocal, the song radiates melancholic pop magic.

    Stream and buy The Pea Green Boat via Bandcamp as well as the usual digital outlets.

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • New Single from The Star Department – ‘Stitches and Sleeves’

    The Pea Green BoatHidden Shoal is proud to announce the release of ‘Stitches and Sleeves’ by atmospheric indie-pop duo The Star Department, the second single from their debut album The Pea Green Boat, released on 7th July 2015.

    ‘Stitches and Sleeves’ is bound together by a heartbreaking guitar line, a silvery waltz-time figure that sends shivers up the spine. Combined with shuffling drums, a muted yet ominous horn section, and Justin Commins’ vulnerable, almost defeated vocal, the song radiates melancholic pop magic.

    The Star Department – multi-instrumentalists Justin Commins (Kill Krinkle Club) and Michael Orange (Feather Beds, Soft Bones) – formed in Dublin in 2006. ‘Stitches and Sleeves’ is taken from The Star Department’s forthcoming debut album The Pea Green Boat (7th July 2015) which charts a beguiling journey through gently psychedelic waters. Production credits for the album include David Brewis of Field Music, and Tom McFall (Bloc Party, REM, Stars, Weezer).

    Download ‘Stitches and Sleeves” at BandCamp and stream the track at SoundCloud.

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • New Single from The Star Department Out Now!

    The Star DepartmentAfter premiering on the Crackling Vinyl blog, we’re excited to be able to announce the official availability of The Star Department’s new single.  ‘This Ship Won’t Sail’ is a stunning introduction to the duo’s inventive take on expansive down-tempo indie pop and the perfect intro to the band’s forthcoming full length The Pea Green Boat. The song’s organ-driven twists and turns evoke the dark charm of Psychedelic Fur’s ‘Sister Europe’, Deerhunter’s more pop-leaning moments, and the chiming guitar work of seminal Flying Nun outfits. Never self-indulgent yet never predictable, this is hypnotic, emotive stuff.

    ‘Art rock with a nice, romantic/melodic edge’ – The Guardian

    The Star Department are multi-instrumentalists Justin Commins (Kill Krinkle Club) and Michael Orange (Feather Beds, Soft Bones), who formed in Dublin in 2006. Their forthcoming debut album The Pea Green Boat, mixed by Tom McFall (Bloc Party, REM, Stars, Weezer), charts a beguiling journey through gently psychedelic waters.

     ‘This Ship Won’t Sail’ is available now for download with Pea Green Boat dropping on the 7th of July 2015 through Hidden Shoal.

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • Crackling Vinyl Premieres New Star Department Single

    The Pea Green BoatAhead of its release later this week, the wonderful Crackling Vinyl blog is premiering the brand new single from The Star Department. ‘This Ship Won’t Sail’ is a sublime slice of melancholic atmos-pop that opens the door to the bands debut album The Pea Green Boat (mixed by Tom McFall (Bloc Party, REM, Stars, Weezer) out July 7th.

    Head to Crackling Vinyl now to soak in the goodness and read more about The Star Department here.

     

     

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • The Star Department Sign to Hidden Shoal

    The Star DepartmentHidden Shoal is proud to announce the signing of Irish indie-pop duo The Star Department multi-instrumentalists Justin Commins (Kill Krinkle Club) and Michael Orange (Feather Beds, Soft Bones), who formed in Dublin in 2006. The Star Department juxtapose atypical song structures and shifting time signatures with unashamedly pop-leaning melodies and orchestral ambience. Never self-indulgent yet never predictable, their debut album The Pea Green Boat mixed by Tom McFall (Bloc Party, REM, Stars, Weezer) charts a beguiling journey through gently psychedelic waters.

    First single from The Pea Green Boat will be released on 23rd April 2015 with the album following in July.

     

     

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone

Reviews

  • The Star Department “Pea Green Boat” Reviewed at 4ZZZ

    “A dense, highly enjoyable experimental pop record by the Irish band, out through Perth’s Hidden Shoal. Spin this to round out the cold weather and reminisce about how good it was. Highlight: Superhawk – an aesthetically brilliant pop ballad with Steve Reich-ish compositional flourishes.”

    4ZZZ

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • The Star Department “The Pea Green Boat” Reviewed at Tomatrax

    “This is the debut album by Irish atmospheric indie-pop duo The Star Department. The album has a mix of shoegaze and indie pop sounds, sounding like a more experimental version of Belle and Sebastian. There are some beautiful sounds across the album, however the added experimentation is a bit hit in miss. When it hits it’s absolutely amazing! When it doesn’t it gets rather confused and messy and on a few occasions I had to check that I didn’t somehow have two things playing at once.

    Antlers is a bright and colourful, off beat pop tune sounding like ABBA crossed with Fleetwood mac. The bright poppy vibe creates a vibrant atmosphere while the experimental, almost psychedelic, tunes give it a curious edge that allows the song to be both infectious and strangely intriguing.

    Superhawk is a hazy indie pop offering. There is sweet hooks that draw you in combined with a curious shoegazy fog floating along.
    Early morning runner is a major highlight to the album and actually did remind me of my early morning runs. The slow vibes on top fees like the sun is gradually rising with the dark surroundings gradually becoming light.
    The Ship wont sail is a dark sombre tune with a subtle psychedelic twist. The music creates a curious fading atmosphere making you feel like you are sailing as the sun is setting with darkness slowly taking over.

    All of the signs is a cold and melancholy offering. The different elements are stripped back a little to provide a minimalist subtle sound. The result is beautiful and stands out as one of the stronger tracks.

    Porcelain Doll sounds like an industrial remix of the Flaming Lips. Harsh droney sounds drag in a gritty textual atmosphere, offset by sweet off beat indie rock tunes. Each element is good in its own right but doesn’t quite meld as well as it should.

    Sandcastle has a lot of potential with sweet notes and great vocal effects. The trouble is it feels over produced with so much experimentation put over it to the extend that the beauty of the song becomes a little squashed.
    All of my best friends has some lovely sounds to it, however the mixing of different effects don’t quite fit together making it feel a little awkward and confused.

    Overall this is a very promising album that shows off some great talent and beautiful sounds. The band are clearly not afraid of trying different things and experimenting with their sound. Sadly in some cases it doesn’t quite work and becomes a bit of a mess. When they do get it right, however, it sounds amazing!”

    Tomatrax

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • The Star Department ‘Stitches and Sleeves’ Reviewed at Speak Into My Good Eye

    “There really isn’t too much available in terms of background information regarding Irish dream-gaze duo The Star Department. Their Facebook has been active since 2012 yet only boasts seven published photos.

    The bastards don’t even have a Cover Photo set! What kind of world do we live in where that’s even possible? Actually, one I wouldn’t mind dipping a toe in.

    The Star Department, comprised of multi-instrumentalists Justin Commins (Kill Krinkle Club) and Michael Orange (Feather Beds, Soft Bones), quietly formed in Dublin in 2006. Their forthcoming debut LP, The Pea Green Boat, boasts production credits including David Brewis of Field Music, and Tom McFall (Bloc Party,REM, Stars, Weezer).

    An initial offering nearly a decade in the making, The Pea Green Boat is led by “Stitches and Sleeves” which marries different ideologies apparent in the music of Tame Impala and Beach House winding into a beautifully demure atmosphere all the band’s own. Subdued but never boring, “Stitches and Sleeves,” would have been an intriguing submission to the Creation Records post box back in the 80’s, with a modern, pensive, romantic slant that dates The Star Department into whatever era they feel like swimming in.”

    - Speak Into My Good Eye

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • The Star Department ‘This Ship Won’t Sail’ Reviewed at MFMOA

    “Dublin, Ireland band The Star Department trade in lush, atmospheric indie rock, making them a perfect fit for their label Hidden Shoal Recordings. Their new single ‘This Ship Won’t Sail’ flows along with mellow vibes guided by a current of organs down below and a glitchy drum beat. The vocals float on this stream like new fallen leaves.”

    The Modern Folk Music of America

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • The Star Department ‘This Ship Won’t Sail’ Reviewed at The Sunday Experience

    “The fact that Australia’s Hidden Shoal imprint still remains largely unheralded is a detail that vexes us. Time and time again their knack of tripping over the finest dream dipped, neo classicist and pristine pop offerings that sneak from out of the underground scene and beneath the radar has been as breathless as its been consistent, like esteemed labels past and present (to countless and unfair to single out here – but you know who you are) they’ve established such a quality trademark that when anything bearing their testimonial blessing passes our way then we know in an instant it’s going to be a gem. Case in point the excellently named the Star Department – a duo from Dublin whose debuting full length ‘the pea green boat’ is due to dock sometime early summer and from which has been lowered the lilting life boat that is ‘this ship won’t sail’ – admittedly a little crooked and of kilter at times its stuttering and bobbing lolloping motifs adding to the shanty shimmer toned attraction as it emerges sleepy headed from out the haze of a psychedelic prism possessed of a curious out of step artistry that much recalls the criminally undervalued the Crimea while the wheezing antique organ fugues instil a weaving and blissful atmospheric calm that hints of a seesawing sonic axis where sits landshipping at one end and j xaverre t’other.”

    The Sunday Experience

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • The Star Department Reviewed at Road Records

    “A superb blend of noisy indie rock and euphoric wall of sound shoegazing sounds, jangly guitars meets big explosive guitar freakouts, like a mixture of Ride and Mogwai.”

    Road Records

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • The Star Department Reviewed at Pyxis Magazine

    “Their sound is reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian meets Glen Phillips meets I’m From Barcelona (with a less overwhelming number of band members).”

    - Pyxis Magazine

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone
  • The Star Department Reviewed at The Guardian

    “Art rock with a nice, romantic/melodic edge to reign in the cleverness.”

    Alex Niven (The Guardian)

    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone

Press Releases

No press releases yet, sorry.

Artist Photos

 

Music Videos

Licensing

The Star Departments music is  available for licensing (master & sync cleared) through Hidden Shoal. Please contact us with some basic details about your project and the track(s) you wish to use and we’ll be sure to get back to you straight away.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponDigg thisEmail this to someone