TRACK PREMIERE: StarBenders – 'Down and Out'

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Atlanta’s resident glam rock band, StarBenders‘ drop their latest fete exclusively with LADYGUNN today. ‘Down and Out’ is a synth-heavy doozy with lead singer Kimi Shelter’s witchy voice dripping with 80’s glam, lust, and desperation for the starlight.

Kimi’s sordid teenage past is one factor that brought the band together. Kimi and drummer Katie Herron met in a nature-healing camp for wayward girls in Georgia. They made a pact to start a band together and years later their dream materialized rounded out with misfits in their own right, bassist Aaronoius Monk and guitarist Chris Tokaji. The group make music that appeals to the gut-wrenching hope and lust for life that we all have in us, and summons the ear to action. 

Their first full-length album, Heavy Petting is out now through Institution Records.  Look out for these beautiful babies at a dark and smoky venue near you and read our interview with Kimi below.

What was one ‘living on starlight’ you have had recently?

Being part of the music industry will toss you about quite a bit. It’s a contemporary “Don’t Stop Believing” if you will. We have to take in starlight or we’ll surely sink to the bottom of the sea.

What inspired “Down & Out?” When was the last time you felt down and out and then something good happened?

Down and Out is an apocalyptic pop song.  You’re being told that everything will be alright while the world is on fire.  It’s about what people who are tuned in and turned on face in this world.  Like riding a wave, you just have to hold on long enough for something good to happen. We really lean on one another as a band and it makes that holding out period a little easier.

What are some inspirational aspects of the Atlanta music scene?

Atlanta is a tough ass town. There’s always been a lot of tension in the south, but it’s led to a common element that you find in all ATL bands… An Unapologetic Presence. You have to be bold and loud as shit to drown out the peanut gallery.

When do you guys feel most in sync?

When we’re playing shows… there’s just an energy that you can’t beat. For the entire time we’re on the stage, we have to communicate telepathically, which is pretty cool. You get off the stage and you’ve already been in each other’s minds for the last hour. It’s as close as you can be to one another.


The cover art by cover art: Juan Montoya really captures the song in a very Wrinkle in Time, futuristic, 80s, favorite movie soundtrack. How did you guys collaborate on the art?

Juan is one of my favorite local artists. We bonded over our mutual love for KISS, which made a collab super effortless. I sent “Down & Out” over to Juan and told him to just go for it. His aesthetic is out of this world (pun intended). Check him out @montoyablackmagic

What is one magic element about playing together that makes you happy?

Nothing bonds you to another person like going through this shit show together. It’s a kind of intimacy that is definitely magical. In order to make a sword, you have to heat and strike iron over and over again to make it lethal… we’re gettin lethal, baby.

LADYGUNN starbenders-nov-16-2 (1) (1)
photos /  Christian Cody






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