16 March 2013

Ashtar Command

Happy belated birthday to Chris Holmes of Ashtar Command! Perhaps his recent birthday celebration is why he is giving away the American Sunshine album to fans again?

Ashtar Command is Brian Liesegang (Nine Inch Nails, Filter) and  Chris Holmes (Yum Yum, The Smashing Pumpkins) joined by lots of friends, like Joshua Radin, Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros), Har Mar Superstar, Rachel Yamagata, Priscilla Ahn, Z Berg, Matt Walker (Filter, The Smashing Pumpkins), Solomon Walker (Morrissey) Mike Garson (David Bowie),  Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M.), Oliver Kraus (Beth Orton), Stewart Cole (Edward Sharpe), Stephen Fitzpatrick (Veruca Salt), and Johnny Radtke (Kill Hannah).

If you miss the download, you can still purchase the album through Amazon, iTunes, and other standard vendors.

Excerpts from informative review at Dilettantes:
Chris released Dan Loves Patti under his Yum Yum moniker, an album that Rolling Stone said “more than holds it own in comparison with influences as the Beatles, and Beach Boys circa Pet Sounds.” He has since toured and recorded with The Smashing Pumpkins and Felix da Housecat, co-produced tracks for P. Diddy, worked on Billy Corgan’s solo album and written with Rachael Yamagata and Mandy Moore. Also a celebrated DJ, Holmes appeared on URB’s “Next 100” list and was handpicked by Sir Paul McCartney to open for him at the 2009 Coachella Music and Arts Festival.

Brian joined Nine Inch Nails, working on the multi-Platinum, GRAMMY®-winning albums Broken and The Downward Spiral. He subsequently co-founded the two-man band Filter with Richard Patrick. With hit singles like “Hey Man, Nice Shot” and “Jurrassitol,” Filter sold millions of albums, toured with The Smashing Pumpkins, Ozzie Osbourne, Korn and others and contributed to Platinum soundtracks for The X-Files, Spawn and The Cable Guy. Brian went on to produce, write and perform on Veruca Salt’s Resolver and was recruited by Billy Corgan for his Future Embrace album and world tour.

Having met with success in their individual careers, Holmes and Liesegang resumed their collaboration. Several Ashtar Command songs were tapped for television (The OC, Ugly Betty), film (including tracks featuring Sinead O’Connor and Louse Post for The Avengers soundtrack) and ad campaigns for Nissan and Microsoft. Proceeds from licensing gave the pair the freedom to make American Sunshine on their own terms. A B-side from the sessions, “Holding Out For Love,” has already been used by Grey’s Anatomy.

American Sunshine was co-produced by Chris and Brian, who also did the programming, played many of the instruments and sang on the record. Along the way, they enlisted musicians that seemed to suit the individual songs – people they had worked with or been friends with for years....

“It is a great time to be an independent artist,” says Holmes. “Ten years ago, we couldn’t have released this record because every single one of these artists would have been signed to a major label and they would have had clauses in the contract that would have made it impossible.”

Working in identical studios in Los Angeles and Chicago respectively, Chris and Brian sent songs back and forth, tweaking them until fleeting ideas developed into full-fledged songs....

American Sunshine is an expansive and remarkably coherent album that refuses to be reduced to a single genre. Sure, there are some reference points. Nick Drake comes to mind, as do the Chemical Brothers. Which is to say there are songs of exquisite beauty and ones that really rock.

Sci-fi fans may recall the concept of "Ashtar Command" that emerged in the 1950’s – an intergalactic U.N. with the mission of assisting the human race in a time of crisis. Think evolution by enlightenment, which makes the name a fitting metaphor for the band and what they’re trying to accomplish. No, they’re not at war against the Greys or Reptoids – but they are on a mission to battle the rampant artifice of the music industry. Consider American Sunshine a declaration of Ashtar Command’s arrival.