Houston-based Electro/Rock duo Starline is thrilled to announce the release of their debut album CJM on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. Starline is comprised of former NBA point guard Matt Maloney and Pale frontman Calvin Stanley who began working on the original album two years ago. The 11-track album was recorded at Houston's famed SugarHill Recording Studios and was produced/engineered by GRAMMY-winning producer Steve Christensen.
An official album release party is scheduled at Hughes Hangar, located at 2811 Washington Ave., Houston, Texas 77007 on Thursday, Feb. 25 starting at 7 p.m. The listening party style event will also feature live performances by DJ Sun and Dj Zeelus (remixing tracks from CJM) as well as a video premiere of Starline’s debut single, “Soul Crusher.” The event is free and open to the public (21 and above) and proceeds from CD sales that night will benefit Sunshine Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to children with cancer.
“I've had the unique and fortunate opportunity to realize a dream of playing in the NBA,” said Maloney. “But songwriting has always been another passion of mine. Being able to focus my energy and creativity on this album has truly been a fulfilling experience.”
Calvin Stanley and Matt Maloney were friends for ages. But Stanley, the creative force behind the Houston band Pale, had no idea that retired NBA point guard Maloney had prodigious musical talents until another friend insisted he listen to one of Maloney's self-recorded songs, titled "Starline.”
"It was just a demo, but that's all it took for me," Stanley recalls. They tried collaborating - and quickly found their groove. Adopting Starline as their musical identity, they began crafting the melodic, deeply layered and richly textured electro-rock that graces their first album, CJM. The title honors Maloney's late brother, Christopher, who passed away in 2013.
"Calvin has immense talent,” said Maloney. “Whether it be vocal range, creating a driving bass line or implementing minor shifts throughout a chord structure, the man can flat out roll."
“I had never worked with another songwriter before so it’s been great to be able to grow my craft with someone like Matt - he is always focused and prepared,” said Stanley. “His melodies and riffs are always on point and I learned to sing a bit differently thanks to his style and method. For every hook you’re hearing we probably left another three or four on the table. There is no shortage of ideas in Starline.” “Each track turned out really strong and assured,” said producer Steve Christensen. “These guys are whip smart and capable in the studio. It was cool to explore a lot of emerging tech in the process - once the core of a song was established the cables and instruments just kept piling up in the studio. We had the freedom to build a lot of layered bits and really creative transitions. I think the album kicks total ass.”
CJM’s bedrock, its creators say, is rhythm. But their goal is to move both bodies and minds. “We’ve always been drawn to bands that can get you moving to a song and thinking at the same time,” says Stanley. “We want our music to be fun — danceable and quotable.”
The album’s rhythmic heartbeats give pulse to soundscapes that range from the crunchy rock of “Bruise” and the fuzzed-up grit of “It’s On,” to the lushly swirling waves of “Click to Verify.” The striking trait throughout, however, is unpredictability. Each song travels unexpected curves, from a sudden acoustic guitar break or single piano-key plink to a stuttery synth line, falsetto vocal or arresting lyric; every listen seems to unearth more surprises.
“It’s twice the ride in headphones,” Stanley observes. With every song packing more than 100 tracks — even a 10-second segment might contain 30 — that’s an understatement. Both Maloney and Stanley interchangeably played every instrument on the album and split vocals. “All of these songs were an intensive exchange of ideas and performances from first chord to last word,” notes Maloney. One other player, fellow Houston musician Arthur Yoria — the man who urged them to get together — is credited with contributing vocals and guitar on the closing track “Click to Verify.”
Maloney and Stanley say Christensen played a huge role in capturing their musical vision. “We were extremely fortunate to have worked with such an accomplished and talented producer in Steve Christensen,” said Maloney. “He made sure our vision of the songs were realized. I hope we achieved our goal of conveying our creativity, rhythm, melody and substance in these tunes.”
There's no coincidence that growing up they both independently listened to new wave/indie and alt/rock epics - evident on tracks like “Downgrade” and “4 on the floor.” This influence is what morphed into their self-dubbed fusion of genres Electrock/Altronic. Early listeners have been comparing them to shades of Billy Elliot, Iamx, Kasabian and BRMC — even touches of Philip Glass on this debut album.
“It's surreal to finally get this music out to the public,” said Stanley. “We are really excited - after two years of working on this it feels like a new chapter has begun for us. We hope that the synergy that we have developed will translate into a fun and emotional experience for open ears and hearts out there.”
About Sunshine Kids: The Sunshine Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to children with cancer. Established in 1982, we are committed to providing positive group activities and emotional support for young cancer patients. The Sunshine Kids provides a variety of programs and events, free of charge, for kids who are receiving cancer treatments in hospitals across North America.