Darstar / Press

“Darstar, Tiny Darkness: An intriguing blend of heavy, grinding rock music (by Ben Piche, Tony Newman, Josh Pitts and Carson So) and the sweet vocal stylings of Lisa Hardaway, Darstar's songs are deceptive. Hardaway's voice lulls you, just before a serrated hunk of guitar or a punishing drum fill reaches out and levels you. The aggressive Millennium Maiden is built for a beer-soaked riot in a dark concrete bunker somewhere, while The Mayor is a wonderfully sleazy come-hither. Produced by John Dufilho and Casey Dilorio, Tiny Darkness is a first record brimming with promise.”

“If albums were rated by simply how badass they are, Tiny Darkness, the debut record from Dallas-based Darstar, would rate a five-out-of-five bottles of Jack Daniel's. The urgency of the fuzzed-out and bombastic collection bursts from the speakers, as does the brazen lack of concern for any who may be put off by lines such as "Fuck you, stupid bitches, I'll put you all in stitches," which is the central hook from the album's gnarliest track, "Millennium Maiden." It would be easy, but terribly shortsighted, to place this Lisa Hardaway-led project in an angry punk-girl category and leave it at that without recognizing the deeper elements that give the record its buzz-saw swirl of guitar-driven grit. While Hardaway's vocals provide much of the ferocity for her songs, it's the balls-out playing of her seasoned band that lends the venom making the tunes properly sting any who push play.”

“Darstar, however, is interested in subtlety. Tiny Darkness offers blistering, often gloomy college-radio-ready rock, driven by Ben Piche’s supersonic, buzzing, Smashing Pumpkins-esque guitar tone and Hardaway’s highly stylized, alluringly feminine vocals. One of the album’s highlights is the lead-off track. The somewhat self-aggrandizingly titled “Defenders of Quality Rock ’n’ Roll” is a mid-tempo rocker anchored by a hyper-melodic but seemingly nonsensical refrain –– the song’s only lyrics, repeated throughout –– and punched up in parts by an uptempo blur of staccato riffage and quickly percolatin’ drums. The song is wholly original-sounding and in its novelty as a simple masterstroke of melody comes to serve as a sort of album overture or band theme song. ”

“For a breath of fresh air after a few days of polite over-bonding, join Darstar for their Austin CD release party at Trophy’s on Saturday, November 26. Their buzzy, hard-edged debut album, Tiny Darkness, is lead by the powerful vocals of Lisa Hardaway. The album was officially released in Dallas last week, on indie Idol Records (Old 97’s, anyone?). The record is a decidedly modern, edgier take on some classic female-lead rock bands—Breeders, Hole and L7 come to mind.”

“I liked Metric –– until I saw frontwoman Emily Haines and company perform on some late-night TV talk show. Never having seen them before, I was expecting some cute, young, brunette indie chick playing bass and singing, backed by young, skinny indie casualties. Of course, the, um, distinguished folks onstage shattered my illusion. Nothing against people my age (and older), but the Metric folks just looked so darn professional. Their Establishmentista appearance belied their groovy, bratty, anti-Establishmentista tuneage. Anyway, I’ve recently come across a possible Metric replacement: the Dallas/Fort Worth quartet Darstar, whose sound is reminiscent of Metric’s –– fuzzy, soaring, Smashing Pumpkins-esque guitar, honey-sweet vocals –– and whose debut full-length, Tiny Darkness, will be released on Dallas-based Idol Records (Calhoun, Little Black Dress, Here Holy Spain) next month. Darstar’s CD release show will be at La Grange in Dallas on Fri, Nov 18.”

“Darstar “Tiny Darkness” On this raucously splendid debut disc, Darstar swarms with a heavily distorted shimmering opulence that's both grungey and otherworldly. The sweet and demure she-vocalist purrs, growls, and ultimately croons like a breezy gust of sin wrapped in hellfire satin. The guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards/synthesizers tumble, roll, and roar with the utmost of caterwauling rhythmic perfection... heavy vibrant excursions into bombastic musical crunch. If The Breeders and Veruca Salt joined forces telepathically on a planet of sound, Darstar would be the resulting cosmic whoosh. Life in the audio sense doesn't get any better than this! ”

Roger Moser Jr. - Under The Volcano Zine

“Being as this year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of such seminal albums as Smashing Pumpkins' Gish, the sounds of early '90s grunge and alt-rock are once again becoming fashionable. One such example from right here in town is Darstar, led by former Gun Gun frontwoman Lisa Hardaway, who are getting ready to release their first studio album, Tiny Darkness (see the album cover above, right). The recorded versions of their tunes maintain the simplicity and subtle intensity of their live shows, with less emphasis on the electronic elements and samples. The other noticeable difference: Right off the bat, you'll notice some much-beefed-up guitar and drum tones, thanks in part to co-producer John Dufilho. In advance of their November album release, the band has been kind enough to pass along the track "Trapdoor Spider" as a free download for DC9 readers. Continue down nostalgia lane and give 'er a right-click after the jump. ”

““What do they call you?” asked a voice. “I call myself Darstar.” was the response, and with that they launched right into what may be the most raw rock song on their record, “Millennium Maiden”. It was another one that had just about everyone singing along with the chorus, “Fuck you, stupid bitches, I’ll put you all in stitches…”. I missed it when it happened, probably because I was standing at the side of the rotund stage and guitarist, Ben Piché, was the main musician I could see, but in the final minute or so of the song, Lisa ended up crowd surfing. The crowd pushed her from stage left to stage right, then back again, and all the while she continued to rock out on her guitar, before hopping back on stage. Besides that trouble I had hearing the vocals, and even then that was only for about every other song in the first half of the show, I’d say it was flawless. I’d already become a fan just from listening to the music on Bandcamp, but seeing the show made m”

“In fact, this Saturday there is at least one option that might even be compelling enough to convince a few holders of the ever-so-coveted 35C wristbands to sneak away from the little D for a few hours. Perhaps for some local newcomers Darstar just might be that excuse. They have yet to release an album (expect a debut later this summer) but the self-proclaimed electro-grunge outfit are already starting to turn a few heads –myself included. Their nod to gritty, melancholic early 90’s alt-rock is balanced out with more modern electro-pop keyboards and bisected with the super clean female vocals of Lisa Hardaway. The addition of Kaossilator and triggered samples complete the blend of modern electronica with the more conventional grunge elements. And not to further confuse the matter by throwing yet another genre tag into the mix, there is still something a little punk rock about the whole combination and overall aesthetic. Check them out this Saturday at Double Wide. ”

“White space. It's a beautiful thing. And it's the big visual standout in this winning design that promotes a show tonight at Lola's Saloon in Fort Worth. The poster comes from the folks in the Dallas band Darstar, who are headlining this bill and, far as I can tell, named their band after the character in the movie Solarbabies that was played by the guy who went on to become Nathan on Heroes. What's definitely interesting, though, is that, color-wise, this Darstar design is superbly simple -- just a two-color design featuring different shades of blue. And it's a looker, too, with the chandelier hanging from the top of the page, right by the whited-out band name lettering, and shining a light down through an apparently dark room and onto... a lobster? Sure, why not? In this case, yes, that's true. And, as such, congratulations are in order. It's eye-catcher, to be sure. ”