A late-season and appropriately-named candidate for the Song of Summer

By People Staff
August 07, 2014 12:00 PM

If only all summer jams were this straightforward.

The new song “Summer Pop Song” from Star Ballads is definitely that: A breezy pop tune with chiming guitars, bouncy synths, and a pleasant, lilting melody.

But dig a little deeper into the group’s pedigree, and you’ll be surprised at the personalities that make up Star Ballads.

Guitarist David First probably has the longest rap sheet of the group: After playing with avant-garde jazz pianist Cecil Taylor when he was just 20, he went on to create electronic music at Princeton University and lead the psychedelic punk band Notekillers, who Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore championed in the early 1990s. Since then, First has split his time between minimalist drone compositions and larger-scale works.

Bass player Bernard Gann comes from a musical family: His father is Kyle Gann, who teaches music theory, history and composition at Bard College, and Bernard has been active in New York’s music scene for quite some time, playing guitar in heavy metal band Liturgy as well as electronic avant-garde group Guardian Alien.

You may recognize drummer Brian Chase’s name from a little group called the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (who released their fourth album, Mosquito, last year), and singer Rachel Cox spends her time in the New York-based group Oakley Hall.

“I’m pretty much a chord/melody stalwart,” First told Bedford and Bowery of the track. “I’ve always been a sucker for a catchy or emotionally resonant – maybe even sentimental – pop song, even on my deepest, darkest experimental day.”

Star Ballads is currently working on completing their first album for a fall release.