Desert Stars and Janelle Best’s way of “Figuring Things Out”

Desert Stars are the kind of band who would be perfect for scoring a Charles Manson biopic… and I mean that in the best way possible.  The Brooklyn outfit,...

Desert Stars are the kind of band who would be perfect for scoring a Charles Manson biopic… and I mean that in the best way possible.  The Brooklyn outfit, who have been at it for nearly half a decade now, finally release their debut LP, Habit Shackles, this Tuesday, July 16th.  The collection of songs rings of retro, forward-thinking psychedelic folk rock with an air of morose (and, at times, apocalyptic) other-worldliness.  At the core of Desert Stars is Janelle Best, who was raised as a classical violinist.  I recently got a chance to chat with her and she tells me that not only is the album incredibly personal, but that it was truly purposeful, serving as a catharsis that would allow her to move on to a new chapter in her life.

“This is my baby.  Each song comes from a different desperation and trying to figure things out… friendships breaking up and stuff with my boyfriend.  It’s five years in the making… Whenever I was in a really gnarly spot, I would just spit out a song real quick.  I quit drinking and doing drugs and this was like a hobby to get into to help me deal with things… There’s some really dark and gloomy things on here.”


For the rest of 2013 Best and her band hope to be playing live, which would seem to be where they’re most satisfied.  “Whenever we’re up there we just have a great time,” she tells me, going on to explain, “We want to get washed away in it.  There’s a lot of reverb.  There’s also that feeling of no control.”  They’re hoping for some Northeast dates in the near future and eventually something bigger for fall (Best is even hoping for something specifically with some of their Williamsburg friends and neighbors.)

“Hopefully we can get a big fall support slot… Ideally a band like Caveman or Heaven… Caveman were my favorite band and then I met them.  They’re just the coolest guys and I love their sound.  They’re just super super talented and really cool guys and really funny.  I actually plan band field trips. When I like a bands a lot I buy tickets for the whole band to come check them out and everyone just loved them.”

For the time being the band just has one scheduled date, a CD release show at Cameo on Tuesday (which features a DJ set from none-other-than Caveman) and while hopefully we’ll get to see them again, later this year, in Philly (They recently hit up PhilaMOCA.), Best is most excited about just having the album drop: “Getting this album out is a really big deal.  I don’t know if people will like it, but I’m happy with the way it sounds and my mom likes it…”

Band Interviews

During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.