Astari Nite Celebrates Its EP Release This Friday

photo by kara Starzyk
If it is true (as surely it must be) that in the world of pop music there is nothing truly new under the sun, then surely a budding pop star has no choice but to steal from the best of everything that's come before. Okay, so stealing from everything might make for a bit of a racket. But a little selective expropriation, on the other hand, can work wonders for a band.

Take Miami's Astari Nite. Not only have they freely cribbed from '80s-era Manchester (especially Joy Division/New Order) and '90s-era London (primarily Placebo and Suede); they've got guts enough to cop to their thievery and to admit their indebtedness. More importantly, the lads (and lady) have put what they've taken to new use. And at the end of the day that's what will set Astari Nite apart from the also-rans.

If you've been out and about at any of the hipper venues that still allow live music, you've most likely seen Astari Nite swoop in and swoon through a few cool songs. You may have even wondered just what those songs were, and where you might get your mitts on them.

Well, you need not wonder any longer, because this month Astari Nite marks the official release of their eponymous EP. And they're set to take the stage at Vagabond to celebrate. 

Led by a tune entitled "True Romance," the EP makes clear that the members of Astari Nite are not afraid to wear their dark hearts on their suitably gilded sleeves. Of course Ghost wouldn't be able to sing of loss so triumphantly if he wasn't backed by a band worthy of the sentiment, and here Astari's Nite's R. Furey (bass), Illa (drums), and Albert Grey (guitar) meld it all into a seamless whole. 

That must be why the folks at MTV and Microsoft selected the band (and the song) as one of the first to be featured on the new Rock Band Network. And now you can play "True Romance" on Rock Band 2, as a special track add-on.

Another highlight among the EP's five tracks is a little ditty called "From Carving Lips." Yes, the song takes a page from the Cure and turns it into a 21st century lament. But it's also a celebration of love loss and dissolution, and it provides an almost giddily delirious tingle of the crash that's set to come. 

No, Astari Nite isn't the first band to sing and play about heartbreak; nor will it be the last. Still, as everyone who's ever had their heart broken will tell you, it sure as hell feels like the first time, every time it happens. And that's the magic. 

Astari Nite. Friday, January 29. The Vagabond, 30 NE 14th St., Miami. Doors open at 10 p.m. Admission is free before 11 p.m., $5 after. Ages 21+ with ID. 305-379-0508;

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John Hood