There are no mis-steps by Robert Schwartzman on his perfectly-formed EP, “Pleasure District” a lively soundscape of synth-pop featuring slick guitar licks and deep bass grooves. Not forsaking good songwriting his lyrics don’t just loop nowhere but tell compelling and complete stories.
After almost 11 years fronting indie 5-piece, Rooney, the singer has taken his music on a completely new direction with his latest project, Starsystem. And this weekend, you can catch him in his new incarnation at Slim’s, opening for UK band, Little Comets.
In an interview with Examiner.com, ahead of his trip to San Francisco, Schwartzman explains, “ I think it’s nice to just change it up and have fun. I still like chord-y rock music but I am now giving a certain kind of shape to something that’s always been there. This sort of music has always been a part of my life but now I am shinning the spotlight on it.”
Is he just jumping on the synth-pop bandwagon? “Well I think they are a lot of these bands out there precisely because it is so easy to gain access to these synthesizer libraries then it is to say, notate piano music. The tools are readily available and the music out reflects that. I work in a studio and my process is different and I am not turning words into a loop and stretching it out for an entire song."
“I’m definitely still putting effort into my lyrics, for them to be emotional and tell a story. It’s not just repetitive ‘everybody, everybody, everybody wants to dance,” he laughs. “But I love the technology and learning about all this new software.”
And a listen to the six-song EP confirms Schwartzman can paint effectively employing different musical colors in this somewhat different manner of making music for him. “Midnight Burn” is an electro intro to the new sound which fits perfectly with his spacey moniker and the '60s-inspired comic book that Schwartzman is working on that will act as a companion to the EP. It’s all retro space-age like the wallpaper from a 1950s kid’s bedroom.
The second track, “Our Love” with its falsettos and '70s laid-back disco and synth mood has an infectious groove that I bet you can’t help but want to get up and do just that. On “Let Go” his lyrics are intriguing ‘stepping over cracks, breaking my momma’s back’ - a sort of Buddhist mantra and life lesson set to reverb, funky bass lines and catchy guitar-riffs.
“Do What You Want”, my favorite is all moody, rich and melodies soothing while “So Bad” is big 80’s kick drums, set against soft dreamy vocals singing of a toxic and disharmonious liaison that evokes melancholy. And for the last track, “Alligator” with its bluesy guitar-riff and his funky, almost poetic way with words singing over and over again “…no crocodile/Yo! I’m your alligator” begging the question what’s the diff? And there you have the answer, he's just having fun.
To purchase "Pleasure District" by Starsystem, go to starsystemmusic.com or iTunes
For tickets to Starsystem at Slim's San Francisco on Nov 2, please click here. Back in LA, Starsystem will perform School Night at Bardot, Nov 4 and at the Troubadour, Dec 10. For more information, click here.